Sometimes things occur that completely altar the course of our lives. A large majority of those things are good – meeting your future spouse, becoming a parent, or even a job promotion. And then there’s the things that happen that we can never be prepared for – the loss of a spouse, child, or loved one, the loss of a job, or the loss of a home. My family has certainly experienced both the ebb and flow of life’s waves. We have been blessed and humbled in both the calm waves and the tidal waves. Most recently, we’ve experienced the physical, emotional, and spiritual groans as a result of my mom’s almost year anniversary diagnosis of breast cancer. It came crashing down on us and satan attempted to use it as a device to weaken our faith. But instead, as God would have it, our faith has prospered and His glory has shone like the sun for all that have witnessed my mom’s journey this past year.
You see we all will come to a crossroad, that hard thing in our life, where we must choose which path to take. We can take the path that is easy, only later to find out it is covered with thorns and brambles. Or we can take the path that tests our endurance and is our victory to joy, hope, and peace. In November of 2015, my mom went for a routine mammogram. It was nothing she was ever concerned about. We had no history of breast cancer in our family. When she got the results back it was clear just as it had been for all the years prior. Then, just three weeks later she felt a sharp pain in her right breast and touched the spot that hurt. A lump. Ok, so nothing to worry about because the mammogram was clear. It was probably a cyst. An ultrasound was performed to confirm it. Except it wasn’t filled with fluid – it was a solid mass. Ok, nothing to worry about. A biopsy will confirm that it’s probably benign because as the nurse pointed out, it’s a very high percentage to have benign versus cancerous tumors. And then the call came on December 7, 2015 that brought my mom – and the rest of our family – to that crossroad. She had breast cancer.
The past year has seemed like a blur now. A horrible dream filled with emotional and physical ups and downs. My mom underwent surgery in January of this year to remove her entire right breast. It has spread to a couple of lymph nodes. It was aggressive which meant she would require 8 rounds of the harshest chemotherapy, followed by weeks of radiation. Fear, doubt, and anger filled our hearts and minds. Yet my mom remained so peaceful. It took me many days and even weeks to understand, and many shouts to God. This wasn’t supposed to happen to MY mom. Whereas I stalled at that crossroad (without showing it to her – she needed me to be her cheerleader not her opponent), she seemed to run straight toward that path she knew was filled with hope, joy, and peace. She did that because sometimes that’s all we have.
As she traveled that path, she learned to live again one slow step at a time. Not just physically, but emotionally and spiritually because the only strength she had came from the Lord.
“Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 3:13-14, ESV
She modeled the ultimate faith – trusting in Jesus without knowing what lies ahead. Her body may have been failing her as she endured treatment after treatment, but it was also regenerating her spirit. Never before had she needed Jesus literally every second of the day as much as she did this past year. Her faith is one to behold, and the world (people she will never meet) watched as she portrayed an inner joy that couldn’t be described other than that of one filled with the Holy Spirit. God never causes our pain – that is never His plan – but He can take that pain and turn it into something far more beautiful when we follow the path He has laid out for us. And that’s what my mom has done. She learned to fight harder and live again for Jesus.
Her testimony is one filled with promise when we live for Him. I can’t tell you how many hundreds of words of encouragement, prayers, cards, and gifts have been bestowed upon her just for the simple way that she has shown Jesus in her daily walk through this battle.
Today she is recovering from treatments and awaiting her reconstruction surgery. Her hair is growing back and she is slowly regaining physical strength and emotional healing. God is faithful. She is turning her ashes into beauty by now offering that same hope and comfort to others as they are faced with their own long battle of cancer. She wants them to know of the love, peace, hope, joy, and strength of the Lord. She wants them to know they are not alone. And so she routinely delivers chemo care bags to current patients at the same office where she received her treatments. They are filled with items that she found essential, and most importantly they are filled with the love of Jesus Christ.
Are you facing a crossroad in your life? The path to complete restoration is that of which you will learn to live for the Lord.