To Live In the Not-Knowing

Feb 24, 2014

I did everything I could to prevent it. But, in the end, it didn’t matter.

Thursday I had a regular check-up with my cancer surgeon. The one who performed my surgery in 2010 and the one I’ve seen every two months since. As of December, I’ve been cancer-free for three years.

Which is why I never again wanted hear these words: “Michele, I think we need to do another biopsy.”

My heart sunk when she told me. It’s what I feared, what I’d tried so hard to avoid. I didn’t want to go back in time, to relive those days and months all over again.

But no amount of wishing and wanting changed the reality of what was.

So now, I wait. Life hovers.

This not-knowing place is all too familiar. It’s a place with which every survivor is well-acquainted. A space between suspicions and answers, between illness and wholeness. Results will come sometime this week, I know this. And I also know there is nothing I can do in these days-that-stretch-like-years in between.

Before I continue, let me be clear about one thing.

This post is about far more than cancer.

You know this, right? I always hesitate before I say that dreaded six-letter word. It has a way of stealing attention from what truly matters, of hijacking the heart with much fear and trembling. So please hear me when I say this:

We all have our cancers. That God-awful not-knowing space that shreds us with worry and steals our peace.

The adult child who left home without looking back.

The marriage on the brink of a dissolution.

The church that might close its doors.

The struggling child who may never be “whole.”

The once-precious friendship that flounders.

The financial predicament without a solution.

The mental illness that scares you to death.

I’ve lost count of my not-knowing spaces. These are the places I most dread, when I have neither answers nor control. It is here I’m faced with the truth that everything safe and familiar could change by this time tomorrow. A painful limbo, a long stretching between what is and what will be.

“If only I could snap my fingers and make this go way …” I said those words only a moments ago, through tears while my husband wrapped me up tight. There’s a real grief that comes with not-knowing, and I won’t pretend otherwise.

But life doesn’t have to end in the middle of it. It’s possible to laugh, dance and celebrate all the goodness of this life, even knowing it could change tomorrow.

Maybe especially then.

For me, I’ve decided this: I will not put my joy on hold. I will not wait for the phone to ring before I decide to laugh and dance. It’s a cost I’m not willing to pay. Instead, I choose to live.

If you’re hovering in a not-knowing space, I’m with you in it. If you’re not, you will be, soon enough (sorry to disappoint you). So what do you do when you get there? How do you keep living when your world has stopped?

Tell yourself the truth. Fear thrives on three lies: (1) I am alone, (2) I am powerless, (3) I am without hope. In the absence of answers, fear fills in the gaps. Instead, tell yourself the truth: You are never alone. God’s power thrives in impossible situations. And there is always, always hope. 

Don’t get ahead of the calendar. This is a tough one for me. Somehow I think by worrying I can wield control. As if anticipating what might come next week or next year will help me cope with it once it happens. This is a lie. Worrying about tomorrow only serves to rob you of today. Instead, take each day as it comes. No less, no more.

Take stock of all the goodness. Even in the not-knowing, there is good to be found. The smile of a friend. The kindness of a family member. The warmth of the sun. The touch of a hand. The world may be collapsing around you, but beauty is hidden in the rubble. Reach for it, like treasure. Then, write it down. The person anchored in upheaval is the one determined to dig up the gold.

Allow yourself to be loved. Did you read that? It’s okay to lean on someone else in your not-knowing place. It’s okay to say, “I’m weary,” “I’m scared,” or “I don’t know what to do.” Say it outloud. Write a blog post. Allow someone who loves you to hear the truth of your heart. Only then is the burden shared. Only then does the waiting place become a haven of relationship.

What is your not-knowing place? Go ahead, share it. We can help you carry the load. 

91 Comments

  1. Kelli Wommack

    Michelle, I am praying for you! I know this “not-knowing” place all two well as I have faced cancer twice with my mom and once with my dad. It is a fearful place indeed – but also a place for growth and learning. That place can lead you to a greater trust in God, a deeper relationship with another, and a love for life like never before. But… you know that. May God of the known overwhelm you with Himself as you wait in the unknown.

