when life hands you liz (not lemon)

If you don’t fully understand the title, don’t sweat it. 

Liz Palmer has earned herself more than a thank you note or a blog post. And this post isn’t to pay her back. You just need to know about Liz. 

Back in January, when I now suspect my breast cancer was really ramping up–(No doctors have speculated on that to me)–Liz found a groupon for a six-week Improv comedy class and invited made me, Amanda and Molly  buy in and join the class which would start in February. The three of us were terrified of Improv. Amanda and I hadn’t done any improv since college. Molly had never done it. Liz isn’t afraid of anything. It turned out that we were half the class, which I felt like I could have taught. Molly and Amanda were awesome. Liz was a blast, but had to deal with emergencies and sickness and was only able to go twice. It was no matter. That experience bonded us. If you know me, you know that Molly and I have been dear friends for years, but this bonded the four of us in a fierce way.

As it turns out, we like hanging out as couples and families as much as we like hanging out as a foursome. We’ve since gotten together for a shrimp boil, Easter, Mother’s Day, a graduation party and just for the love of us. It’s because of Liz. Molly, Amanda and I don’t have half the energy, positivity and vision that Liz does. I sure hope there’s a Liz in your town. 

Her first husband, Andy says, “Live and Let Liz.” And so we do. 

It was Mother’s Day when I mentioned that I was getting something suspicious checked out. Liz noted it and Amanda said, “she’ll stay on your about that.” And I assured them I wasn’t worried (because I wasn’t yet) and I was getting it checked out and Liz has six kids and many things going on so I think she kinda checked it off her list. But the force is strong with this one, so even though she didn’t stay on me about it, she would text at moments that seemed coincidental. The night I flew in from Colorado, before my biopsy, she texted to check in. I considered saying something, but I didn’t want to sound the alarms.

The next day, I was home recovering alone from the biopsy. Liz called. I was already on a call. Liz texted. Liz parked outside my home. She had no idea what I was going through. I walked out to her car and sat in the passenger side and she asked if I was feeling alright and I burst into tears. She came in and held me and we talked about what could be. Having a Catholic upbringing, she wasn’t familiar with hymn that was on my heart. So, through tears and with a shaky voice, I sang, “When through fiery trials thy pathway shall lie, my grace all sufficient shall be thy supply. The flame shall not hurt thee; I only design, thy dross to consume and thy gold to refine.” I felt so sure that this was the only way God could refine me and I was terrified and hopeful at the same time. Weeks later, Steve and Liz would join us at Trinity City and we would sing that song together. Amazing. Fingerprints of God all over these past few months. 

You all know I don’t like to write a long post. So I will sum it up with my Facebook post for Liz’s birthday. 

When crisis showed up at my door, it was accompanied by comfort and support in the form of Liz. One of the days Liz came to my aid, a helpless baby bird ended up flopping into her hands. Right there in front of us. We marveled. It was kind of miraculous. No. It was exactly miraculous. We had to just take it in and wonder at God and birds and Liz. It didn’t take too long before the baby bird got her strength back and she launched from Liz’s safe hold and returned to her tree. It was such a picture of the way God made Liz. God made Liz to be there, to be someone who can hold you through a scary time and be a safe place until your strength and courage return and you’re able to fly again. 

When you pray for me, thank God for Liz.

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4 thoughts on “when life hands you liz (not lemon)

  1. So incredibly cool how Liz kept pursuing you through calls, texts, etc. and then showed up at your house! Just like Jesus keeps pursuing us! Thank you God for Liz in Jenna’s life! With God, there are no coincidences! Love you Jenna! Praying without ceasing! 💗 Joy
    P.S. I want to join your improv class!!! What a blast! Terrifying but awesome!

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