Forgive me for my long absence dear friends. I can’t believe the New Year is already upon us! As I wrote in my last post, I had a major surgery on November 27th that knocked me for quite a loop. I have been struggling to heal and to start to get back to some regular activities, so I decided today was a good day to write to you all.
Many of you know, according to current medical knowledge, this surgery and it’s results held likely my only possibility of remission. Due to the aggressive nature of this cancer and its rarity I was forced into a very specialized and INTENSE surgery in Denver. I wish with all my heart that I good news to report, but, unfortunately, my news is very different that what I had hoped for. My surgeons fought long and hard – literally a 14 hour surgery – to try to eliminate this cancer. They pushed limits and were as aggressive as they possibly could be. But the cancer won this round, and now my cancer is considered terminal.
What a horrible word- terminal. I had never given much thought to it before, never spent time dwelling on the meaning and consequences this word carries with it. But now it feels all-consuming. The end. The end of so very many precious things. Now I wasn’t given days or weeks or months, but my time will be much shorter than I had thought. Than I had hoped. I have cried so many tears in the last few weeks I feel like a fountain. One would think they would dry up eventually right? I have moments of sorrow. Moments of anger. Moments of confusion. All of these mixed together with the hardship of physical and emotional pain, exhaustion, and healing.
I won’t lie to you all and pretend the last month has been easy. Up until this point, I have truly experienced very little anger or confusion on this journey, but in the last few weeks, I am not to proud to admit, that I have struggled with more sadness, anger, and confusion than I have over the course of my entire adult life. I also won’t lie to you now and say that those emotions have completely gone away. But I feel like today was finally a tipping point toward trust that I have been desperately needing and crying out for. Today, was a “good” day. I worked on a puzzle. I played the piano, and I even played a game with my parents. More importantly I read my Bible, I got into the Word and was reminded that God truly can “illuminate my darkness.” And oh how I deeply needed that spark.
A very wise women spoke some words to me a few weeks ago that have been hovering in my mind. Words that God will continue to grow the meaning and depth of for the many weeks and months to come. And I want to share these words with you today so you might know where my heart is, where God wants to meet us all. God once again proved Himself faithful to love me in the ways I needed to be loved. He shined truth into my brokeness, bringing light to the darkness in my heart.
The truth I have been rolling over and over again is this: My hope is not in my circumstances. My hope is a Person- and not only that but that Person lives inside me. Jesus Christ. This resonated with me right away. But it did take some time for my heart to soften enough to accept and attempt to live out these words.
It’s funny how truth can take some time to grow and take root in life. I recognized the importance of these words immediately, but my heart still ached. Today as I read my Bible, weeks later, I came across a short parable that seemed to help me visualize the application of this truth in real life.
“And He sat down opposite the treasury, and began observing how the people were putting money into the treasury; and many rich people were putting in large sums. A poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, which amount to a cent. Calling His disciples to Him, He said to them, ‘Truly I say to you, this poor widow put in more than all the contributors to the treasury; for they all put in out of their surplus, but she, out of her poverty, put in all she owned, all she had to live on.” Mark 12:41-44
Now go with me here, I hope I am not coming out of left field, but these two concepts seem to go together so seamlessly. This woman deeply and intimately knew where her HOPE was- Where she needed to invest her life. She was willing to give her last penny to the God she loved and served. Out of her “nothing” came the perfect give that so perfectly demonstrated her love for her God and Father. And boy do I admire this kind of faith. I read this story and like a bunch of bricks it hit me- I want to be just like this woman. To have faith big enough in the worst of circumstances to say- I choose Jesus. No matter what life looks like, no matter how hard things get to say- I choose Jesus. We all know how circumstances can change so drastically. The only certainty in life is that there is no certainty! But this woman found the sweet spot. She kept her hope where it could have a return- where God could us it to grow not only her faith but also make her more like Him through the process! If she had hoped in her circumstances her prospects would have been pretty bleak….Instead she found a place to put her hope. A place that gave her peace and joy and fulfillment despite her bleak circumstances. She didn’t allow what was happening around her or in her life to change her love of God. And that my friends is exactly where I want to be! Unwavering in proclaiming that Jesus is my King!
Have I succeeded every day in doing this? Not I the slightest. I am not there yet. There is nothing more humbling than the word terminal. It shows you exactly where your hope is. Where you have false idols. Where you have put things or circumstances before God. As humans, each and every one of us will have these problems- we are human! The beauty is that God is faithful to show us these areas and help us grow. I learned in the last few weeks that I had been putting hope in my surgery, not in the Creator of my body and this whole universe. I don’t mean to say I shouldn’t have hoped for a positive outcome. But what I do mean is that no matter the outcome my hope should not be shaken. That my hope should be firmly rooted in the Creator of heaven and earth and that no painful circumstance can change that I have a God whole loves me completely and knows my story more completely that I every could.
Was my surgery a success- No, not completely. Do I have to face the uncertainty of my future – Yes. BUT what is more important is that my hope is in a God who loves me completely! My prayer is that God will work a miracle, that I will be healed and He will be glorified, but if His answer is no….I also want to have faith and hope big enough to be able to say – God is enough for me. That He is worth my last penny, my last drop of energy, my last expression of love. I want to be able to say – Your will and not mine be done, with confidence and conviction. In my good moments, I not only know this intellectually, but also deep in my heart, but there are also moments when my heart aches to painfully to recognize this truth. And thank God for His grace to love me through those moments, and remind me where my hope should be rooted.
So as I ache, I will continue to cry out to God. To allow the Holy Spirit to speak gently to my soul. I will continue to speak the truth of where my hope is rooted – Firmly on the unshakable foundation of Jesus Christ. I will speak these words until I feel them deep in my heart, repeat these truth to replace the lies that try to sneak in to attempt to crack this foundation. My hope is in a perfect, loving Father and that is enough…..