September is also childhood cancer awareness month and it has been encouraging to see signs of our country's growing attention to the matter. I did a total double take last week when I was driving through town and passed a garbage truck with a gold ribbon for childhood cancer on it's side. It completely made my day! It's also been uplifting to witness the various ways in which my network of cancer moms has been advocating this month. We have been connected by tragedy, but this month we put our collective focus on making an impact on the lives and futures of all children suffering from cancer. On September 28th, our family will run in CHOP's 5K for childhood cancer research and survivorship programs. JR is registered for the event, his official first 5K! As a life-long runner, I am a proud mama! Our team, Never Quit JR! has already raised over $1000! Our goal is to raise $2000, and I ask that you consider helping us meet our goal this week. No donation is too small for this cause. In fact, if one person makes a $5 donation, other people will feel comfortable doing so as well!
John Ryan continues to light up our lives. He is experiencing life as a regular toddler and we don't take a moment of it for granted. At moments I am caught off guard by a searing emotional pain as I recognize what JR missed out on over the past year. As first time parents, we haven't experienced any other infancy or toddlerhood but JR's, so the cancer world was all any of us knew. Seeing JR's sheer joy over a school bus passing by, or a duck jumping into a pond, I am suddenly deeply saddened by the prolonged hardship he endured during such a precious and fleeting time of life. But my pain is mostly short lived, and it quickly changes to joy when I seek out God and allow my mindset to shift from one of loss to one of gratitude. I can return to my delight in the giggles of my child, and my heart goes from full to bursting with the immense thankfulness I have for his precious life.
I have discovered that when God is the center of your life, He takes care of your pain and suffering. When you let go of all else and focus on God, He has the ability to bring instant peace. He infuses the knowledge that He is in charge, and that you can trust Him. In the moment that you let go of what you are experiencing in your head, and allow God in, all of the angst dissipates and feelings of comfort and reassurance take it's place. This is a moment by moment process. The first step is believing in God, and believing that God is who He says He is. The next step is remembering God, and seeking Him in times of need, and celebrating Him in all times, both good and bad. Believing in God is the biggest "game-changer" there is. It is certainly not an easy decision to make for many, including myself. I can't prove the existence of God, but I can tell you that becoming a believer has changed the story of my life. For me, believing has provided me with ongoing proof as my relationship with God deepens and evolves. Although doubt still creeps in from time to time, it's become increasingly rare. It is all extremely exciting!
John Ryan is our greatest gift. Despite all of the pain, I am thankful for the ways our experiences have led me to slow down and appreciate my son. Even toddler challenges, such as JR's increasing meltdowns when he doesn't get his way, bring me underlying joy because my child is HERE and doing what he is supposed to be doing. I encourage you to slow down in whatever it is you are doing. Let God in (try inviting Him). Let your thoughts go. Notice how your perspective changes, and allow yourself to be taken over by GOOD. He is at work in your life. I promise.