Laurie Hill, a friend and colleague, gave me this cross because God put my name on her heart. I think it is perhaps because Laurie knows that I am currently undergoing chemotherapy treatment for breast cancer. But I think that God knows that it is my faith in Him and the prayers of others for me and my prayers for them, that carries me each day.
I have to say that I have truly been blessed by cancer. I wouldn’t trade this part of my journey for anything. Sure, the side-effects from treatments haven’t been that much fun. But I have so many more good days than bad days, I am now so much more appreciative of each and every good day. And I have learned (well, maybe I’m still learning, it is a journey) to put my trust in God. On a not-so-good day when I wondered how I would find the will to go back and face treatment again, I found the answer in God. He would provide me the strength I needed, not a day too early nor a day too late. He always did.
Early on, I wondered how I would fit cancer treatments into my work schedule and busy life. I soon learned that my need to plan and control was mostly a waste. Not so much the planning part, because we do need to plan, but the controlling the plan part was a waste. I really didn’t actually have control over anything in the first place. When my blood counts were too low to be treated and my schedule was thrown off, I learned to accept it. Acceptance is a pathway to peace. I also learned that there is always a blessing in there somewhere, you just have to wait and look for it.
The greatest way I have been blessed by cancer is by learning what “offer it up” truly means (and it’s not “stop complaining!”) There is such beauty in the power of attaching your hardship, sickness, suffering to Jesus’s passion for the salvation of souls. As a part of the living Body of Christ we have the ability to contribute to salvation of others by “offering it up”. It is a blessing that is only possible in suffering. When I finally “got it” I actually look in anticipation of being able to “offer it up.” I wrote in my journal on a day between hearing that my biopsy results were “abnormal” and learning that “abnormal = cancer”, “What are you most afraid of?” and I answered that the worst possible result would be a slow and painful death. I know realize that the best possible results is a slow and painful death, IF I “offer it up.” In the meantime, I’ve begun the practice of “offering it up” on a daily basis. It is a beautiful prayer and a way to trade the “it” (the ache, pain, problem, etc.) for peace.
So I have truly been blessed by cancer. This cross is one of the physical ways that I am reminded each day of the greatness of our family of brothers and sisters in Christ.
Laurie, thank you again for the lovely gift. You know I’ve got the perfect place for it where I will see it each day. I’ll think of you and pray for you that God will bless you abundantly.