This week I had the honor of being a guest on Christine Hoover’s By Faith podcast. She’s finishing a fabulous season on friendship, and I hope you’ll go check out all her episodes! We had a great chat about God’s faithfulness to me in the midst of cancer and how we can support friends who are suffering. I hope you’ll go check it out!Share
In October 2010, my husband and I sat on the floor in our boys’ bedroom as they ran around us in a pre-bedtime frenzy. Surrounded by bunk beds, toys, and trains, we told our young sons I had cancer.
When the doctor called earlier that afternoon, I expected him to say the lump in my breast was breast cancer or not breast cancer. Instead, I heard a strange new word: angiosarcoma. When I typed it into Google, I quickly understood why the doctor’s tone had been so serious.
Angiosarcoma has a five-year survival rate of 30%. My boys were six and four, and their little sister was 18 months old. I closed my tear-filled eyes and started begging the Lord to give us those five years. I wasn’t bold enough to ask for more.
Over the next several months, I endured seven rounds of chemotherapy, most of which involved a clinical trial at a Cancer Center, 600 miles from home. Chemo was followed by five weeks of radiation and then surgery, all out of town. I spent a total of fourteen weeks away from my family, sacrificing months with the hope of gaining years.
I wrestled through many questions during my cancer battle and the tenuous years that followed.
Could I trust the Lord to care for my children even if losing me was part of their story?
Would he meet their needs when I could not?
And at the end of this, would they be emotionally scarred or would they be spiritually stronger?
The Lord met me in that questioning place with the truth of his word. The questions never vanished, but he taught me to cling to his promises as the uncertainty raged around me.
To read the entire post, head over to Risen Motherhood – it’s one of my favorite blogs. I hope you’ll take a look around while you’re there and check out their podcast for some wonderful, gospel-centered encouragement for moms!Share
I stood at the kitchen sink with my face in my hands while my two little boys ran circles around me and the newborn cried from her crib. I had just learned that a close family member had been diagnosed with cancer. As I looked around the chaos of my life as a young mom, I wondered, How can I possibly help? What can I do to support her? I have no idea what to do.
Later that month, I came across a treasure in the book of 2 Chronicles 20. In this chapter, the king of Judah hears that three armies have united against him and are on their way to attack. The people all gather together in the temple, standing with their families, and, I imagine, shaking with fear. King Jehoshaphat cries out to the Lord, praises Him for His sovereignty and power, and asks for deliverance from the only One who can offer it:
“O our God, will you not execute judgment on them? For we are powerless against this great horde that is coming against us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you.” (2 Chronicles 20:12)
This passage became a lifeline for me as our extended family walked through cancer that summer. I had no idea God was teaching me to keep my eyes on Him in hard times because I would face my own cancer battle the following year.
I often don’t know what to do. Life overwhelms me, parenting perplexes me, relationships frustrate me, and my sin shows me that I don’t have the Christian life figured out. But through it all, there is One who is more powerful than our strongest enemy, possesses all the wisdom we could ever need, and keeps all His promises to us.
When you don’t know what to do, keep looking to Him. Keep crying out to Him and depending on His promises and strength. Just as He defeated the enemies of His people on that day thousands of years ago, He will give you wisdom and strength when you have no idea what to do.
No matter what you face this week, keep your eyes on your faithful and mighty Father.Share
The lights dimmed as I gripped my program and shifted in my seat with anticipation. After driving my son to what felt like 101 rehearsals, I was ready to watch him perform in his school’s junior high musical.
The spotlights followed the young teenagers around the stage, songs filled the air, and my son made the audience roar with laughter. I felt the familiar joy all moms feel as we watch our children do well. I felt relief that he didn’t forget his lines or trip over his own rapidly-growing feet.
I also felt a weight of gratitude that I suspect didn’t cross the other moms’ minds that evening. I was thankful that my son had a great time performing, for friends and relatives who joined us in the audience, and for a school that gives my child these opportunities. But there was one thing I was grateful for above all of these.
I was grateful that no one would say to my son that night, “Your mom sure would’ve loved this. She’d be so proud of you.”
Seven years ago, as I read the dismal survival rates for angiosarcoma, as I traveled to MD Anderson Cancer Center to receive months of treatment and participate in a clinical trial, as I walked through the early months and years of survivorship . . . I thought ahead to these moments. I saw my children, a few inches taller and a few years more mature, playing in piano competitions, dancing in ballet recitals, competing in spelling bees, and walking to the stage during school awards assemblies.
No matter how much I squinted and searched, I couldn’t see whether or not I was sitting in the crowd. I feared those normally-happy occasions would be marred by my absence. I imagined the sad half-smiles and the words others would say to console my children: “Your mom would be so proud.”
And by God’s grace, here I am. Not a week goes by that I don’t marvel at my presence here in 2017. I know other children are missing their moms, and it breaks my heart. I don’t take my present or future health for granted.
But as the house lights came up and I made my way to the lobby after the show, it was a joy to hug my son and say, “Wow, I really loved that! I sure am proud of you.”Share