After over a year of chemo and surgeries, mom was finally done with treatment. So much had changed in so little time. Now she had a chance to look back on all she had been through and what she had learned. Although she didn’t know what the future would hold, she knew should could trust in the Lord.
“Because your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you. I will praise you as long as I live, and in your name I will lift up my hands.” (Psalm 63:3-4)
Sorry for the delay in writing. December was a rough month for me, finishing out my last chemo cycle in the hospital, (for 6 days). The good news is that treatment is over! Hallelujah! While my blood counts are low, (making me feel about 80 years old), they will slowly improve. I have been blessed to be able to cook daily for my family, take the kids to their activities and take over some of their schooling as well.
What now? I go in for monthly bloodwork to check my counts, and then in May I will have another PET scan to check my whole body for cancer. For those of you who are interested in preventing cancer in your life, (which includes me), I heartily recommend a book by one of my oncologists, Tina Passalaris, “Cancer Prevention For Life–The Long Talk You Never Had With Your Doctor”. It is the only book that I know of that is written by an oncologist, (not a ghost writer), with a balanced outlook of both natural and medical means. It gives the why of doing something, not just the what, plus when you should get what screening done. A must read in my opinion.
What has the Lord taught me over the one year and four months of intense trial? More than words can express, but here are some highlights.
1. God is in control of EVERYTHING, no matter what circumstances look like.
“Then Joseph said to his brothers, ‘Come close to me.’ When they had done so, he said, ‘I am your brother Joseph, the one you sold into Egypt! And now, do not be distressed and do not be angry with yourselves for selling me here, because it was to save lives that God sent me ahead of you. For two years now there has been famine in the land, and for the next five years there will not be plowing and reaping. But God sent me ahead of you to preserve for you a remnant on earth and to save your lives by a great deliverance. So then, it was not you who sent me here, but God. He made me father to Pharaoh, lord of his entire household and ruler of all Egypt.'” (Genesis 45:4-8)
2. As his child, he loves me and the outcome of his plan for me is good.
“‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.'” (Jeremiah 29:11)
“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28)
3. Suffering is purposeful in the life of the Christian.
“We were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself. Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death. But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead.” (2 Corinthians 1:8-9)
4. Christ is the treasure of my life. Not my life, my health, my family, my possessions, etc.
“For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Luke 12:34)
“For me to live is Christ and to die is gain.” (Philippians 1:21)
“May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.” (Galatians 6:14)
5. Life is short, but it’s not to count the number of days, but to make the days count.
“Show me, O LORD, my life’s end and the number of my days; let me know how fleeting is my life. You have made my days a mere handbreadth; the span of my years is as nothing before you. Each man’s life is but a breath.” (Psalm 39:4-5)
“Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil.” (Ephesians 5:15-16)
6. No matter what tragedy happens in the life of a Christian, nothing can separate us from the love of Christ.
He is sovereign, a conqueror over the enemy. Not only is the enemy defeated, but now works for the conqueror. I am not merely a cancer survivor, but a cancer “more than conqueror”. Cancer did not separate me from the love of Christ, and in fact worked for me for my benefit.
“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:35, 37-39)
I will keep you updated on a monthly basis or more, as the Lord wills. “The life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” (Galatians 2:20)
I would not be here today without the mercy of God being upon me, through the countless faithful prayers offered up by countless people. It is with grateful tears that I thank you all. For your prayers, your love, your gracious reading of my e-mail updates, and your partnering with me on this hard journey.
As John Piper says in his book, Don’t Waste Your Life, “No one ever said that they learned their deepest lessons of life or had their sweetest encounters with God, on the sunny days. People go deep with God when the drought comes.”
Thank you for refreshing me through the drought. May the Lord be with you all.
For God’s glory,
January 14, 2008