The title of this blog comes from song lyrics that I heard many years ago by Switchfoot. And ever since the first time I heard it, these words have never left me. It makes so much sense. Although you might be standing in a shadow, that is direct evidence that the sun is still shining. I think that this is a great metaphor for my life right now. I am walking through some dark times. But I want these times to be evidence of the sun, and the bright glory of the Lord. And so while this blog will be chronicling some sad times in my life, I pray that it is also a testament to God, and a reminder of the good times in the midst of the shadows.

"I have said these things that in Me you may have peace. In this world, you will have troubles. But take heart, I have overcome the world!" John 16:33

Friday, February 3, 2012

Time of Waiting

Well I am now exactly two weeks away from my next set of scans. In the past month and a half since I found out about the spread, some days have been good and some days have been hard. There have been days when I panic, and worry about what is going to happen or what direction my life is going to go. But simultaneously, the Lord has been constantly blessing me, and reassuring me in his sovereignty. He is constantly reminding me that He has a beautiful plan for my life, and yet it is so easy for me to want to be in control and decide the next step.
I have had cancer for almost two years now. In some ways it feels like it has been forever, and in some ways it feels like the time has flown by. So much has happened. I am praying that in two weeks I will get good news, and that the cancer will not have spread. Even if I don’t, I pray that the Lord continues to reassure me in His plan and that He gives me peace. But as for right now, I am just waiting, and trying to live each day with joy. 

"For God chose to save us through the Lord Jesus Christ, not to pour out His anger on us. Christ died for us so that whether we are dead or alive when He returns, we can live with Him forever... Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you who are in Christ Jesus." 1 Thessalonians 5: 9-10, 16-18 

Friday, December 30, 2011

Tough Updates

Well, I guess as this year comes to an end, the time has finally come for another blog post. I was hoping that I would not have to use this anytime soon for updates on my scans. But things change quickly.
I had scans last Friday morning, two days before Christmas. That afternoon, the doctors called to say that they had found a recurrence near where I initially had surgery to remove my kidney.  I think it came as a shock to everyone. Cancer had started to seem more distant, and less daunting, and I was feeling perfectly healthy. Two days later was Christmas and my 22nd birthday. Friday was definitely a hard day, but I feel like the Lord allowed me and my family to still celebrate and be joyful on Christmas, and to put cancer out of our minds at least for a little bit.
On Tuesday, we went to the doctor to see what he would recommend as the next step. I was certain he would make me go back on the miserable chemo medicine at the very least, or even make me have radiation or tell me not to go back to school. But I was so encouraged that he said none of that. He said that the spot is small, and while it is not good news, it could be a lot worse. Compared to most kidney cancer cases, mine is spreading incredibly slowly. So we decided to hold off on the chemo medicine, and get scans in two months to see if there has been any change. If it has continued to spread, I will have to start the medicine.
So, the news was hard, but it could have been worse. I am glad that I am able to return to school, and that I can wait at least two months before taking more of the chemo medicine. At the same time, it is scary that the cancer has returned. If I think about it too much it makes me really sad. It is crazy how quickly all of my old thoughts and fears came flooding back upon hearing that it had spread. The future is just always so unknown, whether you have cancer or not.
But God is good. I know there is a reason, and that the timing is His timing, so I am trying to find peace in that knowledge. God is so much bigger than cancer, and His plan for my life is so much more beautiful than what I could plan for myself. And it is almost a new year, and who knows what wonderful things are yet to come! Despite this hard news, I am determined to live fully, and enjoy this upcoming semester at school. I want to make the most of this time I have free of medicine and feeling healthy. In a few days, I am going to the Passion Conference in Atlanta, which is a huge Christian conference for college students in the Georgia Dome. I am excited to see what the Lord teaches me there, and pray that it will encourage me and give me strength in these hard times.

“I have told you these things so that in Me you may have peace. In this world, you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world!” John 16:33

“The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned… For to us a child is born, and to us a Son is given.” Isaiah 9:2,6

