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"New Normal"

"But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord."

2 Corinthians 3:18

To use a baseball metaphor, life has a way of throwing us curve balls when we least expect it so we need to be ready for anything at any time. Thinking back over the years following April 12 this morning a label I remember hearing years ago comes to mind, "New Normal" which was used to describe a new way of life because of something that happened unexpectedly and without warning and or preparation. In most cases "new normal" spoke of the adjustment we are forced to make with the sudden loss of a loved one.  

Speaking in baseball terms again, adjusting to "new normal" is like seeing a curve ball for the very first time. You either swing way ahead of the pitches arrival, you don't swing at all believing the pitch is so far out of the strike zone, or you bail out of the batters box and take cover on the ground thinking you were about to be beaned. None of those things happen though as the umpire yells out 'stttrrrriiiiikkkkeee'. You're only hope now is that it isn't strike three being called to add injury to insult as it were. The point is there are things in life we think we can handle and are prepared for that when they do happen to us, everything changes, and nothing is the same ever again leaving us to adjust to a "new normal."

Baseball is just a game but when life throws you a curve ball we are often times left frustrated or angry, anxious and confused as the life we had hoped for, the life we had planned was suddenly changed without notice. For example, writer and hope to be soon Cancer Survivor Mary Jean Iron who is in the midst of fighting her battle with cancer wrote recently in her blog, "Normal day, let me be aware of the treasure you are. Let me learn from you, love you, treasure you, before you depart. Let me not pass you by in quest for some rare and perfect tomorrow." This is from someone who has been forced by life to appreciate each and every day as they come as if it were the last. Mary is learning to live one day at a time just as Jesus instructs each of us to do in Matthew 6:34, "Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble."

Mary's cancer blind side has caused her to change her perspective of life. Instead of not even thinking much about today, she is learning to treasure the very moments that make up today. Her cancer has for her created a "new normal" that is transforming her into the person God always wanted her to be. She didn't choose the path she is on but she has accepted it with grace and is learning valuable lessons and graciously sharing them with her readers as she is able along the way.

When I read Mary's blog I immediately thought of Psalm 90:12 which says, "So teach us to number our days, That we may gain a heart of wisdom." As she is gaining a heart of wisdom she shared a couple of points in her recent blog that only a person dealing with a life threatening disease can capture with such clarity. She writes,

"Treasure your days. You never know how life will change. Slow down. REALLY slow down. Although I have talked endlessly about doing that on this blog, I was a hypocrite in ways, because I was a bundle of energy and stress trying to do too much sometimes even if just for my own family. I have realized I process stress terribly. I hold it all inside and have worried way way too much about things. Don't do that. Don't be strong all the time. It is ok and good to cry. It is ok to say "I am struggling with life" to your husband, your friends, or a therapist, and take time for yourself and to pray and journal and be calm. If you struggle with anxiety, get help. Take care of yourself. Totally reject the culture of perfectionism, competitiveness, and comparison and illusion that is so easy to find everywhere today. Get enough sleep. Take walks. Say no. Or if whatever it is helps calm and center you say yes. Grow closer to God. Build your faith. Take time to pray every day."

She went on to say, "Work hard to find gifts in struggles. God Almighty, this is so difficult when you are in the middle of crap. Really it is and some days I just couldn't (and can't). Sometimes I would set a timer to force myself out of bed. I have been lower than I ever have experienced in my life. I have seen and experienced a whole other level of suffering and hope and pain and strength in that damn chemo room. Often I have heard how strong I am-this is what you say to people facing cancer. But I have always been uncomfortable with that, although I know it is a form of encouragement and I would say the same thing. Let me tell you, I have seen strength through this experience from my fellow companions in the journey through cancer. But what does not being strong look like? It's ok to cry your heart out, and say you can't do it (with whatever you are facing) and don't want to and be mad and angry and sometimes hopeless and desperate."

To sum up Mary's thoughts from scripture in how to best process our "new normal" when life gives us an unexpected 'gut punch' we do well to remember the promises of God, like the one we find here in Romans 8:28, "And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose." Oh, and don't forget the invitation of Jesus when you are worn out from this life, Matthew 11:28-30 invites us as well, "Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light."

Life does in fact dish out more than we can bear at times but know this today, loved one, God will never give you more than He can bear! Nothing is too difficult for God! Why not accept His invitation, cast all your cares on Jesus today knowing He cares about you! You can make it today because you don't have to go it alone. God Himself has promised to be with you and to never leave you nor forsake you. Talk about a "new normal."

"No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it."

1 Corinthians 10:13


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