Strange symptoms. Unanswered questions. Multiple appointments. More tests. Inconclusive results. Endless waiting . . .
It's been over a year since my health journey began and I was told to see an oncologist.
Wait! See an oncologist? But the abdominal biopsy and PET scan shouted the diagnosis: Stage 3 Lymphoma.
"But this can't be happening to me! I eat healthy. I exercise. I've worked hard to steward my body. And besides, haven't I been through enough with my husband's death in 2015 and leftover limitations from a 2003 car crash? And what about my daughters who already lost one parent . . . and my elderly dad . . . and my job . . . and . . ."
It was too much. My world crumbled. My anxiety sky-rocketed. And truth be told, I felt angry.
Last August, during those confusing weeks, I shared:
If you're like me, life's surprise trials can "throw you for a loop," as my mom used to say. We feel blindsided, panicky even - and find ourselves wondering, "Is this my fault? What could I have done differently? What about the others this will affect? Where is God in all this?" We just want to get back to normal, after all. We want to be healthy, stable, predictable . . . fine.
But maybe "perpetually fine" is unrealistic. Jesus said, "In this world you will have tribulation" (John 6:33), but He doesn't leave us alone. Can we trust His sovereign yet loving hand? Will we choose to express gratefulness to Him and to the people around us? Will faithfulness characterize our daily walk? Can we learn contentment, regardless?
A brochure came in the mail this week with these settling words: "Because God loves us so much, He never allows pain without purpose. He longs for us to run to Him and find shelter, courage, strength, and help in our times of distress. In these moments, we are drawn closer to Him, and we begin to understand His working in our lives."
The concept of trusting God to write your story isn't new to me, yet during the past year God has lovingly led me to trust Him more. Thinking and believing truth revealed through God's Word reminds me that His ways are higher and His thoughts more accurate than mine (Isaiah 55:8-9).
Even in my darkest moments, when I find myself wringing my hands with tears streaming down my cheeks, I'm learning that God's promises stand regardless of my circumstances. The world often harms us, "but God intends it for good to accomplish what is now being done" (Genesis 50:20). Perhaps He is using my illness to heal my heart.
At this point in my journey, God has supplied a team of doctors and practitioners whose help has been invaluable. When I contracted COVID just before Christmas, He graciously directed me to a health coach whose protocol brought healing at a vulnerable time. My family has been supportive, and many have been praying.Eleven months after my diagnosis, I still have cancer. I'm still uncertain of what's ahead. I still have multiple appointments and unanswered questions and periods of waiting. I slip back into times of tearful worry and anxiety. All this, but I'm in a different place. A place of acceptance (most of the time) with a deeper trust in the One who works all things together for the good of those who love Him (Romans 8:28).
Mine is a story of grace . . . penned without ink.
Praying for you! I think we all need constant reminders that we have an omniscient and omnipotent God, and that nothing that's surprising us is surprising Him. We all need reminders that we can trust Him. It amazes me every single day that He is patient enough to constantly provide those reminders!ReplyDelete
Well said! God's sovereign trustworthiness means everything when we think the bottom has fallen out. Thank you for praying.Delete
I am praying for you. Trusting God with the unexpected chapters in our story is so hard, especially because we don't know what we will find when we turn the page. Your honest words don't pretend that such walks are easy or free from fear and emotion. But your resolve to walk this journey with Jesus is inspiring. Thank you for your faithful testimony and example to keep our eyes on "the author and perfector our faith". You have encouraged so many, myself included, to walk with Jesus, even when we're feeling our way in the dark.ReplyDelete
Thank you, Julie. Your comments are truly encouraging as we trust our loving heavenly Father who promises "to will and to do of His good pleasure" for our ultimate benefit. Blessings . . .Delete
I hear you, my friend! It’s a battle to walk through this life trusting and resting, is it? God is so faithful to us weak, saved sinners and I am so grateful. Lots of love and prayers.ReplyDelete
We have both experienced God's faithfulness over many years, Kay. Reminds me of Deuteronomy 1:29-31. God carries us as a man carries his son. Love this picture. Blessings . . .Delete
Thanks for sharing your fear and frustration, but with hope in God’s goodness. It reminded me so much of David’s psalms. You are in good company.ReplyDelete
Thanks, Cindy. There is always hope! And the Psalms are so comforting.Delete
Your blog reminds me of Psalm 42, which I turned to and prayed through for you.ReplyDelete
I love it's refrain.
"Hope in God; for I shall again praise Him."
Thanks for mentioning Psalm 42, Gail. I've been reading it over the past few days . . . strikingly similar to Chapter 2 in Sheila Walsh's book, IT'S OKAY NOT TO BE OKAY. "Nothing you walk through is wasted with God (page 48). "Christ offers peace in the not knowing" (page 46). I love the sacred echoes God brings our way. Blessings, to you. I pray for you when I pass your former home.Delete
Dear Sarah, I'm sorry to hear about your cancer! Since both of our husbands, who were good friends (Dean Brown), went to heaven in 2015 I have wanted to read your story. However, bipolar meds have robbed me of brain power for reading comprehension. GOD's grace has led me to a new psychiatrist and new meds. I am improving and looking forward to reading your books in the future! I am grateful for this brief post that has enabled me to learn of your present situation! My prayers are with you! Ps 94:19 "In the multitude of my anxieties Within Me,YOUR Comforts Delight my soul."!May you know GOD's Peace as you Rest in HIS PRESENCE!Cherie Brown (I attended Tennessee Temple with you and wish we had gotten to know each other then. FYI:I have a Facebook page- Dean Brown Updates:Healed Eternally- with our picture and some of my inspirational writings.)ReplyDelete
Thank you, Cherie. I appreciate you reaching out and sharing Psalm 94:19 - along with your story. I remember you and Dean from college days and beyond . . . also follow your updates on FB. I pray you will soon reach a good season with doctors and meds. With love and prayers, SarahDelete
Dear Sarah....Julie let us know she saw you are dealing with cancer. Dan and I wanted to let you know we are praying for you and your family. You have remained a faithful servant through so much, a blessing to all and He remains our Faithful Friend. We will pray for healing and strength and many blessings for each day! in His care, Dan and DenvaReplyDelete
Dear Dan and Denva . . . how nice of you to reach out. I am so grateful for your prayers and encouragement. As you said, God remains our faithful friend no matter what life brings. I've often thought of the truth of Psalm 68:5 - "Father of the fatherless and protector of widows is God in his holy habitaion." He certainly has been that for the girls and me. Blessings to you both and to your family. And thanks again.Delete
I love the reminder "Because God loves us so much, He never allows pain without purpose." Thank you for sharing. I have much to glean from you still and am truly grateful for our friendship and how God orchestrates wonderful people into our lives.ReplyDelete
You have blessed me over and over, Kristen. What memories we have of the past eleven months! I am grateful for your support through my journey and pray God blesses all five of you as you begin another season.Delete