Thursday, September 26, 2013

6 things to do if it’s really scary and you’re waiting

I was speaking with a friend who’s awaiting a health diagnosis, and found myself repeating something I’ve said many times before.

I’ve heard that if you find yourself repeating information, you probably need to write about it.


I’ve had six surgeries, and five of them had impending pathology reports. That doesn’t count the umpteen diagnostic tests I’ve had which required waiting for results.

Early on, my husband Jerry would come home during one of the waiting times, and find the milk in the kitchen cabinet, the dishtowel in the refrigerator, and a glass in the trash. I’d think I was fine, but my subconscious said otherwise. I’d just distanced myself from the fear, but I found some ways through.

So here are a few tips in no particular order to help you live more fully during the time you wait:

1.  Clean. Don’t laugh. I found that balancing my checkbook during waiting times could be disastrous, but I have a bathroom floor, which was put down when Johnson was in the White House. It requires hand and knees cleaning, and never quite looks right. I’m telling you it sparkles right before I have a surgery. Some might say it gave me an element of control when circumstances seemed out of control, but using my hands to do something constructive helps me not to focus so much on the impending result.

2.  Post scriptures around the house. When your mind takes a sharp left into the scary place, it’s easy to get lost unless you have a road sign to help lead you out. Scripture does that. Let the words of God be the last ones you think about at night, and the first ones you wake up with in the morning. Make your waiting about waiting on the Lord. So get that printer going. is my friend.

3.  Anchor yourself in the moment. I wish I had back the time I used to waste worrying over some result. Enjoy your family now. Enjoy time with friends now. Don’t let a health scare steal your precious time with your family.

4.  Make sure your support group is intact. You need a team. You can’t do this on your own. Sometimes, when I’ve been waiting, I couldn’t even pray. You need people to lift you to the Lord, to remind you of His promises, to encourage you.

5. Learn to receive. Women are such givers; it’s often hard for them to receive grace. If someone offers to help you, or be with you, or grants you some kindness, say, “Thank you.”

6.  Get outside. The beauty of nature draws me out of myself, and I think most people find that true. Bask in the wonder of God’s creation.

I looked back to articles I wrote right after I had breast cancer, to check for anything else that I could share here. Even, so close to the hard days, I wrote that God always does something beautiful in the waiting. One of the loveliest experiences I’ve ever had came during one of these times.

When my big breast cancer surgery had to be delayed, we took a short beach trip. I’d have surgery the day after we returned. One night on the boardwalk, a band began playing familiar music. My husband and I found ourselves dancing along the boardwalk under the stars while our children played at our feet. It seemed we were dancing right in the face of cancer.

And we were.

To this day, I can still feel the warm breeze, and the music playing, and being held in my husband’s arms.

Watch for these moments during the time you wait. It can be extraordinary.

And don’t worry if you do put the milk in the cabinet. The days are getting cooler now. It’ll keep.

"But those who wait upon God get fresh strength. They spread their wings and soar like eagles, They run and don't get tired, they walk and don't lag behind" (Isaiah 40:31 The Message)



Unknown said...

Thank you, Beverly for speaking truth and peace into my life and the lives of others. God blessed me indeed when we met at Catalyst!!!

Beverly Varnado said...

What a gift to have met you, Laura. Praying for you during this waiting time!

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