Friday, September 2, 2011

Curses to Blessings

As I’ve been looking at this next chapter in my life, I started to think about where I want to go with my blog. I don’t want this to turn into a list of my daily activities, or become a monotonous update solely for every time that I have scans. So, over the next few weeks, I have decided that I want to write some reflections about things that cancer has taught me. Please keep in mind that I am still learning a lot of the things that I want to write about.  I don’t want to ever come across like any of this is easy, or like I have my whole life in order. Because let me assure you, that is never the case. But I feel like I have been reflecting a lot recently, and I think that it is important for me to begin to convey some of my thoughts on this blog. Sometimes it is easy for me to get bogged down in the day-to-day, or the overall struggle of it all, and I think that some reflection will allow me to focus on the blessings that have come in spite of this all. So, keep checking back for future updates!
I have been struggling a bit recently, because I took a pretty bad fall during Orientation Week, leaving my bad in terrible pain for weeks. It has also required me to have a ton of doctors’ appointments that I did not expect to have, and that along with all the schoolwork I have has been stressful. I try to remind myself that it was so much worse last year at this time, but that only makes the days a bit easier in the present. I am hoping that soon I will be able to get into a stable routine here, which will help.
But despite some hard things, the Lord has been so cool recently. I feel like He has been placing people in my life to encourage me, and that He has really been using little things in my days to remind me that He loves me. The night that I fell during Orientation Week was actually amazing. Orientation Staff had been doing a Field Fest for the freshmen, getting them to do a lot of fun games and helping them have fun and get to know each other. I fell at the very end of the night, and immediately knew it was bad. I was really struggling, and in a whole lot of pain. My legs were completely numb, so I was walking around to try to regain feeling. I was honestly worried that I could have fractured my back, or that I would possibly have to go to the hospital, although I was trying not to show it. And as I turned around to walk back to my friends on Orientation Staff, I saw them all gathered in a huddle, praying. To see a group of Christian and non-Christian college students immediately begin to pray was unbelievable. Where in the world will you truly find a group of people whose first instinct is to pray when bad things happen? I know that I do not do that enough. I had not yet cried from the pain, but that sight just broke me. It was so powerful, and touching.
I felt like that exact moment was the Lord giving me a glimpse of something bigger.  Maybe bad things happen simply to push people to prayer. Maybe that is why we often feel so helpless and why life is so hard. To remind us that we can’t fix everything on our own.  It was a major reminder to me that my plans aren’t always the best plans. I would have never chosen to fall, but the Lord had bigger things planned for that night. It is crazy to think about.

“However the Lord your God would not listen to [evil] but turned the curse into a blessing for you, because the Lord your God loves you.” –Deuteronomy 23:5 (I just flipped to this verse when looking for a verse to end this post with. How great is that?)

Thursday, August 11, 2011

One Year as a Blogger

As of today, I have officially been blogging for one year. It is wonderful for me to look back over all of the entries, remembering the emotions that went along with each stage.My parents and I were looking through some of the entries yesterday and inserting our memories with it all. "Oh, that was the stage I cried almost every day." Or, "Oh, that was such an exciting time!" There have been many ups and many downs along the way, but now it is powerful for me to remember the day I started this blog, and realize how my life has evolved since then. I had no idea what the upcoming year held for me, just like I don't know what senior year will hold. So much has changed (mostly all for the better!) and I am grateful that starting this school year does not have the fear and uncertainty that last year did. The Lord has shown me (and continues to show me) that hard times won't last forever, and that He is faithful through the good and the bad.

"Wait for the Lord. Be strong, take heart, and wait for the Lord." Psalm 27:14

Friday, August 5, 2011

Back from France, Back to School

Well, I am back from France. And it was perfect. Tons of great food, beautiful places, and speaking French. Here are a few more pictures from the last part of the trip!

Chateau Chenonceau
Clos Lucé where Leonardo da Vinci lived

Pont du Gard

Beaches in Nice
View from Chateau Amboise

It is crazy to be back, and I definitely think Mom and I have experienced a bit of culture shock. Jet lag made me tired for a few days at odd hours, but now I am all back to normal. My obsession with France has grown exponentially, which is a bit frightening considering how obsessed I was before the trip. I feel so blessed to have been able to do this, and I still simply in awe at what a perfect summer it has been. The combination of living in Greenville and going to France made for one of the best summers I've ever had, and I know that I appreciate more due to the contrast from last summer.
I leave for school in a few days, which is absolutely crazy. This summer has flown by. Everything about it has been wonderful, and I can't picture it being any better. I'm excited to get back to school, and begin another year. After last fall, and feeling so sick most of the time, I am SO excited to start the year feeling well. I feel fresh and ready to start, and not tired and sickly like last year. God is good, and I know He will do wonderful and amazing things this upcoming school year! 

"Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His love endures forever!" Psalm 107:1

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

From the Country of Man Capris...

