Day 37: The Response of Faith
Scripture to meditate on: 2 Timothy 4:7-8 Finishing the Race with Faith
I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.
This has always been my husband’s favorite biblical quote, and throughout this year has become mine as well. Life is filled with many ‘life events’ that demonstrate our human powerlessness such as death and loss, illness, changes (both positive and negative), etc. At the beginning of each year I pick a word to strive for to improve my life. This year my word was “peace” as that has always eluded me. Throughout this past year my family and I have experienced about every life event possible. It’s through these life events that I have found the peace in Christ’s love that I have always sought.
In January I had just landed in Zambia to do mission work at Village of Hope when I received notice that my mom, whom I have lived with and take care of for the past 13 years, was in the hospital in guarded condition. I immediately returned home to be with her. Five days later she passed away. Four days later I was diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer.
Throughout the next few months my life continued to spiral out of my control. After my first chemo infusion I landed in the hospital in isolation in critical care for 5 days with bacterial pneumonia, neutropenia, and a very rare viral infection. The neutropenia made my isolation continue for the next 5 months while I was in chemo.
I am a victim specialist for the juvenile court system with many clients whose lives have been violated by crime. Though it is a very stressful, and at times very sad job it’s an honor to serve those whose lives have been injured by others choices. Luckily I work with an incredibly supportive team and was able to telework throughout this time.
In August I had a bilateral mastectomy where 22 lymph nodes were removed (10 of which were still cancerous), followed by 25 sessions of radiation, followed by oral chemo. Throughout this time my husband and I had to find a home and prepare move while sifting through and finding new homes for my parents treasures and fixing up my their house to prepare to sell.
I have discovered that grief changes people and, at times, negatively impacts relationships. I am the sixth of seven children. In total there are about 65 of us in my family. Each of us struggling with the loss of our beloved matriarch. Many of my siblings wanted us to move quickly to settle the estate. However much work had to be done to empty and repair the home my parents lived in for 50 years. Most of this work was done by just a couple of family members. To say the least it has been a crazy kind of year. Some relationships have been damaged and some have become more solid.
Throughout this year’s many twists and turns my constant love and support has come from my husband, our children, and our relationship with Christ. I have experienced an outpouring of love and support from people throughout the world through food, inspirational gifts, and mostly through prayers. Though I have lost several very important relationships this year (which happens when life events are too much), many old relationships have been renewed. Several people who are or who have walked the path I am on have reached out to me to share their experience and provided tips. My oncology team is absolutely incredible and our conversation always revolve around God and his love being ever present in our lives.
I think the coolest part of this journey is this is the first time I have asked for prayers and have openly and willingly received them. I’ve always been good at offering prayers and support, but I’m horrible at receiving them.
This year has taught me how much people want to love me, and how important it is to be humble enough to accept this love and support. I have been openly prayed over at work, on walks in the woods with my dogs, at the store, on the phone, and pretty much wherever I am people are literally and openly praying for me! This time has empowered me to be more comfortable being more open and verbal with others about how Christ has been present in every aspect of my life ever since I can remember.
Recently John and I found our forever home! We have found a quiet place to heal. It’s interesting that in the most tumultuous time in my life I have been blessed with an overwhelming sense of peace.
John and I have no idea what this next year will bring with the cancer possibly still running rampant in my body. What we do know without a doubt is that God is with us every step of the way! Christ’s love is ever present in our lives.
I embrace life every day, and I don’t fear death. While I live I am in John’s arms. When I die I will be in Christ’s arms. It’s a win/win for me. My only concern is causing pain in the lives of those whom I love and love me. I hope to live 25 more years. However, if that is not in God’s plans, my greatest prayer and wish is that my children and grandchildren find peace and healing only found in a strong interpersonal relationship with Christ.
I do believe I have and will continue to fight the good fight. I have always strove to share Christ’s love in those I meet, those who have been traumatized and injured by careless and selfish decisions made by others, and with those who wonder how I can be so happy despite all of life’s events that I am powerless over.
Life is good, and death is not the end. It is simply a new beginning with Christ and all his glory where sadness and pain are washed away.
May God bless us and may we allow ourselves to openly accept his love as he embraces us through all of life’s events. God bless us real good.
Questions to ponder:
- What does this passage say about God?
- What does this passage say about me or my relationships?
- What should I do in light of this passage?