Go! They Said… LIVE!

*Artwork Created By My Very Talented Pink Sister, Ria Goudswaard

“The cancer is gone! I declare you cancer-free! Go live!” The oncologist declared over me, the support staff applauding. I simply stood there looking at them blinking.

The nightmare was over? The fight had been won? Go live? HOW.

HOW

For almost seven years I have tried to “Go live” but on the grounds where the battle occurred – the scar tissue of a fight hard fought and won unbeknown to me began to grow seeds of anxiety.
  How does one live after cancer? How do you put the fear and terror aside? How do you go forward knowing fully not only has your body changed on the outside, but you yourself has changed on the in? Your life as you knew it is not the same. Almost seven years later I am still trying to go forward.

There are days when I just want to burst out in tears of frustration.   Feeling like I’m on an escalator and I don’t know where it is headed. Feeling like I have no control. How does one “live” when they are afraid? Living with fear is a cancer of another kind.

Feeling the responsibility of being given a second chance at life but afraid to make mistakes… When you go through cancer you are more keenly aware of all the mistakes you made in life.

How do you get past the fear? Life has changed as you know it. You are not the same person. The cancer is gone – but YOU remain. All you can pray in your head is, “God help me to live. Help me to know how…” I don’t KNOW how… And you think that the knowledge will come in time – but the truth of the matter is it doesn’t go away… You learn to live with it. You choose every day consciously to become better and not bitter. All of a sudden you feel like a different species of human. Those who have gone through the battle understand. Those who don’t – can’t, you haven’t been where we have (and thank God you haven’t).

There are days when I wake up and I look around my life astonished that it has changed so much. It all seems so surreal… Like I’m living a very weird unexpected dream… A failed marriage, millennium children who think differently than the children of my era; how do you get through it? By it? Around it?   You have become a different person. The people you feel closest to are other survivors who have gone through it. You cling to each other’s hands like a lifeline.

“Don’t let go! I might sink without you!”
“I won’t – don’t let go of mine either!”

Strangers that have become closer than family.

You second guess every choice you make and you live in fear or uncertainty that life will ever stabilize. You feel like you are looking around every corner because once you were taken by surprise and now that you know how that feels like, you sleep with one eye open.

You love deeper and more passionately – it happens naturally because of what you’ve been through.  I call it “bear hug love” – that’s the only way you know how to those who are important to you and remain in your life… you try not to stifle or smother those you love because you are afraid of losing them or afraid of having them lose you… They can’t fully understand…

Before life everything was in water colors – now, post cancer everything is in vibrant hues.
Such an oxymoron of becoming stronger, yet feeling so fragile…

How do I live this life with so many emotions warring inside of me? The truth is none of us is promised tomorrow – but how can I NOT let that fear influence how I live today?

How do I fit all my living into each moment? How do I not allow the fear of “what could happen” ruin my here and now? HOW?

Tick tock goes the clock… Not to be taken for granted… What’s around the corner? Don’t think about it! Walk by faith and not by sight… Okay… Tick tock – what’s around the corner? Even unspoken the thought goes…

LIVE! LIVE! LIVE!

I’m TRYING.  I  put my hands over my ears.. I hug myself closer to try and rid myself of the fear… I quote words of scripture God’s promises to wrap around me… Picking up the shattered pieces of my life, trying to make sense of it all… Who am I? Why did this happen? How do I go forward?  Stepping out on faith.  If I take your hand will you hold it forever or will you simply let go? Tick tock…  7 years have gone by – how did they go by so fast? I’m on automatic pilot.  Life has changed so drastically.  Good things have occurred but still the uncertainty and fear and surprise of having had cancer never goes away.  It NEVER fades away.
 
And my body temperature is cold ALL the time… “I’m cold Father… Help me…”

Anxiety, fear, depression – emotions you didn’t expect to feel after the battle. I don’t feel victorious. I feel timid. I don’t feel like a winner, I feel small and afraid. Like a deer who is caught in the headlights of a car and cannot move out of the way.

