Tag Archives: cancer

A New Year’s Hope for Spiritual Strength

Once again, it’s been a long time since I’ve written. Lately, I feel like life is moving extremely fast, and I’ve been busy- busy, which is so different for me! For such a long time it seemed like I was just surviving, exerting just enough energy to try and keep myself, and our family, and our house from falling apart. My contribution to the well being of everyone felt immensely small, yet still, so difficult.

But now, I’m busy. Shopping, cooking, cleaning, and actually going places, with my children, by myself, and even though that’s still exhausting, the fact that it’s happening means it’s possible. It’s like I’m finally getting my fingers wrapped around some kind of “normal” life, which is thrilling and frightening at the same time. Frightening, because I know what it’s like to start to hold and enjoy that “some kind of normal,” and I know that normal can fall apart on you in an instant. But I just want to hold it, and keep it, so very desperately.

Normal is its own kind of hard, because being a mom and a wife is no easy job, but it is a good challenge. It’s a gift.

Through many dangers, toils and snares, I have already come…” I sing Amazing Grace to the girls sometimes when I put them to sleep. Brent and I have ventured through a lot of dangers together, but I’ve found nothing is more frightening than the dangers, toils, and snares you can wade into in your own mind.

It’s been exciting, over the past six months or so since my surgery, to experience progress in my health. It’s also been confusing and at times alarming, as we found out that my stomach tumor had been low-grade cancer, when I had been told from the start by nearly everyone, that it was not cancerous. Mutation testing also revealed that I have a mutation which makes me susceptible to several types of tumors, so I will need follow up tests for life.

So, in my one hand I’m holding normal, but in my other hand there comes unpleasant reminders of a reality I would rather forget, in the form of mail from the cancer center, or phone calls, or appointments. I feel like I’m fine, until one of those reminders pops up, and then to be quite honest, my brain starts shutting down. Continue reading A New Year’s Hope for Spiritual Strength

Bracing for Impact

Monday I saw my doctor’s replacement doc (as mine was away) to request more iron infusions, and I was surprised to discover my biopsy results were in. The young doctor opened them and without any time to brace myself I adjusted my chair to view the screen.

Gibberish. The page he had opened was full of what I can only assume was technical medical language, that may as well have been Greek. My eyes scanned the document for words I could understand, and I only found three: “GIST” (gastro-intestinal tumor)- which I already knew, “Rare”- which I also already knew, and “aggressive.”

Aggressive. Shoot. I do not like this word.

The doctor admitted this is unfamiliar territory for him and I should contact the specialist to explain.

So I did, and got an appointment for Thursday afternoon, which gave me approximately 72 hours to stew over this word “aggressive,” sandwiched between a bunch of Greek, while trying to maintain my cool and keep it quiet in case I was wrong. No need to stress people out before I had to.

As I’d imagine anyone would, I spent many of those hours bracing for impact. If this was bad news, how would I survive it? How would I get through this without being emotionally destroyed? The Lord knows I have gone about these things in both wrong and right ways before. What had I learned from darker days, that I could apply now?

Did I get ahead of myself? Probably. Yet, the Lord allowed me to have this scare, and even used these ridiculous three days for my good.

So, I will share some of the conclusions I was coming too while I waited:

1. God will do with me whatever will bring Him the most glory. This is a pretty simple, but powerful truth. I think of Philippians 1:20-24:

“As it is my eager expectation and hope that I will not be at all ashamed, but that with full courage now as always Christ will be honored in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. If I am to live in the flesh, that means fruitful labor for me. Yet which I shall choose I cannot tell. I am hard pressed between the two. My desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better. But to remain in the flesh is more necessary on your account.”

Those are some very challenging words, and no doubt my faith would need to grow to make these claims as boldly as Paul. But there is truth here to grab onto- Jesus Christ will be honored, if I set myself to either live for Him or die for Him. He knows which is better for me. He has a plan to receive glory by either my life or death, and that thought is comforting. It gives meaning to everything. If I live, I live for Christ, and if I die, I gain Christ.

2. There is only One whom I must fear. Psalm 34:9 kept coming into my head this week: “Oh, fear the LORD, you his saints, for those who fear him have no lack!” As I thought about that I realized that if sickness, pain, or loss made me turn away from the Lord, wouldn’t that prove that I feared those things more than I feared Him? But if I feared Him above all else, that fear of Him would help me respond in reverence instead of sin. And what did Jesus say? “But I will warn you whom to fear: fear him who, after he has killed, has authority to cast into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him (Luke 12:5)!”

People, illness, or disaster can destroy your body, but not your soul. In Jesus Christ, my soul rests safe. I have a refuge in times of trouble, and atonement for the day of judgment. Sometimes, it is those ultimate, overarching truths, that settle our hearts and bring us rest. Continue reading Bracing for Impact

The Day of Death is Better

How would we live if we really believed God alone was our portion in life and in death?

Much of my time the last several months has been spent near those who are dying, and their loved ones. In heartache and pain I have witnessed this, yet it has done much spiritual good for my soul.

Death is a reality that we don’t often like to consider. In our minds, we set up our lives as if they are permanent. We don’t want to face death- not our own, and not the death of those we love. Continue reading The Day of Death is Better