    Reply
    • Michele Cushatt

      Although I wish you didn’t “get it,” it’s comforting to know you do, Kelli. And yes, you’re right … the learning that happens here is RICH.

      Reply
    • Ann

      Needed to read this today…thank you! My not-knowing is my husband’s employment…he has been out of work for 13 months. We moved here for a job that he lost after just one year…I grow fearful the minute I take my eyes off the Lord. I just need to remember that God sees all of it…he knew before we moved here what would happen and he has a plan for us. Thank you for blessing me…praying for you!

      Reply
      • Michele Cushatt

        A tough place to be, Ann. I understand that fear. Thank you for sharing your story here.

        Reply
  2. Linda Lochridge Hoenigsberg

    Michele,
    I too know this “not knowing” space all too well. I have to have an MRI of my brain every year and in-between every strange symptom takes me back to those days when I did not know if I would live (two neurosurgeons had told me I had about one year, back in 2006). I have no doubt of the grace that is on you right now…God pours it on when we go through these times, and I can tell by your writing he’s pouring it on you. I found this verse this morning…”They will have no fear of bad news; their heart is steadfast, trusting in the Lord.” Psalm 112:7. But the Lord also knows our humanness, so he provides comfort from others. I am praying that your heart is filled with comfort today.

    Reply
    • Michele Cushatt

      I know you do, Linda! Your joy and courage is so inspiring to me. Did you know that? Every time I read one of your comments or posts, joy and hope oozes from you. Thank you for all the many ways your presence in this life strengthens mine.

      Reply
      • Linda Lochridge Hoenigsberg

        Thank you so much for telling me that, Michele. I do have joy…and I know the source of it. ;o)

        Reply
  3. Mel @ Trailing After God

    We have a couple. Our oldest son who is giving us issues and it makes me sad. He’ll be 18 in 6 months and I worry about him just walking out the door then and not coming home. I just keep praying for him all the time. He will eventually grow-up and mature and realize our rules weren’t that awful. Second, we are in the waiting game of seeking and pursuing moving to Haiti as missionaries. We leave end of April, my husband and I, for the first time in 20 years together, by ourselves to go to Haiti. We’ll be working at an orphanage that we’ve been asked to come run in Haiti. That will be the trial. I wouldn’t call it a cancer 🙂 but it’s exciting and scary at the same time! Been praying for you through out the weekend as you await your results. Hugs to you!

    Reply
    • Michele Cushatt

      Oh, Mel. How I understand your first one! Those almost-eighteen-year-olds will be the death of us. 😉 And moving to Haiti? I’ve been there twice, left part of my heart there I think, so I know what a major consideration this it. Exciting and scary at the same time. Yes.

      God, give Mel and her family great wisdom and peace as they follow you! And for their boy … whew. God you know how much I understand. Do whatever it takes for him to know you, love you and follow you. Lower a blanket of peace over the turmoil.

      Reply
  4. tracey solomon

    My whole life is a not knowing place….my husband has been in treatment for advanced prostate cancer for a lost 3 years— we- don’t know what will happen- or when. I’ve had 3 neck surges during the same period of time because my body is weird and may never be right…I’m in the very long process of either begin diagnosed with lupus or not…. we don’t know. My in-laws are both recovering from health challenges that are making the whole family face the unknown of planning for their future….I have kid issues that I don’t have answers for ….. just love…

    and I’m waiting on a book proposal that’s in the netherworld of waiting….

    It’s not comfortable. But its also- not awful… today, anyway. Today I’m trusting in the only known that is the center of my unknown life… God.

    But dang.. I wish he’d send me some tips or tricks or a cheat sheet or some answers….maybe just 1?

    Reply
    • tracey solomon

      and apparently I can’t type and I don’t know why…. oopsy;P

      Reply
      • Michele Cushatt

        Perhaps you can’t type because YOU’RE LIVING IN CHAOS. Haha. I can’t type either, so it’s all good. 😉

        Reply
    • Michele Cushatt

      And how, exactly, are you still standing?!?! 😉

      What a load. Multiple loads. Thank you for sharing it here, my friend. It’s my honor to do this crazy, unexpected life with you.

