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Merry Christmas Fellow Residents of Cyberspace,

Bone marrow aspirate showing acute myeloid leu...

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As promised, this week I’m going to delve into my past in effort to explain how I became the person I am today.

If I have learned one thing in this short life, it is this: Life rarely pans out the way you hope or expect it to. Life does not conform to our whims and desires, thankfully so. I can only shudder at the idea of a world where I was in absolute control. What a mess I would make!

My parents hardly wished for a baby who would suffer from childhood cancer, but that was indeed their lot. I for one, would never have inflicted an illness upon myself,  however such an illness has proved to be the catalyst I needed to open my eyes to all that life has in store.

My childhood was far from typical. I was diagnosed with Leukemia, a type of cancer that affects the white blood cells, at the ripe age of five. My childhood from that moment on took place in the unsettlingly sterile environment of a cold, white hospital room. Surrounded by constant pain and death, it was scarcely the ideal stomping ground for a youngster. By God’s infinite grace and mercy, I have been in remission since I was thirteen.

I have not survived the ordeal unscathed however. Rightfully or wrongfully so, I have carried with me a burden for the families who lost their loved ones while I live on. I struggle with understanding why I was allowed to live and so many others were to die. It has taken me many years and countless prayers to come to a simple understanding: I may never know. What I do know is this – God’s ways are not my ways, nor are His thoughts my thoughts. However, His plans are to prosper me and not to harm me, to give me a hope and a future. I must trust in that.

This burden I feel for these families has proved over the years to be both a blessing and a curse. I feel that to waste the life I was given, would be synonymous with spitting in their faces. To waste even a single moment would be to utterly dishonor their loss.

As a blessing, this burden has granted me a unique perspective that I am ever grateful for having received. It has challenged me to be a part of something bigger than myself. To make a true and lasting difference in this short blink of an eye that I’m here on this earth. To make the most of this fleeting breath of life that I’m given and live life in abundance.

As a curse, this burden has further exaggerated my natural inclination toward perfectionism. Of course it is self-inflicted pressure that I feel, but regardless I can not seem to shake it. It has caused undue pain and strife for as we all know, I am unfortunately human. I fall more often than I rise. Everyday is a battle of wills between flesh and spirit – a battle in which flesh prevails all too regularly. Oh, but those sweet moments when, with Christ’s strength, I die to self and spirit reigns…they drive me on, empowered to fight another day.

This daily battle is what lead me to the written word. It offers a release and opens my eyes to unshakable truth. As I liquify my heart through writing, my prayer is to be a voice for this generation of lost souls. Acknowledging and personally relating to their legitimate struggles and fears, in the hopes of providing some comfort and wisdom to a troubled and dying world.

To all who have lost loved ones seemingly before their time, I honor you in this: I rise each day with the prayer that I will go to bed a better, wiser person than when I awoke.

Next week I’ll explain my heart for and specific calling to teens and young adults.

Until Next Week,

May You Live Each Moment As If It’s Your Last,

Mandy

Weekly Reflections: (Disclaimer: The great depths of my sorrow can only be justly compared to the impressive heights of my joy. If you stay tuned in long enough you’ll begin to see the silver ray of hope in even the darkest of my reflections.)

My Christmas Wish

My one and only Christmas wish this year,

Is just a little piece of Heaven’s cheer.

To act as someone’s angel here to dwell,

And lend a hand and hope to one that fell.

To brighten someone’s day in every way,

By taking special time to kneel and pray.

To walk a mile in someone else’s shoes,

And understand the lonesome path they choose.

To share in something far beyond myself,

And be the lonely children’s Christmas Elf.

To be a shoulder that one leans upon,

And someone’s strength when all their hope is gone.

To spread infectious laughter filled with love,

And live my life with eyes transfixed above.

To smile more, even when I want to cry,

And live as though I’m just about to die.

To let the daily wonders fill my soul,

These marvels speak of God and make me whole.

To find in pain and grief a ray of hope,

And serve as someone’s way to stand and cope.

To turn an adversary into friend,

To thoughts of envy put at last an end.

To make a lasting choice and change a life,

And bear the weight of someone else’s strife.

To be the answer someone’s prayer sought,

And witness many blessings being taught.

To pay it forward, yet without reward,

While always casting thanks upon the Lord.

To share the love behind the sacred cross,

With all those sheep who suffer deep with loss.

To light the path in worlds without the Son,

Before this very day is all but done.

My one and only Christmas wish this year,

Is just to live a life without the fear.

To drown out all the noise and clear the dim,

With less of self, and so much more of Him.

Verse Of The Week:

Lord, you establish peace for us; all that we have accomplished you have done for us. – Isaiah 26:12

What I’m Reading:

Eldest – Book Two In the Inheritance Cycle – By Christopher Paolini

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