November farewells spring in a brilliant array of jacaranda. The blossoms are beginning to drop now. They are heavy from the heat and humidity. Moisture-saturated bonnets fall to the ground. A purple picnic blanket, carpets the lawn where the cicadas have set up their instruments for a day of song. They, like us have emerged from a year underground. Released from their captivity they sing.

“When the Lord brought back the captives to Zion, they were like men that dreamed.” Psalm 126:1

The hum of bees at work collecting nectar harmonise with the cicadas. Like a bare footed child I negotiate my way through bees and bindii on my way to my swing. Do I dare climb on it and swing carefree into the clouds again?

The dizzy brightness of the summer sun is harsh on my eyes after a year indoors. I struggle to adjust. The looming promise of 100 days brings the hope of completion of treatment and the silent fear of what remains.

Hospital is like a prison in so many ways, a sentence to be served, a place of no escape. You are allowed to leave at any time but you do so at your peril. Before you leave, you sign the form acknowledging that you do so at your own risk.

Each time before we leave I cut off the bands that labelled her wrists and ankles, returning the gowns that stripped Sam of her identity. I tuck her patient number into my wallet in case something goes wrong and I need to ring. Her patient number provides quicker access to the files. Your number is more important than your name in the hospital system. The enemy would like us to believe it’s this way with God as well.

We are relieved that for the first time all year, we have two weeks without appointments at hospital but when little blisters appear on her hands I’m already considering a return trip. It’s hard to break free. It’s hard to return from the safety of slavery. It’s hard to believe you can have freedom now.

The ‘what ifs’ are haunting me. How can I know for sure that we have escaped the sentence of cancer? I cling in desperation to God’s word. I return each week to church. I make myself vulnerable, taking my pastor’s arm and with tears in my eyes I compel him to pray. Somehow the effort of believing has worn me out. I want to relax. I don’t want to fight anymore.

Why is it hard to stand in faith after a year of miracles? Why does my heart feel stony and hard? Why do I think it will all fall apart leaving me vulnerable? Why can’t I enter His rest? Reid and I discuss all these matters as we walk the headland not far from our home. We know so many people who have become bitter, or distant or uncaring through pain. I understand why but its not how I want to be. I want redemption life to flow out of me. I want to breathe hope yet I am also afraid.

I take all this to my Father in prayer. He smiles and whispers, ‘Return to the stronghold [of security and prosperity], you prisoner of hope; even today I declare that I will restore double your former prosperity to you.’ Zechariah 9:12

I am a prisoner. I am totally reliant on Him. It’s only when I try to do the journey alone that I feel restless and afraid. It is only then that the enemy’s illustrations ring true. On those days I am like the Israelites who the Lord brought out of Egypt. I am not satisfied with healing but bitter that there has been cancer at all. I can get stuck complaining. I look at all that I do not have. I feel robbed of a year of my life. Yet God allowed the slavery of the Israelites, He allowed Leukaemia, He knows what we are facing.

Hebrews 3:7-11 ‘The Holy Spirit says ‘Today if you hear His voice will you harden your hearts, as it happened in the rebellion of Israel and their provocation and their embitterment of Me in the day of testing in the wilderness, where your fathers tried My patience and tested My forbearance and found I stood the test and they saw My works for forty years. I was provoked [displeased and sorely grieved] with that generation and said, they always err and are led astray in their hearts and they have not perceived or recognised My ways. Accordingly I swore in My wrath, they will not enter My rest.’

God is faithful. Though we are tested we can put our trust in Him. He will deliver us. All of our burdens are not ours to carry. He wants us to give them to Him. We must understand His character, rely on Him completely and not be led astray. In our surrender His rest will come.

He promises ‘all things will work together for good for those who love God and are called according to His purposes.’ He says He’ll be ‘the lamp to our feet.’ Today is all we have. Today is everything.

T.S. Eliot wrote there would be “Time for you and me, and time yet for a hundred indecisions and for a hundred visions and revisions before the taking of toast and tea.”

But there is no time, there is only today. Today we must decide how to live. Today and eternity are all we are promised. Today we make right our walk with God. Today we decide where we will spend eternity. Today is the day for saying sorry and receiving forgiveness. Today is all we have.

