God has brought me so much peace in these last three months. But up until a few days ago there was one area where I just couldn’t let go. I couldn’t stop thinking of having a recurrence. I’ve got several things going against me- original size of the tumor, spreading to the nodes, presence of cancer cells in other areas of breast tissue than the original tumor, and my age (meaning I’ve got a lot of years ahead of me in which to allow time for another growth). And I just couldn’t get away from those facts.
I’ve been praying to God about healing me this time around. Praying about strength for chemotherapy, answers regarding prophylactic mastectomy on the right side, future pregnancies or adoptions, health for Terry, ignorance (regarding my disease) for my children. I laid these thing down at God’s feet. But for some reason I kept my worries of recurrence from Him. Obviously I knew that He knew those worries existed. But I just wasn’t ready to give them up to Him. I told myself that I’d get through treatment, officially declare myself NED (no evidence of disease) and THEN and only then allow myself to begin to pray over my future health. I can’t explain why I held back in this area. It doesn’t make sense that I wouldn’t offer it to God. Especially seeing how He’d been quick to calm my fears in every other area.
But, I guess we are all familiar with this aspect of our prayer lives. If you’re like me, there have been areas of your life in the past that you’ve purposefully kept out of your prayers. Sometimes we think we can hide sins or weaknesses from God, don’t we? And I know sometimes we think we have to get rid of all of our sin before we go to God. We feel like God won’t listen to us until we’re already clean. Which is silly. I used to hold my anger back during prayers thinking I had to deal with my anger away from God so I could come to Him being pure. Now I understand that it’s God that takes the sin and anger away from us. We don’t have the ability to do it for ourselves outside of prayer. But I digress…
For whatever the reason, I’ve kept my fears of recurrence closed inside me and tried to hide it from God. But, two days ago my sweet friend Paul texted me about going to a cancer support group. And my stomach dropped. I didn’t want to sit in a room and hear about cancer for an hour. I knew that I couldn’t get through that kind of torture without letting my recurrence worries get the best of me. I felt so overwhelmed in that moment. I kept thinking, “Who can understand how I feel? Who knows what it’s like to live every day and wonder how long it will be before you’re faced with a fatal disease? Even worse, a disease that kills slowly. Who can understand my worry over possibly making my family suffer as they watch me lose such a battle?”
I wasn’t praying when I said these things. I was whining. Lamenting my position. Thinking to myself.
Thankfully, the Lord didn’t need to wait until I said, “Dear Jesus.” He didn’t care that I wasn’t on my knees. He doesn’t wait until we’re in a prayerful mood to listen to us. He always hears. And this time was no different. He heard my cry and He said, “I know.”
Jesus came into the world aware that He had a limited number of years on Earth. He knew that eventually, and at a young age, He’d say goodbye to every friend he made. He knew his mother, his brothers in Christ, his followers, would someday watch Him die. Did he know, every time He heard of another crucifixion, that He’d someday be in that same spot? Did He feel how I feel every time I hear a story of someone losing their battle with cancer? Did He often think about how much hurt His loved ones would have to feel someday when He left them?
I think He knows how I feel. He’s been there. He knew everyday was just another step closer to the cross.
I’m thankful to God for answering the prayer I didn’t have the courage to pray. Because, in just a few short days, I’ve already felt the weight lift from my shoulders regarding recurrence. God didn’t give me a crystal ball and tell me I’ll live till I’m 99. In fact, there’s no logical reason for me to have relief over my future health. But there is a very good Biblical reason. God is a changer of hearts and He says to lay our burdens at His feet. He promises rest. So when I offer my worries to Him, He miraculously changes my heart and gives me peace.
He’ll do the same for you. What part of your life are you keeping out of your prayers? What sin are you clinging to and pretending God can’t see it? What worry do you think is too big to hand over?
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, despite the eye-rolls I might get: Don’t wait until you have cancer to turn these things over to Jesus. Your relationship with Him is the most important thing you’ll ever do.