“The Lord Himself goes before you and will be with you; He will never leave you, nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.”               Deuteronomy 31:8

I was getting out of my car, home from work, grocery bags in hand and cell phone to my ear to listen the voicemail from the unfamiliar number. “When you get this message please call me back on my cell phone,” my doctor’s recording said. “It’s urgent.”

Immediately, I felt a cold grip in my chest. I hung up the phone and unlocked my apartment door, placing the groceries on the floor near the fridge. My hands were shaking as I tapped on the phone screen to call him back.

Ten minutes later, my world had changed. I was curled up on the carpet, bawling.

“I’m sorry to tell you this, but it’s cancer. We need to run more tests and get you scheduled for surgery right away.”

The first reaction I had to that news was not pretty. And thank God for the amazing people in my life who surrounded me and sat with me that night. My brain was swirling with a million questions, and conjuring up every worst case scenario possible. “How could I have cancer?” I whimpered over and over. In theory, being strong in the Lord and leaning on Him in the toughest times makes perfect sense- and then you actually have to walk it out.

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Part of me didn’t want to put this into a blog post. I wasn’t sure how people might respond to my honesty, and what might be misconstrued about my intentions. Regardless, I feel like someone might need to read this and be encouraged through whatever they’re also facing.

What I know about God (which is really only the tip of the iceberg) is that He is true to His promises. When He says, “I will never leave you,” He means it. I have seen Him in every prayer, every hug, every person who has held my hand (both literally and figuratively) over the past two weeks. There is peace, even in the midst of fear, that He will direct me in the way to go. I know that I have been surrounded by such an incredible community of people who are supporting me and standing with me through all of this- which is what “the church” is truly supposed to be about; praying together, supporting each other, walking through fire together.

He is also the God of the Impossible. Miracles happen every day, and His name is glorified through His power and love in our lives. I am praying for healing, and believing He has my best- even if it means the surgery still has to happen. I am praying for clear lymph nodes, for seamless recovery, and that I would be able to go on with life the way I know I’m meant to; fully embracing whatever He has in store for me (because I know He’s not done with me yet!), and not taking any moment for granted. This year has been curveball after curveball…and if I’ve been learning anything, it’s that I have no control except in how I react to circumstances as they come.

My type of cancer is very early staged, and I am so grateful to the dentists and doctors who have detected this so soon, and who are being very proactive in researching the best possible routes for me to take. I know that there are so many people facing a more difficult road than myself, and I feel so full of compassion and empathy for them. Part of me feels like I’m being selfish or overreacting when I feel panicked about the next few weeks. I am afraid of the intensive surgery. Of the next few years as they closely monitor my progress. I am afraid of what I don’t know. But very soon, I will hopefully have joined the “Cancer Survivor” club. And I’m holding on to my God…every step of the way.