Archive for August, 2016

How I’m Doing

By Kathy NickersonAugust 29th, 2016mercyNo Comments



Lot’s of wonderful people have been asking how I’m doing, and, I haven’t known excatly how to answer. If you have experienced grief, you know the process. You might be fine at this moment, and then tweny years after the funeral, the sight of a yellow pick-up on the road will send you sobbing into the kitchen. This appears to be a fairly univeral phenomenon. Yesterday, this phrase from one of my late grandfather’s  prayers came to my mind:

“Please reconcile us to the changing scenes of this life.”

But, this time, I was surprised that it made me think of reconciling my bank statement. I wondered what that had to do with the deep grief of losing my father or the universal angst of watching my grandchildren grow up so fast. So, I researched the word. Reconcile has several meanings

1. to restore friendly relations between.- As in the beautiful gospel message of Jesus coming to make the only way back to a perfect God for His completely imperfect children.

2. to cause to co-exist in harmony.

I’ve always thought my grandfather’s prayer sort of encompassed this second one. I will be forever sad that my father has died. I will miss him deeply until I see him again in Heaven or on the new earth someday. But my grief can co-exist with the joy of watching my grandson throw a perfect pass down the football field without getting sacked. I can hold my father’s memory in a sacred place while I scream and shout and dance in the stands as the receiver eats up ground to score a touch down. And when I feel tears pouring down my cheeks, they will be a mixture of the still-fresh sorrow and the oh-so-proud love that co-exist in harmony. Sometimes, I won’t be able to tell them apart.

But then, I saw the third meaning:

3. to make one account consistent with another, especially allowing for transactions begun but not yet completed.

Transactions begun but not yet completed. This takes us beyond harmony. I’m not asking God to just make me able to stand the pain. I’m not asking him to lay grief and joy on a scale and balance them out so I have some kind of bearable emotion in life. I am asking Him to teach me how to handle the grief, the pain, and the trouble by knowing this: Some transactions have begun that are not completed yet.

Jesus knew this when He went to the cross. The Bible says, “for the joy set before Him” he endured the pain.

When everyone around Him thought the world was ending, Jesus knew the transaction had only begun.

I am going to hold onto that truth while the scenes of life keep changing around me. And, I’ll probably still cry now and then.

So, how are you doing?


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When She’s Sixty-Four

By Kathy NickersonAugust 1st, 2016family, happy endings, mercy1 Comment
Felicity, Serenity, Charity

Serenity in the center with her sisters Felicity on the left and Charity on the right. 

Our daughter, Serenity, is celebrating a milestone birthday this year. I shan’t tell you which one, and if you try to guess you will probably miss by a mile. Oh, the stories I could tell you about this girl not wanting to grow up. But I’m saving those for when she becomes a famous author and some Big Name Magazine offers me an indecent amount of dollars for the childhood secrets.

But, in honor of this year’s achievement, I will tell you another story.

When Serenity was first diagnosed with cancer, I went into some kind of shocked denial. She says in her book The Thank You Room that I was all kinds of brave that first day. But I think I was in shock. And, mothers in shock just react and do whatever needs done to keep everyone breathing. Later, within minutes or maybe days, I faced the monster and walked all the way to the end of days with him in my mind. And, it was terrifying.

She was pregnant when we got the diagnosis. With their third son. So, for seven months we could do nothing but wait. And let our imagination do horrendous things whenever it got a chance to run ahead of us. “Don’t look this up on the Internet!” we warned one another.

But there was no need to look anything up. The specialist had given us enough horrifying facts. Like this one: “If  you need chemo and refuse it, you will die before you could deliver the baby anyway.”

Comforting words.

But, then, he decided chemo wasn’t the best course of therapy after all. So, we waited. And Jake was finally born all healthy and strong. We wept. We thanked God. We may even have danced a little for those first seven days.

Then, we went to the imaging center for the PET scans that would tell us if the cancer had traveled anywhere during those months of incubation. I fed Jake his first-ever bottle while Serenity submitted her body to the tests. It felt as if we had been holding our collective breath for seven months, praying the cancer would not spread to her lungs or her brain as it was known to do. Now, these last two hours were the longest wait of all.

When Serenity finally came out of the room, she said, “Well, the doctor didn’t say a lot. He mostly told me the radiation I’m going to have may give me a little arthritis in that shoulder when I’m in my sixties.”

Serenity in Her Sixties.

Those were the most beautiful words I had heard in the past seven months. Maybe in forever. Serenity in Her Sixties. An age that stretched far, far away on that cold, January day. And, here was a specialist telling us she could get there. She could live that long and be bothered by pesky old arthritis. What a wonderful problem to face. I wanted to kiss him.

I think about that statement every time Serenity has a birthday now. Sixty is still decades away. And she is healthy and strong and gorgeous despite a few more tussles with cancer.

And a little arthritis isn’t going to bother this girl. She has so many more stories to tell.

Happy Birthday to Serenity Beth. And may you, Dear Reader, find your own happy words to hold onto today.



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