Can you believe some people like to be scared? For example, how many of you have gone to a haunted house? Or even enjoy going to see a horror move? I really don’t understand that! I guess I have to admit that fear has a lot of power over me. As a matter of fact, it hit me like a storm this past winter when I heard the words “You have suspicious cells in your lungs”.
When I got this news I had been asking questions. To make a long story short, last October I noticed my left eye had been droopy. I went to an ophthalmologist who didn’t find anything concerning and then eventually two more Doctors who dismissed my concerns as being stress related. After 4 months of noticing this change in my body I wanted an answer so i asked for a referral to a neurologist. That’s when the answers came. But first, FEAR.
Mostly there was fear of the unknown.
* Fear of what the diagnosis would be.
* Fear of the prognosis.
* Fear of how this would affect my family.
The storms of fear hit hard. One night early on, I woke in the middle of the night and felt extreme anxiety, worry and the feeling of ‘how could this be happening to me?” I tossed and turned until I felt like I wanted to get out of my own skin. This was the moment I deliberately reached out to God. I searched
healing scriptures on the internet and began copying them into a brown journal. I closed my eyes and prayed to God like I had never prayed before. I read and reread the words I wrote and hung onto every one of them. I know Jesus preached “Be not afraid” in the Bible but that didn’t come naturally to me. I couldn’t get past the fear. After 20-30 minutes of copying scripture and looking for comfort, a calm came over me and I became very tired. God’s word had erased my fear.
I began an early morning routine of walking to the far end of our property to find a quiet spot to pray. Even though it was early March (which is dead of winter in Wisconsin), I found it comforting to sit and lean against what our family calls the climbing tree, while talking to God. In the coming weeks I noticed buds on the tree branches appearing. The new growth, although slow, was evidence of the hope and new life spring brings. While I prayed, I asked for that same hope – the same new life in my body and my mind. I continually invited God to be with me, to heal me. One day, a yellow bench swing appeared under
the climbing tree. Our neighbors had seen my prayer routine and provided me a more comfortable and beautiful spot to sit with God. The love in that gesture
made no room for fear.
I have been to many doctors appoints in the last couple months but this one took the cake. The doctor pulled up the petscan on the computer screen. I was shaken. I have never smoked a day in my life, was feeling completely fine, physically, and he was telling me these bright spots (and there were several of them) were areas of big concern. We wouldn’t be sure what they were until a biopsy was done. I prayed the spots were mold, fungus, or a big mistake had been made. I asked a dear friend to come over and pray with me that afternoon. This was my darkest valley and fear had consumed me. My friend’s presence and message reminded me to trust God. She reminded me that He loves me. That he knew this challenge would come my way and that he has prepared me for this through my growing faith. She prayed that whatever lay ahead my relationship with Jesus would be strengthened. More importantly, she told me to reject fear and lean on
2 Timothy 7 :For God has not given you the spirit of fear. But of love and of power and of a sound mind.
God knows me so well He knew I needed a lifeline and he gave me what I needed: the brown journal, a yellow bench, a close friend at that moment, His word to lean on. HIs love made it possible to escape fear, again. But of course, fear continually crept in – one day at work I left on my lunch break to spend time alone with God. I drove to a parking lot of a grocery store and parked the car. It was a very windy day – I remember this because it was bitter cold and the wind was so strong that it was hard to take walking steps. My winter coat hood was up and drawn tight around my face. I held my coat close with one hand and my brown journal with the other. I remember speaking the words aloud “God, this feels like a bad storm.
I’m asking for you to come walk with me in this storm, THROUGH this storm, both right now and whatever is coming ahead for me. As I walked, tears flowed. I pleaded for him to help me. I prayed for him to be with me and selfishly I guess, I wanted a “sign” that he was there. I read scriptures from my journal aloud and most of the time I kept my head down to avoid the bitter cold. At one point, I looked up and saw a blue rubber bracelet in front of me. I picked it up and read the words “karate America.com” on one side and “confidence” on the other. I let it fall from my hands and continued on.
Less than a minute later, I came upon the verse Isaiah 30:15 in my brown journal. “For thus said the Lord God, Holy One: in returning to me you shall be saved. In quietness and in confidence shall be your strength.”
I noticed the word “confidence” in the scripture as in trusting in God – having faith in his plan for me. I know this was a tangible sign of God telling me to have trust in Him. I spoke out loud to Him “Ok God, I got it.” I turned around, found that bracelet again and put it on as a reminder to have confidence in the Lord, For he knows his plan for me. I’ve worn it ever since. Even though the words have faded and disappeared, my confidence in the Lord has not. Also the same day, while leaving from work, I noticed I couldn’t see clearly out of my back window of my van. The wind was so strong that day that it had completely shattered my back window. I looked at the cars around me in the parking lot. No other cars had completely shattered back windows. To me, this was another sign of The Holy Spirit’s power and that he was with me.
Days later, a phone call from the pulmonologist finally came. He explained how the droopy eye was from a lesion in my lungs that was sitting on a spinal nerve that innervates the eyelid. Never did think droopy eye would be a symptom of a much bigger problem: Adenocarcinoma, Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer, Stage 4. It was
everything I worried about. It was the worst case scenario. It was just the news I feared. Although it was difficult to accept the diagnosis, I had already worked through and faced the FEAR. I knew God was with me and I was ready to fight. Within an hour of hearing the doctor’s words I was on the telephone making an appointment to see the oncologist and get the show on the road.
Soon after the storm had hit, I made the decision to share on facebook what we were dealing with through a private facebook group for m friends so I could update them. I invited people in my journey so they could pray with me and pray for me. I chose to share my journey so I could receive the love God wants for me. This group of Ninja Warriors has walked with me an my family even before the actual diagnosis. For example, thanks to a friend who organized a meal train, we have received 4 months of 3 meals a week to keep our family fed. Deliveries of healthy food and nontoxic skin care products have also been brought to us. Endless prayers of strength and healing along with donations to help our family go on the Colorado Experience together were collected. It was hard for us to accept the help but I understand that people really want to help in some way. I now know that they are the hands and feet of God and have given me such support and hope.
I know that no matter what lies ahead, I am not alone, I am so loved.
I’ve got my literal and figurative family of ninja warriors walking with me! Right now, the last 2 CT scans have shown shrinkage of the masses in my lungs and abdomen. I’m feeling great and tolerating the chemo pills well. I strive to live in the moment and enjoy each day I’m given. I smile bigger, I hug tighter, and I thank God for my journey. In the last couple weeks, I’ve climbed to the summit of a mountain, gone white rafting and even gone.