Settling In

25 Jun

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.  – Jeremiah 29:11-13

We had a picnic today. I knew the doctor was going to call, but when she didn’t call by 11:00, I needed to get out.

You know the above verses, I’m sure, and you might have used them or shared them for words of encouragement in times of distress. I have. Recently! At church yesterday, our sermon was based on the prophet Jeremiah.  How he had to share the bad news with the people of  Judah of the exile that would last 70 years, not 2 years as they had thought. The past was the past and their “now” was their new normal.

A little subway, a little nature, a hike in the future.

Our guest pastor suggested that the above verses are used a bit out of context at times and he just wanted to make we realized everything that went around them.  He suggested that those verses might be overused in the beginning of a life-changer, before reality of the new normal has really had time to set in.

A perfect, perfect family outing. With my phone right there in case the doctor called.

Those words that God spoke about the plans he has for them, to not harm them, to give them hope, though I do know know for certain, I have read that they were not spoken until mid-way through their 70 years.  For 35 (ish) years, they lived in exile before these words uplifted them.  35 years of hard. 35 years of exile.  Half of a lifetime.

When the above verse is quoted from scripture to encourage, it is often times said right at a hard time.  A death, a diagnosis, a life changing event.  And, this pastor noted yesterday, it sometimes belittles the hard of the moment.  And our pastor suggested we consider this verse as not the initial comforting words to quote.  He suggested looking at what was said before those comforting words. What is the context? So important when  reading scripture.

 “Build houses and settle down; plant gardens and eat what they produce. Marry and have sons and daughters; find wives for your sons and give your daughters in marriage, so that they too may have sons and daughters. Increase in number there; do not decrease. Also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper.” Jeremiah 29: 5-7

Settle down. Settle in. But don’t just settle.

Prosper and thank Me. Find peace from that which I give you.  The past is gone; this is your new normal. Settle in, make it your home, don’t look back, look ahead, prosper and thank Me for your blessings. Despite the hard.

Dad had to go back to work, but the kids and I stayed to explore.

This is hard, right? I think of those who lost loved ones. How day one, month one, year one must feel like walking with bricks on your feet. Looking back at what was, knowing you’ll never get there again. But what about at year two, year 5, year 10…there is a new normal. And it might be easier to see where God’s plans for future prosperity are in action. Though STILL hard.

Today we found out that Cora does have cancer.  Lots of cancer. All over her sweet little body.

New Normal

We found out that she will likely continue to have new skin cancer’s grow throughout her lifetime. It’s never really “over”.

New Normal

She has a severe case.

New Normal

Those ideas of how our future would look seem a bit off right now. A bit dreary from heavy thinking, a bit fuzzy from teary eyes, a bit bleak.

We have a choice to make, and it’s either to settle. To settle in the thick of the yuck and get stuck or to settle in and make peace and prosper.  I won’t lie and say that I’m not considering how nice it might be to sink into the mud and stay for awhile. Sometimes the mud and “stuckness” can be very inviting. Nothing like a pity party for one to pass the time.

Or we can settle into our new normal. A new normal with lots of doctors, hospital appointments, topical chemo, sedated photodynamic therapy, excisions, MRI’s, tests, tests, tests, and all of the other possibilities Cora faces.

All of that with the addition of smiles, giggles and love.

Over the past month that we’ve learned about this possibility, I’ve dipped my toes in the mud. I tested it out. I sat down for awhile to see how it felt, but in all honesty, I don’t think stay there.

I know down the road I will look at the verse of Jeremiah 29:11 and say, “Ahhh! Yes, I get it!” but it’s not there yet.  I’m still at verse 5. We’re building our house – our house of 5 people – and we’re settling down. Learning what this means and where we go from here.

We’re seeking the peace in the place that God has led us to and we’re looking to prosper. We might head back to that mud sometimes though, so hopefully we can be conscious of that and pull ourselves out again.

