• sarah@healingeyes.org

Tag Archives: Cancer

Hello Cancer…Here we go again

Suffering opens doors and answers prayers for expanding our network of people to share Healing Eyes ministry with. In life we are faced with challenges that come unexpectedly and I believe it’s these trials that amplify our weaknesses and allow God to further his agenda…when we let him. As with the founding of Healing Eyes name, looking past the pain in our lives to let the healing begin, we are faced with another challenge that will truly show God’s hand at work. Sarah (I) am facing an impactful new journey that I NEVER saw coming. Over 2 years ago I watched my husband go through cancer and eventually pass away. It was my hope that the awful ‘C’ word would be gone from my life, however, God has a different plan in mind. Cancer is back and this time it’s attacking my body.

Should I be scared? Yes the world tells me I should be. No God says Stop that.

Should I give up and concentrate on myself? Yes the world tells me I should. God says child I have you covered.

Should I question God about allowing this to happen? Sure why can’t I! God wants to hear me complain.

But…the deeper question is what NEW Opportunities is this part of the story going to open up. Its rather exciting to imagine what can happen next. By living day by day I never know what tomorrow brings and as I journey farther down cancer and experience it as the patient this time I know I’ll gain a new perspective on suffering . Just as the man ‘Job’ went through great suffering in his life I embrace the amazement that God thinks I am strong enough to take on this challenge. I mean WOW, God thinks I am actually strong enough to face this challenge and not lose faith and even continue helping my orphans and widows in Africa. When it seems to be too much for one person I know I am on the right track.

So I say, Bring it on Devil, Bring it on Cancer, Bring the suffering on and we will show you what God is made of! Healing Eyes ministry is going to grow this year in ways never imagined, we are going to IMPACT lives and heal hearts in ways God only can. I am not trying to play a Christian optimistic spin on all this but truly I am just in awe of what God can do when I pray for him to EXPAND my territory. How he chose to do that is a bit alarming but HEY who am I to question his methods. Pain really is the most POWERFUL tool to wake people up and see through Healing Eyes! Stop judging each other, stop living up to certain criteria of others, but LIVE…TRULY LIVE FOR TODAY and take each PAIN filled breathe to step out on faith and watch God work in your life today.

We need you to help our kids in eastern Uganda and We need you to understand the vision before us. It’s not through just one that we will move mountains…it takes each of us one-by-one saying Yes and joining us today. We invite you to reach out to  us and learn more in person or over the phone or even email.

Because I am just DYING to share the good news and overwhelming story happening in my life today and the need of orphans and widows dying for you to know them.

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Healing Eyes

Returning to the familiar and finding its changed

Does it seem strange to you that life continues when you lose someone? Everything that was is no more and things that are similar are completely different yet the same. To all the widows out there I’m sure you can relate. Today I joined a gym to try and build up my strength for Africa as well as emotional stamina the physical is just as important. My husband and I went to the YMCA when he was going through cancer, it helped with his strength and constant nerve pain from the surgeries. Now I am going to a different gym but even though its not the same place and he is gone now it still is similar to what was. The weight lifting machines are there and the indoor track mimics the other but this time it’s a new memory. Perhaps new memories are what is important when moving on in life after tragic loss. The new memories don’t push out the old but instead fill in the cracks of the shattered life left behind. Perhaps over time those memories will create a beautiful mosaic of filtered light that blends the two lives into one.

I have to make another sacrifice for this new found hobby, no more internet. Trade in the wifi for some exercise to save $19.99 a month from Comcast. Every penny counts to stretch out my time as a ‘missionary’. It was a bit humbling when filling out a form about income when I scribbled a big zero in for annual salary. Slightly insane when today I counted up the kids in uganda that I have given my resources, time, and love to. Total tally is up to 199 little faces and 3 others in another village. It should scare me knowing I have no income and I’ll be homeless come March while packing crates to move to Africa to live a very very very sobering life. All with the knowledge that my boyfriend will be staying behind and I’ll be solo for months in a far far far away land. Is that the beginning of a book? Once upon a time in a far far far away land lived a small girl with 199 children plus 3 who thinks it possible to feed them all.

