Upon my return this past Monday from an amazing 9 day missions/ministry trip to Haiti I came home to face my greatest fear. You know that feeling you get in the pit of your stomach when the doctor’s office leaves several messages saying they need you to call them back to discuss the results of those tests that were run? I had two of those messages when I returned home. Honestly I wasn’t all that worried as all the other testing and bloodwork that had been done all came back normal. You see I had just been to Texas where I saw a specialist a few weeks before my trip and I knew what my health issues were stemming from. Back home in North Carolina I had an appointment already scheduled for the following week after my return to address this issue and schedule the procedure that would help me to get my life and health back on track…or so I thought.
Rather this phone call was one that I was not prepared for at all. “I’m so sorry to tell you but your test came back positive for colon/rectal cancer cells,” said the kind and caring voice on the other end of the line. Even though I have been reassured by my doctor that this was caught in its infancy stage (Meaning an oncologist would not even see this as a cancer diagnosis) this news was not something I was prepared to hear, nor wanted to hear. I wanted to remove myself from this conversation and run as fast and far as I could. “Thank you… and please help me understand what this means”, was about all I could get to come out of my mouth. I don’t know that I even heard what she said to me. I was in shock and immediately went back to a familiar place of overwhelming fear.
You see at the age of 32 I kissed and said my final goodbye to my strong, beautiful, and courageous mom who had just graduated from this life to her new Heavenly home with her Lord and Savior Jesus after an almost 3 year battle with colon cancer. (She was diagnosed at the age of 59). A few years later I would lose my maternal grandmother to colon cancer and then my beautiful aunt would also battle cancer (liver/pancreas) that would quickly take her life.
Can I just take a moment to say … “CANCER SUCKS!”
We all have our areas of weakness. You know that area where the enemy taunts you and tries to invade your mind with fear. You see he is the author of fear and longs to keep us bound by it.
I had honestly thought that I had overcome that fear, but I’ve come to learn that satan persists where a stronghold exists, and with my health issues that I have been dealing with these last few years I did not realize that old stronghold of “the fear of death” had unknowingly seeped its way back into my heart and mind.
What is that area for you friend? Is it your health like mine? Or is it fear of failure (or success for that matter), fear of rejection, fear of emotional pain, fear of betrayal, or financial ruin, or maybe it is fear of being alone in life. The list is endless and the enemy knows what gets us, not because he can see the future but because he relies on our past.
For instance he knew that as a small child I was always afraid that I would lose my dad who had always struggled with his health and who had grand mal seizures and spent numerous stints in the hospital. He also knew that I grieved heavily the loss of my favorite cousin when he was just 16 years old (My same age at the time) to you guessed it…cancer.
After my mom’s diagnoses, which was only found after the cancer had already metastasized to her spine that fear began treading once again on the tender fabric of my heart. She died just shy of her third year never experiencing any lasting remission and paralyzed from the chest down due to the cancer. It was a horrible and painful season of her life and ours as we watched a once vibrant and healthy woman deteriorate so quickly and live with unimaginable pain. You would think that after that season we would be entitled to a break! But satan does not relent so easily nor does he possess one ounce of mercy to extend to embattled saints.
Within one year and right after the birth of our fourth child at the age of 33 I was diagnosed with the early stages of MS. I know, right? God are you serious I thought. I wept. I screamed. I was overwhelmed with fear. I was afraid for my husband. I couldn’t stop weeping as I thought of my beautiful babies and the possibility of not watching them grow up, marry, or have children of their own.
However, it was in this scary place that God began to teach me how the enemy works and how to fight! I know it is not a popular truth but I’m convinced that the darkest valleys in our lives are the places where God’s Truth shines the brightest.
It is in these places that He reveals Himself to us because it is in these places where we begin to look for that single ray of hope for our situations. I began to pray like I had never prayed before. Not only did I pray but I began to take authority over the lies that the enemy was speaking over me. I realized that God does not taunt us with death, nor does He want us to fear…even sickness and death. In fact He came to deliver us from it!
14 Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might break the power of him who holds the power of death—that is, the devil— 15 and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death. Hebrews 2:14-15New International Version (NIV)
For me, that season was a time of learning the art of war and placing my fears aside and replacing them with a deepening trust in the One who holds my very life in His hands. During that time the Lord spoke to me in a way that had only happened twice before. HE SPOKE TO ME! It wasn’t like a parting of the clouds of Heaven and a booming voice from the throne but it was His voice within me. It was distinct and not something that I could have fabricated on my own. As a group of people were gathered around me at church praying for physical healing I was silently praying (Okay…pleading) to God not to let me die. (Remember from a child this was my greatest fear). At that moment I heard these words of life fill my heart, “With long life will I satisfy you.”
I can honestly tell you that at the time I had no idea that those words were right out of Psalm 91. I literally went home from church, took out my Bible and began looking through my concordance to see if these words were even in scripture. Not only was I blown away by finding out that it was, but also because at some point since I started this romance with God and His Word years earlier I had taken the time to highlight it. (Okay, so anyone who knows me knows I highlight ALL the time!)
That promise became my food day and night and gave me the courage to fight the devourer, liar, and the hater of my very soul with the Truth of God’s Word! Since then every chance I am given I tell others…
“Before you can recall God’s Word you must know God’s Word!”
I’m thankful to tell you that there was not one shred of evidence of MS when they did a second MRI. As a matter of fact the doctor told me that my brain was clearer than his. Since then my hubby and I have added four more wonderful bundles of joy to our lives and are about to celebrate our 26th wedding anniversary.
So here I am facing another challenge… or maybe rather than seeing it as a challenge I should see it as another chance. Another chance to seek the reassuring voice of my Abba Daddy calling out to me in this dark valley I am traversing, reassuring me of His presence, beckoning me to search out the promises in His Word, to remember and claim the personal promise He gave to me all those years ago, and to once again put on those gloves and tell the devil where he and his henchmen can go! Hint… that would be straight to h-e-ll!
Friends we serve a God who is BIGGER than cancer, or whatever you might be facing! Yes, I am going to ask for prayer and do whatever the doctor says will help my body fight off this invader. I’m so very thankful that this groundbreaking test was able to find it in its very early stage. (It’s called an Oncoblot test and please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions or would like more information regarding it), but ultimately my greatest battle is to believe that I serve a good and loving God, no matter the outcome of any test now or in the future.
I know of a precious woman of God in the midst of her own battle with cancer and I love the words of life that God has given her as He shines the light of hope in her own place of darkness.
“Our circumstances don’t change who God is; they show us who God is.” Twila Belk
I’m praying dear ones reading this…that God will manifest His presence in whatever dark valley you might be in and shine the light of His love in your heart and that His Word as you read it would drown out any fears you may have, and that your fears give way to an unshakable faith in the One who knows you best and loves you most!
“For God did not give us a spirit of timidity or cowardice or fear, but [He has given us a spirit] of power and of love and of sound judgment and personal discipline [abilities that result in a calm, well-balanced mind and self-control].”
2 Timothy 1:7 Amplified Bible (AMP).
All my love,
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