I look toward my Pink sisters, other women who KNOW.  Other women who understand.  We are a sisterhood of survivors.  We are a pink rover line holding each others hands we do NOT have the ability of letting each other go.  We simply can’t.  We didn’t ask to be in this line.  We were drafted.  The line is so long it seems unending.  We CRY out together in unison, “We NEED a cure! God help us and every survivor.  WE NEED A CURE.”

God help me. This is not how life was meant to be. Help me not to be afraid. Take my hand. Calm my soul. In my head I know that NO one is promised tomorrow – but please don’t let that fear take away my joy of today. If I allow that to be the case then regardless of whether or not the cancer is gone – it has won. Because with it has gone my innocence. My carefree sense of being, please renew a steadfast spirit inside of me and return to me the joy of my salvation and my healing; the joy of LIFE.

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The Me You See – Dedicated to My Pink Sisters

I was never a fearful person before cancer.  I think when you go through a life threatening illness at the time you stoically go through it because you have no choice. I had no choice.  Treatment is so regimented it is like you have been drafted in an army… 

Actually, I was drafted into an army – a Pink Rover Line that is so long and so wide that it would surprise you.

Cancer is no respecter of persons, it doesn’t matter your financial status, your race, your religion, your age. Once you get drafted, you are drafted and the drafting will leave you shell shocked but before you can even wrap your brain around WHAT is happening you are enrolled in a regimen that you have no choice but to be an active participant in.

I suppose it is a good thing that it is so regimented because it doesn’t give you much time to really think.  You go from doctor to doctor to oncologist to nurse, to surgery, treatment, radiation – in such a manner that it physically wears you out.  Chemo is no walk in the park.  I remember my first round.  I was a newbie, doing what I was told to do.  I came armed with books, my cell phone, my laptop. It was going to be okay, I was use to multi-tasking. Holding out my arm for the IV I said, “Here I am!  I got this!”  And then came the first dose… It takes hours… And the chemo I had is nicknamed “The Red Devil” for a reason. That chemo is NO joke – it means business as it runs through your veins.  Six years later I can still recall the taste, the smell the feeling of that chemo going through my body.  It hit hard and like a red tidal wave rushed with my blood through my veins to every part of my being.  I couldn’t read, I couldn’t type, all I could do was feel and what I felt was exhaustion.  It was like something I had never experienced before and would not have known what to expect.

That first night, I could taste it, I could smell it, it was in my pores.  Exhausted I went back to my childhood home and collapsed on the bed.  That night I had nightmares, I dreamt of hell and heat and sulfur and woke up scared out of my mind, my heart racing, my skin drenched in sweat.  No matter what I did during that time of treatment with Adriamycin, cytoxan and Taxol – I could not get that smell out of my nostrils.

The thing about treatment is this – that in a sense it is so regimented that you don’t have much time to think – you just go through.  For me, that was my saving grace – I followed a treatment schedule, I was in the Pink Army now.  “Deal with it Soldier! You don’t have a choice!”  So I did.

Early detection is key – I cannot say that enough.  After rounds of two different types of chemotherapy (I hope I remember this right… Adriamycin, Cytoxan and Taxol) and then I endured 35 rounds of radiation.  Radiation – a crazy thing that takes what looks like a red laser to your cancer site location and burns the absolute hell out of your skin in the matter of minutes. But it works… It’s role, to make sure it obliterates any cancer cells that *might* have survived those rounds of chemotherapy. Honestly, worse than any beach sunburn (while using baby oil) that a person has ever gone through, but you do it because you are in the army now, it is part of the regimen AND it works. And really, you don’t have a choice.