Switchfoot sing:
“This is your life and today is all you’ve got now
Yeah, and today is all you’ll ever have
Don’t close your eyes
This is your life, are you who you want to be
This is your life, is it everything you dreamed that it would be
When the world was younger and you had everything to lose
Don’t close your eyes
This is your life are you who you want to be?”

My brother phoned on Thursday night to tell me that his baby Tahlia Rose was born. It’s a new day, a new season, and the greatest of joys. As I held Tahlia in my arms I was teary remembering Samantha’s birth more than 21 years ago. Tahlia is tiny and perfect, peaceful and trusting. In the care of her parents her future is bright. Her trust is completely in them.

In the 1950s both the Mater Hospital and RNSH gave every baby a jacaranda sapling. This is the reason the North Shore of Sydney has jacaranda trees everywhere. They mark the past; they promise the future; beautiful, strong and tall. Everyone I know has a jacaranda story. The tree that graced our backyard as children was where my brother and I loved to climb. From our vantage point we would taunt our big sister below us bathing in the banana bed in her bikini. We would watch our mum scoop leaves out of the circular Clark Rubber pool. We felt like we could see the whole world from there.

To follow the tradition of the 1950s I bought a jacaranda for Tahlia. I told her mum that it would no doubt be the backdrop for many photos, her birthday party a year from now, her school formal and eventually her wedding day. I wonder if she will climb it. I wonder if my brother will eventually find a branch strong enough for a swing. I am excited about my niece, delighted for the tradition of first born girls to be continued and eager to go shopping for treasures to bestow upon her. If I being human have this much love for my new niece, how great is God’s love for me. Surely He plans to redeem us.

From His vantage point He sees the picture that I can’t see. So I climb again onto my swing, finding the rhythm of His Spirit. I lean back pointing my toes to the sun. I gain my momentum and I join the cicada chorus.

‘When the Lord brought back the captives [who returned] to Zion, we were like those who dream [it seemed so unreal]. Then our mouths were filled with laughter and our tongues with singing. Then they said among the nations The Lord has done great things for them. The Lord has done great things for us and we are glad. Turn to freedom our captivity and restore our fortunes, O Lord. They who sow in tears shall reap in joy and singing. He who goes forth bearing seed and weeping, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing bringing his sheaves with him.’ Psalm 126

We may dream about tomorrow but we must live completely today.



Filed under Life

15 responses to “Today

  1. Dear Clare, I love to read your words , you are so wise and honest as to how you feel . We Know God is faithful and will bring you through all this. Reid and you Sam,Emma and Jack are yummy souls totally committed to the Lord and Dad and I love you all so much xxxxxxxxxxxmam xxxxxx

  2. Wendy Gilbert

    That was a literary masterpiece, heartfelt and, creative. Colourfully painting us a picture of your days, with your words.

    Your dignity is immense. Proud to call you my friend. All my love. Wendy

    P.S stood with you in prayer today – had this sense – this is the last battle, then the war will be won.

    • Clare Froggatt

      I take that as a huge compliment from one who has graduated from UTS recently. Thank you Wendy, thank you for standing and believing with us. I am also proud to call you friend. I’m planning on a victory dance very soon.

  3. Deborah Cohen

    Dear Clare, Again and again, your words are inspirational, inspiring and your honesty and faith just simply awesome. I remember, from my uni days, a quote by Albert Camus… “In the depth of winter, I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer”. I pray that Sam, you and your whole family soon, soon enjoy your own “invincible summer”. Jasper and I prayed for you, especially today. All our love and thoughts. Deborah and Jasper xxx

    • Clare Froggatt

      Dear Deb, I love that quote but had never heard it before now. When I was young I thought I was invincible! Ha ha. How fragile I’ve discovered I have become. I know what Albert means about the depth of winter however.Somehow when you survive the greatest storm a different strength arises from within. Like that quote that says ‘What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger’ or the scripture that says ‘His power is perfected in my weakness.’ Certainly we are fragile, frail and helpless yet God is invincible, sending the sun. Big hugs and high fives for Jasper. I miss his big blue eyes, his delightful wonder and his eagerness to discover. Clare x

