(Written by DWUSA Author: Truthseeker121 Fl 017-001)
Where to begin with all we are facing in the world today, so that some may see through another’s eyes a fresh perspective?
I will start with my backstory: I grew up in Northwest Florida, the oldest child and only girl to amazing parents. My mom and dad instilled my brother and I with values, morals, a respect for others, and through our faith, a strong connection to God. I went through some emotional traumas and tragedies in my teenage years that left a lasting impression on my views and perspectives of how life should be. Over the next 30 years, my life was like most others: got married, had a son, started a small business; a normal life. I learned my own way with God through the years of challenges I had faced. Little did I know they were nothing compared to the ones I would face later. In 2013, I had my youngest son at age 42 and lost my dad 7 weeks later. In my grief I lost my faith in God. It was silly looking back on it now, thinking he had let me down. Over the next 4 years, life was full of blessings my son taught me: It is in the little things. No matter what you see or hear, every day you have is a blessing. Find joy in the little things. Waking up to a new day, birds singing, children’s laughter. Anything that can give you a smile, a moment of joy, can give a better perspective of life and all that God gives us.
I had a few health issues over the last 4 years (a tumor in my lymph nodes). Doctors said it was nothing serious, just an up and down battle with rounds of antibiotics for a bacterial infection, but that all changed in 2018. A new doctor got concerned and sent me for tests. A biopsy confirmed it was cancerous. That one word flipped everything upside down for me. I had a cancerous tumor for 4 years that was now the size of a tennis ball. At first, all I could focus on was all the negatives… what I was losing, what all I would miss once I was gone. It was like they had given me my death date; I guess in a way they did.
That first night I sat at home and had my pity party, letting all those poor me feelings out. I went into the kitchen to get a drink and something caught my eye on the table. It was a metal box my mom had given me that I had meant to go through. As I opened the box; I was flooded with memories of my grandpa reading the bible, there was that big old bible. It is so old pages has come loose from the spine, many generations of birth and death dates listed on the first few pages. A piece of paper sticking out with handwritten words “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.” I got chills as I read it and all my anxiety, fears, the questions of the unknown just faded away and I felt peace like I have never felt before. My mom had told me for years “Hand your troubles over to God he will take care of you.” I had never fully understood what that meant until now. That night I prayed like I never had before, I talked with him as if he were an old friend having a conversation. I prayed for my husband, children and my mom and all they would need if something I could not control or prevent. I have always believed when it is our time, nothing can stop it, and that if this were the challenge he had for me, I would accept his will; but, I would not give up without a fight. I would hand it all over to him, but please give me a chance to show how worthy I was of his mercy and healing.
The next morning when I opened my eyes, I thanked God for a new day and to give me the strength, courage, and peace to face all the unknowns every day from now on. My mom took the news the hardest and each day I had to keep her spirits and faith up, never showing that it was anything more than a walk in the park, so to speak. I still had a business to run just as the busy season started, a 5-year-old to raise, a 23-year-old and a husband of 25 years to be assured I was not leaving them. I stopped seeing my life and the world through obstacles and problems and stopped taking for granted all the blessings God had given me.
Doctors set up my treatment plan (chemo 2 rounds and 35 days of radiation in 5 different locations on my body) through testing and found other spots that were questionable. That first morning I started treatment I did not know what it would be like. On the ceiling of the radiation room was a tile that someone had written “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength” As I laid on that cold table, exposed (naked) to all these cameras alone, I closed my eyes feeling so uncomfortable wishing for it all to be over, to be anywhere but there. It is hard to explain that entire process. Radiation blistered my skin, each day new blisters on top of ones from the day before. Chemo made me extremely sick, weak and exhausted. I kept repeating that verse in my head. Suddenly, I felt arms wrapped around me and rocked me as if I were a child being comforted and rocked to sleep. Every morning I have said the same prayers and every day of my treatment I felt those same arms hold me and rock me through the uncomfortable moments. That first night after my experience with God I thanked him and promised I would give up my fear and worrying, and trust in him.
Around 10 days into my treatment doctors checked my progress. The tumor had shrunk by 50%, which they said was amazing at how fast the tumor was disappearing. I finished my treatment in August 2018 with no cancer. I have now been cancer-free for 2 years. That did not end my family’s battle with cancer. Two months after my treatment ended, my brother, right after turning age 44, started having health issues. In early April 2019 they diagnosed him with stage 4 pancreatic cancer. After an intense battle and struggle with life, he passed 5 months later. I am not saying my brother did not have faith and trust in God. I sometimes wonder, did he give up? Did he hand it over as he should have? Maybe it was just his time.
Either way, between losing him and my experience with cancer, it has strengthened my faith and conviction in God. “I can do ALL things through CHRIST who gives me strength.” has an incredibly significant meaning to me. I am going to leave you with these two Bible verses that saw me through that time in my life:
Isaiah 55:11 “Seeking Him in His Word, He is His Word. Pray His Word, it will not return Void.”
Matthew 7: 7-8 “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.
“For everyone that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.”