Summer is winding down so quickly — Where did it go?! I report back to work in a little over a week. I am so excited for students to return, but first I have to get through these next few weeks with some very special houseguests… the Indianapolis Colts.
For those of you who don’t know, the Colts use Anderson University as their summer training camp facility, and guess where the guys stay! Yep, that’s right, they move in with me in Martin Hall. I actually have very little interaction with them, and I bet most of them have no idea that I’m even here.
If you watch the coverage on the news of their move-in day, look in the background for my patio table with a striped umbrella. It always makes a few of the shots! Also, last year Andrew Luck leaned against my red car during an interview (these media interviews usually take place in the tiny parking lot next to my apartment door), so keep your eyes open for that too!
If any of you come up to take in a practice, please let me know! I’d love to walk over and say hello.
On to other things…
I returned home last weekend from a wonderful chemo-free week at Green Lake in Wisconsin. I’m on the leadership team for an incredible youth conference called Great Escape. Take a peek at a typical day:
By Wednesday I was totally exhausted, but it was the good kind of exhaustion that comes from throwing your whole heart and soul into something you love. And the people… my goodness the people!! I have been involved at Great Escape since 2005, and I have never experienced anything like the way the Great Escape family comes together each summer. We come from Indiana, Michigan, Wisconsin, Illinois, Missouri, Colorado, Tennessee, and Florida (and probably some states that I’m forgetting), and somehow God has built our team in such a way that the distance during the other 51 weeks just doesn’t matter.
I love these people so much and am so grateful to have spent such a joy-filled week with them! #51weeks #postcampblues
Here is a photo of the Planning Team and Work Crew (the 75ish college and high school students who make everything happen during the week!)
Alright, one more video. It’s not all crazy games at camp! There is also a lot of learning, worship, and growing in faith. Below is a video showing some of those moments, and the song used in it turned out to be extremely meaningful for me.
(AU people — you’ll recognize the faces of the band on stage!! I LOVED introducing Kristen, Connor, Logan, Josh, and Geoff to Great Escape!)
I had heard this song (Good, Good Father) many times, but it hit me differently last week. We sang that song 3 times on Wednesday at different points in the day. I wept every time! Whenever I’m exhausted, things tend to become overly emotional for me. But I also don’t want to make too light of those tears.
The song starts with the lines “I’ve heard a thousand stories of what they think you’re like. But I’ve heard the tender whisper of love in the dead of night.” Those words take me back to what I was feeling on this night: Surgery #3 and a New Perspective, when I sat in a hospital bed in the early hours of the morning and encountered God’s peaceful presence in ways I never had before.
The rest of the song is full of declarations of God’s goodness and love for us. I ugly cried (you know the kind… gasps for breath, everything running…) through these refrains as I thought about how I have gotten through everything so far this year. How have I managed since last September? By waking up every day and choosing to live in the Truth that God is good, that he loves me, and that he is at work in every detail of my life.
Further, the imagery of a good father hits very close to home for me. While some people have painful experiences with their earthly fathers, and thus have difficulty believing that God is good, I have the complete opposite experience.
My dad. What can I even say about him that would do it all justice? It is so easy for me to see God as a loving dad because I have grown up with the most loving, humble, patient, gentle, kind, fun, and servant-hearted daddy.
One of the specific pictures that came into my mind was from this past winter. I had to go to the hospital for an early morning CT scan. I had to be there 2 hours ahead of the scan, so I was going to need to leave my apartment extremely early in the morning. I told my parents not to worry about coming up for it, because I didn’t want them to make the hour drive at about 4am.
I wake up that day, pull my hair back, throw on some shoes, and grab my keys, gritting my teeth at the thought of how cold my car was going to be.
And what meets my eyes when I open my door? My dad’s car pulled into my parking lot, nice and toasty and ready to drive me to my scan. It meant so much to me.
So, while we sing about our good, good Father, I’m not worshiping my earthly dad. BUT, his amazing examples of love throughout my life have made it so much easier to understand God as a loving Father.
(And I would be remiss if I left out my amazing mom and sister. They have also loved me so well throughout this ordeal and for the 30 years leading up to it!)
Throughout that day up in Wisconsin, it was wonderfully cathartic to sing the words: “You’re a good, good father!” It felt like a renewal of my promise to face these challenges and suffering with an unwavering confidence that God is good.
- CT scan on Thursday (and likely getting results during my oncology appointment on Friday). As always, praying for a boring scan, but that it would show anything that we need to see!
- Diving back into my work schedule with our most hectic month of the year: August! I could use your prayers for energy, and also for wisdom in when to do my shots. I’m not sure how it’s going to work with so many retreats, training sessions, etc.
- I’m down to a little less than 5 months of treatment left!! Thank you, Lord! I’m getting there!
One last side note: I have been getting lots of private questions about melanoma from people who have a spot or have just been diagnosed. Just to put this out there, I am thrilled to help you or anyone you know with information and what to do. Just send me a private message and we can chat! Supporting other people through this process is one of the ways God is redeeming this story in my life.