counting the fruit

Counting the fruit is a new little exercise I’ve been doing since I began using the Naptime Diary. This post isn’t a plug for the Naptime Diary, but it is a plug to do this exercise daily. Because, let’s just get it out there, there are some hard days.

Days that end with a child sitting in timeout for throwing his quesadillas on the floor. The quesadillas that you made because he begged for them and you were holding your screaming newborn while making the quesadillas. And then they ended up on the floor to become food for the dog. And while this child is in timeout, you notice a puddle around his feet and see that there’s been another accident that wasn’t even really an accident. A baby’s crying, there’s food on the floor, and other messes on the floor, and it’s life.

But earlier that day, I had been texting with my mom about a trip to MD Anderson that she was excited about to explore a possible new treatment option for melanoma. (If you’re new here, you may not know that my sweet mama has stage IV melanoma.) So I wasn’t focused on my kids. I was focused on my mom which also has an element of selfishness to it because I love my mom and all I want in this world is to be with her every day.

My mom’s appointment didn’t go as she had hoped. (She is still doing the same and feeling well, but there was disappointment because the treatment option she’d hoped for isn’t available to her at this time.) And hearing such disappointment in your mom’s voice will break your heart. Can we just say that cancer sucks? I can get that on a bumper sticker, right?

So the noise in my head of worrying about and praying for my mom who was a thousand miles away in Houston mixed with the noise of my house from the above mentioned scene was just a lot for this postpartum mama’s heart.

And I cried. And I yelled. And I cleaned up messes and then hugged my little boys and apologized for yelling. I couldn’t wait to get in the bed and just sleep for as long as James Walker would let me sleep (which was, blessedly, about 7 hours.)

Yesterday morning, I got up and decided to count the fruit. The fruit? What has God been doing in my life? What is He showing me? What beautiful things are happening in the midst of the cancer storm that my family has prayed through for the past five years? What beautiful things are happening in the sweet chaos of adjusting as a family of five?

We have had five incredible years celebrating life and living life with my mama. Melanoma hasn’t stopped our family from loving each other greatly!

My mama’s courageous story has encouraged others to be their own health advocate. To research and explore and seek second opinions.

We can see God’s hand all over every part of this story. Places they’ve lived. People they’ve encountered. Lives touched. And a reminder from Him every single day that the future is in His hand and He knows the plans He has for my mama’s life.

My big boys adore their baby brother. Even if they fight with each other like crazy, at the end of the day they still have each other’s backs and they adore that sweet baby.

We are surrounded by the most wonderful friends and family who carpool and bring meals and talk through the hard things about cancer and babies and love us so stinking hard. And I’m learning to trust that, accept help, and talk to God first.

Every single day, I know that if I stop and peel the immediate struggle away from my sight, I will see the fruit. I can look a little deeper and see the beautiful, beautiful things that He’s doing in all of our lives. There is purpose in it and there is fruit.

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  1. Sdr says

    My dad was diagnosed with stage III melanoma when I was in high school–20 years ago. He was treated with surgery and then was part of a study using interferon. Miraculously, he’s been cancer free since; statistically the overwhelming odds were that he should have had a recurrence within five years.

    Because he was part of a study he goes in every year for a full day battery of tests. They test everything–and this is where it gets crazy. Ten years ago he went in as usual and his EKG was slightly different than the year before. It wasn’t even bad, but because they had so many years of data, different stands out and they immediately sent him to a cardiologist who discovered an aortic aneurism. Discovering them before they blow out is rare; if they’d done his tests even a month earlier they wouldn’t have found anything, he had surgery a week later and they told him he wouldn’t have made it even another two weeks. The dude has a lot of health issues, and realistically I know he’s not going to live to be a very old man, but my kids know their “Grumpy” and he absolutely adores them.

  2. says

    I love your sweet heart so much! I love that you aren’t afraid to be so real! I definitely had a day or two this week where I completely lost my cool and yelled, and then had to go back and apologize to my sweet boys. There are so many things to be so thankful for, and I love the idea of counting our fruit. I am adding this to my quiet time routine. Our hearts become so much more grateful when we make ourselves constantly aware of the goodness in our lives!

