7 years ago today…
It was Friday, June 24, 2005. I had turned 23 just 2 weeks earlier, and we had recently celebrated our first 6 months of marriage. We were in Texas, where my husband and his brother were ministering at a camp for children. Life was full of promise. On that Friday afternoon, however, as I stood in the Texas sun and clung to my Motorola Razr, I heard the words that would forever change my life: I had cancer.
It is honestly sometimes hard to imagine life before that day, simply because my journey with cancer has so profoundly affected every single area of my life since then, that I’ve literally had to forge a “new normal.” I’ll never again not be the girl who had cancer, although that is not what defines me. I’ll never again not know the horror of getting a phone call with bad news, although I no longer jump when the phone rings. I’ll never again not know what it’s like to watch as life goes on around you, while you’re seemingly stuck on pause from inside the confines of a hospital room. You know what else? I’ll never again take my health for granted. I’ll never again stop praising God for His goodness and grace, as it was during my journey with cancer that I saw and felt Him closer than ever before. I’ll never again come across someone who is going through a similar hardship and forget about them instantly as I go back to my happy life. No, instead, I’ll stop, pray, and remember them day and night, as I bring them before God and ask Him to touch their life in the way He touched mine.
Seven years is a long time, and yet, all it takes is a second, and I can be right back in that moment when I received my diagnosis. I shudder a little thinking about it, but then, I take a deep breath, smile, and begin thanking God for saving my life. I thank Him for not only healing me, but for carrying me. I didn’t go through the arduous time of cancer all alone. I felt carried, loved, and cared for in such an intimate way as to seal my belief of God’s reality for the rest of my days. He is real. He is love. Ask me how I know, and I’ll tell you all about it.
Today, 7 years later, I give God praise. I look at my 2 sweet babies and I get tears in my eyes. I think about how God knew even back then, about the existence of a Joey and a Gavin. Those nights I tossed and turned from the harrowing effects of chemotherapy, He already knew of nights I’d lose sleep for a far more pleasant cause – the temperamental sleep schedule of two newborn baby boys.
Father, I thank You for Your grace. More than anything you’ve ever done, it’s who You are that has sustained me. Your very nature is life itself, and I praise Your name from the depths of my soul. I thank You for my healing, and I thank You for life after cancer. I pray right now for every individual walking through a similar journey. I pray for grace, encouragement, and healing. I pray you’d bring them through this time with a praise to share and a purpose to fulfill. In the mighty name of Jesus I pray…