Merry Christmas 2016

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what if it’s cancer

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My story is always the same. God always comes through.

My little family strives to live our lives the most obedient to God as possible. Not to say we are even near the mark because no one is ever sure. We may be completely off! I read a quote recently that went something like this… (Paraphrasing) “Just like a dad catching his child jumping into the swimming pool, God’s will moves with you. No matter how close or far that child jumps, the dad is going to move to catch him.” Isn’t God just like that! I’m jumping! I might not be jumping far enough or fast enough, but I believe God is reaching out to catch me where ever I may land! Isn’t there freedom in that statement? We don’t have to be perfect because it’s impossible!

I have a thousand stories to share about how we stepped out in faith and God provided. I always say that we are quite spoiled by this god we serve. I look back and see an overall favor upon us. We are healthy and happy and so much more.

John 16:33 I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”

Notice that scripture, along with many others, talks about “tribulation.” In the back of my mind, I’ve wondered how long this favor can last. I have believed in miracles. I know that God answers prayers. But, something has been looming over me that says, “bad things happen to good people.” How long can this goodness last?

My husband, David, has been ill for months. It has progressively gotten worse and we’ve been worried. A little over a month ago, we finally got in to see a fantastic family practitioner who wanted to run several test. One of those test was a CT scan. We anticipated the day as anyone would. We stated before the test, “As long as your pancreas comes back clear, everything else we can manage.” You see, David’s grandmother died at a young age of pancreatic cancer. David seemed to be displaying many of the vague symptoms of this terrible disease…..

The test went well and I left to visit family in KY. I wondered if I should leave with David being sick. Two days after being there my 7 year old developed a horrible virus that mimicked meningitis. We spend hours in the ER and cried many tears. I didn’t think my heart could take any more hurt and worry. Thankfully, he was cleared and sent back to my mom’s house to recover.

Upon leaving my mom’s house, David called. I was alone there with my kids and the van packed. We were walking out the door to drive 5 hours home. David said “There is a mass on my pancreas.”

Needless to say, my world collapsed. I didn’t need anyone to tell me about pancreatic cancer. As a nurse, I’ve seen it too many times. Nearly every mass is cancerous and almost no one survives it.

David had been sick for a long time. He had lost 20 pounds and even his bilirubin had been elevated. Often that is the first sign of pancreatic cancer. I’d seen him lie sick on the couch for days, unable to move with stomach pain and exhaustion. In that moment, I was defeated. It all made sense. I drove home with swollen, bloodshot eyes and tears streaming the whole five hours. I asked God a lot of questions like “Is this how my story is going to go?” “Has our favor run out?” It was like a dagger in my heart I’ve never felt before.

So, there is where our true journey began. The journey of test, studies and procedures. You name it and he had it done. We had to wait to see the only doctor in Chattanooga who could do the actual procedure to look directly at the pancreas. In the meantime, doctors were ruling everything else out. We crossed our fingers every time we completed a new test, hoping the doctor would say, “We found what is causing the pain.” Maybe if they could find it, the pancreas thing would be nothing. But, no one could find anything.

Each and every time, I sat alone, waiting. Once specific time, I was in a conference room that couldn’t have been bigger than 6x4ft. I wanted to pray but my mind kept on imagining. “Is this going to be the place where I find out the bad news?”  “Is this the moment our life officially changes forever?” I even took a picture of the chair across from me where the doctor would sit to deliver the news. Once again, he delivered no bad news. He didn’t even sit in that stupid chair.

My stomach had been in knots since the day David called me in KY. I couldn’t think about anything else. I tried everything to trust God. I tried every way to distract my mind and stay busy. But, that knot in my stomach didn’t go anywhere. It was a constant reminder.

Two weeks after the CT results came, the day arrived. It was time for the big test. The ONE that would tell us what was going on with David’s pancreas. I needed someone to watch my kids again. I needed someone to sit with me at the hospital. I couldn’t sit alone and imagine again. What if the news was bad? How could I handle it alone? My family felt further away than ever.

I reached out. I’m not good at reaching out. But, let me say that I am grateful I did for so many reasons. I didn’t know that there were people who loved so deeply right beside me. We aren’t “home” per say. The home I grew up in is KY. But, isn’t this what “home” is all about? Isn’t it about people who truly love and support one another? There were friends who watched my kids at 5:30am. There were friends that took days off work to keep me busy while I waited on results. I am grateful for the opportunity to see what was there beside me all along.

The doctor finally came out to deliver the results. He said, “I didn’t see anything unusual about the pancreas. It looked normal. There wasn’t even anything to biopsy.”

Psalms 34: 19 Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the LORD delivers him out of them all.

I haven’t processed all the emotions enough yet to write too much about life “after” our good news was delivered. After all, it was only a few days ago. Of course, we are beyond grateful and give God all the credit.  God has delivered us once again. My story will remain the same. God always comes through. I get to grow old with with man that I married. My kids will have a daddy to see all their great accomplishments.

Strangely, a part of me has felt sad. Why do we get good news and so many people get bad news? There are so many out there who are scared like I was. Do they have support like I did?

There was something completely remarkable about our lives being laid out before God. It’s like we were cut right open and only God controlled our fate. Nothing we could do change or fix a thing. We were helpless. All we could do was wait.

Also, over the years, my faith has become more “reasonable.” I have found myself hesitant to pray for miracles. It’s like my grown-up brain wants to think things like “sometimes bad things happen and we don’t understand it.”

Matthew 14:31 “Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?”

Why should I walk around waiting for our good favor to end? What a miserable and sad idea? 

God heals. He changes. He delivers. Nothing is impossible with him. David has felt better than ever since the day the test came back clear. Something happened inside of him. Was it a miracle? Months and months of sickness and now nothing? He’s fine just like that?

This process broke us down and humbled us. I want to stay here. It is the most realistic place.

Isn’t it amazing that the most realistic place of faith is also a place of miracles and dreams?

That grown-up, stuffy place is NOT real. That place in your life where you wonder if God is involved or if he just left you here to survive, it’s not true.  Neither is truth waiting for your luck to run out and the bad news to be delivered.

The truth is that God will supply every need of yours according to his plan!

Phillipians 4:19And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus”