What a horrible summer it’s been. Forget buzz words.
This is a special break from our regularly scheduled programming.
Buzz words are far better than the C word. I didn’t want to ever have to deal with that one.
It has been a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad year (in Judith Viorst’s words. I love children’s books, so nothing says it better than that).
It all started shortly after New Year’s Day, when I broke a tooth on an almond. So much for healthy choices.
So that got me to the dentist, after a ten-year hiatus. Yes. You could only imagine the bill I’m still paying.
Then with April rains, came a mysterious spot of blood. Just one spot and tiny at that. I thought it was, maybe, I dunno…maybe I’ll ignore it. But I couldn’t.
So that got me to a gynecologist.
Fast forward to June 20, after having a PAP (abnormal but not showing cancer), uterine biopsy (abnormal but not showing cancer), ultrasound (looking good, but fooled ya!), and finally, a LEEP and D&C, I get the dreaded call. I had been praying fervently that morning, that I would finally get a good report, after all these other inconclusive tests.
It wasn’t the receptionist or nurse from the doctor’s office. It was the doctor. My heart started pounding.
“I have your pathology report here. I’m so sorry. You have uterine cancer.”
“Okay” I said, shaking, but not crying…yet.
I called a dear sister from church, immediately asking for that APB (All Prayer Bulletin) to be put out across our church family.
Then I cried. And prayed. And did some chores, zombie-like.
Then I called my daughter. My daughter, who has survived her father’s abandonment. My daughter, who has survived her own daughter’s cancer. All by God’s grace. And now she is the most positive, upbeat, loving woman that I can lean on.
My poor husband was next in line. I hate telling him horrible stuff over the phone while he’s at work, but he knew I’d get results today and he would ask anyway.
“Honey, we have a dark providence to deal with.”
“ARE YOU READY TO REALLY LOVE ME?”
I will be weepy. I might be mean, impatient and irritable. I might not have dinner for you when you get home.
Later on, he said he cried, and I think I believe him, though I couldn’t see his tears through the cell phone.
Are you ready to really love me, husband? Are you ready and willing to put physical intimacy on hold? Can you appreciate greater spiritual and emotional intimacy in exchange?
The Lord ordained this for me, for us. Be there for me. You don’t have to speak, just wrap your arms around me. Be selfless. Stop making crumbs, haha! Be sensitive to my emotional tumult. Forgive me when I scream at you. Please.
I’ve been so volatile.
We are still newlyweds. From the beginning, I told Mike how I would love and savor the years the Lord gives us. I pray that He has many more in store for us. We’ve only just begun.
It is only Stage 1. I am so thankful for that. I’m thankful that surgery could possibly be the end of the C word for me and pray no further treatments will be necessary.
I wonder if the C will be gone and I am completely recovered from surgery by our 4th anniversary on August 25th. I pray we can celebrate. I pray the Lord turns my weeping into joy.
Just 3 days after hearing my diagnosis, I received this Grace Gem in my inbox:
Affliction, the Visitation of God
“Affliction does not come forth from the dust — neither does trouble spring out of the ground.” Job 5.6
Why has this trial come? How ought I to regard affliction? These questions are natural in seasons of suffering. Pain and sorrow make us ask in earnest the why and the wherefore of what befalls us. And so the soul finds a time of trial to be a time of education.
If anything can teach us anything, affliction’s looks
Make us to look into ourselves so near;
Teach us to know ourselves, beyond all books,
Or all the learned schools that ever were.
Thoughts and feelings which have satisfied a man, are now tried — put to the proof — tested. If he prays for the Spirit’s aid, he is taught and trained — learning by experience those truths which it most concerns him to know; and as a learner, he sets himself in earnest to feel the reality of the lessons which are appointed for him.
The first lesson in the school of tribulation, is that affliction is the visitation of God. “The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away. Blessed be the name of the Lord.” Job 1:21
Nothing in any man’s life comes to him by “chance.” All things, both small and great, are under the control of God. He foresees, and limits, and disposes. What is sometimes called “good fortune,” comes not by accident; neither does trouble spring out of the ground.
Am I healthy and prosperous? It is the will of God. Am I suffering in body or in mind? It is the Lord — let Him do what seems good unto Him. And this is the only answer that can be given to the weak and sorely tempted ones, whom one trial after another afflicts with increasing sorrows. “So it pleases God!” Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right!
To the believer, Providence is not merely general and universal, but particular and personal. “Shall there be evil in a city — and the Lord has not done it?” Pestilence and famine are sent for the benefit of cities or nations — but the believer looks to his own particular afflictions also as the dispensations of Divine Providence. To myself, affliction comes as the special visitation of God; and, looking above second causes, the word of trust from my soul should go forth, “Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening.”
Affliction must not therefore be received as a burden, laid on by a blind and cruel fate — it is given by the wise and loving Father. Nor must I regard it as a “misfortune” — as an unmixed evil, which comes by chance, and is to be received with unconcern. Affliction comes not forth of the dust — it is from God. It is sent in mercy and wisdom — yes, and in power. “For He bruises, but He binds up; He wounds, but His hands make whole.” Job 5:18. And rich in lessons of comfort, of strength and of peace, is His visitation.
Such was the experience of Job. So shall I be taught by suffering, if I wait patiently to see the end of the Lord. For all things work together for good to His obedient children. Yes, ALL things.
O Lord my God, bless this trial which You have sent. Teach me to feel that Your hand is laid upon me. Help me to know that You are speaking unto my soul. May I look on affliction as Your Fatherly visitation — a token of Your love, and wisdom, and power.
Almighty Father, You have told me that all things are under Your control — not a sparrow falls to the ground unnoticed. You have said, “Fear not — neither be you of doubtful mind.” Lord, teach me to believe in Your love for me. Oh, help me to feel Your wise guidance and control! And as You know it is the wish of Your servant to believe that all things work together for good to those who love You — so aid me to see that this affliction is sent for my good. Bless me with the prayer of confidence — Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening. O my God, increase my faith. Remove from me doubts and carnal-mindedness. May Your Spirit cleanse and sanctify my soul. Teach me to humbly submit to Your will. By patience and faith may I please You, submitting to sufferings because You send them.
Almighty God, hear me and bless me. Teach me that pain and sorrow are Your heavenly messengers. Enlighten my eyes, so that I may say of affliction — it is Your doing. To me, have You sent this. Not by chance, but in wisdom, and with loving purpose it has come. Oh, Lord, help me to believe this with my whole heart! May this be peace to my soul. Do with me what seems good to You. For strength or suffering; for pain, or weariness, or loneliness; in earthly prosperity or in the hour of sorrow and distress — still, O my God, help me to feel that my lot is wisely ordained. If it is in accordance with Your holy and blessed will — then remove this trial. But if You see fit still to afflict me — then teach me truly to pray, “May Your will be done!” Hear me, O God, for Jesus Christ’s sake. Amen.
How amazing is that? This word was heaven sent to me exactly when I needed it. Oh, how He comforts me. I read this and pray this prayer nearly every morning. If you are going through any affliction, I pray that this will be a blessing to you as well.
I was referred to the best GynOnc surgeon in the nation, I am told. I will have a da Vinci hysterectomy. Ah, the ironies of life. I’ve been dreaming of a second honeymoon in Tuscany. For now, I will get my own da Vinci, on my belly, coming pretty darn close to our 4th anniversary.
So, in the meantime, I wait and wait. And wait. Waiting for the surgeon. Waiting on my Great Physician.
Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD. — Psalm 27:14