The second hardest part (and I say second, because the first hardest part is hearing you’ve been diagnosed with cancer) is post treatment life.  This is the time when you have done your time in the Treatment Service and all of a sudden – you are done.  You are cancer-free.  Some people choose to use the repulsive term “in remission” but those are the people who are sitting there “waiting” for the cancer to return.  I was not part of that delegated group.  Nor will I EVER be.  I was declared, “cancer-free” with a shake of the hand and a congratulations, I was released.

Released.

What next?? Actual time to think? What happened? I looked around and all of a sudden a flood of feelings hit me like a tsunami.  WHAT HAPPENED? WHAT NOW?  HOW? WHY?

All those feelings came upon me like a floodgate. Not only did cancer affect my body – it affected my life.  I became keenly aware during the time I was in the Pink Army Regimen of treatment of who outside my Pink world had abandoned me. People I NEVER would have guessed.  People who were close to me who while I was sick didn’t know how to talk to me.  I was still the same person, I hadn’t changed – cancer happened TO ME it wasn’t what I had become.  Yet in looking at me perhaps it made them look at their own mortality and they were “awkward” with me.   They didn’t know how to identify with me anymore. It seemed like there was a lot of “head nodding” and fake smiling and small talk which perhaps they didn’t think I could pick up on… But I did.  I don’t blame them, I get it – you don’t have common ground anymore.  You have never been where I was.  This is where the  bond between my Pink Sisters came in.  My Pink family, “the girls” the ones who got it.  The ones who knew.  We could just look at each other and get it.  We could act as goof-bally as we wanted or cry or scream or vent or laugh like crazy women and we got it.  WHY because we understood.  We understood that we were drafted, that this wasn’t our fault, that we had no control over it.  We were there for each other – holding tight to each-others hands – not letting go.  In many of our cases the holding of those hands (emotionally speaking) was what kept us fighting.  For those of us who experienced people we loved falling away from us – those hands became lifelines.  Holding on for dear life.

It’s been six years.  Some would say, “why are you still talking about it?  You’ve been healed! You are cancer-free! MOVE ON!” To which I would look at them with a mix of emotions – anger, pity, rage, sorrow and disdain because unless you are a survivor you have no idea how very difficult that is.  Each of our journeys have been individual, unique.  Each experience different.  The thing about the Pinks is that we understand that.  We allow each other to feel whatever it is we feel.  It’s okay if you’re angry, or scared, or sad, or whatever you  feel  – ALLOW yourself to feel it.  It’s okay.  That’s the difference between a survivor and someone who hasn’t been through what we’ve gone through.

I don’t say any of what I’ve written in bitterness.  God has given me a second chance at life, and I am every day thankful.  I have Pink sisters who didn’t make it and they were no less deserving than I. 

I’m not the same person I was prior to cancer.  My life has changed, my body has changed, my family has changed.  I’m still trying to come to terms with it.  Some days are easier than others.  Some not. I didn’t ask for cancer to happen to me.  I didn’t ask for my life to change – but I was drafted.  I have chosen not to become bitter – but there are times when I don’t know HOW to become better.  I hurt. Even as a Christian, I feel lost along the way.  There feels like there is such a responsibility to being given  the gift of a second chance at life – but there are added responsibilities that are due to the fabric of my life changing so drastically.  I did not sign up for this, I did not expect this.  The range of emotions I go through from gratitude to anger, to intensive fear is something I suppose will stick with me for the rest of my life.

I know that this is something that my Pink sisters feel too.  Cancer is not just about what affects the body, it affects all of what makes YOU you.

If I were to be truly transparent – I would have to say that more than the fear of going through it again (which a survivor worries about every time they go for that next oncology appointment, because you didn’t expect to get cancer in the first place – once bitten twice shy) – and that fear comes up every time you walk through those hospital doors. Even after 6 years the fear always comes up with every appointment.

But more than that – the fear of being loved and left again.  The fear of being hurt.  The fear of being alone is one that for those of us who went through it and saw people walk away from us is something that is a scar as real as any surgical scar. It’s the PSD following the Pink drafting.  The residue of what is left as you try to pick up those pieces (and even after 6 years I’m still picking them up) and move forward.

