Beauty from Ashes
I have had so many discussions lately with people that are understandably upset to hear that I am facing a battle with stage four breast cancer. They are upset because they love me and I am so very blessed to have that love and support. Despite the battle I am facing I love to that God truly is making beauty out of the ashes. There have been so many God moments so far along this journey.
When I was getting my PET scan God showed me that He was with me and that I was not walking this road alone. For those who don’t know what a PET scan is they inject you with a radioactive substance and then you sit for an hour and a half in a dark room alone waiting for the substance to travel through your body. Cancer cells retain more of this radioactive material so when they put you in the machine for the scan the cancer cells glow. I was pretty nervous and a bit scared as I waited so I began praying and a tremendous peace came over me. As I sat there I was moved to pray for the other people who were also waiting for their scan. It broke my heart to think of people facing such darkness without the hope and peace I was feeling. It was then that I asked God to use this journey for His glory. Not only have I been praying for healing but also that my steps in the meantime would somehow draw people to His love and that He would make beauty from these ashes.
I am going to briefly share some of the wonderful moments God has created on this journey so far. The first one was when I went for my first biopsy. A biopsy is never pleasant it is not painful as they numb the site etc but it is awkward so the three medical staff are being chatty to try and keep your mind off the process. They seem to come in with the plan to get you talking about something. Little did they know God had given me a plan too. Before the test began I was told it would take about thirty five minutes so I figured God just might have something to say to them and I would have a captive audience. After all it’s not as if they could leave because they didn’t like the conversation. So they began talking about travel and I shared about traveling for many years to Northern Ireland. They asked me if I went on vacation which made me smile as it marked my open doorway to talk about the fact that God sent me there for ministry. So I talked about God and how He opened the doors to send me overseas and the love that He has for people. At the end only the nurse remained as she had to apply pressure to the incision site. She asked me what church I went to and I told her. She then started to share with me that she had cared for another lady from our church. As she elaborated in the details the Holy Spirit told me that this kind lady had cared for a dear sister who had passed from COVID the previous year. I was so amazed at how God moves. Here I was in a different city, at a different hospital and in a totally different area of medicine and God was crossing my path with the only person who was with my dear friend while she battled COVID. I can’t begin to tell you how this blessed me because it was heartbreaking when my friend was sick and knowing that no one could be there to support her. They were not allowing any visitors at that time, not family and not Pastors. I thanked the nurse for giving such loving care to Angela and asked if I could pray for her. So while I was sitting in the hall covered in heated blankets waiting for the final check in my procedure process I was able to lay hands on this wonderful lady and speak blessings over her and asking God to show her how much He loved her. What a privilege to be at that moment and to see God pour blessings over this lovely lady.
When I met with my oncologist for the biopsy results I listened to all that she had to say without saying much. My parents and friend were in the meeting with us and the doctor put her hand on my knee and looked at the three of them and said” I worry about her, she never says anything.” I had to laugh which made the doctor look back at me and I replied “Doc, I heard every word you said but you should know I am a thinker. I heard you and I am taking everything in and thinking it through and then I take it to God to see what He has to say and He gives me peace. You see He is the one who decides my days.” She just stared at me for a moment not really knowing how to respond. God has plans for my doctor, He wants to make beauty from her ashes!
Another moment of beauty is when I went for my first treatment. As the nurse doing my treatment familiarized himself with my medical chart he saw that everything that has happened came to light in just a couple month window. He sat back in his chair and looked at me and just said “wow! This is a lot to absorb in such a short time. How are you doing?” I think I shocked him when I replied “I am great.” He just stared at me from behind his mask so I added “I know that stage four is serious but I know that the Bible tells me God is the one who determines all of my days and that He knew each of them before one of them came to be and that means He decides my future not cancer.” After this we proceeded with the treatment because the nurse didn’t really know what to say. A few minutes into the treatment he came back and asked if he could give me a hug. God is making beauty from ashes.
I believe that God has healing for me and I will be overjoyed to see it manifest but in the meantime it is amazing to have a ring side seat to the love of God reaching out to others. It is an amazing thing to watch Him take the ashes of brokenness and restore them to the beauty of relationship with Him. He is at work in this journey and I can’t wait to see what He does next!