My New Years resolution was to pursue holiness. Never in my life did I think that God would chose to sanctify me in this manner.
Over the past three weeks I feel as if my life has been turned upside-down. The first Tuesday in January I was diagnosed with a cancer called Hodgkin's lymphoma. The lumps that I had been feeling in my neck while I was in Ecuador finally had an explanation. Up until this point, through all of the tests in Ecuador and a few back in the States, I had been counting how many times I had to have blood drawn. After my first visit to the oncologist's office, I decided that I should stop counting. There was a long road ahead of me.
There are a myriad of emotions that come with change. Being the meticulous planner that I am, mourning was what washed over me as all of my plans seemed to be thrown out the window. Student teaching, graduation, and a wedding in July seemed to be all "ifs" instead of the planned dates that they were on my calendar. I battled through anger. Why in the world would God let me go through this? After one particularly hard tearful night when I felt like I was screaming at God, He led me to this verse the next morning. It is a verse in Job 2 when Job's wife tells him to curse God and die for the suffering that Job was having to endure. Job's response was "shall we take the good from God and not the bad?" (Job 2:10) Suddenly I was weeping before my Savior. I had just spent four months relishing and rejoicing in my Sovereign God who kept me safe in a sometimes dangerous foreign country, provided friends that "just fit", and even amazingly helped me get back home on time despite computer glitches and airline problems. I was so ready to boast in His sovereignty then; however, I was angered by His will now. Conviction set in.
God has provided many reminders of His sovereignty even despite the hardships. He provided a fantastic doctor, who upon my first visit said that she was praying for me. He has given me strength to get through the preliminary appointments even though every time I was looking at possible escape exits should I decide to bolt. He supplied peace as I was unexpectedly put in the hospital for 5 days due to complications. And He has been faithful to grant me energy to make it through my first chemo treatment. He is so faithful and good.
I told my mom today that this is such a humbling process. (Mom and I have been spending a lot of time together by the way. She is my loving caretaker. She told me that she wanted to spend time with me before the wedding...so...) Every morning I wake up and lie in bed for about five minutes. Life feels normal and I think that maybe all of this has gone away. But it hasn't. And my body usually lets me know that when I try to move. But there is a time for everything, and now this is my time for chemo. It is a humbling time. And every day is a battle to trust the Lord and to take joy in Him. Sometimes I feel that I am giving the same look to God that I give mom almost everyday (usually at the doctor's office); I look at her with tears in my eyes and say, "I'm trying." I'm trying. I'm trying to trust. I'm trying to take joy. And God is faithful to meet me where I can't even begin. He gives me faith and He gives me joy.
I have received so many cards and letters that have humbled and encouraged me. Thank you for the prayers and verses; they have been such a comfort. But one second grader, who I don't know, sent me a card with this verse, and I cried. "I lie down and sleep. I wake again because the Lord sustains me." Psalm 3:5.