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Friday, April 23, 2010

Survival Mode

Have you ever spent time living in a place where you barely make it through each day? The more you get done, the longer the list of things to do gets? I hate survival mode, yet, this is where I’m living. I’m fully here. Period. No denying it. Barely surviving.

Each day I make a list of must-dos for the day. I check them off. The bare minimum gets accomplished. Nothing else.

Laundry has piled up. Grocery shopping is a luxury I gave up January 25. Yes, my day of diagnosis was the last time I set foot in HEB… Scary. The house has sold so no longer is a clean toilet or a vacuumed floor on my list. My list says change insurance, call doctor, pack kitchen, buy tape and mail camp registration. Exciting.


I haven’t been here in this mode for quite some time. I don’t do well here so I try to avoid it. I try to be organized and give myself all the time and space I need to thrive. Sometimes that’s just not possible.

When I got married, I was working long, crazy hours at a demanding job. Our apartment was a mess. I was t.i.r.e.d. So tired. I had no time. I remember longing for a space. You know, a place where I could go away from the craziness to just be alone and to think without distractions. I never learned how to do that before I began having babies.

I had baby one. I was sick, so.very.sick. I was tired, so.very.tired. Then I had babies two and three. I living in survival mode. Even when I had a little space, it just wasn’t enough. I found myself on my face in my bedroom, crying into my carpet fibers. I asked God what it would take for me to feel the space I needed in my life. I asked Him how I could be the wife and mother I longed to be. I asked God how I could meet with Him the way I longed to.

I was at home taking care of babies all day yet, my house was dirty and disorganized. There were days I still couldn't get dinner on the table and my babies were needy. I was needy. That was the day I resigned.

I wrote out a letter of resignation in my journal. I told God I was resigning from my life, my house and my kids. I was taking on a new job. I accepted His offer to manage His life, His house and His kids. I would please Him first.

Then I accepted the second part of His offer to please my husband. I let loose of my priorities, my dreams and my goals. As they fell to the ground, I picked up Andrew’s priorities, Andrew’s dreams and Andrew’s goals. I was scared. I was scared to trust my husband and I was scared to trust my God. But I did. And here I am.

Today even though I’m full force in survival mode once again, I can see how God has brought forth His glory in my life. He took a messy house and gave it order. He took some lousy parents and gave us some pretty great kids. He also took a struggling marriage and made it thrive.

Giving up the things I thought I needed, brought me freedom. God and Andrew have now given almost all of them back but the irony is that I don’t need them anymore. I am free to enjoy them instead of spending all of my energy clutching them tightly.

God did it before; He will do it again. He turned my mess into a message. He will turn this test into my testimony. He is always good. He is the same yesterday, today and forever. These are the thoughts I tell myself as I place checks on my list while staring at my once again dirty and disorganized home. These are promises my heart rests in while mothering my once again really needy children. These are prayers from my heart as I once again set aside mine for Andrew’s priorities. These are the songs I sing to a God who has before and will again take me from surviving to thriving. These are the reminders I focus on as I wait to see when we can move, how long each radiation treatment will last and what my side effects will be.

Today, my thoughts wander. I wonder if I’ll have the time I’m used to once I start radiation. I want to have time to enjoy my family, organize and decorate my new home and continue writing. Yet, I know my first priority needs to be getting well. Fighting well. Taking care of my body.

Why is that so hard for women? Why is that so hard for mommies? The Lord has shown me in all of this that the priority of my children, my husband, my God are all the same. They want to have a healthy mom, wife, servant.

And so I will fight while praying, Lord, don’t let me waste it.

And I will survive.

“My health may fail, and my spirit may grow weak, but God remains the strength of my heart; he is mine forever.’ Psalm 73:26


Andrea said...

One step at a time, sweetie. Don't fret about what may or may not happen when radiation begins. You have come so far in a short time.....one miracle after another. GOD has not let you down...HE will see you through this part of the journey, too.
Lots of hugs, love, and prayers,

Donna said...

Lisa, thank you for sharing your journey so openly with us. You have indeed encouraged us with your words and how you always close with uplifting words. You may just think you are sharing your journey with us, but it is so much more than that. You are sharing a message of God can, God will, God is.

I like what you said "Today even though I’m full force in survival mode once again, I can see how God has brought forth His glory in my life." May we strive to see how God has brought forth His glory in our lives everyday - whether we are in survival mode, facing a challenge, or resting in Him.

You continue to bless us and we can only hope that we can bless you in some way.

Have an enjoyable, restful weekend!

Sniffles and Smiles said...

