She Cries Not as the World Cries

Oh, she always cries, they say,

perhaps without knowing why

 

More than once

there was no promise of tomorrow

no promise of motherhood beyond now

no days without fending off fears

of leaving her greatest loves;

her children, her husband, her family

to live their lives

without her

 

Yet healing came

and with it an unspeakable gratitude

took up residence in the depths of her soul

She found it often welling up

and moving throughout her whole being

outwardly to every extremity

with trembling

filling her so full

there was simply

no room

for it all

 

Her joy is found

in the sound of their laughter

at the sight of their faces

as they call her name; “momma”

as they find their own path

as they walk it with God

as they find their true loves

and they build their own lives

She treasures equally

every shared silly moment

every momentous occasion

every inch of life she’s been given

 

And so it is

there are still times

when her gratitude abounds unbridled

and arrives candidly without warning

Then it looms so large

that it cannot be contained

and it simply escapes

without words

in deep smiles

in long hugs

and in tears

 

So yes

she cries

but not as the world cries

for her days are rich

and her nights have peace

and in all things

she is grateful

God is faithful

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Crown of Beauty

Crown-of-Beauty

He was sent to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion – to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, to oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair.  They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of His splendor.  Isaiah 61

This scripture meant so much to me through my cancer fight, and it gave me encouragement in my darkest days.  Even when I didn’t recognize myself, if comforted me to know that God still did…and tenderly He says; Beloved, no matter what you’ve been through, you are beautiful in my sight.

I praise you, Father.  I praise you, Jesus.  I praise you, Holy Spirit.  Continue to grow me into a mighty oak worthy of you.

©Lynnea Washburn

 

Lilly Oncology on Canvass

Lilly Oncology on Canvass, is an art & narrative competition and exhibition for anyone touched by cancer.  The biennial competition invites individuals from the United States and Puerto Rico, who were diagnosed with any type of cancer — as well as their families, friends, caregivers and healthcare providers — to express, through art and narrative, the life-affirming changes that give their cancer journeys meaning.  Creating, viewing and talking about the disease can help patients and their loved ones cope with this serious illness.  Winners’ prizes consist of donations made to the cancer charities of their choice. Following the competition, select artwork embarks on a tour of cancer centers, hospitals and patient advocacy group events.

This year, I entered my watercolor “Beautiful Courage” and narrative below.  I can now announce that I am honored to have received 2nd place overall, and 1st place in the watercolor category in this year’s competition.  My designated charity is The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, and my prize award to them this year is $6000.  I am beyond thrilled to have been able to support a cause that means so much to me by using my God-given gifts.  I feel truly blessed!

This is the tenth year anniversary for Lilly Oncology on Canvass, and to mark it they put together The Hope Mural Project, doing ten murals in ten cities around the US and Puerto Rico.  As part of my being one of the top three winners, I was invited, (along with a guest) to come to New York City to participate in painting one of these preselected murals, which would take place in Grand Central Terminal!  There would also be interviews (yikes) and a celebratory dinner (yum).  With all arrangements made and expenses covered, my husband and I went off to NYC.  What an completely extraordinary experience!!!  As I painted these huge panels on easels in the middle of Vanderbuilt Hall, I would stop to look up at the glorious chandeliers and beautiful interior and pinched myself to be sure I wasn’t dreaming.

Thank you Anita, Dennis, and all of the partners for making this trip one of my very best memories.  Your kindness, empathy, and authentic caring for us, as survivors and artists, was incredible.  It was a pleasure to meet artists Dennis Holliday and daughter Dannelle, Susan Schaffer and husband Paul, and Ellen Mayer (muralist artist), who I got to spend time with, paint next to, and share stories that connect us all.  You all made the trip all the more memorable.  Thank you Father God, for good people, good medicines, and for your healing hand upon me.  But most of all, thank you for loving me beyond measure.  This all came from you, and may it reflect your glory.

Featured image

Beautiful Courage

 Cancer redefines everything. It changes how you spend your time, the definition of a “good day”, what you say to your loved ones, and what tomorrow really means. It shifts priorities, challenges livelihoods, and accentuates relationships. Cancer redefines the meaning of things. Things like hope, beauty, and courage.

This painting speaks to what the word courage means to me now that I have gone through cancer and survived. To me, courage need not be loud, prideful, or brash. Courage can be quiet resolve, silent determination, and resilience of spirit. Courage can be both fragile and strong. Courage doesn’t cower, but keeps striving for the light, and in doing so, radiates its own. Courage allows hope. Hope begets life. Life carries on.

By Lynnea Washburn

For more:  http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/the-hope-murals-project-national-art-movement-culminates-in-painting-event-at-grand-central-terminal-on-october-23-481145799.html

Open your hands

With passion
we hold
onto the things
that we know
that define us
and make up
our world

then God whispers…
open your hands

but firmly we clasp
onto all in our grasp
and we softly say no
we just can’t let go

and God whispers…
open your hands

looking down
we see sadly
our fingers uncurl
unleashing
past dreams
and they unfurl
into the wind
we gasp

then God whispers…
take my hands

and there
you’ll receive
something new
something else
something more
than you know
is waiting

In my hands
you’ll remain
as new dreams
call your name
keep your eyes
upon me
as you go

unto a new place
upon a new shore
unknown to all
but Me

The End of a Journey

Graduation season is upon us, and I, too, find myself ready to “graduate”.   With my story told, it seems only logical to wind down this blog.  I don’t look at it so much as an ending, but as an “advancement”.  It’s time to take what I have learned in looking back, turn my sights, and walk boldly into my future, armed with new knowledge, understanding and expectancy.

