you can call me survivor

"Yes, girl, YES!"
I thought this as I read these words:
"do you know that feeling; when you're walking through a dark time and you're wondering if hope or joy are even possible? your heart is grieving. and then you feel it--just a hint of light. the smallest ray of hope. and you hold onto it as tightly as you can."
As if someone were speaking directly to me.
As if those words were written for me.
I know the darkness and God only knows how I also know the light.  I've learned in such hard ways how to seek the light.  When the light enters I grasp for it, wrap myself around it, and hold on for dear life.

I am a survivor.  I've said these words to you before, loveys.  I know I say this repeatedly, but in my heart of hearts, my core, I know God put me on this earth to survive.

Let me take you back a little bit to why those words above penetrated my soul so deeply as I read them...

Way back for just a minute...

Back to when I was sitting in a hospital room fighting for every inch of my life and thinking to myself, "How am I going to survive this?"  I sat there in my hospital bed, scrolling through everyone else's lives, and hoping that what I was going through was just a pause.

Like in a life sentence.  A semi-colon.  And it hit me like a force...I needed to figure out how to make that part of my life just a semi-colon.  That what I was experiencing - leukemia - was not the end of my story, but just a pause...and that there was so much more to come.

Enter Lisa Leonard.

I had always admired from afar the beautiful jewelry that Lisa created.  I had met her at a blog conference years before and she left an impact on me.  She was authentic and her presence felt good...just good.  So, as I sat there in bed, I let my fingers do the talking and sent Lisa a direct message through Instagram.  I asked if there was a way that I could have something custom made...a pendant with a semi-colon.

A few weeks later, it arrived.  I felt complete wearing my necklace.  The pendant was simple but so full of meaning.  Something so easy yet brimming with my truth.  I was going to survive.  There were no words for what Lisa had done for me.  In that gesture, she filled my hope.  She gave me a glimmer of light.

And now...

Years later, three years in remission!  All the praise hands!  I survived and leukemia didn't take me away.  I'm here standing in the light.  I didn't let the dark times overtake me.

I have begun to wonder how things work out the way they are supposed to.  How you have to go through the pain to feel the healing...

Cancer tried to stop me.
People have tried to bring me into their darkness.
I have risen through my own ashes and reclaimed who I was meant to be.
No more toxic relationships.  No more pain from others' words and actions.  Only light.
All. The. Light.

So again I have to thank Lisa.

See, I reached out to her again a month or so ago.  I told her that I wanted to take a new adventure and tell anyone who will listen about my survival.  I wanted to do something new with my writing and I wanted to showcase her jewelry.  The semi-colon started it all and, because of her generosity, it was just the beginning of what my survival would look like.

MY sunburst out of the dark.

I wear it proudly to remind myself that the dark times will come, but that the light will be there afterward.  The sunburst stacking ring is now another symbol of my strength.

It says...
You can knock me down.
You can disown me.
You can let me go.

But I know I am more.  I have that sun bursting out of me.  That glimmer of hope that says,

"You can call me survivor."