Are You Listening, Lord?

It’s sunny and 50 degrees Fahrenheit in beautiful Arizona. Yet, I’m sitting here deeply craving greater warmth. Do you ever find yourself in a space of wanting more, even though what you have is absolutely what you asked for? Yeah, me too. (I forgot to ask for sunshine and warmer weather – though I guess I already got the warmer weather part since we no longer live in the Northeast!)

I think that’s just a part of being human. We are unsettled by imperfection. Always striving for more thriving. And as Christians, it might be an even more prominent frustration – because we know that lack isn’t what we’re meant for; and there is a Kingdom beyond this one full of all the riches that will satisfy the soul.

about me
This was the last vacation I ever went on before my diagnosis with Melanoma in 2017. I remember craving sunshine then, too. My relationship with the sun is so different now – even though my Melanoma was most likely not from sun exposure, but from life with a chronic disease that leaves me more susceptible to wildness.

Oh, how hard it is to not be Home!

I heard myself whisper these words to the brilliant blue sky on my long walk the other morning. Words that I first began to say out loud to my husband during Melanoma, when awful days leaked into terrible nights into challenging days and on and on and on…

In reading Hope in the Dark these last few weeks, I still feel like it is a challenge to “not be Home” – to not be in the Kingdom of my Father where there is peace eternal. Yet, it’s here on earth that I’m learning so much. Like the idea that even though life isn’t perfect, it’s still good. And re-framing my circumstances so that when they get worse instead of better, I can respond (and increase my faith!) through awe, respect, reverence, and appreciation/gratitude.

Who knew that was even an option?!

(I’m sitting here re-framing right now, if I’m honest. Our Wild girl above is struggling immensely in school – and my response must remain gratitude for how far we’ve come. Even though my heart hurts.)

Part 1 of Hope in the Dark, what I studied last week, revolved around the idea that doubt grows us. And our God is all about growth.  (Cue chronic disease and special parenting. Growth space!) He’s also about relationship. Deeper faith and trust emerge from here… when we lean, when we listen no matter what.

Do you know what I did the least before Melanoma? Listen.

I prayed and prayed, and often heard what I wanted – but I didn’t really listen. Because God is a God of love and people. And when I returned to work part-time in 2017 (just prior to Melanoma) I was acting out of love… but not for all of His people. Truthfully, I was escaping our Wild – who does life with a severe anxiety disorder and struggles with sensory processing and who can rage in the blink of an eye… and I was tired.

God is God, and we have limits.

What He taught me through Melanoma is that He does not. I believe He used cancer to reignite my passion for motherhood, for His people who are in dark seasons of life, and for Him. The Lord let me stay; Melanoma didn’t take my life.

He was listening, even when I was not.

Six months into the Melanoma journey, I retired from ministry and came back to motherhood. Here, I continue to grow.

Wherever you’re at, I promise, you can grow too.

I’m cheering you on.

Until next time!

xox J.

Published by Jennifer Magnano

Inspired by a woman's transition into and transformation in motherhood, Jennifer is passionate about acceptance, inclusion, growth, and inter-generational mental health. Over the last decade, she has encouraged masses of mothers around the world through her writing, yoga instruction, and as an Ayurvedic postpartum doula. As a candid storyteller, Jennifer's muse is "shared-experience" with mothers and families who face diverse life challenges. She is a melanoma survivor, a chronic disease "thriver" and special needs parent. Residing in Arizona with her husband Scott, they raise two miracle kids, a future therapy dog named Mya, all the edible plants, and hundreds of worms on a perfectly imperfect, tiny piece of desert land.

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