Flip the story on it’s head and it should read.

Once upon a time there lived a God who picked up one shattered life and plopped it in a far far far away land to live among the least of these. Burst into song, shout for joy, because more are the children of the desolate woman
    than of her who has a husband, says the Lord.

Enlarge the place of your tent,
    stretch your tent curtains wide,
    do not hold back;
lengthen your cords,
    strengthen your stakes.
 For you will spread out to the right and to the left;
    your descendants will dispossess nations
    and settle in their desolate cities.

 “Do not be afraid; you will not be put to shame.
    Do not fear disgrace; you will not be humiliated.
You will forget the shame of your youth
    and remember no more the reproach of your widowhood.
 For your Maker is your husband—
    the Lord Almighty is his name

Healing Eyes

A blanket made out of pain

At long last the hospital blanket I started during Andy’s hospitalization is complete. Each square signifies visits to the ER and inpatient hospital visits. The blanket lay partially completed while away in St. Croix, safely tucked away in a polka dot pink bag. I hadn’t touched knitting needles in over a year since Andy died…that part of me was over and now I can truly say it is ‘complete’…as complete as I’ll ever feel knowing my soulmate is no longer with me. Perhaps its fitting to leave one side of the border incomplete..a reminder of a life cut short from Cancer.

It is a beautiful story and beautiful blanket to see…each thread and each stitch is yet another woven memory in my story.

What awaits me next is yet to be seen…

Healing Eyes

Children suffering from cancer in Uganda

The children suffering from cancer received clothes donated from the children in st Croix. I’ve never seen kids enjoy clothes so much. The beautiful dresses were a big hit and the dress pants were also with the boys.

The ukulele was a great way to connect with the boys and have them a distraction from feeling sick from the chemo treatments. Made me remember how exhausted Andy was from chemotherapy and I just wish I had learned the ukulele while he was alive.

 

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Healing Eyes

Empty and numb

For the first time I have no desire to blog…to share anything…to even go on with this stupid journey. How ludicrous to move to an island where all it does is isolate you more. People come and go and then there is no one…it gets dark early and the electricity is too pricey to use. So I sit in darkness, the light reflects off the walls at least on a full moon. I have one stuffed animal, Olaf, to hold me back at night. No arms to hold me…they were taken away. God’s arms seem so invisible that I can’t even feel them. Break me no more dark grief. Break me no more broken world. 

Others have opinions on how to cope.

Yet I still remain alone. You appreciate what you have when it’s gone. I even miss those damn chemotherapy visits and pointless doctor appointments. The midnight runs to the Emergency room. The lack of affection from Andy when I lost him before he died. I would take anything if only to see him again, to talk to him!

All is meaningless under the sun.

Even the serving at the Boys and Girls Club today felt empty. The kids kept fighting my authority, all of them yell and misbehave, there is no structure or respect for authority there. The kids that need the attention sit quietly but the misbehaving ones steal it all away. The older kids disrupt the classes and its understaffed. The only positive was the meeting I pulled together with the Director on ideas to reign in the chaos. I again am placed in a ‘mediator’ role and at least in that I feel some of my old self coming back. I know I can at least give the ‘soft spoken’ and stern approach to leading. If one of God’s gift to me is Leadership than I’ll take it. Through my quiet spirit God will use me but it is draining. So many emotions pulling at me right now and in the midst I have grief and loss. I don’t want to be a victim but its easy to feel sorry for myself.

I am angry! Damn it! and I miss Andy’s cooking ha!

 

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Healing Eyes

Fog

I awake from a fog of loss. Last week a storm blew through and now a light mist lingers over the dew of morning. Seeing for the first time the depth of damage done in the wake of a great storm. Lives touched by the loss of Andy, loss of family, loss of fuzzy kids, loss of self, and loss of dreams.

Each wave that crashes shakes free another memory thought long gone. In those days after Andy died I dived deep in the pain felt from losing part of yourself. Feeling hopeless in knowing he’s gone but I remain, as if his life was more important than mine.

