I had enough energy yesterday to warp a small project on my rigid heddle loom. Maybe I’m making a hat, not sure yet.

Today I finished warping the loom and started weaving. This feels therapeutic. There’s something about color and texture that speak to me… though it’s hard to put into words.

It feels good to be up moving around and doing laundry and making meals. It’s too cold and windy to be outside right now, but we have blooming daffodils, and they are glorious!

I’m reading “Everything Happens For a Reason: And Other Lies I’ve Loved” by Dr. Kate Bowler. She’s a professor at Duke Divinity school. She has spent time in the prosperity doctrine Charismatic Evangelical community (as have I). She married a Canadian Mennonite man and loved being enveloped in the tight knit community of Russian Mennonites in Canada. I also have Mennonite roots through my immigrant ancestors came to the US via Switzerland, Germany and the Netherlands.

The author dealt with infertility and cancer, I have a 20 year infertility story of my own, not to mention my own current cancer diagnosis. I’m so glad this book exists and that Dr. Bixler suggested it to me. It doesn’t always occur to me to think there are others out there like me, but this book is ticking all the boxes.

Her insights into the various faith communities she has explored is giving me a lot to think about. Do we have a transactional faith where we do all the right things to get God to respond as we desire? Is God so domesticated that when we follow all the right formulas, out pops a healing just for us? Who doesn’t want a healing?! And who doesn’t want faith and healing to be pretty simple? I mean, everyone has a secret longing of some sort or other. But how big or small is our God and is S/He obedient to our demands? Do we diminish God with our certainty and arrogance of “this is how God works”? Yeah, lots to think about!

A little more news:

I have a seroma in my left armpit that’s become quite large and painful. I have an appointment to have it aspirated (taking out the fluid) on Thursday.

Then my second round of chemo begins Monday.

I have more energy than I have had for the last 15 days, for which I am very grateful.

I am losing my hair in rather large clumps. It took me a while to realize what was happening, but in the midst of creating another haircut it became impossible to miss that what seems like a lot of hair is no longer attached to my head. There is still a lot of hair on my head, but I think it will get shorter faster than I originally planned.

And chemo rash has me looking like a teenager with bad acne (in other words – me in my teen years). Chemo knows how to pack a punch to a woman’s appearance. Or as Dr Bowler would say: :::sarcasm font::: Cancer is a gift that just keeps giving! :::end sarcasm font:::

If you are facing these things as well, it is ok to not be ok. I’m not going to suggest that you look on the bright side, or find the silver lining. Anything that comes after “At least [fill in the blank]….” is going to be annoying, but we all have friends who have said these things. I dare say I have said those things!! If this little book by Kate Bowler has taught me anything, it’s the mundane ways we minimize the pain and suffering of people around us when we demand positivity in the face of pain. That’s unkind and inauthentic. Scripture is full of lament. Lament may have gone out of fashion in 2023, but there are plenty of examples of people having a little snit toward God. It’s in there!

“Lament is not a failure of faith, but an act of faith. We cry out directly to God because deep down we know that our relationship with God counts; it counts to us and it counts to God. -Michael D. Guinan, Franciscan Spirit Blog

As Hagar cried out to God when Sarah abused her in Gn 16…

As David grieved when Saul sought to kill him… 1 Sm 19…

As Moses was afraid when God sent him to confront Pharaoh in Ex 3…

As the trembling disciples realized a figure was walking toward them on the water in the storm in Mt 14…

Over and over we see God showing up in the scary bits of life, bringing peace and reminding us we are not alone. The Bible never suggests that we would not suffer, and that things would always go our way! Over and over again we find that Jesus walks with us even when we can’t find him with our five senses.

Jesus, please open our eyes to your nearness. Help us find you as we look around – whether we are in crisis or in peace, please grant us a fresh God-awareness today. Pour out your Holy Spirit on us now and quench the many thirsty parts of us.



4 responses to “Everything Happens for a Reason?”

  1. 3 Generations Avatar
    3 Generations

    Oh lady. This was deep. I am so sorry if I found joy in stage one. It does Not trivialize what IS stage One. Great love to you, sweet, yet fierce girl.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Carmen Shenk Avatar

      Dear Woman, I also find (not sure the word) in knowing my case is stage 1. It’s still the c-word and the hair in my hands reminds me what that means. Great love right back atcha!


  2. 4norris Avatar

    AmenSent from my Galaxy

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Ron Avatar


    Liked by 1 person

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