I stood with a group of believers tonight, hands reaching out and wrapping around a sister who had just told us that the chemo wasn’t working and the tumors weren’t shrinking. I heard my name called out to lead in prayer. My throat constricted. I know the fear cancer stirs up. I wasn’t sure I could do it. I wasn’t sure I could articulate what was in my heart. I am not very eloquent when I pray. But love won out and I opened my mouth and asked God to do something. We prayed for God to give her a miracle. She needs a miracle. She’s been battling cancer for months, in the middle of a pandemic, and there she was, defying the cancer by standing before us and saying she was ready, if this is what God has for her. She is brave…..and she loves Jesus. If she can do this, I can pray over her. We believed God for a miracle three years ago. We trusted God. We walked the road He was taking us down, not knowing the outcome, not knowing if it was even fair to ask for healing or a miracle when so many are taken by this ugly disease. We walked with Him and learned to trust Him no matter what was down that road. No matter how it turned out. She trusts Him, too. She knows that however this turns out, God gets the glory. Why? Because He is the Almighty God, creator of the universe. He is a God that loves us so much, He made a way for us to be able to spend eternity with Him. He gave part of Himself, His Son, for us. A sacrifice for our sins. To make us clean. To have the ability to stand in His presence. He is faithful to us. We call out to Him and He hears us. And when His plan for our lives is to find ourselves facing death through cancer, ALS or even old age…He is there. Holding us up, whispering our names, and wrapping us in His love. We can hold tight to His hand and trust Him, knowing that closing our eyes here one last time, means we open our eyes with Him on the other side. So while we have breath, let us be like my sister standing before us tonight, let us give Him glory for the good and the bad, for the planned and the unexpected, for the hard and the easy. Thank you, sister, for showing us in that moment what it looks like to be real about the hard, and to resolutely give God the glory either way. But most of all what it looks like to trust His hand. Please pray for this sister as she places her hand in the hand of Jesus and trusts where He is taking her.
I woke up this morning still tired after a night of sleeping and waking and thinking. My life has changed so much in the last year and a half, and continues to change and move into a new season. A year and a half ago I lost my job. But it didn’t seem to matter so much because we were in the trenches of cancer and I was thankful to walk every step with my big guy, holding his hand, praying, listening, hoping. After the “all clear” words came from the doctor, we went home and just sat in our living room quietly. The words we had hoped for and prayed for had come. Now for finding normal. That was in May and life has continued to move forward as if the year of cancer never happened. A year and a half ago we were welcoming a new grandson into our lives. A year and a half ago we were in the midst of planning baby girl number two’s wedding. A year and a half ago we lost my sweet Daddy.
I began keeping our new grandson when my daughter returned to teaching during this past year. It has been a joy watching him grow and getting to love on him on a daily basis. But this past August, when school began again, my daughter decided to put her boy in daycare in preparation for a second baby on the way. I am told finding and getting into a good, reliable, and desirable daycare is both competitive and difficult. I had no idea. So he went to daycare after a year of staying with Lolly. He loves it and has adapted quite easily. My man cub is growing up too fast!
So, now, for the last two months I have been trying to figure out what next. Yes, there are wedding plans still going on for baby girl number three, but that will be over in another thirty-nine days. But then what? I guess last night it was on my mind and I would go to sleep, dream, wake up, think about it for awhile, then start over again by filing asleep. I’ve talked about getting a job, but I’m not sure if I’m even supposed to get a job right now. I’ve prayed about it, and I get the sense from the Lord that I am exactly where he wants me to be for now. I’m just having trouble adjusting, even after a year and a half. I’m trying to find some routine. I’m trying to write a little each day, even if it is just to blog a short piece. I’m trying to figure out what the next step the Lord has for me. I’m trying to establish a regular morning time with Him. I even got out my daughter’s Kurig and am trying to drink coffee like a real grown up….decaf, of course! The crazy thing is I can’t remember the last time I had quiet time like this in the mornings. I’ve been raising baby girls for the last twenty-eight years. I remember dreaming of slower mornings, peace and quiet, a clean house, time to write and here I am.
For now I will enjoy the peaceful and quiet mornings. I will enjoy having time to spend with the Lord. I will enjoy the slower pace. Maybe I will eventually be able to write about my big guy and I going on adventures. But today I’ll sip some decaf coffee and enjoy this rainy morning…..and maybe check my to do lists for the wedding, prepare my devotional to deliver to the students on Sunday afternoon, do some laundry, clean the kitchen, make the bed……
For anyone reading this blog, don’t stress over the season you are in at this moment. If you have a personal relationship with our Heavenly Father, you are not alone. He is with you. He will walk with you and guide you. He will listen to you as you tell Him about your concerns, your dreams, your life. He truly cares. Only He can wrap you in a peace that passes all understanding.
One year ago. One year ago we were being hit by one storm after another. But the ultimate storm of cancer came and stayed….and now, on the other side of that storm looking back, I am once again reminded of God’s faithfulness, His provision, His comfort, His healing power. I read back over the blogs of the past year and I see a woman clinging desperately to the Savior. I am reminded of the woman who reached out to touch the hem of His garment and I understand her in a new way. I know myself, that I have tightly gripped the hem of His garment in my clinched fists refusing to let go. We have walked through this cancer journey saying over and over “I trust you” aloud for ourselves mostly, but also to our God, declaring that while we don’t understand, and while we know His plan is perfect, and while we were even fearful at times, we would TRUST HIM, no matter the outcome. Our faith is stronger, our family is stronger, our love is stronger and our compassion is stronger. Today, after a year of diagnosis, biopsies, surgeries, chemo, radiation, doctor appointments, uncertainties, waiting, frustrations and sometimes fear, we got the official words of cancer free. I hesitated to even post this because we have friends and family still doing battle with this evil disease. But I want those reading this who are in the battle to be encouraged, optimistic and strengthened. God is with you and you can trust Him with whatever the outcome of your journey may be. People have stated over and over that “God is good” and it is so true. But if we had gotten different news, and the battle with cancer had continued, the truth is that God is still good. He is good even when things are seemingly bad in our lives and life’s storms are coming at us so fast they are tearing us apart. When we feel like we can’t catch our breath between storms and we are staring death in the face, God is good. He is trustworthy. He is faithful. So wherever you are, whoever you are, whatever battle you are in, trust Him. “Be strong and courageous, do not be discouraged or dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9