What encouraging advice can I give? The good that has come from cancer? The rainbow after the storm?  I can say that you learn to love deeper.  Like a tornado that unexpectedly comes upon the house of you – it rips the hinges of your bullshit meter door right off your house.  GONE.  You no longer have the capacity to deal with bullshit or pettiness or drama.  WHY? Because you realize how short life is.  You have had a crash course in what is important and what is not.  Many survivors have become just raw.  We have a tendency not to sugarcoat ANYTHING.  We ARE the REAL McCoy.  We tell it like it is.

That’s refreshing.  And if a survivor loves you – you are in for an intimate full blown love affair like you have never experienced in your life.  Survivors love completely, passionately with all their hearts because they know that no one is promised tomorrow. NOT ANYONE OF US – all though we all live like God owes it to us – He does not.  So being around a cancer survivor can be refreshing because they are honest and straightforward and to the point… At least most of us…

I choose not to live in bitterness – I choose to become better, but I am a work in progress.  I get filled with fear of the unknown.  I  get scared…  When you go through cancer, you learn to depend upon yourself because honestly – NO ONE is going through it WITH YOU.  It is happening to YOU.  It isn’t until it is all said and done that you are even able to think what it must have been like for your loved ones (the ones that chose to hang around) because during the treatment regimen it is taking ALL it can for you to get through it.  You don’t mean to be selfish or self-involved, it just leaves you no choice.

Six years later – my life has changed.  I can see the better now.  There IS a rainbow after the storm.  You just have to believe and wait and see.  And most of all – walk in forgiveness and love and trust that even if you don’t know the WHY of it.  God sees everything in its fullness.  After the worst of the storms comes some of the MOST beautiful rainbows.  I see it now – the rainbow… Sometimes it feels a lot farther off in the future than it actually is, but that is all about perception.  The fact is – it’s there.  You just have to look hard enough for it…    

 More Words For Your Journey

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No Matter What, God’s Got You!

“I will fulfill the number of your days.” (Exodus 23:26)

 This past Monday was my 4th year “cancerversary” (or so we survivors call it).  It was my 4th Year annual appointment from having been diagnosed with early stage, triple negative breast cancer.  I have been cancer-free for 4 years, but no matter how much time passes  these yearly mammogram appointments fill me with anxiety, fear and trepidation.  This time I was definitely concerned because I had been having painful sensations at the lumpectomy site; sensations I had not felt before and of course ol’ slewfoot taunted me with all kinds of horrible thoughts on what it could be…  Some cancer survivors like to refer to themselves in “remission” personally I have never liked (or used) that word.

I Googled the term “remission” and a Dr. Z’s medical report, Published May 17, 2006 written by Ed Zimney, MD (whoever that is…) popped up. He defines remission as such:

“Complete remission means that there are no symptoms and no signs that can be identified to indicate the presence of cancer. However, even when a person is in remission, there may be microscopic collections of cancer cells that cannot be identified by current techniques. This means that even if a person is in remission, they may, at some future time, experience a recurrence of their cancer.”

Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but for me, I find the term “remission” to be insulting, offensive and inaccurate.  You see – I am *not* in remission, I am HEALED.  God has healed me.  To call it anything else is to belittle what He can do and what He has done and I refuse to belittle God and identify my cancer-free self as one who is in “remission.”  Now it is a personal thing, and many survivors fine with that term, I find it insulting and am quick to correct someone who describes me as such.  God has healed me, He has given me a second chance at life and for that I am truly grateful. I found myself thinking of the scene in scripture when Jesus calls Peter out to walk towards Him upon the water.   Matthew 14:22-33:

Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowd.   After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. Later that night, he was there alone, and the boat was already a considerable distance from land, buffeted by the waves because the wind was against it. Shortly before dawn Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified.

“It’s a ghost,” they said, and cried out in fear.  

