When Life Hands You Lemons

You remember how much you love lemon bars. I forget about how good lemon bars are until I see them somewhere and remember that I love them.

How do I sum up the last couple of months in the lives of our little family? I have no idea. I don’t have special words or anything like that.

I know that overall, in life in general, I tend to be a very independent person. I have felt like sometimes God tries to tell me “Hey Beth, it’s okay to lean on people, and by people I mean ME and stop leaning on your own understanding!” (I’m sure He talks like that) and I largely ignore that and continue on sort of expecting that I’ll handle everything myself.  I’m super good at listening to God, obviously.  And then out of nowhere life gets really weird, weird to the extent that if I say out loud everything that’s actually going on, it feels like I’m making it up and this is Days of Our Lives or something. 

In July I had surgery to have a tumor removed from my thyroid. Recap, a tumor I only knew about because I got pregnant (after having a tubal ligation 3 years ago). Last year we had a needle biopsy and by “we” I mean “me” because I was the only one with the tumor.  Anyway, it was inconclusive so we knew after Jude was born it would come out. It had gotten larger since last year already!  So that sucker came out in July. 5 days later we found out it was cancer. So, in keeping with tradition (I’m not sure what tradition, I just wanted to say that) I had surgery one week and one day after the first one and had the rest of my thyroid removed. So I’m sitting here without my thyroid. (Also without an appendix since 2011, does that make you feel as weird as it makes me feel? I’m missing random little organs I knew basically nothing about) The good news is that thyroid cancer is super treatable when you catch it early. So these days I get no thyroid meds as we await an iodine radiation treatment in the next weeks. What that means is I’m real tired. Real. tired.

Anyhoo, back to the point. Imagine this, you are exclusively nursing this cute dude:


And then your husband has to be up with him all night for the first time ever with bottles so you can have surgery, oh and watch all the other boys too. It was good times I’ll tell ya. A friend suggested I send them this picture every time someone asked how I was doing.


But you know what? Everything was fine. The boys were fine. I had super visitors. I had people help with the kids.


Following the surgery, the coolest thing happened. A friend set up a website for people to bring us food or send us food for like 9 days. I figured maybe one or two people would do it. I’m ashamed to say that it surprised me, but every single day was covered, and people even brought groceries and food who didn’t sign up. People have sent cards and sweet little reminders that they’re praying for us. When I went into the second surgery, I was more nervous than the first one because this time I KNEW what I’d feel like when I woke up. Then I remembered so many people were praying and, true story, I felt better. It totally helped. I’m such a child that I forgot that prayer works.

People keep asking how I feel about it all and generally I’m fine. I’m a logistical worrier. I worry about my family and food and getting here and there. I worry about the increasing lethargy that has recently set in, with school starting next week (and kids at 4 different schools!) and a work fundraiser in a couple of weeks, and how I’m gonna manage that feeling so tired. Then I remember that as long as I focus on today, that’s really all I need to do. God has this. I’m not worried about the cancer part. I mean, if God’s gonna give me a miracle baby to let me know it’s there, how could I worry about the outcome of that? I feel pretty secure that it’s meant to be, whatever it ends up as.

We had VBS at church last week (life goes on you know). Our young kids are boy-heavy, so when reenacting the scene of the women visiting Jesus’ empty tomb, we had to have some substitutes.


See, even in VBS when you think it can’t work because it doesn’t look like you expected it to, it really does work. And it’s pretty good. Like a lemon bar.


16 comments on “When Life Hands You Lemons

  1. Shannon says:

    So glad these lemons are making lemon bars!

  2. Kim says:

    OH I had no idea ~I sure hope you will be feeling better soon, and less tired!
    That is awesome so many people were able to help with dinners !
    Hang in there and hope you get back to feeling like your normal self soon!!

  3. Jannie says:

    Beautifully written!!

  4. Shanda says:

    Good grief you are amazingly calm sounding, Beth. It must be the Lord! I’m so very thankful with the way He has led you through this. Baby Jude is the best part of all. I will be praying for you. My mom has hyper thyroid and I’m sure at times she wishes she didn’t have one, LOL (she’s on meds, too)….

  5. Kristy says:

    And this reminds me again how much l am thankful God put us on a plane together one time……. I am glad in a small way I get to share your lemon bars!

  6. mrswrangler says:

    I hope you recover fast. Glad your boys and your community made the experience better.

    • Julie says:

      I’m doing really well. Last scans showed I’m still stable and Dr. gave me a month off chemo so I came to MN for 3 weeks to celebrate my Mom’s 90th birthday. Let me know if there is anything I can do. I have a little experience in this area now so if you need anything just let me know

  7. Julie says:

    Beautiful. Wish I had known, we would have brought you dinner. I’m out of town now until the end of the month now (I get a short break from chemo). You’re in my prayers.

  8. I couldn’t bring you anything to eat (but I would have it we lived near) but I could have prayed…I wish I’d known to do that but it sounds like you are handling it much better than I would have. How about God’s miracles? I mean, Jude is a miracle in more than the normal way any child is a miracle (b/c of the tubal lig) and then the miracle of finding the tumor b/c of this surprise miracle pregnancy. God is awesome. You are inspiring, my friend–you really are. And..you are in my prayers as I know with all you have on yoru plate you need energy. Love to ya

  9. Rachel says:

    every time i i read about more of your story, i have more respect for you. having gone through several surgeries myself with a family at home, i know there is plenty that has to go on whether mom feels good or not…and, it IS easy to worry about all the logistics of what is your work at home, and it IS hard to sit back and let everyone else pick up the slack…but you are so right. God has this all in the bag. what a blessing to be able to rest in that.
    you are in my thoughts and prayers a lot more often than i convey.
    thank you for sharing this Beth.


  10. jennie z says:

    This brought tiny tears to my eyes. Love u. Praying for you. Sorry u have to go thro this weary, no thyroid stuff. Xoxo

  11. wildflowersp says:

    I had noticed you were pretty quiet online. This explains it! I will be praying for you.

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