I’ve been thinking about storms a lot lately. I am in the middle of a storm and every time I read something about storms or sing a worship song or hymn that talks about storms… I take notice. When I was diagnosed with cancer a storm blew into my life, and it won’t be disappearing too soon.
In my previous blog I shared how I am trying to keep my eyes on Jesus in order to stay above the storm. And I shared the analogy of feeling like a flag whipping around in the middle of a storm while it clings to the flagpole…..just as with all of my strength I have been clinging to Jesus.
But there is something else I have learned about myself as I have been caught up in this storm. I have learned that sometimes I cannot seem to keep my eyes off the cancer and sometimes I have a hard time hanging onto the flag pole.
I have had some hard days. There have been some days when no matter how hard I try to block it out, trust, look up, or learn to live with it, there are some days when I.JUST.CAN’T.
In my weakness, I have learned some things about God that I otherwise would not have learned had I not found myself in this storm.
When I am weary and have lost my strength… His strength, His grasp, and His reach is greater still. I can rest and trust that He is holding me in the gusts and the storms. No storm will be so great, that His strength won’t be greater still.
The other morning I woke up with the thought “Go into the middle – the eye of the storm.” I figured it was something the Lord had placed on my heart so I got up to do some research.
I learned that the strongest part of a storm takes place near its center, while the center itself remains relatively calm. The eye of the storm is the center of the storm. OK…but what does that mean for me?
I decided to email my uncle who was a fighter pilot, in the day, and asked him to tell me more. This is what he had to say –
“Hurricanes are the only storm with an eye. It is a huge circular storm with the eye in the middle. If you find yourself in the eye you have already flown through the bad part, but the only way out is to fly through the other half of the storm.
The eye is like the calm before the storm. Turning back won’t be a solution. However, if you find yourself in difficulty, I think there is some comfort in knowing there is an end in sight and with the help of God you can get there. Don’t look back, just prepare for what is ahead.”
I think that a cancer diagnosis feels just like that, only it feels like a series of hurricanes. I’m only in my first month and I recognize a sort of rhythm – storm – calm – storm – rest. And then another storm blows in. I am clinging to the Lord, yet He already has me in the palm of His hand. I have seen this over and over and over.
On the very first day that I heard the dreaded words, “I’m sorry your tests revealed that you have cancer”, God revealed Himself in a miraculous way.
I had just hung up the phone from the doctor’s office and walked out to talk to my family after my husband had told them the news. I made kind of a hysterical comment to them saying, “I am meeting with a surgeon who I don’t know one thing about and I am counting on him to save my life and I haven’t a clue who he is. I mean….who is Dr. Kevin Ose????”
My kids all raised their eyebrows and my daughter screeched, “Mom! I know him and you have met his wife ! Their daughter is Grace who I just had lunch with this week and she is the same Grace who babysits for Steven and Dylan’s (my sons) kids!!!”
Amazing grace. Since that time I have had numerous people tell me that they would recommend that I have Dr. Kevin Ose perform my surgery because they (or someone they knew) had a tremendous experience with him. God went ahead of me and connected me with someone who is already connected to my family.
”The Lord your God who goes before you will Himself fight on your behalf.” Deuteronomy 1:33
It is God who will be fighting this cancer and I’m pretty sure I know who will win that battle.
I still cannot express how often God holds me up through all of you with your timely blogs, emails, texts, and worship songs. It is in these moments when I feel calm in the storm and I am lifted to a place where I can look at the Lord and hang onto the flagpole.
Before being diagnosed with cancer I may have given my friends space if they were in my situation. But I am here to tell you, space is not what I need. I rely heavily on your strength and encouragement. It is truly my shelter in the storm.
Just this week, friends of mine texted me Lauren Diagle songs – Trust in You , It is Well, and Rescue. Each was sent at just the right moment and I clicked on my phone and felt…calm. During the time I was diagnosed I listened to her song – Lord I Lay it Down – over and over. This is not just about my story, my story is a part of God’s story and we are all intertwined together in it.
A friend who had a brain tumor called to encourage me and laugh together, a friend who lost her husband to stomach cancer sent a card with words that wrapped around my heart, a friend dropped off a candle and a card with her favorite scriptures, a friend left a tender phone message saying she just wanted to hear my voice, two friends this week contacted me from Park City Utah and Lake Tahoe with encouraging words while reminding me of the beauty of God’s creation. It goes on and on.
During the storm we had the joyful distraction of welcoming my daughter and her husband’s baby boy into the world, Hudson Hans, and my son and daughter in law will be having a little girl just three weeks from now. That is the sort of joy that overpowers the storm.
Today I am in a place of calm – but I still have to get all the way through this storm. I was diagnosed with Lobular Cancer – stage IIIa, estimating 3-6 positive lymph nodes. I am having a double mastectomy the day after Labor Day and will do testing during surgery to assess what kind of treatment will be appropriate after that.
I am asking for prayer. They know that my sentinel node is positive – and I am praying that no more than 2-3 nodes will have cancer. I know what God is able to do and I know that He answers prayer – so I am asking. I would ask you to pray that there would be no residual cancer cells lurking in my system that cannot be seen. I am praying for complete healing. And I am praying for strength and courage.
I was recently on a girls’ weekend up in northern Minnesota and in the mornings I woke up early to meet with Jesus. It struck me how calm the waters were and I decided to take a picture to remind me that Jesus IS my calm in the storm.
God doesn’t always take away all of our troubles – but He promises us peace in the midst of them.
He has been faithful to me.
Until next time,