Today marks a page in my story!!! Today my life and my family’s lives forever changed.
November 2, 2009
I can still remember what I was doing that day, even where I was standing in my house when the phone started to ring. I didn’t even have time to process the news because I was getting ready to head to town to teach piano lessons. I don’t think it really hit me until I was done teaching and heading home. Even then I don’t think it really hit me. It was like when someone you love dies…..you go into shock. You’re numb and can’t really process anything. I was in a fog…disbelief.
50/50 shot at remission. Statistics said my life expectancy was 18-24 months……
Stage 4 breast cancer…..
I was terminal…..
The odds were stacked against me….
My children were only 14, 9, 6 1/2 and 5 1/2.
We had just started this exciting adventure of homeschooling….8th grade, 4th grade, 1st grade and kindergarten. I didn’t have time to be sick, let alone die.
I was only 35, my husband 33. We had only been married 11 years.
My hopes and dreams were shattered. I would never see my children grow up, watch them get married, I’d never get to meet my grandchildren or grow old with my husband. My heart was broken, not only for myself but for my family. My husband and children especially.
But after a period of grieving, I vowed I was gonna fight, I was gonna research like crazy and I wasn’t gonna back down until I had exhausted every last option out there.
My faith was so strong and so sure that God was gonna get me thru. And no matter what happened He was going to get all the glory. My one small plead from the start was this: “please let me raise my babies, just let me raise them until they graduate.”
We have been in the valley and on the mountain top. We have had good years and bad years. We have had jaw dropping scans and we have had heart stopping scans. We have seen treatments end, and drugs dropped. We have watched my body deteriorate from the harshness of the drugs. We have fought tooth and nail individually and with the oncologist to get the treatment I desperately needed. There were times we didn’t think I was gonna make it.
We have begged for certain treatments and we have pleaded for more time. God in His wisdom and love has given us both.
Today my children are 23, 18, 15 1/2 and 14 1/2. Two have graduated from high school, One has graduated from college and one is in college and my youngest two are in high school. I am 44, my husband 42 and we just celebrated 20 years of marriage last month.
My faith has been weakened by circumstances allowed into my story a couple of years ago, but I am working my way back and am determined to get my faith strong again. My relationship with Christ back to where it used to be and where I want it be again.
You know why??? Because He (Jesus) has been faithful, merciful, sovereign and loving when I have been unfaithful, ruthless and unloving towards Him. He has never left my side, never forsaken me, has never not answered my prayers. I want to return to my first love. Which means rededicating my life to Him. Surrendering MY will for HIS will.
Cast your cares on Him because He cares for you. ~ 1 Peter 5:7
Medically speaking, I shouldn’t be here anymore. Spiritually speaking, I’m here until God says. He is the Great Physician. All my days were ordained before I was even born. He wrote this journey into my story. I am His vessel, He is my guide.
When the circumstances of life wear you down and you cry out “why me?!?!”
When another setback hits you and you cry out again “why me?!?!”
When your child turns away from the morals and values you instilled in them as a child and you cry out “why me?!?!”
When your marriage starts to crumble or your spouse walks away and you cry out “why me?!?!”
When you are standing on the edge of that precipice, looking down, crying out “why me?!?! What did I ever do to deserve this crap I’ve been given?!?!”
ask yourself this: Why not me?!?!?!
Why NOT you?!?!?
We all have heavy burdens we carry, but we were never meant to carry them alone. Jesus wants to help. Intertwined in our stories are cracks, those cracks have come from God breaking us so we will see our need for Him.
He has broken me more than I care to realize…..so I will work to take my focus off me and lean on Him and His will. He has brought circumstances into my life and marriage so that I will turn my focus back to Him, seek Him with all my heart, and allow Him to be glorified in the process.
So I’m learning to shift my focus from ” why me?” To “why not me?”
Why not me to endure stage 4 breast cancer the past 9 years?
Why not me to endure some gut wrenching troubles in my marriage?
Why not me to have a wayward child?
The list could go on and on, but perhaps these things were given to me so that one day I may be able to help that woman who was recently diagnosed with early stage breast cancer or even stage 4, or the wife who has a hurting marriage, or a mother who has a wayward child. Why not me?!?!?!
It is not for me to question, but it is for me to keep moving forward in faith, trusting the Lord for whatever tomorrow may hold and learning to let go of yesterday, because that can’t be changed. We can’t go back and rewrite history but we can learn from those mistakes or hurts and vow to never let them happen again.
My thoughts are not God’s thoughts and His ways are not my ways. He sees the bigger picture that I can’t. He knows what tomorrow will bring. I must trust Him with my past, present and future. Along with that, I must trust that my past was given to me by God for a specific purpose. Some days it is very hard to let that past go and trust God for the future and all that He has planned for me.
My past has shaped me into who I am today, both in good and bad ways. Some of those things in my past I wish had never happened to me, but I can’t change them. Living in the “what if’s” or “if only’s” will never help me move forward, they will forever keep me stuck and struggling with today and the future!
You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives. ~ Genesis 50:20 NIV
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. ~ Romans 8:28 NIV
So while I struggle with the circumstances of my life, I continually remember these two bible verses. Nothing that I have ever gone through in my life is not a surprise to God. It has all been used for His good and for His purposes. What was intended for evil, God can and will turn it around for good! Because that is who He is! He is good all the time and all the time He is good!!
So today I am grateful that God has blessed me with 9 years living with stage 4 breast cancer. 9 years to watch my children get older! 9 years to grow older with my husband! 9 years to watch a couple of kids graduate from high school! 9 years! 9 years!
Will I be here next year to celebrate 10 years? I don’t know, but I do know the One who holds my future in His ever loving hands! If it is His will, then YES, I will be here next year to celebrate a huge milestone!!! God willing!!
So if you are struggling with circumstances and can’t seem to get past the “why me?” part, ask yourself “why NOT me?”
If you are struggling with something and want to connect with me, feel free to drop me an email. Just click the contact me button on my blog! I would love to talk to you!
Until my next blog post may you all be moved by mercy,
Forever His child,