Saturday, March 28, 2015

Looking Back // Looking Forward

A lot has happened in the past three years since I last posted regularly to this blog. In many ways, it has been one long “night” in my life, meaning a season of difficulty. 

In February of 2013, I found out I was pregnant. I was really surprised because I was on a medication that was supposed to "shut down" my ovaries and protect against my estrogen-receptor cancer returning. While I was initially excited about the possibility of having a fourth child, I knew the pregnancy was pretty risky, both for me and for the baby. It was risky for me because in order for the baby to survive I would have to take hormones that might cause my cancer to return. And it was risky for the baby because I had so many medications in my system. But within just a few days of finding out I was pregnant, God took the baby. This was so hard for me because I really wanted more children. 

After my miscarriage, it was decided that I should have a complete hysterectomy. It would lower the chances of any cancer recurrence as well as prevent from any more pregnancies. After having a double mastectomy, having a complete hysterectomy was a very hard to think about. I felt like my body and my femininity were being destroyed. But I agreed to the surgery, and had it done in May of 2013.

Here is a journal entry I wrote during this time:
After all the medical issues I have gone through in the past 3 years I can’t help but think, “Why God?” Why does it just keep coming!? I have realized I need to take a step back and realize this is such a short time in the big picture.  And most importantly God will use each of these things to bring glory to himself.  Maybe he is causing me to go through cancer, pain, and a miscarriage so that I can relate to each of those things and be evidence that God will carry me through.  It may not always be the way I want it to be, but that is because I am not God.  
I so often want to play God not even realizing it.  I want to be the director of the show. But it doesn’t make sense for the actors in the show to tell the director how the show should be run.  Does it? I need to seek God’s will not mine.  I need to trust God’s will not mine.
I was looking forward to giving my testimony and singing some songs at our Community Bible Study retreat on Saturday, but I ended up in the ER.  The retreat was focused on rest. Resting in Christ alone to give us strength. I have gone through so much physically, emotionally and spiritually that I am ready to “rest.”  The place that I can get my ultimate and fulfilling rest is in Christ alone. Matthew 11:28-30 says, “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you, and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart; and you shall find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy, and My load is light.” 
As I was thinking about what music I could sing at the retreat, I thought of the hymn, “I Heard the Voice of Jesus Say."   
“Bless the LORD, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless His holy name! Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits, who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy, who satisfies you with good so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.” 
Psalm 103:1-5
As I reflect back on that time in my life, it makes me so thankful that I have my three beautiful children, and that I am currently cancer free and healthy. I love the last part of the verse I had written in my journal from Psalm 103, "who satisfies you with good so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.” 

God may not always answer my prayers in the way that I think they should be answered. So often I start to think that I am the director of the show, but I am not. But God answers our prayers in a way that brings glory to Himself and is ultimately good for us. If I pray for His will to be done then whatever circumstances may bring he will give me peace and joy in the midst of those circumstances. He does not promise to calm the storm, but He does promise to carry me through it. He will satisfy me as long as I keep my eyes fixed on Him.