Not to be a Debbie Downer, but when things are quiet here at the blog, you can probably safely assume that things aren’t going so hot. Of course, half the times I post these days, it’s all moan-&-groan anyway.


I’ve had a few bright and shining moments in the past week, but for the most part, it’s been lots of hard stuff and several huge handfuls of self-pity.

Then I got a jolt this morning at Victory Sports Camp.

One of my friends who I don’t see very often (we were in Bible Study together, then she taught Nina in Children’s Church, we sang in a Christmas Choir together, and we served at Somali Club together last summer) was there.

I walked up to her and said, “I love your hair! It’s sooo cute!” She’s had super-long blond hair since I’ve known her, and it was cut in a cute, shoulder-length bob.

“Thanks,” she said and asked me how Cambodia was. I couldn’t decide if I was just going to do the “awesome” thing and then say how fine everything was now or tell the truth, and then it all came spilling out.

“Long story short, Gabe had a heart attack, we went to Cambodia, then he’s been struggling with anxiety and panic attacks ever since. It’s been really, really hard. We went to a healing prayer meeting Thursday night, and God did some awesome things. Then Friday was one of the hardest days of my life. But God is good.”

“He upholds us with his righteous right hand, right?” she said.


And then she knocked the wind out of me. “Well, about my hair. It’s a wig.”

Hmmm, I thought. That’s interesting.

“I have cancer.”

I had no idea and felt like crap. And so worried about her. It’s breast cancer. She was diagnosed in January. She’s been through chemo and surgery is on the schedule. She goes in tomorrow for a check-up.

In the meantime, she’s volunteering at Victory Sports Camp with her daughters, because that’s what she does. She has 4 girls (ages 10-18 maybe) and had a foreign exchange student from China last year. She just got back from a mission trip to the Dominican Republic with one of her daughters. She teaches full-time, and when she’s not teaching, she serves wherever and however she can.

With a smile on her face and a wig on her head and breast cancer.

Lord, please give me joy in the midst of this trial. Please remind me daily how blessed I am. Please help me to surrender completely to you, to die to self, to be able to type up these words of John Wesley and mean them with all my heart.

I am no longer my own, but thine. Put me to what thou wilt, rank me with whom thou wilt. Put me to doing, put me to suffering. Let me be employed for thee or laid aside for thee, exalted for thee or brought low for thee. Let me be full, let me be empty. Let me have all things, let me have nothing. I freely and heartily yield all things to thy pleasure and disposal. And now, O glorious and blessed God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, thou art mine, and I am thine. So be it. And the covenant which I have made on earth, let it be ratified in heaven. Amen.

p.s. Ava’s definitely planning on going to camp. So proud of her for overcoming her fears. She’s going to take over the blog sometime later today to share a bit about herself and sell some fun things to raise money.

p.p.s. Week 2 of our Summer Read-Along tomorrow!

17 thoughts on “perspective

  1. sheri ketner

    Just want to tell you even though I don’t know you that well. I love you all so much… via the heart of Janelle. Hang in…we all got stories of how big God is… but sometimes when we’re “somewhere in the middle of it”, we get to wondering about it all. Love, LOVE, LOVE you all!

  2. Hannah

    Thanks for sharing Marla! I agree with Randa Kinn – so often we tend to not share what’s really going on, often because the person who has asked is not a ‘close friend’ or the person we usually reveal things too. But we’re all family; we have the same Father.

    I’ll be praying Marla!

  3. joyce

    Thanks for this Marla. I admire people who are able to ‘Count it all Joy!’

    My precious niece passed away about a month ago and I’ve been learning some things about perspective too. Recently my brother in law said, ‘You know, we had 17 1/2 years with our daughter. In all that time she never disappointed us, never gave us any trouble. We packed a lot of life into those years and they were happy. Lots of people have five times the years we did with their children and can’t say that.” I thought this was such a remarkable attitude to adopt during this very painful season they are experiencing.

    Every day counts and I am trying to live more intentionally. I have not been commenting a lot but am keeping your family in my prayers. Take care.

  4. Sharon

    Was up in the night praying for you guys last night. And, wow, that is an incredible story. So, I wonder if you hadn’t opened up about what was really going on, if she wouldn’t have opened up either.

  5. Elizabeth

    I always worry about you a little when your blog is quiet. It reminds me to pray for you, and I do. And for Gabe and your girls.

    Your perspective always ministers to me. I learn so, so much from you. Much love!

  6. Deborah

    I figured the quiet was indicative of a need for prayer…(isn’t it nice to be even internetly-known so well that people can have a genuine friendship there?)…and you’ve had it and continue to have it and will continue to have it, be assured. I am praying for your Victory friend and her family and surgery as well. <3

    Much love…and congrats to Ava! I had to do that one time in a bit of a different circumstance and although it was hard, I was SO glad I did…and my parents were proud of me, too. 🙂


  7. Randa Kinn

    That is why I sometimes hate small talk. “HI. How are you? – Great! – I’m good, too!” How many times do we ask “How are you?” and really take the time to listen, even if it’s not all sunny and easy to respond to? And, I’m just as guilty…because I’m NOT a social sort of girl and it’s all society expects of me as I walk past a familiar face (it’s just SO much easier).

    So, thanks for your post…for being honest so that she felt comfortable to open up to you! And, thank the Lord for perspective…to get our minds off of “poor me”.

    1. brooke

      i agree. when a customer on the phone at work asks that, and i’m having a particularly bad day i’m always tempted to answer them honestly. alas, i like my job and need the insurance so its always “fine, thanks…”

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