Now as the fog lifts I see my chance to view life differently. Andy was taken from me tragically but I blame no one. For this loss I don’t blame God, I don’t blame myself, death just happens. I am thankful for knowing Andy and loving him but now I am thankful for a second life.

Thank you for the rain and thunder of the waves.

Thank you for the clash of thunder and lightning.

Thank you for taking everything away to set me free.

 

Timeline for newbies:

Valentine’s gift from Andy

Cancer Sucks

42 Days 

It has begun..now what

Healing Eyes

Blessings

God has told me THREE things I am sure of!

Live on the island to take time to heal
Help Kids to heal my wounds
Write a Book about my experience

In the midst of this he wants me to share how he works his magic for willing participants, such as I. Mini recap of my blog…my husband died from cancer and I then moved to an island to be a entrepreneur missionary or whatever label I end up using…

Today I prayed the prayer I only use cautiously because each time I say it something happens. “Bless me and expand my territory”. Now it seems to work when I really mean it so I am very very careful because he doesn’t hold back when I invite him in. 

I went to a new church today on the island that I kept hearing about. Of all days I go it was the day the kids run the show. Neat theory, sometimes they let the entire youth run the service. I’ll break down the blessings the best I can…it really is an organic experience that God weaves when he acts on a request.

  1. Small boy named Andy did a little standup comedy. Reminded me of my Andy the goof ball.
  2. Request for volunteers to help with the pre-school kids and they did it to the tune of ‘Let it Go’ from Frozen which I am learning on my Ukelele. Sometimes God is blatant in his signs. So yes I signed up to volunteer the first day I visit a church. The lady that runs the kids program I met the previous day on the beach too.
  3. Ran into another lady I met earlier on island and she opened up to be about there kids program where they tutor children one on one. I had been wanting to hear more about it before but she never opened up…this time she did. Obviously God nudged her.
  4. Got a free ride out to Buck island by the family that runs the kids programs, that I met yesterday at the beach, and that i talked to at church about volunteering. Coincidence? ha!  It’s hard to get rides out to Buck island so that was a nice little blessing from God.
  5. While on Buck island got to share my story about Andy and his illness. Which coincided with the fact that this family was going through some illness too. Coincidence? No.
  6. The Biggest blessing was this same lady knows a counselor and wait for it….she’s going to introduce me and I don’t have to worry about the cost. So when I was in Michigan the other week I was told to find a counselor on island and what happens? God weaves his way in and most likely has found one for me. I didn’t even have to do anything but WAIT on him. Sometimes I hate it when I am proven wrong and God shows off like this. Plus its so nice talking about Andy! Standing in the sun and water talking about my soulmate is so therapeutic.

So main theme! Be careful when you ask for something from God… he might throw a lot at you in one day! I’m sure I missed something but part of my deal with God is that when he does something I have to share it on my blog…even if I think no one cares or reads this. He gives and then I give back, I wonder if he’s my employer now? I worry about money and tomorrow but it’s kinda stupid to do since he is one step ahead of me….ugh how quickly I forget that. There is one thing he hasn’t broken my stubbornness on yet…if the day comes that he gets me waving my hands in the air during church you will know I am done for.

Note: today I woke up thinking I was going to a different beach but after church the beach got super sized by getting the free boat ride (normally its $75 to get out there). I set my expectations low and he delivered Abundance instead. Dang! Is this what an abundant life is like? Sure would be nice if it had cheaper food and long john donuts again but I’ll settle for a nice beach day.

Healing Eyes

Re-learning what I forgot

It’s becoming ever clear that each morning I have to RE-LEARN how to live without my husband. For instance, 13 years of my life I had legs but one day they started to decay from disease and then the doctors amputated them. I wake up in a dark place and with shock therapy am being told to learn to walk on prosthetics.

God is teaching me quite painfully how to re-learn everything I once did with Andy. Even breakfast is an opportunity to miss my legs.

I had eggs in the fridge but NO bread. A simple solution is to buy bread but it’s sooo far away and I have no motivation to get it. But I did it anyways and bought some carrots and bananas. So $16 later I can have an egg sandwich and some snacks for the week.
Lesson of the morning it’s easy to make an egg sandwich but it’s not easy to repeat it each morning. Just like it seems easy to walk around on your legs, you might take for granted, but when you have them but cut them off see how you approach each morning.