Well these past few days in France have been incredible!
Mom arrived on Friday, so we spent a few more days in Paris, where I got to see a friend who I haven't seen in years. Then we took a train to Rouen for a day, and now we are in Bayeux. Tomorrow afternoon we will go back to Paris, to celebrate Bastille Day in the capital, and then go on to the Loire Valley.
Rouen was wonderful. It was nice to get out of such a big city, and see a place that is a little more calm. We stayed at such a cute hotel in Rouen, which was right beside the huge cathedral. And I loved getting to see all the Joan of Arc stuff around the city!

And Bayeux has been one of my favorite things so far! Truly, I feel like I could just stay here forever. It is tiny, but very quiet and clean, and everyone is so nice. Mom and I have had so much fun just walking up and down the streets, taking pictures of all the flowers and pretty buildings. And the cathedral here is my favorite out of the ones that I have seen. We went there yesterday, and it was bright and welcoming, unlike some of the ones which are dark and dreary. I'm not quite sure how to explain it, but this cathedral just felt alive.
As I was sitting in a chair looking at the ceiling and stained glass windows, a man who worked in the cathedral approached me. He handed me a candle, telling me it was a gift to remember the church. On it, the candle said, "N'ayez pas peur" which means "Don't be afraid." It was incredibly moving, and I felt like I was supposed to have that, and that that man who did not know me at all, and didn't even speak my same language, was supposed to give me that reminder. It was powerful.
We wanted to go see the Normandy beaches today, but it was pouring down rain, so we opted out of that. Also, neither one of us brought jackets, so that also played a major role in our decision. But we were both perfectly content to just have a slow day in Bayeux!

Mom and I are doing well. We are always laughing as we are constantly discovering the different ways the French do things. (For example, internet access. Our hotel advertises free wifi, and yet when it would not work for us, they then mentioned that only ten people in the hotel can be on at one time. Or public bathrooms, which are often closed on Sundays. Or restaurants that don't even open until 7 or 8 PM. Also really fancy restaurants do not have any policy against animals in the restaurant. So we had a nice dinner in Rouen with a dog under the table next to us.) It is so fun, and definitely an adventure as we travel around. I'm convinced we only know what we are doing half the time, but that is the fun of it! 
Hopefully there will be more posts to come, but of course, it all depends on the internet! 

"Strengthen the feeble hands, steady the knees that give way; say to those with fearful hearts, "Be strong, do not fear; your God will come, He will come with vengeance, with divine retribution He will come to save you." Then the eyes of the blind will be opened, the ears of the deaf be unstopped. Then will the lame leap like a deer, and the mute tongue shout for joy. Water will gush forth in the wilderness and streams in the desert." -Isaiah 35: 3-6

Wednesday, July 6, 2011


Bonjour from Paris!
It has been a fantastic first few days here! I am just completely in love with this city. Everything here is so beautiful. I have loved having no schedule, and just a week of free time to explore at my own pace, and live like a Parisian. My hotel is just a fifteen minute walk from the Eiffel Tower, and right by the market street Rue Cler, where they have open markets every day, selling everything from cheese and raspberries to chocolate and roses. It has been SO fun for me to practice my French, and everyone has been really nice helping me. I haven't taken French in a year and a half, so I was definitely pretty rusty, but I feel like it is all coming back to me, and I am getting more confident the more I speak it.
It was definitely an adventure for me to get here, complete with a two hour drive to Charlotte, two shuttles, an eight hour flight (seated next to a mother/daughter pair who insisted on only yelling to each other with headphones on and a crying baby), a train into Paris, and two metro rides. Which only got better when I realized that my map did not have the street for my hotel on it. So I wandered around, lugging my suitcase for about 45 minutes, trying to find my hotel. I was about to sit on the side of the street to beg for a map when finally the nicest French couple helped me, and walked me to my hotel (which of course was in the opposite direction from where I was going on my own). But I arrived, and it was an adventure!
It is amazing to me how many tourists are here! I swear I have heard every single language spoken in the four days I've been here. I went to the Louvre today, and it was packed wall-to-wall with tourists, all pushing to get better views of the famous art. And yesterday I had to wait almost two hours to even go through the security line before getting my ticket for the Musee D'Orsay. But it is fun seeing people from literally all over the world in one place.
Here are a few pictures from the first few days! More to come!

Mom arrives the day after tomorrow, and it will be so fun to have her here! I will try to keep updating this, so that everyone can see pictures of my adventures! :)

"He is your praise and He is your God, who has done these great and awesome things for you which your eyes have seen." -Deuteronomy 10:21