You are so wise, and so right. During this time, you are right to give yourself permission to just survive...it's hard emotionally to do...but absolutely necessary! And it will pass more quickly than you think...I promise. And then, there will be energy for all the rest of it again...I am praying! God is using you in mighty ways...that is evident! Sending you my love~Janine XO


"God did it before; He will do it again. He turned my mess into a message. He will turn this test into my testimony. He is always good. He is the same yesterday, today and forever."

Amen, Sister! Wow - powerful thoughts. Let Him be your strength. Take on His strength in your weakness.

And remember those simple words of
1 Samuel 7:12
"...Thus far the Lord has helped [me]us."

Choosing JOY in His Strength!

Tea With Tiffany said...

Praying for you still.

I can't find words. But God still IS. And you are a beautiful heart.

Beth@Not a Bow in Sight said...

I loved this post. It reminds me that I've been living in survival mode many times during my life...and yet God has always seen me through- step by step and minute by minute.

Much love to you sweet Lisa. You are continually in my prayers.


Anonymous said...

I wish I was in WITH you to add some hands and feet to my comments and prayers for you!I it a wall of fatigue tonite and have vegged in my messy dirty house for 3 hours..I feel so MUCH BETTER?!!
Stress and Illness are so TIRING.
God will lift you up and help you keep your eyes on what matters. Let him send some angel hands for the move. You can "tweek" the decor later! God is going to supply the woman's hands and touch for you! Let those hands do what they are sent to do and relax for now.I learned this lesson BIG time with my 1st Breast Cancer. God is right on time and its done HIS WAY!
Hugs Debbie J

Kathy S. said...

Written like a woman who has learned to soar on His wings...May His love continue to carry you to the spacious place He will bring you to!
<3 Kathy

Kari said...

Dear Lisa,

Thank you for another beautiful message. It is one that I desperately needed to hear tonight. I know what you mean about those "lists" and all of the feelings you described in your post. I get you. So much.

My prayer tonight for you is that you may find yourself truly allowing YOU to be your priority.

You are right,it doesn't come easy for women, wives,and mothers to put themselves first, but it must be your priorty right now so that you can maintain your incredible energy and be able to continue to share your love and wisdom with all - especially your family.

I am so sorry this journey has become yours. I wish I could take your "To Do List" and finish it for you.

I hope you have a nice weekend.

Bernie said...

Radiation did not take very much of my time, the initial appointments to prepare me for it were far longer than the actual daily appointments.....you will be fine.
Don't worry about what is not getting done, just do what you can and leave the rest.....you want to be able to enjoy your new home and be well enough to have fun with your family.......always in my heart and prayers......:-) Hugs

Denise said...

Sis, I love you. Please do not worry about tomorrow, or the next day, or week. God is already there, He is not going to let go of you. He will continue to lead you, and perform more miracles.

Lisa Buffaloe said...

Praying for you, Lisa. God will be with you every step of the way.

Praying for you and sending gentle, healing hugs.

Deb said...

I'm so, so familiar with survival mode! It is for a time and it will end.
Bless you dear sister in faith and in fight,

Kelly Combs said...

Thinking of you Lisa.

God grant Lisa the serenity
to accept the things she cannot do; courage to do the things she can; and wisdom to know the difference.

Cindy Bultema said...

Oh dear Lisa ~
Your heart is so beautiful...thank you for sharing this journey with such authenticity. May the Lord ocntinue to remind you that yes, He will. He is for you, dear one. He sees, He hears, He is concerned ~ and He will bring you through VICTORIOUSLY. I can't wait to hear all about it in person this summer. Coffee is on me, friend!
Love to you~
Cindy :)

Gigi said...

He is walking with you...and He never tires. Lay your cares and worries upon Him. He tells us to in His Word.

All the rest is just "stuff." And somehow, it always manages to be taken care of. And if not, then so be it.

Keep focusing your strength on the BIG picture...a healthy Lisa, a healthy wife, a healthy mom. Everything else really will fall into place.

Praying God's peace for your troubled, weary spirit. <3

Sheila said...

Great post. And you will make it through! We've all had times when we've been walking through survival mode, and the hardest part is the waiting--the wondering what's going to happen, the worrying, the wondering.

But learning to live in the present, and not in the worrying, is so freeing! It looks like you're getting there, and that's awesome, and an inspiration to everyone else.

If it helps, I wrote a blog post on Getting Rid of Worry yesterday that goes over how to live day by day rather than worrying. It really shares my heart, and I hope it blesses you!

Jessa Irene (Holiday-Haven) said...

Looking through your blog, this is such a beautiful post, love the wonderful reminder to let go!