I was rocking in a chair by the lakeshore last week. Dick walked down from the cottage, put his arms around me and said with tears rolling down his cheeks, “I’m so grateful you are here.” I asked him what brought on the emotion. He had been looking at our lake journal….something he has rarely done….and he saw the entry I made two days after my diagnosis. Later in the day I went back to look at it. I wrote:
It is August 14. I have lung cancer. We are going home. If I never return………Dick and Sam, know that I have treasured every second of my time with you here at our beloved lake and cabin. Love it and enjoy it for me……for always…...til we meet again.
It was a Thursday the twelfth. I never realized that until now. Sam remembered. It was always a Friday the thirteenth in my mind, but it’s not surprising I didn’t know the day. It was the twelfth of August when the words YOU HAVE CANCER found their way from a doctor’s lips to my fearful ears. It was the day that pain enveloped my husband, my son and me. A pain so deep we could not feel the bottom of it. It was the day that terror branded our hearts. Time became suspended in a haze of fear. Looking back, two years out, I can see how much rejoicing the devil did that day. He thought he had stolen the life of our close trio. For a while, he had.
And then I found a way to breathe in that smoky haze of fear. I found a way to stem the tide of tears for ten minutes at a time, then thirty minutes at a time. I found something deep inside of myself I never knew existed before. Was it survival instinct at its most base level? I don’t know. It was a kind of determination to live that allows you to step into the darkness in order to step from the darkness. I found a way to plant my desperation in the soil of grace. I knew it was only grace that would hold me as I pressed into the pain, only grace that would allow glimmers of light through the expanse of fear.
We slowly learned the truths we needed to walk this new path. Truths we had never heard before….astounding truths found in God’s Word, promises in Scripture that healing is God’s will. We learned about the conditions of healing, we prayed, we asked, we made the choice to believe with unwavering faith that God is true to His Word, and that healing will be manifested in my life. The three of us would ignore symptoms of cancer and look only to God’s promises.
And then, faith. Faith came to stay. Faith that this was not the beginning of the end of my life and our family. Faith in total healing. Faith that in the face of a powerful, sovereign Creator God and Savior, incurable cancer can wither and die.
It was the twelfth of August when emotional devastation changed me in ways I have yet to make my own. Pain that deep cannot help but shape you into someone new. That this new someone can write this today is a testimony of God’s faithfulness. God alone gets the glory for the statistical improbability that I am alive this year on this anniversary day.
Alive to be rocking in a chair with my sweet husband’s strong, loving arms wrapped around me. Alive to be a mom to my precious son. Alive to be a daughter, sister, friend and auntie. Alive to share the truths we have learned with others seeking information about divine healing.
I am alive.
The other day, I was sitting on the deck in the same chair I sat in that day two years ago when I had to look into the grief-stricken eyes of my son and tell him I could die. Now, as I sat in that chair, we were texting each other about something perfectly stupid and mundane, laughing together via phone screens. The difference between the two days is vast. One, a victory for the devil. One, a day full of faith that Sam will have his mom around to cheer him and support him as he hitches his wagon to a few stars.
Cancer will not win. Satan came to steal, kill and destroy (John 10:10), but God came to give abundant life to those of us who believe in His atoning work on the cross, where He died for our sicknesses and diseases as well as our sins (Isaiah 53:4, 5). The three of us continue to trust Almighty God for total healing of my cancer.
It was Thursday, August the 12th, 2010 when my world tilted. Today is Sunday the 12th of August, 2012. God has re-set that world on a new trajectory. A new course, full of unexpected blessing and unspeakable gratitude.
Life is good.
God is great.
And faith, well, it’s everything.