Although I am not grateful to have had cancer, I am grateful for how this experience has changed me.  I have been humbled by my frailty, and amazed by the strength God provides.  I walk forward with a greater appreciation for life, a deeper gratitude for relationships, and more empathy for others than I had known before.  I may have come away slightly beat-up physically, but I’ve also come away much stronger spiritually.  I have not only survived, but grown through the process.  And I am here to say, you can too.

Every one of us struggles.  I am no different than so many people… too many people.  But what I’ve been trying to say is simple; we have a choice.  Even in life’s brutal trials, we can choose how we live in it.  In most cases, no one can tell us if we will live through it, how we live in it may be the last thing we do.  I say choose hope.  How in the world, you might ask, can one have hope at such a time?  It’s simple.  You can’t… alone.  There is only one I know who offers the kind of hope that transcends even life itself, and that is God.  And there is only one I know who offers a way to be in right relationship with God, and that is Christ.  If you choose Him, you will find it truly doesn’t matter where He takes you.

So as I turn the tassel, my happy ending marks a new beginning.  There is one last thing I would want you to know, and that is how profoundly grateful I am for you.  Thank you my loving family, my caring friends, neighbors, and churches families near and far, for supporting me with massive prayer, small acts of kindness, and everything in between.  Thank you all, for not giving up on me, and for walking with me the whole way.

Note: I will keep this blog public for a time so it can remain available to new visitors. 

In God’s Eyes ©Lynnea Washburn

Thoughts in Prose

A little different than previous posts ~ sharing prose penned in my journal.

Note: These are for you ~ use them, write them in cards you send, share them in conversations you have, email, text… give someone an encouraging word.

_______________________

Small Joys

You can

see the sun rise

you can

hear the birds sing

you can

feel the fresh air

passing by

For there are

small joys

that still can be found

and when it might seem

no one else is around

You can

lean on me

we can

spend the hours

listening to life

and smelling the flowers

_____________________________

Reflection

I thought of your laughter

and I found myself happier

I thought of your kindness,

and I became more considerate

I thought of your enthusiasm

and I got more accomplished

I thought of your big heart,

and I found more room in mine

Then I thought of all that you are facing,

and I got down on my knees

I’m so grateful for the ways you show up in my life,

and I pray for God to show up in yours

_____________________________

Stillness

Today,

just let the world pass…

find peace in rest,

for it is the only job

you need to do right now

Take the day

gently as it comes…

embrace the time

in which you allow yourself

to heal

For today ~

just trust…

that stillness

is best

_________________________

Present

Today

may not be going

the way you might choose,

but today

is yet a gift

because today

I can tell you once again

all that you mean

to me

Hope in the Fire

The smelter’s fire.  Intense heat.  A forced forging.  A process.  One in which a solid becomes malleable.  Shifting, sifting, chaffing, changing.  A removal of impurities and unwanted elements.  A refining.  In fact, a freeing.  A freeing of what is pure from what is not.

I’ve been there, in that fire.  My fire of adversity was named cancer.  From its appearance, it looked beyond enduring.  When you are in the thick of it, you feel like you are being reduced to your base.  You have no concept of how you got there, how long you will be there, if the process will be repeated, or if you will survive it at all.  And if you do, what will be left of you?

Yet, the Smelter’s fire refines.  If you consider the word “refine”, you see its origin coming from Re, meaning again, and the verb Fine.  Again, fine.  One could even say Again Fine is merely a new starting point, as refine also means to improve little by little, as to be perfected.  Also quite compelling is the word “adversity”, as it is derived from the Latin adveretere; meaning “turn toward”.

Adversity. Turn toward.  Refine.  Again fine.  Improved.

Although we may face adversity in its very worst form, we should always remind ourselves that we still have choices while we are in it.  We can be bitter and angry at our circumstances, asking why me, or why this, or why now.  Or we can turn toward the master Smelter, trust Him, and yield to His hand.

If we trust that in this, there are impurities being purged, in this, we are being reshaped into something more, in this, a greater understanding of truth can be learned, and in this, a deeper relationship with God can be gained, then we will have hope in the fire.  And in the end, we will know that is wasn’t all for naught.

Sometimes, it takes the hottest fire to free us, but at all times, God is still with us.  And when adversity comes our way, if we cling to Him, and put ourselves into His loving hands, then He can use the fire to shape us into the people He made us to be.*

*Zachariah 13:9

This third I will put into the fire; I will refine them like silver and test them like gold.  They will call on my name and I will answer them; I will say, ‘They are my people,’ and they will say, ‘The Lord is our God.’”

Daybreak, by Lynnea Washburn, from the Living Victoriously collection.

All portions of the blog are ©Lynnea Washburn.  All rights reserved.