It was August — the day I planned to fly to Tennessee for the second retreat of the Infuse program. Instead of packing my bags for the airport though, I was packing them for the hospital. Thousands of thoughts swirled around my head, but one kept pounding it’s way to the surface: I have cancer.
That dreaded disease. That nightmare of a diagnoses. The thing you hope you never have to deal with had invaded our lives. And we were given no medical assurance that everything was going to be okay.
When we met with the doctor, we asked all the usual questions, “How bad is it?” “Is it life threatening?” “What’s going to happen?”.
He explained, “You know, I see cases like this everyday. Some people are very routine. We get the tumor out and things are fine. You…. I’m very concerned about. I’m going to do the best I can. That’s all I can promise.”
We stumbled home, shocked and confused.
“God,” I prayed, “we’ve spent the last year trying to rearrange our priorities to serve you. We invited a teen mother to move into our home. We put our child in public school to connect with our community. It couldn’t have been for nothing. I feel like I’m just starting to understand how to truly live for your kingdom. Please don’t let me die.”
As I sat praying, I rocked my youngest to sleep. She had just turned one days before. I reflected on my life and my death. I knew that dying would put me in the presence of God. I knew that hanging on to this earthly life was ridiculous and shallow compared to the riches we would have with God in glory. But hang on I did.
“Lord,” I said, “I submit to you. You gave me life. You control my very breath. I was created for your glory. I accept whatever plan you have for me. But Lord, I just don’t think I’m done yet. I love you and I love your kingdom. I want to do more. Let me stay.”
Then, in the still of that moment…with my little one in my arms… I heard God speak to my heart.
“You will have this next year. Next summer, you will be well, and you will hold your little ones again.”
Instantly, peace filled my heart and a courage I did not think I could possess welled up within me. I believe God can heal. We prayed that he would take that 10 centimeter tumor and make it disappear, but he didn’t chose that route. It’s going to be a longer journey and I’m okay with that.
Cancer has reminded me of the precious gift that every single day is. It has reminded me that I can’t wait to “get my life together” before really doing work for the kingdom. Doing kingdom work has to be my life.
It’s been a struggle so far, but I have honestly never felt so loved and cared for in all my life. Our church rallied around our family in the most poignant picture of the body of Christ I have ever seen. We had meals provided for six weeks. My mailbox was flooded with cards (all of which are now hanging on the walls of my bedroom). People picked up library books for us, went grocery shopping for us, took my kids to ballet and the children’s museum, and so many more things that I couldn’t begin to write. The kids spent the night at my sisters nearly every weekend as I slept more than I thought possible. Some friends of ours even offered to watch our guinea pig for six months (now that’s love!). My mother comes nearly every day to watch the kids and make sure everything is in order in my house. And while I’m on a leave of absence from my position at church, the ministry team continues to do an amazing job of providing a quality program and sharing Christ with the kids who come through our doors. And the prayers. So many prayers have been lifted on my behalf to the throne of God. My kidmin team even had bracelets made to remind people to pray. I can’t begin to express my gratitude for the love and kindness that has been poured out on us.
There are so many things I’m learning on this journey. One of the biggest things is the huge difference kindness makes. I have been so genuinely blessed by so many acts of kindness. I want my life to be characterized by the same thing. I want to share kindness wherever I can because I have seen and experienced what an impact it has had in our family.
As of now, I’m halfway through my chemotherapy treatments and I am praising God for that! We’ve still got about six more months in the journey, but I am so grateful that I serve a powerful God. I know that God will heal me and I’m going to use this journey for His glory wherever I can. Keep praying that things will continue to go smoothly and that God will open doors for me to share His message of love and hope with the people I encounter on this journey.