Thursday, May 19, 2011


when i first began teaching - like a hundred years ago - i would get butterflies in the pit of my stomach before each class.    i was fresh out of college and teaching high schoolers only a few years younger than myself...some of which even looked a few years older than me.  yes, i was even asked once by a staff member for my hall pass.   those were interesting years.  i would spend hours each evening preparing for the next day's lesson.  researching and reading and readying my notes.  each lecture needed to be perfect.  each activity applicable.   it was a control thing, i'm sure.  i felt if i could just get my arms around all of it....if i could just make sure i left no rock unturned, no question unanswered, no thread unravelled...the day would be a success.   i took tremendous comfort and even pleasure in my prepared-ness.  i am sure pride also entered heavily into the equation.  it always does when it comes to me and my performance.  (i cringe writing that).  anyway, that was eons ago.  i haven't been in charge of a classroom in at least a century.  i loved it.  i miss it.  i also miss that Really Prepared Person.  i wonder sometimes what happened to her.   i am not sure my kids and husband would recognize her today. 

as the years have passed and the children have multiplied my level of preparation has dwindled - dramatically.  sometimes i watch myself in action now days and wonder who is this woman...and what has she done with the real jody mcnatt?  the one who worried and planned and prepared so carefully. so thoroughly.  just recently one of the kids asked me what was for dinner.  it was a stroke shy of the six o'clock hour.  my reply, "umm...i'm not sure, i haven't thought about that yet."   i pretended not to notice the hint of dismay (possibly even disgust) on this young one's face as they registered my lame answer.  "isn't six o'clock a bit late to be thinking about dinner?"  the wise child refrained from verbalizing his thoughts.   he didn't need to.  i knew.   i know.   i know motherhood requires a great ability to think plan ahead.  i do this as much as one frazzled woman possibly can.  but often i find myself more and more okay with figuring things out as we go. going with the flow.  i've noticed lately,  life seems to throw some curve balls anyway.   so as i've aged i have pretended to reinvent myself as flexible,  resilient,  easy-going.  i am a woman who knows the fine art of bending.  i bend.  i am a bender.  i have convinced myself this is the mark of maturity and wisdom and confidence....but i am afraid it has more to do with me just being worn-out,  old and exhausted.

i am very often the woman scrambling out the door in the mornings.  kicking myself in my lack of prepared-ness.  wondering why in the world i didn't think to pack a bag or a lunch or the car the night before.  i've been caught in the checkout line without my the carpool line without my shoes...and in the dinner hour without even a hint of supper.  i've been caught in a rainstorm without a car without gas...and in a frenzy with no plan.   i can't say i am proud.  but i do choose to say i'm resourceful.  i can bend.  and i do. often.  it has a lot to do with attitude.

there are some things, however, for which we really can't prepare.  cancer might be one of them.   i wasn't prepared.  it wasn't on my radar.  i wasn't watching and waiting and ready.  not one bit.  i had no plan in place. i heard the news and my first thought was, "you've got to be kidding me."  seriously.  i almost couldn't absorb it all.  it seemed unreal.  an impossibility.  surely God would have prepared me.  given me a warning - some kind of dramatic literary foreshadowing.  surely.   but it seemed not.  there it was...rain out of the blue, blue sky.  me in the midst of my running around ... and then voila! foot-sweeping news.  an unexpected blow to the gut and i, once again, felt like a woman unprepared.  a woman scrambling through the door of life with no Plan B.  no escape clause.  no evacuation route.  i spent at least a week or two in the "you've got to be kidding me" phase.  i mean i just couldn't figure it all out.  i simply wasn't prepared.

but as the weeks have gone on, my eyes have continued to open wider.  to become a bit clearer.  i am seeing things i hadn't noticed originally.  i am recognizing the marks of God's preparation.  He was very much readying me for a time such as this.  He was.  i wasn't aware of it.  i wasn't listening for it.  but it was there.  little things.  big things.  even that literary foreshadowing i mentioned above.  it was all there.   a friend pointed out one example - something i had written a few weeks prior to my diagnosis.   in my Being Still blog i posted an entry on march 25th, "moonlight and holiness"....  i write in that piece the following words...

  but what if we have to be burned?  what if we have to taste tears of pain and disappointment and even,  sorrow?  can that hot-white piercing of moonlight be good for us?  you already know my answer.  i am not pretending to like it.  i don't.  i already confessed my instinct to nestle down deeper into the soft flannel comfort of numb.  i would rather not see my dirty layers and dusty soul exposed for what they are.  with pricking and piercing comes tearing and torn.   i am not always ready for that kind of abrupt exposure.  i am hardly ever prepared for that kind of pain.  but it comes.  i cannot stop the moonlight.  i cannot secure the shutter always.  forever.  i may desire to languish deeply in comfort, but my God desires to work even more deeply in me.  His work in me is more than moonlight through the haphazardness of loose shutter.  there is no mistake in His piercing.  no accident in His pursuit.  He wants me.  all of me.  He wants the deepest recess of my heart.  it belongs to Him.  and no matter how much i yearn to pad it with the cooling items of ease, He will expose it.  there is light to be shed.  there is dirt to be seen. and there is healing to be had.

i wrote this 3 weeks before my diagnosis.  at that point cancer had not even crossed my mind.  this post came though with great conviction.  conviction that God really does bring us into the fire for our greater good.   for holiness.  for something better.  i realize this seems fraught with paradox.  it doesn't make sense.  i get that.  i certainly didn't have any idea just what He was leading me into. but read the entire moonlight piece if you get a chance.   i know some of you are reading this post and this blog and all you can think is, what kind of drugs are they feeding this woman.  no drugs.  not yet.  (that will be for next week - i plan to take them, by the way, needed or not).  i know this stuff is hard to wrap your head around.  but stick with me...there is a next chapter to all of this.  even if we don't always have the chance to read will be written.

but back to being prepared.   sometimes we are and we don't even know it.   God's timing is perfect.  i am trusting that.  i had other plans this spring.  this summer.  but He has brought me to This instead.  i am not completely sure about The Why just yet.  i might not know that answer here on earth.   but i am here.  and though i feel, at times, like that scrambling morning woman searching for her keys and shoes and sanity...i know God is leading me.  whispering to me.  calling me.  holding me.  ahead of me.  behind me. preparing me...  
preparing FOR me.

"no eye has seen,
no ear has heard,
no mind has conceived
what God has prepared
for those who love him ----"  
~ 1 corinthians 2:9


Simply LKJ said...

Beautifully written Jody. Prayers continue to go up!

Aus said...

Jody - you're cool!

And you're right....

And if I had the answers I'd share them with you and your family....

But they WILL come - promise!

hugs - prayers -

aus and co.