Saturday, February 27, 2010

Struggling in Silence, but Never Struggling Alone

Struggles come and go in life and to be realistic, we wouldn't know what life is about if we haven't encountered one. If there were no struggles in life, what have we got to live for? No desire to push past pain and experience triumph over weakness. I could go on, but this isn't exactly what my blog is going to be about.

So it's been over a year since my mom has been living with cancer. I wish I could say it has been fine and dandy, but these past couple months have been very difficult. Unfortunately, my mom has progressively become worse due to her condition. Since she has not been able to receive chemotherapy since November of 2009, her cancer that had previously shrank, has grown again, but this time the cancer has spread to her shoulder and her throat. She has received radiation for the shoulder and throat cancer, but I can't say if it's really made a difference. She has yet to receive chemo because of her failing health and her inability to keep her pain at a minimum.
It's wearisome always having to be there for my mom when she needs me, be there for my dad to provide assurance or try to stay positive. At times I feel as if I had become the parent, along side with my brother.

I don't exactly know how much into detail I should go, but my family is planning for the worst. My first instinct to this was denial. I withdrew myself and blasted my music. The thought of being so close to losing my mom is just unbearable. I want her to see me graduate high school. I want her to see me graduate from college. I want her to meet my first boyfriend. I want her to see me get married. I want her to see her grandchildren. But life is one thing we all take for granted. We all live as if we have a tomorrow, but we all have our days numbered. We just don't know when the clock ends.

Undoubtedly, I've lost my vision of Jesus throughout this. Through this struggle, I had tried to constantly remind myself that Christ would do the same for me without a bad attitude and would complete the task to the fullest extent, but just haven't been able to produce a Christ-like attitude. Recently, I've just been doing things just for the sake of completing them. I have turned to my own pride in hopes that it would support me through this hell. I've blinded myself by my own ambitions of trying to run away from my issues by being a student, a daughter, a friend, an athlete, a musician. But I've lost. I chose to struggle alone in vain when the fact is I was never alone.

A reminder of what the Gospel is about: definitely what I needed. What is the Gospel? In the words of John Piper, "[t]he Gospel is the news that Jesus Christ, the Righteous One, died for our sins and rose again, eternally triumphant over all his enemies, so that there is now no condemnation for those who believe, but only everlasting joy."

Yes, I am presently suffering, but these struggles are only temporary and I know that I'm not alone. My joy in Jesus trumps any present struggle.

James 1:2-4
"Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be prefect and complete, lacking in nothing."

I have come to terms with the present situation with the support of my friends and the assurance of my Lord Jesus. To keep her here in her present suffering is selfish of me. Why should I keep her here when she could be in heaven with our Father? Yes, it has been hard to cope with and I'm sure it gets harder and harder and probably even harder after that day has passed. I can't say I know how my dad is going to be, but with my knowledge of how Christ would be everything and more, I need to do that for my dad without complaining or arguing and use plenty of patience.

"I will glory in my Redeemer
My life He bought, my love He owns
I have no longings for another
I’m satisfied in Him alone
I will glory in my Redeemer
His faithfulness my standing place
Though foes are mighty and rush upon me
My feet are firm, held by His grace"
I Will Glory in My Redeemer - Sovereign Grace Music

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Inside the Mind of Hannah Pham

To be honest, I don't really feel like writing a blog at the moment, but I have a lot on my mind. If you've ever wondered what goes on in my mind, here's your chance to see a snapshot of it. There's too much and this blog probably won't be coherent... Anyway, here goes...

So two songs that has been on my mind lately:
"My soul finds rest in God alone
My Rock and my Salvation
A Fortress strong against my foes
And I will not be shaken
Though lips may bless and hearts may curse
And lies like arrows pierce me
I'll fix my heart on righteousness
I'll look to Him who hears me"
- Psalm 62 - Aaron Keys - [Click to listen]

Verse 2:
"Praise to the Lord,

who doth prosper thy work and defend thee;
surely his goodness and mercy here daily attend thee.
Ponder anew
what the Almighty can do,
who with his love doth befriend thee."
-Praise to the Lord the Almighty - Travis Cottrell- [Click to listen]

There are so many songs out there that provide such encouragement for me through difficult times. This last week has definitely been hard on me. I felt like I was being drained and I couldn't do anything about it. Things have been getting hard, but that doesn't mean I stop. There are different ways we deal with different situations. As mentioned a number of times, I turn to my faith, friends and music for comfort.

But stepping away from my comfort zone: My future is definitely in question. Do I stay home and support my family by taking up a job and caring for them at home? Or do I go to college away from home? Do I step away from unfamiliarity or do I stay where I'm most comfortable where I know I'll find my support? I've really been contemplating and praying for Jesus' guidance and wherever he wants me, I will go.
Side Note: As ridiculous as this sounds... I want to go to a college that would provide me with the best husband possible. Yes, I know I'm still really young and have plenty of time, but it doesn't hurt to know what I'm looking for in my future husband.

It's just been hard knowing what my mom's going through and if I could, I would switch places with her. Why? My mom has lived a long life and has done far more than I could ever do. I know it would be a different story if I had cancer and not my mom. I'd switch places with my mom because her faith isn't where I'd would like it to be. I'm not saying that her faith has to be picture perfect. There are some things in her faith that just makes me feel uneasy. Our salvation in Jesus is not based on our own works. Nothing that we do can help us gain salvation in the least bit. It's all God and his grace and his mercy. Who are we to try and earn something that we are undeserving of? I know that I still have a lot to learn and understand, but I also hope the same for my mom. I hope that she's able to filter from what is accurate preaching from hopeful preaching. I want her to have the ability to decipher what's right and what's wrong. I want her to know that just because someone uses Jesus' name in a sermon does not necessarily mean they're preaching truth.

Finally back in the game.
After 2 weeks of being on the injured list for soccer, I'm working hard to get back where I am. I'm not exactly sure what happened, but at the Woodside game, my ankle popped after a collision with another player. The trainer stated that I was caught between a over straining and tearing of the tendons/ligaments in my ankle. It was awful just watching practice and not being able to participate. I enjoyed watching the games, but it's not the same. I feel horrible that I can't contribute anything other than my obnoxious voice yelling, "MAN! MAN! MAN!" or "SEE [insert name here]" or "CROSS IT!/SWITCH IT!" I know it's really annoying, but it's all I can do.
Just this Saturday, I've returned back to the field and worked hard. I started to run my first lap and the pain was just excrutiating. It felt as if someone was cutting the tendons/muscles/ligaments connecting my shin to my foot. Why did I push through the pain even though it killed me? I knew that if I wanted to play, I had to work hard. I had to want to play soccer more than ease or soothe my pain. Slowly, but surely, I will get back to where I was.

Well there you have it. There's actually tons more on my mind. In summary, these are the things that I think about most... So I thank you for taking a virtual trip within my mind.