It's one of those words that invokes fear, kind of like cancer. I decided yesterday that I've had 4 kids, had my left breast cut off and endured 16 weeks of chemo"therapy"--how hard can it be?
Yet as I lay on the table with my only remaining breast hanging through a hole, "compressed"(Dr lingo for flattened..) and a 19 gauge needle in my breast taking core samples---I got pretty weepy. My tears hit the floor and all I had to wipe my nose with was the sheet from the pillow..I couldn't move either..
I must've looked pretty sad because the Dr left the room to retrieve some kleenex for me and came back with a wad of it!
2 days earlier, I had been in my surgeon's office to recheck the area where the last lump was--it happened about 6 weeks ago. Remember--the lump that was a rib? Well while he was there he decided to examine the rest of me (don't you love Dr logic?) and he found a new lump. I felt a wave of fear and panic rise up in me and immediately started praying..words like mammogram and ultrasound and biopsy hit my ears but I wasn't wanting to hear them--again.
I sat in my "new" suburban and wept uncontrollably..Tim stayed home because both of us thought this was no big deal, just a recheck appointment..I must confess from the time I left the surgeon's office to the time I sat in my car, I had cancer that had spread, had my remaining breast cut off and had chemo all over again... Faith walks with Jesus and holds His hand, faith does not run ahead and try to guess the twists and turns of the road. I was sprinting without even holding His hand!
I prayed for God to comfort me, to give me peace, to hold me in His mighty arms and to help me stay in today, to not run ahead and what-if the whole situation..He answered my feeble prayers and I was able to drive home.
I will not listen to It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas, I'm Dreaming of a White Christmas and Up on the Housetop without remembering a needle turning around in my breast, taking samples of me. Yes, it hurt but I meditated on Psalm 91, Psalm 103 and thought about my Jesus being "pierced through for our transgressions" from Isaiah 53 which I had just read a day ago. I could sense the prayers of the saints holding me up and I could sense the Spirit comforting me. God was there and there was no more room for fear.
Oh and when I got there with Tim, the receptionist greeted me with good news. The procedure which was a stereo something digital guided biopsy, was normally $2,100 but since we were self pay patients, we were only going to be charged $750! Wow! What a gift from God's hand. And when we got home after all the poking, squishing and crying, there was a box filled with gifts from the oncology department filled with gifts for each of the kids and a gift card for dinner and a movie for Tim and I AND a $50 gas card! I cried again..
And I got a call that same morning, right before I left--the oncology bill of $2600 was being "wrote off" as well as any other bills for any further treatment.
Oh how I praise You Lord God for Your lovingkindness and compassion..how I praise You for Your comfort and help in times of trouble..
I will not know any results of the biopsy until next week due to Christmas. I am ok with that because I am not waiting on the results, I am waiting on God to show me His results for me and my husband and my children. He does what is right and best for me because He loves me like no other. Please pray for peace for my heart though because fear, my foe and enemy, crouches at the door of my soul, waiting to devour me. I like how Tony Snow puts it: You need to get past the anxiety of dying..
I gave you his article, which I believe, hands down, is the best articulation of how I feel and how I believe as I fight this battle(with God's strength and help)
I hope it blesses you and gives you food for thought.
I may write before Christmas. I've got some ideas brewing in my head. I do know I will not be getting out Christmas letters this year..please understand, it is just too much right now. Maybe New Year letters--we will see. Right now I need to focus on making Christmas gifts and on my family.
The God Who spoke the stars into the heavens loves you--He loves you so much He sent His Son, wrapped in baby's skin to walk this earth and know human pains and sufferings. He knows how you hurt and how you feel. That is why one of His names is Immanuel, which means God With Us. He is not distant and far off, He is right there.
He is faithful,
This is an outstanding testimony from Tony Snow, President Bush's Press
Secretary, and his fight with cancer. Commentator and broadcaster Tony Snow
announced that he had colon cancer in 2005. Following surgery and chemo-therapy,
Snow joined the Bush Administration in April 2006 as press secretary.
Unfortunately, on March 23, 2007, Snow, 51, a husband and father of three,
announced the cancer had recurred, with tumors found in his abdomen,- leading to
surgery in April, followed by more chemotherapy. Snow went back to work in the
White House Briefing Room on May 30, but has resigned since, "for economic
reasons," and to pursue " other interests."
It needs little intro... it speaks for itself.
"Blessings arrive in unexpected packages, - in my case, cancer. Those of us with
potentially fatal diseases - and there are millions in America today - find
ourselves in the odd position of coping with our mortality while trying to
fathom God's will. Although it would be the height of presumption to declare
with confidence "What It All Means," Scripture provides powerful hints and
The first is that we shouldn't spend too much time trying to answer the "why"
questions: Why me? Why must people suffer? Why can't someone else get sick? We
can't answer such things, and the questions themselves often are designed more
to express our anguish than to solicit an answer.
I don't know why I have cancer, and I don't much care. It is what it is, a plain
and indisputable fact. Yet even while staring into a mirror darkly, great and
stunning truths begin to take shape. Our maladies define a central feature of
our existence: We are fallen. We are imperfect. Our bodies give out.
