October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and if you have been following my blog at all, you may recognize that I have a particular call on my life when it comes to supporting breast cancer research and my friends that have been affected by this disease. Here are a couple of pieces that I have written that might give you some perspective on where I am on this topic: I Hate Breast Cancer and We Were Four.
Breast cancer has affected too many of my friends and family. You probably know someone personally that has had their life changed because of their experience with this disease.
In June when my childhood best friend April was diagnosed with breast cancer, I immediately sent her a link to a college friend’s blog. Laura had already gone through what April was just beginning to experience and has come out a bit further on the other side of this disease. Laura felt a tug in November of 2011 to spend a year studying the Bible and in particular studying verses that covered the topic of fear. Little did she know that just two short months later she would be diagnosed with breast cancer and everything else in her life would change and be challenged.
This woman, my sorority sister from college, has no idea what an impact her words have had on me and the scores of people that have followed her journey.
I hope to feature guest bloggers from time to time, and below is a submission from Laura. If you would like to find out more about her journey, you may follow her on Facebook, A Year Of No Fear.
Thankful for Cancer?
By Laura Wolfe
Ah, do I have your attention? I have said up until recently that I didn’t think that I would ever be thankful for my cancer diagnosis. I can, however, examine the last year and see how God was timely and abundantly providing for our needs. But not thankful for cancer. Not. Thankful. Not appreciative of surgery, chemo, fear and worry. Nope. Not thankful.
Well, as is generally my story, God used my belligerent little stomping foot to reveal Himself to me through His Word.
I’ve naturally been drawn to the Psalms throughout this year. I am bolstered by the despair, hope, hopelessness, and ultimate reliance on God even when the path is dimly lit. I am amazed by the Psalmists’ ability to not only question God’s presence but also passionately praise a God that doesn’t always reveal Himself in our timing.
Sometimes I read Psalms with a strategy but more often I pick a passage and start reading. That is what I did last night, looking for some encouragement and clarity. I started around chapter 117 and moved through several chapters. I reached Psalm 119:71 and this is what I read:
“It was good for me to be afflicted so that I could learn Your statutes.” (Psalm 119:71)
Well, that is pretty clear. I began thinking and praying about our present circumstances and those of the past year. If this is your first time reading my blog or “meeting” me, I will sum it up chronologically: started writing “A Year of No Fear” (Nov 25 2011), tornado hit our property (Dec 2011), I was diagnosed with very aggressive breast cancer (Feb 2012), hubby lost his job (April 2012), we lost our home and a car (August 2012), and hubby was unemployed for 14 months. When I began this blog, my goal was to become more disciplined in the scriptures, specifically as it relates to the effect that fear has on our lives. I had no idea that I was being prepared for a battle. I periodically look back at earlier entries and see God all over them, readying me for the coming months.
So, back to being thankful for cancer. This disease, this evidence of a fallen world, afforded me two pathways. I could either crawl into bed for 6 months until it was over, or I could ask God to carry me, teach me, guide me. I did have plenty of “crawl into bed” moments. I had some “poor me” days. I had many times that my crying out to God and my just plain old crying were virtually indistinguishable. But mostly I chose. Chose to worship and chose to understand that God would use this one day. And I read scriptures. Poured over them in a desperate attempt to make sense of our “today”. Searched for answers and encouragement. Looked for the superstars of the bible that so often felt hopeless. And you know what happened? These truths, these statutes, took root in my heart. Gave me permission to cry, doubt, question, and rage. But then something interesting happened. I began to accept, bless, praise, and hope.
Cancer, my affliction, reminded me that although this earthly life can be so very heartbreaking, I have a Savior who loves me, weeps with me, carries me, and understands any emotion I bring to His feet.
I was wrong. I am thankful for my cancer.
Laura Wolfe is a transplanted Yankee who has been married to her (very southern) college sweetheart Jeremy for 14 years and is the mom to 2 wonderful boys. She teaches middle school science in north Georgia and is currently on a journey to use all that God has brought her and her family through in a ministry setting. You can learn more about her experiences at ayearofnofear.blogspot.com