- Beth @A Little Country House
- God does have a sense of humor, after years of infertility, we adopted 2 beautiful babies, I later had the "surprise baby"! In the very spare time I have, I love to decorate, paint, and make all kinds of things. I do repurpose old furniture and custom paint furniture for clients. I work with all types of vintage items. I love to make our house a home. I like to see how others do it and share what I do also. Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in any products I have posted or if you are local to Atlanta and want a furniture face lift! Love your old junk again!
Monday, October 28, 2013
Carley is a woman of true biblical wisdom. She has the best perspective on illness of anyone I have known. This will speak to many going thru the trial off being sick and learning to rely on Jesus. Thank you Carley .
On January 26, 2006 I heard the words that many people fear, “you have cancer”.
To be honest, even though my mom had breast cancer, I truly had never thought about
it happening to me. Yet when I found a lump in my breast that night somehow I knew it
had happened to me. I hoped, of course, that I was wrong. My husband and I prayed
and talked and submitted our fears to the Lord that night. The next day I called and set
up my appointment with the gynecologist and amazingly they could see me that day.
So we went in for the appointment even though it wasnʼt my doctor who could see me
and we were told to give it two weeks to see if it goes away. Joe said we werenʼt
leaving without setting up an appointment for a biopsy and we were not going to wait
and see. Amazingly the doctor checked downstairs with the department that does the
biopsy and because it was a new facility they were not yet booked way out like normal
and they could see me right then. So I had a biopsy done and then left to go home and
face a normal day of tending to the needs of a 6 year old and 4 year old. I talked to my
mom who told me that not only did she have breast cancer at age 36 (my age exactly)
but both her great aunts had had it as well and had eventually died from it. My fear and
anxiety doubled! The likelihood of me having breast cancer had just increased!
Genetic testing had become more prevalent and would help us to know the severity of
the actions that we should take so I immediately began the process of getting tested.
Two days later we received the call that the biopsy results were in and my lump was
malignant. I later would find out that I had stage 2b breast cancer. Not the worst case,
by any means, but not the best case either. And because we eventually found out
through the genetic testing that I had the breast cancer gene we would take extreme
measures by way of treatment to make sure that we had done everything humanly
possible to eradicate this disease from my body.
In the weeks that followed it felt like we were doing emotional gymnastics. It was
exhausting and draining yet there was an adrenaline that kicked in and gave us stamina
to go through all of the doctor visits and phone calls and communication to friends etc.
that took place. Itʼs a very weird feeling to know you have this life altering disease in
your body yet you feel fine and look fine. So many wonderful people came around us at
that time and gave us tremendous support in every possible way. We were amazed at
the Body of Christ and how it can truly minister to the other members. In all of those
moments I felt an extreme sense of Godʼs perfect peace even in the midst of so much
struggle and confusion. This is something that is hard to explain to someone who
hasnʼt experienced it.
Only a few weeks earlier I had been reading a book by Larry Crabb called “Shattered
Dreams” in which I now see that God was sovereignly preparing me for this trial. In my
journal written sometime in December I had taken note of the three lessons of
brokeness described by Mr. Crabb. Little did I know when I was writing them just how
much God would cause me to cling to these truths in the next two years. Lesson one:
“The good news of the gospel is not that God will provide a way to make life easier.
The good news of the gospel, for this life, is that He will make our lives better.” Looking
back I see that my life is so much better because God allowed me to go through
struggles and trials that I might see Him and experience Him. It WAS NOT easy. It
Lesson two: “When God seems most absent from us, He is doing the most important
work in us.” This does not logically make sense, does it? That God would allow me at
times to feel His silence and suffer in it does not feel loving. There have been countless
times in my life where I can relate to this feeling. Going through postpartum depression
when I didnʼt know that that was what I was going through, trying to be a good mom to
two young boys close in age with a husband who is gone a lot ministering to the needs
of other needy people, feeling the numbness of chemotherapy and experiencing its
volatile effects on your body. In those moments I had to cling to what I knew to be true
yet didnʼt necessarily feel. Knowing that faith as described in Hebrews is ” being sure
of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” And holding God to be true to
His word when I read Psalms 145:17-18 “ The Lord is righteous in all His ways and kind
in all His deeds. The Lord is near to all who call upon Him, to all who call upon Him in
truth. He will fulfill the desire of those who fear Him, to all who call upon Him in truth.”
And Isaiah 54:10 “For the mountains may be removed and the hills may shake, But my
lovingkindness will not be removed from you. And my covenant of peace will not be
shaken, says the Lord who has compassion on you.” Knowing Godʼs word and reading
Godʼs word became very necessary to me.
Lesson three: “It isnʼt always good to be blessed with the good things of life. Bad times
provide an opportunity to know God that blessings can never provide.” This isnʼt what
my human nature wants. I want it easy and yet I want the wonderful fulfilling life that
comes from faith and trust in God. I am so convicted by this statement written by David
Shepherd, “To have faith in better circumstances, even in God creating better
circumstances, is not true faith. I want to be the kind of man (woman) who can watch
every dream go down in flames and still yearn to be intimately involved with my friend
the King...” I saw in these hard times that I did very much just want better
circumstances. I donʼt like pain. I donʼt like to feel lonely or sad. And I also donʼt like to
submit myself to God and His will and way if it is not in sync with my will and way. At
least I donʼt like it initially. But there is nothing greater than experiencing the intimacy
with God that comes through trial and struggle. I have always admired people like Amy
Carmichael who seemed so Godly and I long for that kind of faith and trust yet I cringe
at the thought of living the life these kind of people live because it if full of suffering. The
question that I must continue to ask myself is, “Do I want God for Himself or do I want
Him for what He might do for me?”
My experience of suffering through cancer and treatment revealed to me that many
times my faith IS in better circumstances and my focus and hope is on that, not on
having an intimate relationship with the God who made me and sent His son to die for
me. Having that is what makes the Christian life abundant and good.
It is now 2013 and I have been cancer free (to my knowledge) for almost 7 years.
There are many more details of my experience and how God worked and what He did
that I could spend much more time elaborating on. I will save those for another time if
opportunity allows. But suffice it to say the after two years of surgery (I had a bilateral
mastectomy and then a year later had a hysterectomy due to concern about ovarian
cancer), chemotherapy for 5 months, radiation every day for 8 weeks, reconstruction
and rehabilitation, God saw fit to give me more time on this earth to be a wife to my
husband and a mom to my kids as well as daughter, sister, friend etc. I have been
granted more time and I learned through this experience just how precious that is.
There are days when I long to go to heaven because life here on earth feels too hard
and is so flawed but I find myself very grateful to have so many wonderful people in my
life and so many blessings. And I pray that whatever trial or struggle the Lord may have
for me still to come that it could be said of me what Paul prayed for the Thessalonian
people, “that our God will count you worthy of your calling, and fulfill every desire for
goodness and the work of faith with power, so that the name of the Lord Jesus will be
glorified in you, and you in Him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus
Christ.” I Thess. 1:11-12.