  4. Jo

    Praying here for you and your Sam…devotions at school this morning were about our ‘sure hope’…may that hope rise to meet you and carry you today…and for each today x

    • Clare Froggatt

      So I’m thinking that this is Jo Barrett? God is certainly a ‘sure hope’ much better than a wish sort of hope. He’s an anchor to my soul, I hold on tight, thankful that he’d carry me if I ever let go! But I won’t let go…Thanks for your prayers that continue to uphold us x

  5. Praying for you & Sam & all the Froggatt’s constantly.

    “I love Sam,” Billy said to me tonight. “Sam who?” I said, interested to hear about his new friend. “Sam Froggatt!” he said, “Der!” I was like, “But B, you don’t even know Sam.” He put his book down & looked at me really seriously (as serious as a seven year old can look with a missing front tooth & in Paddington Bear pajamas), “Kate, don’t you know anything? I can still LOVE Sam if I want to!”

    You are amazing, Clare. You’re an incredible mum. I know you probably hear that a lot, but I’m still going to say it, because it’s true. Your journey with God is so inspiring to me…you’ve given me hope by showing me where TRUE hope is found. I want to know God like you do, I want to have faith like you do…& I know I can. You are awesome. I love you.

    &, so does Billy. He keeps drawing you pictures but never gives them to you. Don’t know what that’s about! Maybe he’s saving them for Christmas?

    Love xx

    • Clare Froggatt

      Hey katie, thanks for reading my blog and always encouraging me. I am not amazing at all; just a girl on a journey, trying to figure it all out. I’m so glad I can inspire others to know God more. He is my hope and my salvation, my refuge from the storm, a very present help in time of need.

      I’m so thankful for Billy who made my day, every moment last year…glad also, he led you to me. Love Clare x

  6. Jane Grover

    Hey Clare,
    Beautiful words, your writing tells a story, creates a picture, brings hope and often smiles and tears as I read…so it is impacting and a delight to read.
    I have been desiring to plant a jacaranda in my front yard……youve inspired me to go and buy one TODAY…
    Loving your final line in this blog TODAY…”We may dream about tomorrow but we must live completely today.”
    Keep writing Clare….your words are changing lives…which is confirmed by the comments you receive by many whose lives are being touched by Jesus via your hands. (often I cry at the comments of changed lives… encouraged God works ALL things together for good…you said it to me recently God wastes nothing….)

    • Clare Froggatt

      Hey jane, Did you plant your jacaranda and have your watched ‘How to make an American Quilt’? Today I sat on Church Point Jetty having lunch with friends I haven’t caught up with in 10 years. As we left we discussed how this may never have happened if Sam never was sick. Suffering and sickness really makes you embrace everything that is wonderful in life. It teaches me to celebrate every moment; to worry less about what doesn’t really matter, most of all to appreciate the beauty that surrounds where I live and the people who make up my community. It is true…God wastes nothing. I’m trying to value the little incidental things that make life so wonderful…like comments on my blog. They do make me happy!!! Thanks

  7. Lucy East

    Clare-girl, Today you have put into words the answer to my largest question….is hope in God a safe place or a prison? Today I am satisfied to be a prisoner of hope!! Thank you for guiding me through.
    may the sunshine of today begin to relax you. I am immensely touched by your life and pray for Sam’s healing by the 8th. Both are mighty works of God.
    love L

    • Clare Froggatt

      Miss Lucy, You know I thought of you the whole time I was writing that post because you first told me the Jacaranda story. It is very hard to find stories about it, the only thing I found was an article this October in the SMH. How did you hear that story yourself all those years ago when you told me to write a book on it? Did your mum get given a Jacaranda? I so hope someone tells me that their mum did.
      Thankyou Lucy for your words of encouragement. I am loving the sunshine but Sam and her thyroid are not. Not yet, but healing is coming as she recovers. lots of love Clare

  8. glynis howard

    I keep checking when ever I can for the next amazing episode from you Clare … I admire your courage and amazing articulation with the scriptures, the way you have prioritized your time during this epic journey … endless time nurturing Sam to health endless time for Reed for Emma for Jack and all your cell group members, friends work and also the many like myself you drink in the therapy you pour out on your bolg …Thank you with love
    Glynis xo

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