      Reply
  5. Kelly Combs

    I love you. I care about you. I will pray you. That is all I can say.

    I know that awful place. I know what cancer can do to those I love. I know what the in-between time is like first hand. I know the love of God – and the hope of Christ. Those last 2 things carry me during all the other things. I pray that they will carry you too.

    Reply
  6. Rick Theule

    “We all have our cancers. That God-awful not-knowing space that shreds us with worry and steals our peace.”
    Yes. Yes we do. Thank you for sharing your own “not-knowing space” with us this morning. And Michele, thank you for reminding me to keep moving through my own space. I will share my fear with someone today because of your courage to hit “publish”. Thanks.

    Reply
    • Michele Cushatt

      Yes, Rick. Onward. Fear dissolves in the sharing of the load. And if it returns tomorrow or the next day, do it again. And again. And as many times as necessary. I’ve had a bit of experience with pesky fear. 🙂

      Reply
  7. Ilesha

    My dear friend, many prayers for you! Thank you for being so real, so transparent. Thank you for also reminding us to not put our joy on hold. I tend to do that! I’m not facing anything life-threatening, but I am in a place of “not knowing” & I needed this today. I’m so thankful that God has allowed our paths to cross.

    Reply
    • Michele Cushatt

      MANY times the non-life-threatening spaces are far more terrifying than the life-and-death ones. A living “death,” and it can suck the joy right outta this life. With you.

      Reply
  8. Lisa J Schuster

    Michelle,

    I can relate so much to the waiting and wondering when I was diagnosed with thyroid cancer last summer. My checkups burst open the emotions of fear, worry and a questionable future. But we must willfully surrender to letting God take it all for good. I pray that you keep finding joy and dance no matter what the outcome. God bless you!

    Lisa

    Reply
    • Michele Cushatt

      Those dang check-ups. 🙂 My blood pressure and pulse rate would automatically skyrocket the moment I walked in the building. Getting better, but I’ve had 3+ years of practice. Haha. Thanks for sharing both your story and encouragement, Lisa.

      Reply
  9. Michelle Carson

    Dear Friend… As I read your post, I am sitting here at chemo with another dear friend…Dawn. As I read your post aloud to her it has ministered to us both!!! It has brought about the truth about fear and the unknown…the not knowing place…we are there!! We are praying for you and for God to give you complete peace and of course complete healing. We understand the not knowing place but even greater than that I have learned, through Dawn’s illness, to choose to live each day regardless of life’s circumstances….not always an easy choice.

    Reply
    • Michele Cushatt

      I read your comment to my Troy. We were both so encouraged. Thank you for your sweet friendship, Michelle. How grateful I am that our paths crossed little over a year ago! And DAWN, I’m cheering for you from Colorado! Live, girl. LIVE! God’s got this!

      Reply
      • Dawn Bratton

        Girlfriend, I am telling you what I know: God has got this, God LOVES to thrill us =), and prayer works! The past few days I have felt so unsettled, my Oncologist was leaning towards stopping my chemo because of some side effects that are possibly permanent. I had no peace with stopping. I had been praying that if stopping was the right thing that God would give me peace about it, if not He would not. I had my precious prayer warriors praying too. Today was the day, I had to make a decision, possibly being crippled or possibly facing cancer again. At the perfect time, the prayer warriors started and although, I did not know how busy they were, my mind cleared, peace came over me and I knew what to do. I did not have peace quitting because now is not the time. Then the texts, calls, and visit from the wandering chemo preacher began to come in, and I became 100% confident, I was THRILLED =). I am praying for you my precious friend, God is still working!

        Reply
        • Michele Cushatt

          !!!!!!!

          This makes me so happy, Dawn! Oh how He loves us!

          Reply
  10. Carrie Wilkerson

    Michelle…praying with you…and certain that I can relate…we live in so many not-knowing places as adoptive and foster mommas, as ministers to other women, as wives, parents and friends.

    Lifting you up. Celebrating your joy.

    Reply
    • Michele Cushatt

      Yes, yes, yes. That foster/adopt place is one with which I’m familiar as well. So much limbo, so much unknown. I know you understand first hand. Thank you for sharing your courage with me, Carrie!

      Reply
  11. Jenny Mosier

    Bookmarking this to send to all those concerned friends & friends-of-a-friend who come to me during the wait. SO well said. Cancer is heinous, awful, deadly. But before it, I don’t know that I KNEW how to live. I don’t know why that is. I know lots of people who life amazing lives (physically) cancer-free. But for whatever reason, God knew that was my catalyst to slingshot me into the life He had for me, beyond yet in the midst of the one we see around us. It is ALL in His hands. Nothing surprises Him. I need to have it all ripped away to completely put myself in HIS care instead of my own control (and I still tend to take it back! I’m not the brightest crayon in the box!).

    Still praying for you that this biopsy is an absolute fluke. I wish I could hug you from Indiana!!!

    Jenny

    Reply
    • Michele Cushatt

      LOL. I’m not the brightest crayon in the box either. I always seem to need to learn these lessons the hard way. Why is that?! Your life is such a source of inspiration and courage for me. I’m oh-so-grateful for you. Hugging you back from Colorado.

      Reply
  12. Dana Rhodes

    This made me cry. These are not just words, I love you

    Reply
  13. lisa tindal

    My anxieties seem minimal in comparison. Still, they are mine and they can paralyze me at times. Thank you for this beautiful story.

    Reply
    • Michele Cushatt

      Don’t underestimate the significance of your anxieties, my friend. Even a termite can take a house down given the right circumstances and time. Whatever is troubling your heart is worthy and valid and powerful. With you.

      Reply
  14. Jill Farris

    Michelle,
    You choose joy? That choice is a choice for life! Just like the words of Joshua, God has put before you several choices. You can’t choose what’s happening with your body but you can (by God’s grace) choose what you will do with your mind, spirit and heart. You choose to glorify Him.

    I am sure you have those awful moments worrying about your children. Choosing joy in the midst of pain and sorrow is a great gift to them. They see your weakness and they see Christ glorified in it ( 2 Corinthians 12:9). It doesn’t mean you’re perfectly strong and artificially smiley, it just means you are continuing to walk with Jesus through the valley. Thank you for encouraging me today.
    Hugs from Washington state.

    Jill (mama of 8)

    Reply
    • Michele Cushatt

      Yes, thoughts of my children seem to always been front and center. But in the past three years, I discovered more peace with that regard as well. God loves them even more and better than I do. What a relief! Thank you, Jill.

      Reply
  15. Tammy

    Michele, still praying for you! I am a friend of your mom and dads. So, many years ago they were my youth leaders and Eastview Christian Church. They made such a big impact on my life. I too and fighting cancer. I also pray for your dad daily! No matter what the news we all know who has our back. God! This is were the real test begins. Will we live our faith and trust in him. Easy to say that until it’s something big that could impact our whole life on earth. Prayers for patience and comfort during this time and good outcome!

    Reply
    • Michele Cushatt

      “This is where the real test begins. Will we live our faith and trust in Him?” Such a powerful and necessary question at times like these. I say YES.

      Reply
  16. Nancy@ThereIsGrace

    Michele, a friend forwarded this post to me because of the battle I am currently fighting with cancer…again. I know, too well, the not-knowing places! Your words are so familiar, and so empowering and encouraging at the same time. My favorite: “God’s power thrives in impossible situations. And there is always, always hope.” Yes, and amen! That is true today and will remain true! Praying for you…for peace and for good results.

    Reply
  17. Tor Constantino

    Michele,
    Your faith and strength are inspiring! This powerful post is a must read for anyone facing uncertainty in its manifold forms.

    I was particularly blessed by your the passage, “…In the absence of answers, fear fills in the gaps. Instead, tell yourself the truth: You are never alone. God’s power thrives in impossible situations. And there is always, always hope.”

    Thanks for setting the pace for faith!

    Reply
  18. Stu McLaren

    Whamo. Did you get that?

    That was a big ol Canadian hug coming your way.

    If we were near each other I’d take you out for some chicken fried chicken 😉

    Thinking of you.

    Reply
    • Michele Cushatt

      … And I would order a salad, ignore it, and eat off of your plate.

      Thank you, friend.

      Reply
  19. Leslie

    Beautiful words from a beautiful heart. Thank you. I will be praying that the Lord will once again heal you and I praise God that you wrote this and that I read this today. I needed it…

    Reply
    • Michele Cushatt

      I’m sorry that you “needed it,” Leslie. I know what that means. But I’m so glad we’re in the not-knowing together.

      Reply
  20. Judith Robl

    There have been a lot of the Not-Knowing spaces in my life. What you said so resonates with me. During one of those times, someone said to me, “You’re so strong. I don’t see how you do it.”

    And the answer is I know where to lean, on the everlasting arms of God. I don’t have to know if I know that He knows. But He does know, and He has a plan for these spaces. That is the strength and encouragement that keeps us looking strong in the Not-Knowing spaces.

    Bless you for writing this post. Thank you.

    Reply
  21. Ginger

    You have no idea what this post means to me. I feel like I have been in this place for the last 14 months. It’s an indescribable place filled with so much unknown. As I long for the normal things in life they are not mine to be had at this point and only God knows when “normal” will return, if there is such a thing. You have written what my heart has been feeling for so long. I’ve wanted to blog about it, but so much pain comes through that I just sound bitter or angry and that is not what I want to convey. If I sugar coat it I’m lying. Thank you for using your words to share my heart. ~The grandma of a little baby boy who is 14 months old with 1/2 of heart. You can read about him here in the words of him momma. http://www.beatsforbeckham.com

    Reply
  22. Rebekah

    To live in the not knowing is to learn to rest in His faithfulness. It’s been all my life as I am a childhood caner survivor. I was three when diagnosed and it never leaves you alone. Ever. But God! He is greater than any cancer. This is not our home anyway so we groan for Him and one day we will be made completely well.
    Oh, I know fear. But He is faithful.
    I know worry. But He is worthy of our trust.
    I know sickness. But He is sovereign over all.
    You are brave to share in this pain. And I am thankful that you have your husband to lean on at this time.
    I pray that you will know His real comfort in this not knowing time and His power to endure whatever may come to be known.

    Reply
    • Michele Cushatt

      But GOD! You are brave and courageous, Rebekah. What a powerful testimony you are LIVING. Thank you for sharing a piece of your story hear. I am encouraged.

      Reply
  23. Janna FitzGerald

    I pass your house every day on the way home from work—today I was inspired to lift you up in prayer and now I know why. I will continue to pray for strength and healing. Your thoughts inspire me to keep living and keep filling my life with joy. I am watching a friend deal with the “there is nothing else we can do” diagnosis and I am inspired by her whole family as they embrace these last few months seeking all the joy she can find.
    Prayers coming your way
    Janna

    Reply
    • Michele Cushatt

      I love picturing you driving by my house and praying, friend. THANK YOU.

      Reply
  24. Cindy Krall

    Michelle~Thanks for the inspiring words of wisdom…please know you are being prayed for.

    Reply
  25. elaine @ peace for the journey

    I am at such a place this evening. Tomorrow, I head to my oncologist’s office to discuss some recent concerns with him. There has been fear in recent days. How grateful I am to run across your post tonight. These are the words I needed to hear.

    There is no fear in Father God’s eyes. Tonight my eyes are locked with his.

    peace`elaine

    Reply
    • Michele Cushatt

      Those doctor’s appointments can really stir up the fear again, can’t they? Ugh. “True love casts out all fear.” The Father loves you more than you can imagine, Elaine. Don’t be afraid. With you. ~M

      Reply
  26. Julie

    Michelle, you are so beautiful, inside and out and I am sending such positive thoughts and wishes for you to hear the best outcome. Thank you so much for sharing your truths, feelings and life with us with such heartfelt wanting for us all to grow and become better people. Please reach out for anything any of us can do for you. And I hope you do have a joyful week, it’s a lesson for all of us.

    Reply
  27. Ruth

    Thank you.

    Reply
  28. Sarah Beckman

    always blessed by your humble obedience and courage to share. Praying with you. Loving you is a privilege for many, praying for you even more.

    Reply
  29. Lori McCary

    Thank you for this beautiful post! We have been living in the “not-knowing” for over two years with our 9 year old daughter, as she dies of a failing heart… hoping for a heart transplant in time! And yet another must die for her to live. I can hardly get my arms around such “not-knowing”, and yet it has taught us all more than we could possibly learn any other way! We are embracing LIFE… every drop of it! How I wish I had known long ago, how “not-knowing” can change your soul in so many beautiful ways! Prayers for your journey and mine.. That Jesus be glorified through it all!

    Reply
    • Michele Cushatt

      THIS brought me such courage and inspiration, Lori. Thank you for being brave, to LIVE in the not-knowing and to share a piece of your difficult-yet-beautiful story. You impacted many lives today simply with this comment. My heart is with you!

      Now Father, I pray for this beautiful family. For Lori’s 9-year-old baby girl, deliver a miracle God! A powerful, inexplicable, glorifying miracle! Give her mama peace and joy while she waits, and reassurance that you love her girl even more than she does. We believe, God!

      Reply
  30. kriss

    I too know this place. Though it seems more trivial and selfish than yours. I know the feeling because I was told if I wait to long to have children ( even a year) I may never have kids because my eggs are degrading fast because of my PCOS. I have always wanted biology kids and the thought of never having them scares me.

    Reply
    • Michele Cushatt

      Not trivial at all, Kriss. Your fear is valid and significant. I would feel the same! Thank you for sharing it with us here. With you.

      Reply
  31. Maureen McKee

    Dear Neighbor, I know only too well that place. When Kelley was first diagnosed, I woke up in a hotel room, laid there, and said, “Dear God, make this a bad dream” We fought a good fight for 4 years. It brought us all closer, through the tears, bargaining with God, (doesn’t work). then the big bomb shell, one year ago Dave was diagnosed with ALS. Kelley past in October and Dave is getting worse. I read my devotionals ev ery day and I have come to this conclusion. We are a blessed family. We have been given the gift of time to make amends and say all that we want to say to our loved ones. Some people dont get that opportunity and have regrets. We are blessed by our families, friends, neighbors, the check out clerk at the grocery store who gives me a hug every time she sees me. We are here on earth for a purpose. My purpose now is to make sure Dave is well taken care of and know that we all love him. We are not perfect, we have had a big share of problems, but in the end, we have all come together in God’s name for Kelley and Dave. I pray for you Michele every day.

    Reply
    • Michele Cushatt

      Your courage and attitude (and faith!) are inspiring, Marlene. I’m honored to be your friend and neighbor.

      Reply
  32. Tracee

    Unknowns suck. I feel like i live my life in the what the heck places! People say waiting is a season, but happens when waiting is a way of life? I see more now that the unknowns, in-betweens, not yet’s, are you kidding me, and “really God?” is a place where my own ability comes to the intersection of faith in him. I think that life is up to me too often. Stupid illusion of control.

    Waiting it is. I sit here, welly eyed, filled with waiting to see what happens with the unknowns of friendships, changes, and his gentle process of restoration in me. Life is the process of processing.

    Reply
    • Michele Cushatt

      Haha. I live in the “what-the-heck?!” places, too. Nice to know I have one of my favorite friends sharing that space with me. I know how hard it is, a place of wrestling and agonizing and trying to figure it out. I’ve come to believe we put far too much stock on “figuring it out.” The secret is in finding a calm without the answers. Most of these not-knowing places are beyond unraveling. Instead, the biggest test of our dependence and faith is in reliquishing our need to know. Whew. Easier said than done. Love you, T.

      Reply
  33. Kathy Carlton Willis

    Michele, your article is power-packed with so much of the same stuff that’s whirling around in my head and heart right now. You would think I wrote it, but I didn’t. It reminds me of one of my favorite Bible verses. “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind,” 2 Timothy 1:7 (NKJV). My thoughts? When we are worried and afraid, paralyzed by fear, we think we are powerless (but God has all the power we need), we feel alone and unloved (but God has all the love we need), and we feel like we are losing our minds (but God can give us a sound mind). Your article encourages us all to celebrate today no matter the trial. Thank you!

    Reply
  34. shari bangsund

    Fantastic, thank you so much!

    Reply
  35. Lori

    I needed to hear that today. Thanks for sharing your heart and being willing to be transparent.

    Reply
  36. Kandy

    I have an entire forest of not knowing places. My youngest child was born with Down Syndrome and also has Type 1 diabetes. My life revolves around fighting the good fight for her. This doesn’t allow me to work outside the home… so money is now at an all time low. I don’t think I will ever be able to keep up. Bills scare the hell out of me …. I actually panic when the mail man walks down our driveway. The only family I have left in my life is my husband and 4 daughters…1 has disowned me without really telling me why. I’ve asked….she won’t answer. I’ve said that I’m sorry….she won’t respond. I never thought that I would ever ever EVER feel this alone in my lifetime…. but, I do. I no longer have close friends or neighbors. I don’t know where to turn. So, I sit in my forest and hope for better days. Thank you for listening……

    Reply
    • Michele Cushatt

      Kandy. What a story. Of course you feel fear. And exhaustion. Even panic. You’re facing so many not-knowing places. I wish I could remove your burden! The best I can do it to share it, to let you know that you are far more brave and strong and inspiring than you can possibly realize. Keep living, girl. I’m with you.

      Reply
  37. Chance

    Michelle, This may be the most beautiful and potent use of a blog I’ve ever come across. What incredible honesty. What human faith – what wisdom. Thank you for your vulnerability. May this post travel the world over, finding the heart of every single one who needs it.

    Thankful it found me tonight.

    “…but beauty is hidden in the rubble.” Perfect.

    Chance

    Reply
    • Cindy

      I agree with you, Chance. Well said. Thank you!

      Reply
  38. Donna Zaglaniczny

    Writing to give you hope. My family and I were told I had six months after being diagnosed with 4th stage lung cancer that had spread to my hip. They replaced my crumbled hip and started radiation and then the dreaded chemo. It worked for awhile and then stopped and another tumor appeared behind the initial one in the lung. They did radiation again on the lung. This was in November of 2008. It’s now Feb. 2014 and I have been told I have no evidence of disease. There is always hope. My advice is the same as yours…..live each day to the fullest with a positive attitude and PRAY to God daily for His mercy, love and strength. My prayers will be for you each day. Stay strong and positive.

    Reply
    • Michele Cushatt

      Sounds like God did a bit of “showing off” in your life. 🙂 Love it when he does the “impossible!” Thank you for sharing your joy-filled story, Donna! You give me courage and hope.

      Reply
  39. Terri Soelberg

    CANCER–I hate that word. My mother has dozens of aunts, uncles, cousins, and a brother who have died of various kinds of cancer. She has had ovarian cancer for 8 years, my sister passed away 10 years ago of cancer, another sister had a double mastectomy 2 years ago for a breast lump. She is BRCA 2 positive, as am I, and have resigned myself to the fact that I will get cancer sometime in my lifetime but I am taking a proactive approach and have exams/MRIs/mammograms every 3 months. I pray that some kind of cure will be found before my daughter, who is also BRCA2 positive, gets older. God bless you and thank you for the uplifting words.

    Reply
    • Michele Cushatt

      Cancer is heinous. I can’t wait for the day it’s eradicated, once and for all. In the meantime, we fight together to LIVE even in the not-knowing. Thanks for sharing your story, Terri. I know it isn’t easy living it, but you give others courage.

      Reply
  40. Louanne Parker

    Moving, and timely- thank you

    Reply
  41. Marty Spicer

    Very lovely thoughts. This is what the great spiritual folks of every generation live by. Today is really all we have. Thanks for reminding me to make the best of it!

    Reply
  42. Susan

    My thoughts and prayers are with you out here in Wyoming.

    Reply
  43. Leah Ann Crussell

    My heart is one with yours in prayer right now, dear Michele. May your blessing be doubled and your burden be lightened by sharing this news with all of us who love you. YOU are a treasure. You’ve once again placed the focus during this ‘waiting space in time’ on our Lord, who is gracious to carry us through. Keep us posted as we pray.

    Reply
    • Michele Cushatt

      You are a faithful friend and pray-er. Grateful for you, Leah Ann.

