Grace is sufficient in my village

Jun 18

Today was drip day; I saw other moms there … one with a tween-age daughter who had made a giant pink poster for her mom that said “Last Day of Chemo!” because it’s her end-of -treatment-rainbow day.  So cute; I took their picture together, and the mom recognized me from the bag giveaway I did with my friend and our five daughters over spring break.  It has made a lasting impression on her–so cool!

Seeing her daughter there was fun; I had offered for Maren to come with me today, and she said, “Nah.”  Chemo is not that interesting for her, and if she’s forsaking the time-with-mama option, it means her mama bucket is full, and that is the most important thing.  I’m at the long-distance office because our summer schedule works better if I get treatment on Wednesdays, and that’s where Dr. Wonderful is on Wednesdays.  It’s worth the drive, and not just because it has heated recliners.  Ha!

Tonight is ‘roid night.  I’ll be up until late-late-late tonight on a steroid high so I’m tired but not sleepy.  It’s weird, but I’ve learned to embrace it it and I work on happy little tasks.  And read.  And color.  And write.

People, “Chemo Brain” is a thing, just so you know.

As you know from my post from the chemo chair, I’m feeling a wee bit overwhelmed with life.  I have been handling things as they come, but I really am fiercely protective of my fragile balance, so I give myself grace over many of the “shoulds” in life.  I “should” do this, I “should” do that.  Sometimes I just can’t.  Sometimes I just don’t want to.  Grace. Grace, grace, grace.  I’m fierce about my time and energy going to the life-giving priorities in my life because that’s how I ground myself.  My burdens are such that if I abandon my principles, my loves, my relationships, I quickly lose my locked in focus on Doing Today Well.  I’m so entrenched in joyful living and gratitude and deep, real relationships that they have become my sustenance.  Things can get murky and dark and I’ve learned triggers to avoid.  So I do the best I can.

Today when I left chemo, I was on the run in what felt like a flurry of productivity.  I was shaking of the Benadryl slump, chewing gum to rid myself of the chemo taste left in my mouth, and I had a lot of things to do and a short amount of time to do it before I put my mama hat back on.  I got to my first stop, grabbed my wallet, phone, jumped out of the car and slammed the door.  With my keys inside the locked car.  I think I said a not-nice word.  I took a deep breath and deliberately walked around my car trying all four doors and the trunk.  Locked.

I considered calling 911.  I felt that would be a waste of resources.  (I also felt grateful I had my phone.)

I considered calling Brad.  I considered calling my Dad.

I googled the number for, and called, the local police department, and said, “I feel a bit silly calling the police for this, but I just locked my keys in my car.  Is that something that you can help me with?”  The very nice policeman said that the police don’t help, but he gave me the number for a local lock company.

I called the lock company and they said it would take a few hours and it was also pretty expensive.

I looked at where I was: near Target.  I realized that every.single.time. I go to Target I see one of my neighbors there.  If I loiter at the entrance of Target, I could probably bump into a neighbor who could take me home.

After a few minutes of loitering, I decide to just text a bunch of neighbors.  I said, “Neighbors!  I’m an idiot and I just locked my keys in my car; I’m near Target.  If any of you are out and about please give me a call because I’d love to hitch a ride home!  Thank you so much and I hope your day is going well!”  Immediately, I got a bunch of responses, and one sweet neighbor volunteered to go to my house, get my spare key, load up her own children, and drive to Target to rescue me.  And she did.

People, from the time I sent the text to a dozen neighbors, I had responses from almost all of them, two immediate offers to come get me, a call from a friend who heard my situation and wanted to jump in to help, and I was back in business after actually being rescued in twenty-one minutes!  That is one heck of a response time!  Not the emergency 911 services, not the police, not the for-profit lock company, but the kindness and good will of my village rescued me to today.  I’m so grateful for the one who took time and energy to help me today, but also for the “we’ve got this” nature of everyone in my village to be so willing to come alongside even in my idiocracy!

I’ve had absurd kindness and thoughtfulness shown to me this week: I ask a sizable favor of a family and they both say yes and they inconvenience themselves to make it even more convenient for me.  As I’m looking for a ride for Maren today, two separate moms who have their own kids in camp this week offered to keep/drive/watch Maren anyway.   Talk about selfless!  The mother of one of Greta’s friends has invited Greta over twice because she thought it might be helpful for me, and I’m so grateful that she is so considerate.  It’s helped me have my mom hat on for focused fun hours, and for me to productive while she’s not underfoot.  I certainly haven’t done anything to deserve these actionable blessings this week, but they have truly helped me to keep my head above water.

I am so very weak in so many areas.  I really do love the propping up of my village and the ways that I get to see the best in people, the best in the world.

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.  That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.  –2 Corinthians 12:9-10


  1. Lisa Smith /

    I love this so much. You DO deserve this kind of love. Not because you are living with cancer. But because you would do the same for any one of us. Thank you for sharing. LOVE LOVE LOVE.

  2. Penny Kellam /

    There isn’t a single doubt in my entire mind that you absolutely deserve every bit of this outpouring of love from your village. Every. Single. Bit. You would do no less if the tables were turned.

    Sending you Grace tonight.

  3. Mike Eck /

    I ran out of gas once. Denise was not happy. We called AAA, waited two hours and paid a shocking price for 1/2 gallon of gas.

    Now I know what we should have done. Your wisdom is beyond your years

  4. Karin /

    I think one of the most important takeaways from this is that it’s okay to ASK for help AND accept it! That is a hard lesson for moms everywhere to learn. We are not supermoms, able to do it all. It’s a humbling experience when we finally get to the point (whenever and wherever we get there) that we realize we are allowed to ask for and accept offers for help. I have a mom-friend on crutches right now and we’ve had multiple conversations about this! When we don’t ask for or accept offers of help, we might actually block a blessing for someone else – wow. Praying for your strength and energy Jen – you are awesome! 🙂

  5. peggy /

    Jen, you will never know just how much you have positively impacted the lives of all who read your blog. You so beautifully put everything in perspective. You may think you’re documenting your journey through a chronic, crappy disease, but actually you’re schooling us all in how to live with grace and kindness; how to prioritize our daily “to do” lists to vet out all the nonsense and only concentrate on what really matters; how to always look for and find the silver lining of life. Don’t thank us…let us thank you. You’ve made a huge difference in how I choose to live my life. I really do strive to “Do Today Well” (even if I fall short, at least I try). Bless you. ♥p

  6. Julie Talford /

    A loving person like you deserves a loving village….that about sums it up!


  7. Bonnie BJ /

    Only wish I lived closer in order to respond to the call. … it is a good thing to Call out, the Lord will answer you through the friends over and over !!

  8. Jeanne /

    I love the love that is being shared by you and your friends. I have met many of them and they are awesome!

  9. That is the exact Bible verse I was about to write when I got to the end of this post.
    Your village is happy to help and even honored to be asked, to be trusted as someone you think of when you need help. I know this from personal experience being a part of another friend’s village. O, happy day! Blessings abound. And so do prayers. ♥

  10. Marsha Vonderwish /

    Praying for you! And thank you for reminding me that there are still good, kind people in this crazy not so nice world!

    And chemo brain is a real thing!