But one thing we do know, we can be thankful for our life: everything in it…the good, the bad, because we are walking together.


15 Responses to “Settling In”

  1. Wendi June 25, 2012 at 9:39 pm #

    Beautifully written. You are an amazing mother! An amazing friend! An amazing woman!! Who has been blessed with an amazing daughter and family!!!

    I’m here if you need anything…. Ever. <3<3

  2. Lori Davis June 25, 2012 at 9:52 pm #

    New normal. I like that. New normals are not always easy to accept or get used to. I am thankful you have an amazing family and faith to help hold you up, especially when you feel like sitting in the mud. Love you and Cora and am praying for you always.

  3. yzhart June 26, 2012 at 12:35 am #

    Praying for you and your family!

  4. Nora June 26, 2012 at 12:43 am #

    Oh Sweet Cora–how wonderful that your family found you! I am sending you SO MUCH love, and light, healing grace.

  5. Shecki June 26, 2012 at 12:50 am #

    I’m so sorry to hear it’s cancer. Best wishes to you and yours as you find your new normal.

  6. Sarah Kim June 26, 2012 at 1:49 am #

    Your entire family will continue to be in my prayers. May the Lord continue to give you wisdom through his word and through the teachers of his word as you go through this journey.

  7. Bridget Cole June 26, 2012 at 2:29 am #

    Praying for you as you settle in to this new normal. Praying for blessings in the rain….praying there will be many!!!

  8. stephanie June 26, 2012 at 3:05 am #

    You are amazing. An amazing woman. An amazing friend. An amazing wife and mother. And an amazing writer. Your words here are such an encouragement and a reminder for all of us. Thank you for sharing what you learned about this passage.
    Oh, how I wish (and had prayed) that the news had been different for sweet Cora. I pray for strength and peace and discernment as you navigate the treatments ahead.
    And I will pray prayers of thanks that God brought her home to her family so she doesn’t have to go through this alone.
    Love you!

  9. Neekah June 26, 2012 at 4:03 am #

    My heart aches for all of you! I was so praying for this brave little girl ♥ She has been in my prayers for a while now and I will continue to pray for strength for your family!!! Dear God please bless your family and bless especially wonderful, brave little Cora!

  10. Tina June 26, 2012 at 10:31 am #

    I have followed your journey through my friend, Wendi. I am so inspired by your family. I am so happy that God saw fit to bring Cora home to you to help her through this struggle. We are just beginning the adoption process and are gaining strength and courage from people like you. You are making such a difference in people’s lives that you don’t even realize. We are praying for your family and your beautiful Cora.

  11. Addie June 26, 2012 at 1:24 pm #

    So, so sorry to hear – its breaking my heart, but so thankful that Cora has a family to go through this with her. Thank you for being so honest and vulnerable.

  12. Mandy June 26, 2012 at 6:48 pm #

    The photos you posted really convey the sense of the togetherness of your family and the quietness of the day. Your reflection on the verses from Jeremiah are so thoughtful, and I think your hearts and minds are poised so well and carefully. I will continue to pray for all the best possible news for each of you, and especially for Cora. Mandy

  13. shasamdrew June 28, 2012 at 1:23 am #

    I’m so sorry for this news, but I am so, so glad Cora is with ONE AMAZING FAMILY!! You will all remain in my prayers.

  14. John Deb Gerhardt Hayes June 30, 2012 at 10:15 pm #

    Wow, Jen. This was a beautiful, heart-breaking, hopeful post. It was filled with love and self-control. Keep your eyes fixed on the great I AM. He will carry you, your precious Cora and your handsome men graciously through this life as you settle in and never settle for less than His best for your family.

    Love and prayers from Nebraska!


  1. Meet “Cora’s Coming Home” « daysofwonderandgrace - June 29, 2012

    […] an unexpected chronic condition that will change the future they prepared for. But when you read her mom’s heart the day they heard the news, you will catch a glimpse of why God picked her to be Cora’s mom, and why I just had to add […]

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