      Reply
    • Cindy

      What a great comment, Leah Ann. Thank you. God continue to bless you richy!

      Reply
  44. Jillian Black

    Michelle, my mom (Deanne Wikler) told me about you and this post. Thank you for opening up space for people to share their “not-knowing places.” Sharing does lift so much of the weight. My “not-knowing space” revolves around making a decision about an international move in the midst of tremendous grief. Last month I was six months pregnant and my baby girl (our second daughter) died in the womb. We said goodbye only weeks ago and our hearts are broken. This week my husband received orders from the Air Force and we are being asked to move to Guam this summer. I am terrified of moving to an island 6,000 miles away from home and carrying my all-too-raw grief amongst strangers. We are seriously considering turning down the move and separating from the Air Force because it just feels like too much. I have found so much strength in the Lord up until now, but feel like crumbling under the weight of such major life decisions and changes. However, I want to step up to the plate as you are, and look to truth and choose joy.

    Reply
    • Julie

      That’s a tough decision, I guess think about what’s best for you and your family in the long run. Do you really want to go? I live without any family around and it is tough. However, might be a great opportunity and a place to heal. You’ll meet whoever it was meant for you to meet to help you heal.I’m so sorry about your loss.

      Reply
  45. Julie

    Michelle, good luck with your surgery, you are blessed and you will be fine. I just want you to know how helpful your blogs are, through circumstances not similar to yours but equally distressing, we will be living in the unknowing, and even being able to define this state as “unknowing” is helping us cope. It’s a tough place to be!

    Reply
  46. Janette Faulkner

    Thank you Michelle for being honest and vulnerable. You are so right when you say that we all have cancers in our soul where worry or regret eats away at us inside. What a crucial insight. My husband left me with two little ones when we were almost 30. I spiralled down and was hospitalized 3 times with serious depression until Jesus caught me in His safety net. Then my children got saved. And we witnessed to my husband and he got saved. And we reconciled and reunited as a family. That was 22 years ago but I confess that there isn’t a day that goes by when I don’t wonder if he will leave me again. It was like the divorce was my cancer but when I got saved it went into remission. Jesus healed me because He became my Husband of husbands. He promises that He will never leave me and never never forsake me. I forgive my husband and I love him the best I can each day. But I cannot control other people’s decisions, so I am choosing to laugh and dance and sing and cry and love and write my way through one day at a time. I pray that the Lord heals you to this earth my dear sister in Christ (like I hope that me and my husband will stay together till death do us part) but no matter what I look forward to His Kingdom Come and hugging you.

    Reply
  47. Heather Thorpe

    I have a friend in the “not knowing” place as she has been asked to return to the doctor for more tests, while I told her I loved her and that God loved her, I felt like she needed more, more than I could say……. and then I remembered you Michele, and your wisdom when you walked this path. I came back to this post, and sent it to a friend….. thank you Michele…. keep writing, and I will keep reading 🙂 Love you friend!

    Reply

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Living through the middle part | The Bad at Cleaning Blog - […] On Monday, I read this post called To Live In the Not-Knowing. […]
  2. When You Don’t Get the Answer You Wanted | Michele Cushatt - […] ⬅ To Live In the Not-Knowing […]
  3. February | A Side of Yater Tots - […] https://www.michelecushatt.com/to-live-in-the-not-knowing/  […]
  4. The View Outside My Window | Michele Cushatt - […] in the last three weeks. If you’ve been following along, there’s a good chance you saw this post and this…

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Download a Preview of Michele's New Book,
A Faith that Will Not Fail

A Faith that Will Not Fail is available to order. Get a free preview of the book by filling out the form below.

Thank you! I am excited to have you on board.

Get the Video Series in Your Inbox

You'll receive one video in your inbox for 7 days.  

Done! Check your email to confirm.

Get the 7-Day Video Series Delivered to YourEmail

You will receive one video per day for seven consecutive days.

Great! Check your email to confirm.

Let's Stick Together

 By subscribing you are agreeing to receive Michele's occasional blog posts, videos and newsletters in your email. Subscribers get exclusive access to her free premium resources.

Yay! Thank you! I am excited to have you on board.

Skip to content