Messy

So yeah, what happens when your life feels like a muddle mess? I ask myself, lying on that table in the doctor’s office.

Giving blood had not totally buckled my knees since my 20s. What happened?

I try to make sense of it all. My right arm hasn’t been the same since after my surgery, when I became so dehydrated. I had cautioned the nurse to use my other arm. But she felt sure all would be fine. “The vein looks great,” she said. She dug around a bit trying to get the vein to work before heading over to my left arm. I was the wrong person to dig.

My strength and arms began to feel a bit battered.

I couldn’t stand up. My vision blurred, my hearing muffled. I scrambled for consciousness.

I’m escorted to a room across the hall to lie down.

So yeah, what happens when your life feels like a muddle mess?

I look across the room at my daughter sitting there with me.

I feel ridiculous. I’m looking straight into the eyes of a fourteen year old cancer survivor … one who has to give her blood yearly to evaluate her body’s progress, ensuring no signs of cancer … one who smiles through it all. She really smiles. She giggles. She amazes me. I’ve never been that strong.

And I’ve been blessed to have had her sit on my lap through every single vial of blood drawn. That baby girl will never be too big or too old to sit on my lap. Yeah, that comment came from my grandmother.

The nurse walks in and gives me a sugar tablet. She places a cool cloth on my forehead. She fetches water. You know, I need … a teaspoon of this, a teaspoon of that …. She marks in my chart that blood is never to be drawn from me unless I’m lying down. Bless her sweet heart.

My daughter waits patiently for my strength to return … so we can leave. I, the pitiful mess I am, look her way …

“I’m sorry,” I say.

“It’s okay, Mom,” she replies. She smiles.

Seeing her endure cancer treatments throughout the years took my weakness and threw it into the waste basket. She made me stronger. Or so I thought. Lord, what has happened to me? Why am I so weak? Is this due to my recent health issues/surgery?

Yeah, what happens when life feels messy?


It wasn’t always easy for her, you know. In those early days, we were never more thankful for bubbles and baby M&M’s candies. And her favorite pink baby blanket named “Blanka.” And prayer.

In those early days, there were tears. Being poked and prodded was scary to a tiny tot. And to me  for her and for me.

Being an eye witness  to the mess that crumbled our plans for her life, for her baby days  singed this heart.

Yeah, when life seems messy, it’s tempting to wonder if there is purpose. God, what are you doing with me? What are you doing with my life? What are you doing with her life?


When the heat’s turned up, we must trust that the Lord, who made the universe and sustains all things, is capable of sustaining us.

We must trust that there is a plan for change. The kind of change that turns us inside out … that disrupts our lives … that takes us to our knees … that mixes us up … that forms us … that shapes us … that makes us whole … that makes us more like Jesus. Father, thank for not abandoning us to ourselves.


And if we stick with God, we’ll see over time that we are better. We are stronger. Maybe not physically but spiritually. We’ve been refined. We can rise and walk. And we become something beautiful. We become something worth holding onto … something worth keeping … something worth displaying … something to make God proud … something He can use.


When our muddle mess becomes something worth keeping, it’s only then that we have something worthy of ourselves to give away.


“The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of His being, sustaining all things by His powerful word” (Hebrews 1:3).

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11 thoughts on “Messy

  1. When my sister told me she had cancer, I was dumbfounded. Nobody in our family has had cancer. Well, except my grandfather, because he smoked. When I tried to tell our father, I broke down in tears. We didn't tell my mom; she wouldn't be able to handle it (she died within a year of dementia). When times get so hard, you hold onto God's hand extra tight. He can take it. He is good
    I told my sister, good thing it was her and not me. I couldn't handle chemo; I'm the biggest wimp. I once had a blood test from the floor where I'd fainted.
    May I have a cookie?

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  2. Terri, how awful. But your cookie comment had me laughing so hard. Cookies and chemo? What a combo! I know … when we only thought my daughter had cancer, a close family member said, “No, she doesn't have cancer because you aren't strong enough to handle that.” She meant me … I'm not strong enough to endure my daughter having cancer. Boy, was she right. But … God gives us what we need just when we need it. Thank goodness!

    A blood test from the floor … we must be related, Terri!

    Your comment means so much. Thank you for taking the time. And I'm still giggling over the cookie. 🙂 You are a blessing to know.

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  3. I gave blood a couple of days ago…when trying to slice a frozen bagel in half. Left index finger.

    What a mess. The knife stuck in the bone, and I had to jerk it out.

    Barbara had gone to bed. She heard me moving around, came out and said “There's blood everywhere!

    “Yes,” I said. “I know.”

    “Oh. OK. Well, goodnight!” She is used to life with me.

    I soaked it in alcohol (fun fun FUN!) and now it's throbbing and dead-white. I walk around holding it up, an admonitory forefinger. I feel oddly like Moses, expounding on the Law.

    I have one frozen bagel left. Think I'm gonna slice it with a katana.

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  4. Oh gracious, Andrew … I would have had a melt down. Like the blood, I would have been splattered everywhere. My stomach (or my head … I may be mental … we are all mental, hee, hee!) is strange … sometimes I amaze myself at what I can take and other times, I'll hit the floor. I'm odd. 🙂 I know it was painful, but you made me laugh and smile. Thank you! Your wife is a good one.

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  5. Oh, Shelli………………………. Wow. So much heart and love in this post! I'm sitting here thanking Him for your beautiful daughter, for your faith, for everything you put into this post. And even for some messes in my own life. XOXOXOXOXOXO

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  6. Shelli, your poignant words encouraged me with my own questions about one of my children who has a disorder that messes up his life regularly. I know it's making him/us stronger spiritually, and it reminds me that we're not in Heaven–yet. By the way, I never used to get faint having blood tests and now they always lay me down for it… it's kinda nice having a little forced rest now and then.

    Blessings ~ Wendy ❀

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  7. Wendy, I'll be praying for your precious family. I was just discussing with my daughter how we don't always see or understand the difficult times, but then months or years later when God uses it … for good … to help another … it always makes sense. And I'm sorry you have to lie down for blood work, too … but it is a relief to know I'm not the only one!! 🙂

    Blessed by you, Wendy!

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