It is early morning, and as I write this, my house is gloriously quiet. My older children are still sleeping, but I hear whispers from my younger boys room. Gabe is still sound asleep, the effects of chemo having drained his body. Sipping my steaming mug of coffee, words are beginning to form in my heart, and the urgency to write becomes too strong for me to avoid any longer.
This past Wednesday was Gabe’s last chemo treatment. We walked into the cancer clinic with high spirits and big smiles. We are praying that a scan he had Monday will declare my husband NED (no evidence detected), and then this chapter in our lives can be over. The story won’t be over, however.
Once cancer has touched your life so closely, it never completely leaves your life.
There will always be tests and blood work. The knowledge that a recurrence could happen at any time will always linger in the back of our minds.
However, we won’t be consumed by our story, because we will be too busy living it.
Before the chemo was able to get it’s gripping arms around my husbands body, we celebrated by going out for lunch. As we ate, we talked of all God had done for us in the last chapter of our lives. What did we learn? How would our lives be different? What advice would we give others?
This morning, I realized I HAD to share just a few things we learned in the last two years. I hope that maybe it can help someone else going through a difficult time in their life.
What Cancer Taught Us
1 – The most important thing we learned from cancer is that “there is no pit that is so deep, that God is not deeper still”. I had grown up hearing that phrase quoted from the pulpit of my church, but I never really understood the meaning until I found myself in a pit. Those first weeks after my husband was diagnosed with colon cancer were the most emotional I had ever experienced in my life. Those were days I would come home from taking my kids to school and just cry. Not just a few tears, but gut-wrenching cries, where I was on my knees, sobbing, begging God to heal my husband. Where the fear that I would become a single mother was so real, I was in full-blown panic mode. I remember during those days, watching my husband sit on the couch, immune to the chaos and noise of our children around him. Watching him stare off into space, I wasn’t sure if he was thinking, or in shock, but I would see tears slipping down his cheeks. Those days were hard. Those days, we were most certainly in a deep, dark pit. Yet, just when we thought we couldn’t get any deeper, God would reveal Himself to us in some small way. Whether it was comforting scripture that would come to mind, or a text from a dear friend, God was certainly there in the pit with us. Cards, gifts, phone calls, hugs, and hundreds of christian brothers and sisters in Christ, some we didn’t even know, offering to pray for us, were all gifts from our loving God. Gifts that brought us such comfort, that gave us such strength, we eventually found we were no longer in that pit. How wonderful our God is!
2 – We also learned that you should never waste time questioning God. It’s hard to see what purpose could come from difficult trials in our lives, but be assured, God has a plan! And while you are stuck on trying to understand why God would allow this trial into your life, you are wasting precious time that God wants to use to bless you, and bring you closer to Him! He loves you so deeply, and doesn’t want you to go through your trial alone. He wants to bring you close to Himself, to hide you under His wings, to comfort you. God can’t do those things if you are too busy wondering what His thoughts and plans are. You have to just let go, and trust Him completely. Once you let go, you will be flooded with peace that you won’t be able to explain!
3- Lastly, My husband and I learned that you just can’t go through something as difficult as cancer without God. Don’t wait until you are facing a trial in your life to build a relationship with God. Read your Bible and speak to God in prayer every day. Go to church. Fellowship as much as you can with your brothers and sisters in Christ. Don’t allow your trial to keep you from doing the things God wants you to do. Just don’t! I have seen people, suffering from life’s hard blows, remove themselves from God and His people, because they were too overwhelmed by their circumstances. Instead of making life easier for themselves, they only made their circumstances harder to bear. God never intended us to go through hard times alone. He wants to envelope us in His love and grace. He wants to reveal Himself to us in such personal ways, we could never again doubt His love and care for us. Yet how can God do that if we are backing away from Him? Don’t leave God in a trial, and don’t wait until your are in the middle of one to build a relationship with Him. Draw close to Him now. Remain faithful to God now. Allow Him to bless you in your trials.
So here we are, at the end of this long journey. Yet, now that we are at the end, it seems as though maybe it wasn’t that long after all. The valley was hard, but the fellowship with God along the way was very sweet!