But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I.  Don’t be afraid.”

“Lord if it’s You,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to You on the water.”

“Come,” He said.

Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus.  But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!”

Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,”He said, “why did you doubt?”

And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down.   Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.”

I didn’t want to focus on the taunts the enemy was whispering in my ear, because I knew just as Peter had – I would begin to sink.  So, with my mother by my side, my back straight, my chin firmly set I went to my appointment at the Dana-Farber holding on to my promises.

“I will fulfill the number of your days.” (Exodus 23:26)

“I have made you the head and not the tail.” (Deuteronomy 28:13)

“Can a woman forget her nursing child And have no compassion on the son of her womb? Even these may forget, but I will not forget you. Behold, I have inscribed you on the palms of My hands; Your walls are continually before Me. Your builders hurry; Your destroyers and devastators Will depart from you.…” (Isaiah 49:16)

This is why God tells us to hide His word in our hearts so that we can find strength in His promises. Unlike people, God does not make promises He doesn’t keep, we can trust that if it is written in His Word – He meant it.  He is not a God that He would lie. He is the Author and the Finisher of our faith – He knows the beginning of the story of “us” as well as the ending, so who better to trust???!

The memories of my cancer experience always hits me a new when I walk into the doors of Dana-Farber.  The confusion, the shock, the fear of the unknown, the uncertainty of what’s to come all come flooding back.  I guess it is a natural “knee jerk” reaction.  Once again, I went through my check in, my blood work and next – the dreaded mammogram (dun dun…) this huge machine that would give the radiologist the knowledge of what was going on beyond the surface… 

This is where most of us Pinks are found sitting in the waiting room, bitting our fingernails, holding our breathes, only to release them when the results (prior to leaving the Imaging Department) are handed to us.  It is the waiting that is the hardest part, the not knowing.  This time around when I was told that everything was normal, I burst into tears. Tears of relief and gratitude.  According to my oncologist, nerve endings can come back to life anywhere from 10 to 20 years from a lumpectomy post surgery.

I cannot tell you what I would have felt if the report had been otherwise, I can only draw upon my previous experience of receiving a phone call saying, “you have cancer…”  But I can tell you this – I believe that God would have given me the strength to face whatever I needed to face as He has done throughout the course of my life and my walk with Him, things may come as a surprise to us – but they are never a surprise to Him.

I have come to realize more and more that each day – EACH day is a gift, a blank sheet of life for us to write upon, one that we will never get back again.  Somewhere along the line we humans began to take each day for granted, to treat each new day as if it were “owed” to us.  The truth is – it’s not.  We were originally created to live forever – before Adam and Eve sinned in the Garden of Eden bringing sin and death into the world.  But most people never feel like “they’ve had enough life.”  Have you ever noticed that “old” is something that is 15 years older than what you are?

Life is a precious gift.  What are you writing upon the pages of your life? How do you wake up in the morning?  Do you rejoice?  No one knows what the future holds – but instead of worrying about whatever will be, why don’t we just rejoice and praise God for what He has given us today?  When you wake up tomorrow visualize the day as a blank sheet of paper.  What will you write upon it?  What memories will you make?  How will you view things? What difference might you make in the life of someone else?  Write well dear reader!  You won’t get these moments back… See? Another has just passed… Make every moment count because make no mistake about it – each one is a precious gift from God.

 

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It’s Alive!!!!

He’s Only a Prayer Away…

   Its so true that the Bible is the “living Word.” Today, I’ve been thinking a lot about the woman in the bible who had been bleeding for years. Let me see if I can find the scripture….(Matthew 9:20-22) “Just then a woman who had been bleeding for 12 years came up behind Jesus and touched the edge of His cloak.She said to herself ‘If only I touch His cloak I will be healed. Jesus turned and saw her, “Take heart daughter.” He said. “Your faith has healed you.” And the woman was healed at that moment.”

