I Was Kissed

Another roadblock occurred this week. It’s all in the details of property and money. My obstinate personalityjesus-crucified is not letting me give up. So here I am again — no decision, no divorce. It will be well into 2016 before this all gets settled.

I feel as though I’m being cast aside and not being heard. I’m nearing 54 years of age and I have no career to bring me into retirement. It is difficult to re-enter the workforce after being a stay-at-home mom for 15 years. Sure, I can find hourly jobs all day long, and I have found them, but they offer no retirement benefits or health insurance.

This is my life right now. Living in a sort of limbo. Three years & 38 days. It is a place of confinement because I am married, but not really. It is a place God is allowing me to live and so it’s ok that I’m here. And I’ve found a new best friend in this place – Blessed Mother Teresa. She is the 3rd “Teresa” who has befriended me on this journey. Her predecessors were Teresa of Avila and Therese of Lisieux.

My interest in Mother Teresa began last May. Sr. Marie Hesed introduced me to Mother Teresa. Sr. Marie is one of the women in my spiritual mentorship program. She had worked side by side with Mother Teresa. She shared with me Mother’s true love for Jesus as she saw with her own two eyes. It’s one thing to know Mother Teresa’s story, but another to hear about it firsthand.

Last Thursday, as I was reading 33 Days to Morning Glory, I learned Pope Francis would canonize Mother Teresa. That day, which was Day 15 of 33 Days, the meditation was about the lover of the Heart of Jesus: Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta. It was a “God moment” as we say. The woman I was reading about could be canonized in 2016.

Blessed Mother Teresa knows my pain and my loneliness because she’s been there too. She wrote the following: “suffering, pain, sorrow, humiliation, feelings of loneliness, are nothing but the kiss of Jesus, a sign that you have come so close that he can kiss you.” So, you see, God is using this time to share His Son’s Passion with me. I was kissed.

Mother Teresa’s heart for Mary speaks to me as well. Her writings help me to visualize Mary’s face as she looks upon her crucified son. Mother Teresa’s writings place me at the foot of the cross. From beneath the cross, I look up to heaven and see Christ hanging there for me. I am no longer cast aside. I am loved AND I am kissed.

Sharing the Moment

I am blessed. October 29th marked the 3rd anniversary of my breast cancer diagnosis. I celebrated at work with a PINK PARTY and shared my story. I’m including this story of HOPE to share God’s faithfulness with you. It is the story of the morning I was diagnosed.

It was a Monday morning as I sat alone in my van in a hospital parking lot. I was in a trance. I reached for my phone to call my mother and tell her the news of my cancer diagnosis. She would no doubt understand this feeling because she had cancer too.

pilgrimage-336615_1280My brain seemed foggy after hearing the word “cancer” at my annual mammogram. I guess when the radiologist walked in, I should’ve known. He wasn’t there to wish me a happy Monday morning. Mama had also heard those same words,“you’ve got cancer.” She will know exactly what to say to me.

I was able to refocus for just a minute and then the thought came to me. Mama is gone. We buried her three months ago. Oh, Lord, who can help me deal with this news? And why are you allowing me to have breast cancer now? I just lost my mom and my husband and I are separated. He had moved out of our home 14 days earlier.

I looked at the clock on my dashboard. Time hadn’t moved. I had an appointment at church in 30 minutes. Do I call and say, “I can’t make it today. I’ve got cancer.” Or I could say, “I can’t make my appointment. I’m separated.” That sounded weird. The cancer thing was a better excuse.

I thought quickly about calling my dad, but I couldn’t bear to give him this news. He was grieving. He had, after all, just buried his wife of 51 years a few months earlier. I knew calling him would be selfish on my part. God gave me clarity in the moment.

The longer I sat in my van, my brain became fuzzier. I didn’t know God let people have lives like this. I felt as though I was staring into black space. I was so alone in that van with no one to call. The pain I felt in my heart was indescribable. Tears poured down my face and I did not know what to do.

My mind bounced back to the church meeting.  I better go because I had only been a member for a month. I wanted to make a good first impression. For all I knew, I might need to use the church for my funeral. I better go and introduce myself.

I turned the key and started the ignition. I put my van in drive and made my way out of the parking lot. Now my mind was wondering why I had chosen this specific time to have a church meeting. The 15-minute drive would have to be on auto pilot. I was in a daze.

As I entered the church office, I could barely think about my reason for being there. “I’m here to meet with Kathleen,” I told the receptionist. There wasn’t time for small talk. I wondered if my mascara had smeared down my face.

Kathleen escorted me back to her office. I sat down on her couch and looked into her eyes. Silence. Then, I burst into tears. “I’ve just been diagnosed with cancer,” I wept. I barely knew Kathleen, but it didn’t matter. She was the first person I encountered after hearing of my fate. She was the person God had placed before me at the biggest crisis of my life. Grief, divorce and cancer all coming at me at once.

Kathleen’s response seemed unbelievable to me. “I’m a breast cancer survivor. I can help you.” I began sobbing. I collapsed into her arms as she hugged me. This hug was the hug from my mother. God had put the perfect person in front of me. What grace. He was faithful and He was going to take care of me. My journey had just begun.

My grace is sufficient for you,

for power is made perfect in weakness.

2 Corinthians 12:9