Let us throw off everything that hinders

Jul 08

Whew, three weeks cycles around fast!

I’m in the chemo chair again, which means that I’m sitting in my recliner, heat seat on, drugs dripping, and nurses ready to bring me snacks, drinks, and warm blankets as needed.  I’m on my summer schedule which means I get treatment on Wednesdays at the main office, and today I saw Rockstar.  We talked about a lot of things, and she takes such a personal affect with me.  We are friends, and I’m blessed to know her.  (While still within the bounds of doctor/patient, of course.)  We talked about running and camping and awesome patients.  We laughed about non-life-threatening side effects of estrogen-nuking medicines, gave thanks for a relatively good report, and reason to hope for my forty-six years.  The chemo suite in this office is less conducive to chatter for some reason, but that suits me because I have a million things I need to catch up on.

That’s what I’m finding to be the hardest about this new regimen of having roughly “two good weeks, one bad week” every cycle.  I can’t seem to figure out how to get it all done.  I’ve got less time for everything which means it’s easy to feel lonelier, more stressed, more overwhelmed, and more incompetent.  (All thoughts that I battle because I’m normal, remember?  I fight for my mental game as much as my physical health.)  The lost time means then I’ve got more mental work to do to fight the loneliness, stress, ‘whelmedness, and incompetency.  And then that too is tiring.  Cycles, right?  Cycles.  Therefore, I’m setting aside what sets me back.   I just keep reminding myself of what’s most important right now, and I do that.  That’s doing today well; I’m doing my best.

When Brad and I got married, we put a lot of thought into the words of our ceremony, vows, and marriage.  We wrote it all ourselves and we both enjoyed the process of it.  We both love academics and knowledge, and that seeps into the way we approach everything.  We’re nerds, and we like that about ourselves.  One of the Bible verses that we picked out for ourselves and highlighted during our wedding all those years ago was Hebrews 12:1-3.  One of the phrases in that verse is “…let us run with endurance the race set out for us…”  The whole passage still speaks to me and has done throughout our marriage, but lately this section in particular keeps coming to mind.

let us run“:

For me this most definitely sets a joyful tone.  Running is a happy place for me.

It’s plural.  We’re running together: as a couple, a family, a community.  Loneliness does’t exist in this team mentality.

It’s a choice, a suggestion, not a command.  I/We choose this action.  I/We are do-ers in the game; we are not on the sidelines.  It’s also a major investment of time and energy and thus other things will be sacrificed to accommodate; sacrifice is part of the deal.

with endurance“:

This implies longevity, consistency, self-control, perseverance, and sheer will.  Endurance is a quiet yet fierce story of strength.  There is power there.

I’m emboldened to strive for endurance, a quality that I would otherwise be tempted to cast aside for flashier qualities of speed, majesty, and selfishness.

the race set out for us“:

I don’t determine the course, the incline, the curves, the terrain, the length.  Nothing about it is under my control.  I am on a journey where I know not what is to come.

I know, however, that my race is regimented and overseen by God: this race, while challenging and fear-inspiring, is worth running.

Indeed, if I stop running or if I remove the joy or the strength, the real battle is lost.

It’s encouraging to me to see these words and to know that as Brad and I chose them so long ago, they are so very relevant and powerful in our current life.  As the verse indicates, I’ve chosen to run the chronic cancer race with endurance and joy.  That’s a commitment I renew often: daily, hourly, minute-to-minute.  The race is out side of our control, but we dictate our actions within it.  And there I have it: my mission of do today well re-stated and re-affirmed.

This is what I was thinking about as I went for a run this morning before chemo.  There’s something powerful about running a few hours before chemo.  It feels good to me for so many reasons: I’m investing in my body, I’m infusing joy in my spirit, and, honestly, I’m giving cancer a big F you.

I’ve been thinking and planning and praying about my dreams and goals with regard to running and physical fitness.  Thanks for the encouragement; I’ll update soon on my thoughts.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles.  And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.  Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.  –Hebrews 12:1-3


  1. Lisa Smith /

    UNREAL JEN. Every word. Get out of my head!! How did you know? This speaks right to my heart in this very moment. God bless you. Will be praying for you this week as you grapple with lost time and ‘whelmedness… which will be incessant since I share this struggle daily. Love you Jen. xoxo ps. You are amazing.

  2. Bonnie BJ /

    Oh my goodness! ! Woke up this morning with this verse on my heart. … same feelings different circumstances. I’ve been in a spiritual warfare struggle for the past number of years…… the Lord wins I know but the daily hourly struggle can be overwhelming indeed. Thank you for allowing the Lord to use you to share this vety Timely word. I’m encouraged….

  3. Katie /

    A theme in my life right now as well! I had to be hit over the head with a cinder block to slow down and “do today well”…rest, be intentional, but He’s got my attention!! I love your thoughts, your words that express how you feel, The gift of expression. I am blessed to be your friend…thanks for sharing your realness…love!!

  4. Stephanie /

    The big, big F you to cancer. And a big, big hug to you. xo

  5. Jean /

    Love this verse too – thanks for dissecting it in new ways for me this a.m. Reflecting on how grateful I am to be part of your “cloud of witnesses” – watching you run this race is a gift.

  6. DCC /

    Your running, water-skiing and daily examples of living well is the best examples I’ve ever seen of giving cancer the big double bird. Keep it up!!

  7. Julie Talford /

    Always putting a lovely twist on what life throws your way. Your words give encouragement to me and many others in our own daily lives.

    So awesome to see you 4 last week…Great surprise. Love you.