What faith that woman had. Twelve years of bleeding. She never accepted it. Can you imagine how hard it was for her to get close enough to “touch him”? Crowds always followed Jesus.  But her determination and her faith – even to the point of saying to herself “IF I COULD ONLY TOUCH HIS CLOAK.” How loving was his response. I’m sure that in the Old Testament times this woman was ostracized. I’m sure she probably felt very much alone. Maybe she felt as though she had done something to bring this on herself. Day after day she lived with this ailment. My heart goes out to her.

Although I have only been considered a survivor for almost two months now, my life has changed drastically. I guess the only way I can describe it is the difference between a beautifully painted “water color” picture and a vibrant, brilliant oil painting. The water color was before bc and the oil painting – after.  I wake up each morning thankful that God has given me another day.

That woman – I can almost see her determination that no matter what it would take – she WOULD reach Jesus and touch Him.  How did she feel when He turned around and acknowledged that He knew He had been touched?  Was she scared? But I’m quite sure His loving reaction – “Take heart daughter” was as healing to her as the actual reaching out to touch Him.

“Lord – I’m reaching out to you – as she was. I don’t know the words to say, because there is so much going on inside me… I want to touch you. The last two years have been the hardest in my walk with You. I know I’m not telling you something you don’t already know. I don’t know how to – get back to where I was with You. I’ve always been honest – you know this. So Lord – I will reach out to you today and I will simply say – “Help me.” Two words Lord. For I don’t know exactly what to pray. I only know that my life is in Your hands. In Jesus’ precious name I pray. Amen.”

I guess the biggest thing I’ve learned is that you can’t “earn” heaven. Its not about “going to church” church doesn’t save you – it helps build you up in Christ and surrounds you with other believers (the body). What saves you is the fact that Jesus died on the cross for forgiveness of our sins. Its His love. It’s His mercy, its His sacrifice, its His grace. How strongly I’m aware of that..

I’ll bet you her life was vibrant and full and she never took life for granted after that moment. I wish the Bible told us more about her – what her life was like before and after… I think tomorrow when I wake up I will picture what it would be like if Jesus was sitting at a table right across from me.  Perhaps even joining me in a D& D Skim Latte with a thick foam (smiling) and what I would say to Him. I think that is how I shall start tomorrow. For now – I simply say “Lord, like that woman – I am reaching out to touch you. Help me and I love you.”

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The Way Back Home…

*This is a post that I wrote June 29,2010 four days after I was diagnosed with Triple Negative Breast Cancer. God does not cause illness, unfortunately it is part of the curse that our world fell under when Adam & Eve chose not to listen to God’s instructions and age from tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil as depicted in the book of Genesis 2:16-17 “And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, “Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.”

Sunday, June 21st I held a moving sale with my family. Hardly did I know that day would be the end of a chapter in my life as I’ve known it for the last 43 years.  I came in the house, got ready to take a shower – and noticed a lump the size of a nickel on my left breast. It was just “there.” I ran down to show my husband and we called my mom.  My mom suggested that I be cautious and I make an appointment with my doctor for the next day – I did. Oh how quickly this whirl wind of events took place. Seeing my doctor she sent me for a mammogram (only the second one I’ve ever had) and an ultrasound. There it was – I needed to come in for something called a “core biopsy.” I came in the next day had the procedure.  Now I know no one is fond of needles – but especially needles put in places that they “normally” would NOT go.  However I went visualizing the Lord holding my hand.  The song “Jesus Take the Wheel” going through my head. They told me it would be a 3-5 day wait for the results.  THREE TO FIVE DAYS.  It felt like eternity.  I started thinking of my life for over the past two years… And I realized that no matter what – I needed to begin my trek “back home” to the Lord. No matter what the results.

