Friday, April 20, 2012

Mama Bear Update | 10

 “The kings came, and they fought...
From heaven the stars fought...
March on, my soul, with might!" 

judges 5

On Easter I flew down to Florida for 10 days.  I had just hit moms' "good week," so we had lots of fun running errands, eating out, shopping for wedding crafts, making wedding crafts, finalizing the invitation ideas, styling mom's fancy new wig, and staying in our PJ's with Aunt Pam (who moved to Florida to help mom and the family! Incredible.).  It was so encouraging to me to see her so "herself."  It's been quite a while since she's looked and felt "that" way to me.  Mom amazes me.  While I was there she took an afternoon to take a young girl (she hardly knows) who is walking through a divorce out for lunch and to get job applications.   I think it made that girls' month.  God has proven Himself strong yet again!  I love that we have a King who comes and fights with us - even the stars from Heaven fight! - which builds up my (and my mama's) soul to "March on!"  He has given might and strength, as well as fun and play. We are grateful
- Mom is half-way through her chemo treatments.  On Wednesday she had her third one! (She still has to go back next Wednesday to administer the chemo for her bones. So she's almost half-way done!) Pray that the chemo is working!
- Despite being on the Super Hero Trio of anti-nasuea medicine, she still feels nauseous (which makes her not want to eat... and she needs the food for weight and nutrition!).  Pray that the nasty nausea goes away.
- The medical staff is trying to figure out why she's still feeling that way.  A possibility could be something to do with her brain and an imbalance of hormones.  A nurse started zeroing in on the issue, asking my mom about her memory and her balance.  That discussion led to a decision to scan her brain on Monday to see if there is cancer there, as well.  (I don't understand why they didn't check that at the beginning of this buuuut God over all forever reigns.)  We should get results from that on Wednesday.  Please pray that there is no cancer in her brain.
- Mom being sick always affects our family (duh.)  God has been clearly joining us together through little things - like flower girl dress shopping, games of foursquare and a Red Lobster birthday dinner for Kevs.  In many ways our family is getting along better than we have in years.  But there are still young hearts, unsaved children and very big issues on the table.  Please pray for much laughter, fun, care, unity and joy amongst us nine Snyders.

Last little thought to adhere the tape on this post: Mom and I had some wonderful conversations about God's goodness while I was there.  Does God plan the "bad things" and say they are good? Or does He use the "bad things" and make them good?  Is a "bad thing" like sin different than a "bad thing" like a tornado or tsunami?  Can sin and consequences of sin BE good things? Or are they REDEEMED to become good things?

The conversation, in my head, was prompted when we found out that mom's lungs were hurting (so much so that she had to sleep sitting up in a chair.)  She went to the doctor and they told her she had bronchitis.  I would typically put bronchitis on the "bad things" list.  Incredibly, however, the sickness seems to have actually helped her lungs.  Every time she coughed (with great pain) her lungs were forced up higher.  She was essentially forced to cough by bronchitis, all the while she was filling that lung up further and further.  
God works in obscure ways!  But I'll tell you what: God is good.

I've spent more time laughing, talking and just being with my mom now that she's sick than I would have otherwise.  That is so good.  Mom has time to, and is therefore reading, more books (and is especially in love with Kevin Hartnett's The Heavens book.) That is so good.  Like I mentioned earlier, my mom's sister Pam moved to Florida to help out.  After years of not living near family, we've been so blessed to have Pam (and grandma!) in our lives and home.  It's so good!  Katie has taken the kids multiple times to Disney - just for fun and a distraction.  So good.  We've eaten a chocolate cake brought by a church friend that we wouldn't have otherwise eaten. SO GOOD.  We've hugged more, sat by the pool and ocean more, met the kindest nurses, been fascinated with the human body, and watched Caine's Arcade over and over which sparked conversation about our childhood memories.

"This world is already more wonderful than we can imagine. Heaven will be better still. I do not doubt that whatever gates there may be, they will be pearly. But I know how pearls are made. Do you? 

