Friday, October 21, 2011

"Different, but better"

Kelley says.......

When I found out about what Deryl had been doing back in February, as you can imagine, I was in shock. I was completely devastated. From the very day that I called my sister and told her what was going on she told me that she knew how bad it was and what it looked like but in her spirit she saw Deryl and I married. She said she knew God had a calling on our lives and that God hasn't changed his mind. Each and every single time, she would claim this, speak this over me.

One of the things she told Deryl and then told me later was that God was going to work this all out and that it was going to be "Different, but better" Okay, great.....that is just wonderful I thought to myself. I don't like different but better. I didn't even like the sound of it. All I could think of was well, what in the world does different exactly mean? I'm sick of different and it doesn't seem better.

Let me explain. When she said this all I could think of was the following...

  • I lost my breasts and now they are all scarred up and far from perfect......yeah, I don't think I like different, but better.
  • When I lost my hair it grew back and now I at least have hair.......yeah, still not liking different, but better.
  • I got to get chemo and reduce my chance of a recurrence but I STILL have lingering side effects.....different, but better?
  • I left Texas and all my breast cancer support team.....DIFFERENT, BUT BETTER???????
I think you get the drift. I do NOT like different but better!! But after I was done thinking totally negative about this, I went back through my life and came up with the following...

  • My boobs may be scarred and they might not look like what I anticipated but I AM ALIVE!!!!
  • My hair was indeed long, thick and very pretty before cancer but now I wear it in a style I NEVER would have worn when I was the person I was before my cancer journey! And I get more compliments on it now than I ever in my life have had on my hair.
  • Chemo side effects just suck. No one should have to go through these things. But again, I AM ALIVE!!!! AND, it helps others know I am not perfect. For a very long time, because of my determination to do well at all I do, I would come across as "perfect" to others. This always broke my heart because if only they could know the life I have had and got to know "me" as a person, they would know differently. Now that I can't always think of words or phrases that anyone else can or I totally misunderstand a simple instruction, God has shown me that people get to see right away my imperfections which takes away from what has happened in the past. What a blessing!
  • I had three amazing support groups in Texas. I didn't think I would ever find a group here. The first one I went to here was all older women and not one was my age. But the second one I found was AMAZING. I was immediately drawn to these two women and the group was huge. After the group they BOTH came up to me and told me they felt a God connection to me and wanted my contact info!! I have become very good friends with one of them. The other one was one of 11 people in the entire world that had her kind of cancer. I knew the moment I heard her story she was going to die. I felt it in my spirit. We went to lunch together and shared our testimonies. I told her my whole testimony, something I have only told to maybe 2 people, EVER. She didn't judge me for one second. Then she needed a ride home after group one night and I got to spend a while talking to her. The next 3 weeks I wanted to go visit her and we were going to get together but each week something happened. One week, she had to go have fluid taken off her abdomen, the next week was the same thing, the next week she was hospitalized. She did come home towards the end of last week but she wasn't replying to my texts or FB messages. She was an admin assistant like myself and I knew it just wasn't like her to not get back with me. I called and left her a voice mail telling her I was really starting to get worried about her and to please call me. Finally, I decided I couldn't take it any longer so I drove to her house. I got about half way there and a number shows up on my phone that I did not recognize. If I don't recognize it, I don't answer. But something told me to answer it. I did and it was her husband calling to tell me she passed away Wednesday. 

 You may wonder how something like the last one could be different, but better. But this woman was amazing. She knew she wasn't going to make it. I never ONCE heard her complain. She cried a lot because she did worry about her husband and boys. But she was at complete peace with whatever God's will was. She would post FB statuses like "Lord, please take away this pain but I am so very blessed regardless". And she meant it! Her name was Angel and I truly wonder if she wasn't really one of those "Angel's in disguise" you can read about in the bible. Anyway, when her husband called me he went on and on about how much Angel thought of me and how much I meant to her. That meant the world to me because my heart is to touch the lives of many, many women. The fact that God allowed me, Kelley McElreath, to take part of some joy in the life of this precious lady amazes me and humbles me.

Now on to Deryl. Most of this year when I thought about that phrase "Different, but better" when it came to my marriage I just couldn't picture it. Deryl and I have always had a near perfect marriage. I don't think we had ever in our marriage had fights like we have had this year. Our kid's had actually never in their entire lives seen us fight. I can't tell you how many couple's came to us just to be near us because they longed to have a marriage like ours. I actually had a MINISTER tell me that if my children had never seen us fight then we just needed to learn how to fight!!!! WHAT?!?!? What terrible advice. God has blessed me with a wonderful, wonderful man. And just because others fight like crazy in their marriage does not make mine wrong!! I had to hold onto the Deryl I married. The Deryl I knew and loved even when I couldn't stand the sight of him. I HAD to force myself to see him through God's eyes and this was not always easy. But I KNEW what kind of marriage we had and I KNEW we were obviously meant to do great and mighty things for God's kingdom or the enemy wouldn't be so persistent in trying to take us down.

Now that we are finally on the other side of all our marital trials, Deryl is a better husband than I ever knew him to be. And I have always thought he was absolutely the most wonderful husband in the world!! But now he makes time to pray, meditate and get in the word every single morning. I see the fruits of all the prayers and fasting that was done on his behalf. It is beautiful, it is amazing, it is simply wonderful. I thank God every day that he had me in a place where I was financially unable to leave him. Yes, things are "Different but boy they are SO much better"

When you find yourself down, ask yourself what is "Different, but Better" in your life?