As my brain was being scanned to rule out any spread of the breast cancer I was working so hard to eliminate, I struggled with claustrophobia and fear. I shifted my thoughts and began to pray. Almost immediately, I felt the unmistakeable peace and calm of God’s presence. It was nearly palpable, as if Jesus were there, sitting next to the MRI machine.
My heart calmed and again and I knew: He is with me. Every step, every day of this wrenching journey through breast cancer treatment and healing, I am not alone.
The rhythm of my days began to take shape early in cancer treatment. Each day, amidst the fullness of homeschooling and meals and marriage and life, I would find my way to the green chair on our back patio. I brought my journal, my bible, devotionals, colorful pens and a cup of coffee ,and met with my Savior. Soaking in His word, pausing long in His presence, writing thoughts and prayers and scripture. He filled me up. He restored the deep places in my weary heart and reminded me of who He is.
My feelings and the circumstances changed as chemo treatments unfolded, surgery took place, and my daily healing protocol grew, but He never changed. He reminded me, through countless Spirit-whispers, that I was known and loved.
My eyes beheld Him throughout His creation, as birds would land and chirp before me, reminding me that He cares, even for the sparrows.
One evening, during my nightly bath, I lay listening to a prayer meditation over the speakers—candle lit, epsom salts and eucalyptus oil easing my sore body. A question was asked, “What are you asking Him for?” and quickly, I knew my answer: healing. I want healing. And as those words formed in my mind, I knew with complete clarity that I have healing—I am healed—and to seek more than that, to seek Him. First. Above all. And everything would be added.
“But seek first His kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” Matthew 6:33
My journal pages are full of stories of His nearness to me as I walked through the dark, hard days. Countless moments where He whispered a word, where a scripture came alive in a new way, where a friend shared something that resonated and confirmed a truth He’d given me. I’ve even had a couple of dreams in which a particular verse was literally shared with me during the dream.
As I look back over where I’ve been, I see: I am changed. Transformed.
What I know for sure is that persevering through the trial, with Him, brings us to a more spacious place.
I sit writing these words now and my thoughts are interrupted by the laughter of my boys—full belly laughs pouring out of their smiling faces, and I pause. I breathe deeply. I look up, and I see the gifts. I hear the birds singing and I feel the sun on my face and I know the deep soul peace that He has given me.
Where I may have raced past this moment, so many moments, today I stop and gratitude wells up.
He’s given us this gift of life, so full of joy, love, ups and downs. And every step, every day, He walks with us. His Spirit whispering, reminding, encouraging.
Immanuel, God with us. Hope abounds.
Stock photo courtesy Conor McSheffrey/UnSplash