In Heaven, the gates will be made of oyster spit. 

 Everything has its place in this frame. Everything has its position on the stage. The world is full of comfortable things. The world is full of soft beauty and gentle lapping waves. We would be fools to ignore the gentleness and get caught up in the grit, only able to tell dark stories. But a world of only gentle touches is no truer than a world gone black. Put the colors in their places. Paint the shadows and the darkness. Paint a true picture, with tension.

The movie isn’t over. The world will end happily. Sorrow goes down in a barrage of bullets, and Grief is executed after a fair trial. Do not fear the shadowy places. You will never be the first one there. Another went ahead and down until He came out the other side.

Heaven will be wonderful (understatement). It will be more wonderful than we can imagine, even if our imaginations weren’t so stunted by marshmallow visions. 

You will have a body more physical than this one. Heaven will be hard and bright, and the winds will be strong.

So do not imagine yourself elsewhere. Do not close your eyes and picture a world without thorns, without shadows, without hawks. Instead, use your body like a tool meant to be used up, discarded, and replaced. Better every life you touch.  Live now. Relish the tensions, the challenges, and laugh.

 We will reach the final chapter, 
and have eyes that can stare into the sun, 
eyes that only squint for the Shekinah, 
then we will see laughing children pulling cobras by their tails, 
and hawks and rabbits playing tag."

March on, my soul, with might!


  1. I'm not religious by any means, but I love this post for placing emphasis on the "so good" in life! However it comes, it should be cherished. There are many lessons I can learn from your beautiful words and your amazing mother.

    March on Snyders! March on!

  2. This post was SO GOOD! for real. I admire you and your wonderful family and am honored to get behind you all in prayer! God def works in mysterious ways!

  3. loved this post...matt and I have had so many conversations like the one you mentioned...which is why Laura Story's song BLessings is one of my favs...cry every time I hear it. I believe the songs we sing in the night are the most beautiful. You all are so beautiful as you walk this road with joy and so much hope and faith in our AMAZING God. I am praying that the Snyder 9 will grow even closer, laugh even harder and love God deeper because of this. Thank you for sharing your story..I want to live today for Jesus because of you and your momma bear. with love and respect, Helen

  4. Such a good post, Kristen. Praying for your mama and your whole family! God is so good and His works are a testament of His faithfulness. Love how He's working in your life through the heard times! When my brother, Sam, was diagnosed with Celiac last January, it was crazy scary because he was so sick and could have died. But God is good and Sam is healthy and thriving today, and the Lord has used Sam's story to bless our family and to spread Celiac Disease Awareness. Kind of like a Joseph instance -- bringing beauty and good out of pain and the hard things.

    1. heard, hard, it's all the same to me before my morning coffee. ;)

  5. Praying for all of you. Thank you for your words.


  6. Praying for your family Kristen, thank you for all of your honest thoughts!

  7. I read update three last time it was update time and i totally forgot the url for this blog where the updates are. I'm glad I rediscovered it. It has been so encouraging to see God's ever present thread of faithfulness and steadfastness in your life, while in the midst of all these trials that tend to pile up. You all are definitely in my prayer, stay strong! :)

  8. Praying for you all -- I'm so sorry!

    Anne Ehlers

  9. you're all in my thoughts and heart. Praying here too, for mercy and grace.

  10. Praying for your mom and you all! You write so beautifully and expressively. I am amazed at the wisdom and faith that shines from each phrase. Truly, I am sure you are a treasure to your mother. "I have no greater joy than this, to hear of my children walking in the truth."

  11. Sue, I have been following this sweet blog and thinking and praying for you lots. You are surely being used for God's glory! He trusts you with such a giant task. The heavenly hosts are chearing for you! You guys remind me of me and my mom and the things we talk about. Those Beth Moore studies sure can get us thinking....did I read that you have done some of them? xo, love your friend and Sandra's here in Tucson. -Katie