But despite this, - or because of it, - God offers the possibility of salvation
and grace. We don't know how the narrative of our lives will end, but we get to
choose how to use the interval between now and the moment we meet our Creator
Second, we need to get past the anxiety. The mere thought of dying can send
adrenaline flooding through your system. A dizzy, unfocused panic seizes you.
Your heart thumps; your head swims. You think of nothingness and swoon. You fear
partings; you worry about the impact on family and friends. You fidget and get
To regain footing, remember that we were born not into death, but into life,-
and that the journey continues after we have finished our days on this earth. We
accept this on faith, but that faith is nourished by a conviction that stirs
even within many non believing hearts - an intuition that the gift of life, once
given, cannot be taken away. Those who have been stricken enjoy the special
privilege of being able to fight with their might, main, and faith to live
fully, richly, exuberantly - no matter how their days may be numbered.
Third, we can open our eyes and hearts. God relishes surprise. We want lives of
simple, predictable ease,- smooth, even trails as far as the eye can see, - but
God likes to go off-road. He provokes us with twists and turns. He places us in
predicaments that seem to defy our endurance; and comprehension - and yet don't.
By His love and grace, we persevere. The challenges that make our hearts leap
and stomachs churn invariably strengthen our faith and grant measures of wisdom
and joy we would not experience otherwise.
'You Have Been Called'. Picture yourself in a hospital bed. The fog of
anesthesia has begun to wear away. A doctor stands at your feet, a loved one
holds your hand at the side. "It's cancer," the healer announces.
The natural reaction is to turn to God and ask him to serve as a cosmic Santa.
"Dear God, make it all go away. Make everything simpler." But another
voice whispers: "You have been called." Your quandary has drawn you closer to
God, closer to those you love, closer to the issues that matter,- and has
dragged into insignificance the banal concerns that occupy our "normal time."
There's another kind of response, although usually short-lived an inexplicable
shudder of excitement, as if a clarifying moment of calamity has swept away
everything trivial and tiny, and placed before us the challenge of important
The moment you enter the Valley of the Shadow of Death, things change. You
discover that Christianity is not something doughy, passive, pious, and soft.
Faith may be the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
But it also draws you into a world shorn of fearful caution. The life of belief
teems with thrills, boldness, danger, shocks, reversals, triumphs, and
epiphanies. Think of Paul, traipsing through the known world and contemplating
trips to what must have seemed the antipodes (Spain), shaking the dust from his
sandals, worrying not about the morrow, but only about the moment.
There's nothing wilder than a life of humble virtue, - for it is through
selflessness and service that God wrings from our bodies and spirits the most we
ever could give, the most we ever could offer, and the most we ever could do.
Finally, we can let love change everything. When Jesus was faced with the
prospect of crucifixion, he grieved not for himself, but for us. He cried for
Jerusalem before entering the holy city. From the Cross, he took on the
cumulative burden of human sin and weakness, and begged for forgiveness on
We get repeated chances to learn that life is not about us, that we acquire
purpose and satisfaction by sharing in God's love for others. Sickness gets us
part way there. It reminds us of our limitations and dependence. But it also
gives us a chance to serve the healthy. A minister friend of mine observes that
people suffering grave afflictions often acquire the faith of two people, while
loved ones accept the burden of two peoples' worries and fears.
'Learning How to Live'. Most of us have watched friends as they drifted toward
God's arms, not with resignation, but with peace and hope. In so doing, they
have taught us not how to die, but how to live. They have emulated Christ by
transmitting the power and authority of love.
I sat by my best friend's bedside a few years ago as a wasting cancer took him
away. He kept at his table a worn Bible and a 1928 edition of the Book of Common
Prayer. A shattering grief disabled his family, many of his old friends, and at
least one priest. Here was an humble and very good guy, someone who apologized
when he winced with pain because he thought it made his guest uncomfortable. He
retained his equanimity and good humor literally until his last conscious
moment. "I'm going to try to beat [this cancer]," he told me several months
before he died. "But if I don't, I'll see you on the other side."
His gift was to remind everyone around him that even though God doesn't
promise us tomorrow, he does promise us eternity, - filled with life and love we
cannot comprehend, - and that one can in the throes of sickness point the rest
of us toward timeless truths that will help us weather future storms.
Through such trials, God bids us to choose: Do we believe, or do we not? Will we
be bold enough to love, daring enough to serve, humble enough to submit, and
strong enough to acknowledge our limitations? Can we surrender our concern in
things that don't matter so that we might devote our remaining days to things
When our faith flags, he throws reminders in our way. Think of the prayer
warriors in our midst. They change things, and those of us who have been on the
receiving end of their petitions and intercessions know it. It is hard to
describe, but there are times when suddenly the hairs on the back of your neck
stand up, and you feel a surge of the Spirit. Somehow you just know: Others have
chosen, when talking to the Author of all creation, to lift us up, - to speak of
This is love of a very special order. But so is the ability to sit back and
appreciate the wonder of every created thing. The mere thought of death somehow
makes every blessing vivid, every happiness more luminous and intense. We may
not know how our contest with sickness will end, but we have felt the
ineluctable touch of God.
What is man that Thou art mindful of him? We don't know much, but we know this:
No matter where we are, no matter what we do, no matter how bleak or frightening
our prospects, each and every one of us who believe, each and every day, lies in
the same safe and impregnable place, in the hollow of God's hand."