  3. Amber says

    I never comment but felt led to today. Our boys are around the same ages and it was so encouraging to hear your real life today. Thank you for sharing and encouraging me to count the fruit. Sending up prayers for your sweet mama.

  4. says

    Thank you for sharing this. It’s so true. There are hard days. And hard circumstances that extend well beyond just days. But there is also, always so much fruit. Thank you for your example of faith and for this sweet reminder. Adding your mom to my prayer list.

  5. says

    I’m sorry your family is dealing with cancer. It’s awful and I’m so sorry. I love that you’re consciously trying to make every day a fruitful one.

  6. says

    This was very encouraging! When life gets crazy, it important to remember God’s blessings and to remember that even the craziness is a blessing from Him. I want to remember to do that next time I get too consumed with myself and take my focus from God. Thank you!

  7. Kelly says

    Is the treatment she’s trying to get on either the CTLA4 antibody or the PD-1 antibody? Both are great possible options if she’s eligible, either with or without the BRAF drug if she hasn’t tried that yet.

  8. Alex says

    As a clinical research professional in the cancer field I will concur that cancer does suck. It’s a valiant fight that too many people fight. I have been reading your blog (I love your style!) for a while and felt compelled to message you about research with immunotherapy for melanoma. I obviously don’t know your mom’s personal medical history but if you haven’t looked into this yet–please look at Mayo Clinic Arizona, Dr. Sekulic, and Keytruda. Many prayers your way! There is hope out there!

  9. says

    So much YES! I have been so convicted to document 3 things I am thankful for each and every day, since reading 1000 Gifts by Ann Voskamp. Honestly, the fruit from counting the daily fruit is unbelievable. Truly, remembering God’s past faithfulness has been life changing in the present hard and messy days. Thank you for sharing how you are seeing that truth in your life. <3

  10. Stephanie kennedy says

    I’ve been a long time reader, but I’ve never commented before. I wanted you to know I prayed for your mama today. I specifically prayed God would meet her needs today, give her strength and healing. I will continue to keep her in my prayers.
    Thank you for sharing and opening your life for others to see. I enjoy your blog and love the truth you speak. Thank you, Erin.

  11. Laurie says

    Great post because of your honesty! What helped me the most with my mother’s journey with cancer is knowing that God knew exactly how many days were the perfect amount for her life.

  12. says

    I needed this so much after the week we’ve had! It’s just comforting to hear that I’m not the only momma with rough days. And such a needed reminder to count the fruit & step back & see all that God is doing. Thank you so much!

  13. Jeannie K says

    Thank you for being real. I have a 4 year old and a 19 month old, and I’ve been worried about my mom who seems to be developing dementia. It’s hard to mother well when there are so many worries. Thanks for the reminder to look for the good things.

  14. lily says

    thanks for sharing your heart, erin. and for keeing it REALLY real. and for the reminder to count the fruit. i’ll be praying for your mom and for your sweet family. xoxo

  15. says

    I’ve followed your blog off and on for the past couple of years. This is one of my favorite posts of yours. My kids are older now, but, as a young mom like you, I remember falling into bed at night, and mentally going over the many failures of the day: the harsh words, the rolled eyes, the exasperated sighs. And then there was how the KIDS acted! 🙂

    I’ve always tried to look for the “thankful” and I think I’ve been pretty good at it. Last year, I started keeping a little notebook beside my bed, and I just wrote things down all during the day that I’m thankful for: little, simple thing…as well as big answers to prayer. It has been an amazing way to train my mind to “count the fruit.”

  16. Rox says

    What a post! I struggle daily as well with my new life with a newborn (is a seven week old still considered a newborn?) who is colicky, has acid reflux, and a milk protein allergy. There are MANY fussy days and nights, and we’re lucky to get 3 hours of continuous sleep. My mom has Stage II uterine cancer, which is fortunately in remission. So – I say all that to say that while our circumstances are different, they are also similar. So hang in there! God DOES have a plan for everyone and everything, and His fruits are ALWAYS in season!

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