When God just sees things different than Mama.

fb_img_1502620812093406965148187228107.jpgI’m not trying to tell Tommy’s story here. In fact, when he and I talked about this the other day, I told him that this is most definitely his story to tell, not mine. But there’s also a significance surrounding what’s happening right now that I believe needs to be shared – to help others. To help us.

So today is not so much Tommy’s story, but a mama’s story instead. This mama’s story. He may not be mine by birth, but he’s definitely mine by love.

Tommy is our 30-year old son-in-law.

He absolutely radiates love and laughter wherever he goes. He’s a husband. A daddy. A police officer. A hero. He actually runs towards people’s battles – strangers he doesn’t even know, many of whom will never come close to appreciating his sacrifice. Yet he still does this, anyways.

Tommy is just a kind man that way.

Right now, though, Tommy’s busy running towards his own battle. A big one. On June 12th, he was diagnosed with colon cancer. I’ve come to realize lately that this is just a most despicable word, isn’t it?


Yet here it is, now in our family’s daily vocabulary.

If you’ve been following me here on “Growing Nurse Debi”, you may remember my recent post, “When God just goes ahead and drops that bomb” – well … this was the “bomb” that inspired that writing. We were all still absolutely reeling at that point. Honestly, we still are.

You know, over this past month as both progress and setbacks have occurred, my mind keeps thinking the same strange thought:

This is just not what I pictured happening.

It seems a pretty silly thought to confess, but honestly … it just keeps coming to the forefront of my mind – every day, repeatedly, I just keep thinking these same words:

This is just not what I pictured happening.

Not when they joined hands on that beautiful beach.


Not when they welcomed their first child, our sweet Ruby Wren.


Not as I watched sweetness fall head over heels in love with her daddy.


And not as we recently celebrated her first birthday with doughnuts and sprinkles.


This is most definitely not what I pictured happening next or even ever. But guess what?

It happened, anyways.

As parents, we subconsciously have our children’s lives all planned out in our minds, don’t we? Sure, we know there will be twists and turns that’ll make their way uniquely their own, but we know it should basically unfold in a way that closely resembles “normal”. That just feels so safe, doesn’t it?

Plus, we just know what to do with “normal”.

As parents, we help guide our children through the bumps of life with the wisdom we’ve gained through our own experiences. Our own “normalness”. We help them figure out how to build a budget, what to do with a new baby, even how to fix a recipe gone wrong. That’s what we do.

Well … therein lies this mama’s struggle. I’ve never experienced anything such as this.

Even with all of the “not normalness” that both Lupus and nursing have brought into my life … this is just different. And suddenly now the roles have become strangely reversed and mama is now learning from her baby. Such a bizarre, helpless feeling.

So as I watch Tommy bravely face each new challenge head-on … as I watch our Hannah absorb it all with such strength and grace … as I watch the love of our combined families grow as we walk through all this together … as the support of Tommy’s police community continues to blow me away … and especially as little Ruby Wren smiles her way through every bit of this, blissfully oblivious to anything but the joy of exploring life … I know.


I don’t need to know what to do with this. None of us do. No matter what challenge we’re facing. We don’t need to try to fix it, accept it, or even try to understand it. Because we can’t. We simply can’t.

Honestly, I don’t even pretend to know why God allows challenges like these into our lives – they sure do hurt, don’t they? But I do know that He does it with love.

And even if this is just not what I pictured happening, God pictured it, for sure. He’s been preparing Tommy, Hannah, and all of us to fight this battle since before any of us ever came to be. And I also know that God is weaving His mysterious love not only throughout Tommy’s story, but also into the story of every, single one of us being touched by it.

This kind of ripple effect is boundless. Stunning. Truly unthinkable.

I’ve learned with my own challenges that we can’t try to avoid pain, ignore it, or even try to make it disappear. And it does no good getting angry and shaking our fists, either. Believe me. None of that works. And it’s just embarrassing.

We have to press into the pain, the challenge, the whatever. Just press deeper.

It’s deep down inside that pain where the comfort lies. The hope. The courage. Growth. Beauty. They’re all down in there.

So my prayer is that we can each press in to whatever we’re facing, and get to know God through it. Actively seek His beauty and come to know Him better. If you’ve ever been hurting and wondering where God is at that moment … well, this is where He is, my friends. Deep down in the center of it all, holding us. Holding absolutely everything.

Thanks for growing with me. ❤

“Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.” (Psalm 139:16)

“Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast.” (Psalm 139:13-16)

“Even to your old age and gray hairs I am he, I am he who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you.” (Isaiah 46:4)


Tommy gearing up for his first chemo treatment.



15 thoughts on “When God just sees things different than Mama.

  1. AMEN. I totally agree. Keeping God as close to US, as HE keeps Us close to Him is so key through times of struggle. I don’t believe that HE meant for US to carry the mountain. I believe HE meant to cross it.

    Since our bodies are only flesh, how thankful we must be to live in a time of major medical breakthroughs. If we do the work of the spirit, medicine is more apt to do the work upon the flesh. Here’s hoping your son-in-law [still smiling], and your family stays strong and hopeful. And above all…Expect a miracle!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Debi my love and prayers are with each of you…the struggle is so real…to real, but yet those are the times when we realize God is with us! I have lived this journey. My Tommy was as inspiring as yours! Blessed we are to have a love as true as God’s. My Tommy would always tell everyone “this is not about me, this is about what you are to learn” and boy did I learn. We love all of you very much!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thank you for sharing your Mama’s heart. I have the hardest time clinging to and trusting in God’s plan when it involves my children. But you encourage me to press on and keep pressing in to Him. Love you all and will be praying for all of you!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I’m so sorry debie. Cancer is a horrible thing. He is lucky to have all of you to support him through this .My mother in law unfortunately has this same type of cancer come back two times but she fought it and is still with us today!! I’m praying for all of you Oxoxox

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Tommy has learned to be so much of what he is through the family that he deeply loves. His mother and father are uniquely special people who have taught their children to always be positive and to look towards the light. As most people who know them are aware, Gail’s parents are giving, loving and God fearing. Both Mary and Gaston are united in their love of Jesus and their love of their family. Everyone who has met this wonderful family loves them immediately. They all encourage and are a blessing to everyone they meet. Tom and Gail smile and enjoy the positive, wonderful moments that they share with Layla and Tommy Lee. They were blessed with wonderful in-laws. Those that their children married and the extensive families, have been wonderful additions to their lives. Then the unexpected came along in the form of two beautiful granddaughters. Such joy and laughter….I believe that there will be a positive outcome-for I believe with my whole heart that God heals and blesses those who work for Him and His wonderful name.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. i’m saddened to hear the news about your son in law. =(
    but so encouraged by your steadfast faith, clinging onto His faithfulness.
    especially those Psalms… those words are so true, how He formed us and knit us in our mothers’ wombs before we were even born. although we don’t understand the plans He has for us, they are for our good and to give us a future and hope. (Jeremiah 29:11)

    thank you for sharing this and may you, your son in law, and your family continue to rely on God’s strength!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Pingback: On asking for a hand with some really heavy lifting. | Growing Nurse Debi

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