Even after nearly 8 months on this journey, it surprises me how quickly I can find myself walking in a valley. The last few days had been so nice. We went to church today and it was so good to be back after being in the hospital last Sunday. I had missed the worship and fellowship that God blesses me with in our church. We enjoyed a nice birthday lunch with friends after church. We went to Walgreens and picked up pictures of the Alabama trip to make a picture book for Jayda. When we were in the store, I was standing behind a woman and her husband. She was a very attractive lady. They were talking about going bike riding that evening. She seemed so vibrant and healthy. I felt a twinge of envy as I watched them.
As we drove home, my mind kept going back to the beautiful lady. I looked over at Carl and thought how unfair all of this was to him. I'm not usually one to put a lot of stock into physical beauty, but every wife wants to feel attractive to her husband. I had come to terms with the loss of hair and even the scars from the tumor removal. But the incision from the port removal last week is red and bruised. My arm is swollen with purple spots all over it from the clot. My abdomen in black and blue from the blood thinner injections and I am marked all over with tattoos for the radiation. I felt anything but attractive or vibrant to Carl. Bike riding seemed as foreign to me as a triathalon. Those kinds of activities seemed like a lifetime ago.
I should have seen it coming, because I know how negative thoughts work. But I didn't. And by the time we got home, my thoughts had taken me down into the valley. I tried to keep it to myself, but Carl has a sixth sense when something isn't right. When he asked what was wrong, I didn't answer for fear of a total meltdown. He said, "Remember we agreed to talk about all of the feelings." Through tear filled eyes, I said, "Is there anything else can they do to me to make me any more unattractive to you? Oh yeah, there's still the red, burned skin. I guess there is something else."
Carl is so wise. He knows that sometimes there just aren't words to say. Only arms to hold and shoulders to catch tears. For me, my physical beauty will never be the same as it was
before cancer. I can't change that. I know that becoming downhearted does not disappoint God. For He knows our human frailties. But staying downhearted does. And the only way I know to combat those feelings is to stay in the word. Whenever, I face an emotional or physical battle, I try to print out scripture verses and carry them with me. I keep them next to my chair and put them on the refrigerator. A constant reminder that will help redirect my thoughts when they want to take me into a valley.
Words of encouragement.
"For your beauty should come not come from outward adornment..Instead it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God's sight." (1Peter 3:3-4)
"Beauty is fleeting, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised." (Proverbs 31:30)
Words to help redirect my negative thoughts.
"Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about these things." (Philippians 4:8)