The One Year Mark


There are these defining moments that happen in life. You don’t have any say over when or how they come. The only thing you can control is your perspective on them. These defining moments change everything and suddenly your life becomes divided into two categories: before this moment and after this moment.

Exactly one year ago today, our family experienced one of those moments.

I sat in the Suburban waiting to pick Layla and Bryson up from school. Jordyn hadn’t yet started school and so her and one of our little Safe Families friends napped in the back. I remember everything. The sky was bright blue and absent of clouds. It was warm until you hit the shade and then there was a tiny chill. The breeze was strong and cool, but the sun shining brightly meant Spring. I was parked in front of the church and waiting for dismissal. There was an extra pair of sunglasses in the glove compartment that I would be extremely relieved to find once the tears started falling. But before the tears, everything was normal. Then my phone rang. It was my sister.

Gynafer and I had a habit of sending each other pins from Pinterest. Sometimes they were silly. Sometimes ridiculously sarcastic. Sometimes mildly inappropriate…sorry….we just think we’re funny. But they were always entertaining. Like this:



You may not laugh so hard you cry when you read this like my sister and I did. You could be thinking that this just isn’t that funny. But you would be wrong. Gynafer and I wheezed over the phone together with no words exchanged for at least five minutes upon sharing this pin. Just laughter. Pain in your gut, breathtaking, body shaking laughter. Because sisters.



Obviously when her number flashed across my phone I just knew that she was calling to laugh about the most recent pins exchanged. But that wasn’t what this call was about. This was one of those moments.

Before there were sleepless nights in prayer for Dad or lunches in the hospital. Before oncologists and radiologists. Before HulkStrong hashtags and Faith Over Fear fundraisers. Before all of that, there was the call from my sister. Boom. My life was split between life before that call and life after that call.

I couldn’t will myself back to normalcy. I couldn’t claim my father’s cancer into nonexistence. I couldn’t talk my way or write my way out of this season. Like I said before, you don’t get to choose when or how these life altering moments happen. But you DO get to choose your perspective.

And the perspective that I’m choosing is joy.

One year ago today everything changed. And I am not the same person. I don’t think any of us are. But serving a God who NEVER changes (who is never unprepared or caught off guard) means that, no matter the outcome, it is well. I know this to be true when not an inch of my flesh is in agreement with me.

I have learned so much this year about living in the present and about how there is always something to be grateful for. I’ve learned about God’s sufficiency and life’s fragility. But mostly I have learned that joy isn’t contingent on circumstances. That you can choose joy even in the midst of your deepest sorrows. That joy can exist right in the center of your immense grief.  God has been so generous with joy in this season. He has been so faithful and so near. In this entire year there has not been one moment that He has abandoned us or forsaken us. And for that reason, it’s been a very good year.

It has been exactly one year since that defining moment. I am grateful for every single one of the days that happened between then and now. And I don’t know what tomorrow holds. But I guess the point of all of this is just to say that I know WHO holds tomorrow. And He is good. Whatever our lot, I am more confident than ever that He is good.


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