Last night I chose to fall asleep naturally (which took a long time) and my reward was dreams of Andy. Now that isn’t really a good thing since when you wake you realize, Damn I’m on an island still and Andy isn’t here. Then later in the night I hear him calling my name over and over, “Sarah, Sarah, Sarah”. It sounded so real that I tried to look around my room for him but he wasn’t there. A cold chill went through my heart since I again realized I am an amputee.

So now I have to learn to make it through another day and tonight the dreams will creep back in and taunt me with memories long gone. In the morning I’ll have to decide again whether it’s worth it to try and wobble around or dive back down to the darkness of grief, waiting to see what person wakes up.

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Cranberries, carrots, bananas Yay

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12 Grain Bread! Yes Healthier

Healing Eyes

Lost Memory of my Husband

Sweet Andy 

Found a video from a year ago… God I miss your kiss!

Healing Eyes

Earning My Stripes!

Take that leap and go out and live trusting God! Do it! I dare everyone to try it….wow….but don’t expect instant results. It really is a minute by minute commitment to not give up. I’m glad today I stuck it out and went with God’s direction, as much as it confused and scared me.

For some reason God wants me to learn to drive Jeep and crawl up steep scary inclines. For some reason God wants me to learn to public speak by being a tour guide. For some reason God wants me to lose that shyness and let loose with other people. Today I went on my second training with driving Jeep. Now when I say ‘driving Jeep’ I need to clarify what I mean. It will involve being happy and showing a lot of patience and diligence. It means not getting angry when the Jeep breaks or when I am tired from the heat. It means performing for a group of 4 guests per ride and selling the island and its beauty to them. It means letting my needs come last. It also involves driving up some damn steep hills and learning about teamwork to the extreme.

I thought today I was going out alone with the teacher but there was another newbie driver and I had to show him what to do when first looking over the Jeep. Need to check 5 things in the engine and survey the undercarriage for any broken parts. Then we picked up a second driver who used to drive for the company and he turned out to be a bonus in my learning experience.

I picked the same Jeep as before and we were off. 7 hours later I am finally home and exhausted. To sum it up on the way back up the road to the tide pools and being the one to drive while the other 3 guys watched me, I failed getting up the hill and then the Jeep died. The gas line had a leak and the entire tank was dry. Now cell phones don’t work so well out in the bush so me and the second driver walked back down to the tide pools (the ocean) to try and find a signal. Luckily we got thru and a Jeep was on its way with gas (the owner of all people). A nice dip in the Tide pools while waiting was a must! As well as pleasant conversation about life and food. He is also a chef and he asked me how my husband died and I explained how food became our enemy. It’s so refreshing to talk about Andy and cancer! He might cook some meals for me and show me the restaurants that have great food. One thing he said to me was, “We need to not have you being all depressed anymore”.

Some time later help arrived and then the true fun started. I wasn’t getting off that easy from making my first successful trip up that hill. So I have 3 guys telling me how to do it and I am getting scared and frustrated at myself. One of the drivers in training bailed out the back of the Jeep, lol he just has no guts it seems when the Jeep slightly tipped a bit, it made for a good camaraderie experience with the other two guys on the drive back. They assured me that I have more ‘balls’ then that guy and to not worry.

Did I make it?! I sure did! The Jeep stalled a lot but I finally pressed the gas and sucked up my fears (with a little help of a tool box behind my back to support me from falling back in the seat) and drove that Jeep up that incline.

So the owner of the company and his son both had so much patience with me and I learned what true teamwork is today. They didn’t give up on me, and thank you God for giving me the strength (stubbornness) to not give up.

A great day of smelling exhaust fumes, sweating, African killer bees, and conquering one of the inclines on the trail. Maybe, just maybe I earned some of my stripes today!

When God wants to give an abundant life to someone he doesn’t joke around. I’m in the Caribbean volunteering to work with kids and I get to have a piece of Andy back with being around mechanics and learning to drive. Andy loved teaching me how to drive…he loved playing cars with me.

Healing Eyes