The New Me
The old Callan Kreidel died on April 11, 2018 -- the day she was told she had two tumors invading her chest and spine. It was sudden and she did not feel ready. Then BAM. Just like that, who she was ceased to exist and a new Callan emerged.
I am the new Callan Kreidel.
I look in the mirror and faintly recognize myself. Some parts of me are vaguely familiar, but I am different from the person who I was before all of this started. Changed. New. Reborn.
I'm starting to like this new version of myself.
I like how deeply I trust God to take care of me. It is the kind of faith that eases my soul even though my life is on the line. I like how even though I am at my most vulnerable state, I have a strength from within. It empowers me to smile and be kind even though my circumstances are quite unfortunate...and painful. I never knew I could endure so much poking and prodding. I. Hate. Pain. And blood. In fact, I've thrown up multiple times in my life at the sight of my own blood. Now, I see my blood being pouring into vials weekly. I have a collection of numerous scars too. I am walking through more pain than the old Callan would ever have been able to bear.
But me -- the new Callan -- I am strong. I know the source of my strength...and it is not me.
The old Callan knew she was beautiful partly because she had lovely curly red hair. It defined her.
Me, well, I'm bald. And somehow I can still feel gorgeous. I've fallen in love with other parts of myself. I thank God for my lips because they are one of the only features that will remain untouched from this process. Regardless, who I am far exceeds how I look -- I know that now.
The old Callan had her whole life planned out and wanted God's permission for it to unfold.
The new version of myself is starting to dream spontaneously and be content with the adventure of each day as it comes. After all, God has never been a "Here is your 30 year plan" kind of guy. Instead, He is the type to ask Abraham (and us) to "Go into the land I will show you" (Genesis 12:1). True Biblical faith is lived so dependent on God that if He does not come through or show us where to go, we will be utterly lost and ruined. I am dreaming big dreams for my life because all of the sudden I am acutely aware that nothing is guaranteed. Instead of that being a morbid burden, it feels like an opportunity. An opportunity to wildly take advantage of life each day... of living.
The old Callan was not always sure if her thoughts were good enough to share.
Now I realize that not only do I have a sweet story to share, but for whatever reason, God has given me an audience. When I speak, people want to listen. When I write, the world eagerly reads. This is both a blessing and a responsibility and I do not take it lightly.
As you read my thoughts and join me in my journey, I hope you ultimately experience Jesus. I pray that my words serve as an introduction for each of you to my best friend. His name is Yahweh. And His goodness does not depend on my present circumstances. He is always on my team and each time I walk through something hard, He is right beside me. He makes me strong. He brings me comfort. Each trial teaches me new things about Him. Each time life deters from my plan, He gently reminds me that I was never in control to begin with. Life is so much sweeter when He leads.
So here I am, the new and (hopefully) improved Callan. Thank you Cancer for initiating my metamorphosis a little quicker than anticipated.
I hope that you will graciously join me in mourning the loss of who I was and rejoice with me in who I am becoming.
Regardless if you are sick or well, each one of us is walking through some experience that is changing our very being. Mine happens to currently be cancer. Whatever yours is, I encourage you to seek God while you are in it. Don't wait. He wants to be your best friend too.
I'll close this by sharing one of my favorite verses. I repeat it over and over to myself when I am feeling anxious or burdened. It helps center me back on the one who holds my tomorrow.
"Be at rest once more, O my soul, for the Lord has been good to you." Ps 116:7
You and I both are invited to be at rest because God is good. He is good to us. Always.