I thought about Shepherds – how when one sheep is missing they leave their “whole” flock to look for it. I’ve been “missing” for the past two years. Away from the safety, the warmth, the peace the comfort of the Lord. Like a rebellious teenager saying “no Lord! I don’t wanna!!!” I’d gone my own way, looking for – I don’t know what.  And knowing the whole time that I was “looking for I-don’t-know-what.” The ironic thing about it – is I realized during the whole time I waited for the results – that all I need my Father supplies.  And you know – He gives so much better so much more ample, so much more generously than I can provide for myself.  Does that make sense? These past two years – I’ve done things I’m not proud of and probably will only reveal to my inner circle of prayer partners – and you know – I think it is important for each of us to be as transparent with our walks as we can.  Because the fact is – so many other brothers and sisters in Christ are going thru similar situations.  This blog is NOT a confessional blog.  You see – the only one I really need to confess ANYTHING to – is the Father.  And the most ironic thing about it – is HE KNOWS EVERYTHING ANYHOW.  He knows!  You can’t hide ANYTHING from Him. So why do we even try? Like Adam and Eve in the Garden – having eaten the apple – God knew it. He knew what they had done – but still – they tried to hide from Him.  We haven’t changed all that much. (LOL) we are STILL trying to hide from Him.  But here’s the thing – here is what I’ve learned – if you know the story of the Prodigal son.  You know that he realized how MUCH he needed his father.  He got to the lowest point in his life he could go and realized – He needed… He WANTED to return home.  And when he did – his Father was there – looking down the pathway – waiting, hoping for him to come home.  The Bible tells us his arms were open WIDE. WIDE WIDE WIDE.

I ran into my Father’s arms on June 24th. My doctor called me at work and told me – the results were positive. I have breast cancer.  My world has changed.  My life has changed – but you know what hasn’t changed? My GOD.  He is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow.  I gave my life to Him at the age of 21. That was 23 years ago. I have run back into my Father’s awaiting arms – and you know what I’ve found? PEACE. I found security, I found comfort. I found love.  What was it I had been looking for before? I don’t even KNOW.  I only know – that my arms are wrapped around Him TIGHTLY. TIGHTLY TIGHTLY TIGHTLY.  How would you be if your child was ill? If your child was hurting? You would wrap your arms around them and hold them close to you.  Kiss their head.  The Bible tells us “If we being evil give such good gifts to our children – how much MORE will your Heavenly Father give to you?”

I won’t lie to you – I’ve been bewildered.  I’ve been scared. I’ve been shocked. A week ago – I was FINE. Well no – I wasn’t.  But you know what? Ironically I am now.  I’m FINE.  Okay, so I have a Goliath in my life – its called breast cancer.  But you know what? This morning as I read my Word and I prayed.  I thought of David.  I thought of how his knees must have been shaking as he stood infront of this giant.  I thought of how the other soldiers must have been watching on – mocking him.  This shepherd boy. Waiting for him to get pummeled by this Giant of a man. Can you imagine their surprise when the Giant fell? Can you imagine Goliath’s shock what his last thought might have been before he fell? David stood before him with one weapon – his faith.  His trust.  His love for the Lord.  He knew He was real.  He knew the battle wasn’t his. He knew the LORD would win.

This stupid little nickel size tumor came as a huge shock to me.  But you know – it didn’t to my Father. I and many of my Survivor sisters – who btw I’m just beginning to meet – are having/had a “Goliath experience.” But the fight is NOT ours.  And our weapon – is our Faith. I don’t know why my Father is allowing me to go through this – but this I know.  He is in control.  My eyes are on my Father.  My weapon – my faith. I’m standing before the Giant – and I know that as David did – I will win this battle. And my Father will be victorious and I will use this experience to extend the right hand of fellowship to the woman behind me (as women are doing now to me). 

Everyone in their lives goes through a Prodigal experience at some point. Its what you choose to do with what you learn that makes the difference. There is mercy and grace and love in my Father’s arms. In YOUR Father’s arms.  He is no respector of persons.  He has no favorites. He loves all of us – just exactly the same. In the midst of the battle – there is PEACE.

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