For my 38th birthday, in November, Stephen surprised me with a trip to Nashville. We had always wanted to go there together - and I had hoped to surprise him with this trip for his 40th this year but he beat me to it. The trip was scheduled for January, and it included tickets to a Dierks Bentley concert. We are country music fans and Dierks happened to be playing the weekend we were going. While we were at the concert that Saturday night in Nashville at the Bridgestone Arena, Dierks changed his location in the arena and came to the back to play on a small stage in front of us. I can't remember if he played more than one song because the song that has stayed with me was "Riser."
This song is near and dear to my heart. Last year while my Mom had breast cancer it was a song I listened to often - and shared with my Mom - that she was a Riser...a fighter...a survivor.
I taped the song that night at the concert, with tears rolling down my face, with gratitude that my Mom is doing well. When the song ended, I texted her the song, so full of joy, grateful there are encouraging songs out there that support people in their time of need.
Well, that was Saturday, January 21st.
We arrived home from Nashville on Tuesday, January 24th.
On Wednesday, January 25th is when my doctor found my tumor.
I replay that moment at the concert in my head and thank God for reminding me of such a beautiful message of hope days before I was diagnosed. This song is now one of my go to songs to encourage me as I walk this journey with cancer.
I am a Riser.
I rise every morning to grow in deeper relationship with God.
I rise everyday hopeful to be the wife Stephen needs to grow into his best self.
I rise everyday hopeful to be the mom to Kate, Gavin and Matthew that encourages and supports them to grow into their unique selves.
I rise everyday hopeful to live out love to my friends, within my community and to strangers I meet along the way.
Yes, cancer is part of my journey and it could weigh me down - as it does at times - but it is in those moments I need to choose to rise above the waves and look at the horizon, full of beauty and light; the day ahead of me.
Yes, my cancer is real, it is invasive, it's path and my long term future unknown. But as the song sings:
"The hard times put the shine into the diamond..."
This is a hard time but it is one that is meant to not break me, but refine me. I see it as a purification process for my heart, mind and soul. I am practicing letting go of the little things and focusing more on being the person God made me to be (and all of us to be) - a vessel of love.
I am a riser....cancer cannot keep down my desire to share messages of hope, encouragement and love. I won't let it.
I will be real with you, I will share my pains, my aches, my heart...not to break you...but so you too can be refined in this process and see what matters and let go of what doesn't. You also may be dealing with something, maybe it isn't cancer but it is still significant in your life. I encourage you too...
Pause. Breathe. Pray.
Choose to be a riser. To let the hard times refine you into the brilliant diamond you were made to be and let your light shine.
The world needs your light...
With love and hope,