Well I’ve had several great days in a row – and I praise God for them! You quickly learn to celebrate each and every victory – whether big or small.
Friday I was able to go with my mom to Danville for a bit. While we were out and about, we stopped by Subway to grab a bite to eat. Since it was so hot, I opted to leave “Stella” at home and just wore a red bandana on my head. As we were in line at Subway placing our order, the young manager looked at me and asked if I was going through chemo. I smiled and said yes, then asked him if my hairdo gave it away. He just smiled and said yes and told me that he had a cousin who went through chemo and then he said “your sandwich is on me today”. Can I tell you that I have shed a handful of tears since I was diagnosed with cancer – which is nothing short of a miracle for those of you who know me well. I can ONLY attribute it to the good Lord sustaining me (my buddy Zeke will confirm I can cry “on demand” if you have any doubts)……but let me tell you that in that moment as the manager said those words, I became a blubbering mess. The tears just WOULD. NOT. STOP. I tried to say “thank you” – but it took me a good while to recover myself to even get the words out. I was so taken by surprise and just so amazed at a complete strangers random act of kindness. It’s crazy what can tug right at your heart strings. And the amazing thing is – we were torn between going to Subway and Sonic. I wanted a Cherry Limeade from Sonic, but I knew mom liked Subway – and there was an ETERNAL line at Sonic and last time we were there, it was a short line and it still took FOREVER – so last minute I opted for us to just go to Subway. God was steering us there the entire time. He was steering me in the direction of an unexpected blessing (or “joy bomb”). He is always right on time. I doubt that manager has any idea just how much he blessed me that day.
Sundays are always good days. We attended church today and that’s always a blessing. Awesome people, wonderful message, and great fellowship.
As I stated above, I am…… by nature……an extremely tender hearted person and can cry on demand…..always have been. I’ve been completely amazed at myself and how well I have handled and accepted this cancer diagnosis. Me handling this “so well” as many have said has been totally out of character for me.
Two years ago, I began training at church for Stephen Ministry. It’s a one on one distinctively Christian care ministry. Stephen Ministers provide confidential, Christ-centered care to people who are hurting (illness, grief, divorce, job loss, etc). There’s a link below for more information. If you don’t have this ministry in your church, I would urge you to look into it. It has been a blessing for our church and the Stephen Ministers and the Care Receivers all!
Certification for Stephen Ministry requires 50 hours of training. It’s long and intensive – but I can tell you that the training I received as a Stephen Minister has benefited me in my own life. Literally the day after I became commissioned as a Stephen Minister, my husband’s brother passed away very unexpectedly. My husband lost his brother and his very best friend all at once. While I wasn’t prepared to put my training into practice so quickly, the Stephen Ministry training regarding caring for those who are grieving was an INVALUABLE tool for me during that time. It helped me better understand what my husband was going through, that he was allowed to “feel” however he felt – and to know that the grieving process is different for every person. Again – God’s timing was perfect.
Fast forward a few years to my cancer diagnosis……again, the training I received helped me to understand not just my own feelings regarding the diagnosis, but to understand that processing this diagnosis would be different for me and my husband, my child and my parents and family. While I thought my training was simply going to be for me to help others in their times of need – it turned I needed that training every bit as much for myself for the events that would unfold in our lives over the next few years. Everything happens for a reason.
Last year I also attended The Walk to Emmaus. Our church is a strong supporter of The Walk to Emmaus and we have quite a number of folks who have attended this life-transforming weekend. It’s a wonderful spiritual retreat……72 hours spent worshipping, learning, reflecting, singing, and participating in small groups. It’s a weekend filled with Christian love in action. You simply CANNOT leave The Walk unchanged. My friend Zeke had told me “just ike the 2 men in the Bible, YOU WILL encounter Jesus on your walk”……and he was right.
While they were talking and discussing, Jesus himself came near and walked with them”. – Luke 24:15
It was truly one of those “mountain top” experiences for me. The Walk to Emmaus is sponsored by The Upper Room and is open to any Christian denomination. If your church is not participating in The Walk to Emmaus, I strongly urge you to consider learning more about this wonderful weekend! You won’t regret it!
So to answer the question “how am i doing so well” handling this diagnosis. I am quite certain that the Stephen Ministry training and my Walk To Emmaus weekend were two things that DEFINITELY happened for a reason. Each of these experiences helped deepen my walk with Christ, introduced me to some wonderful Christian friends and mentors…….. and I am confident these experiences left me better prepared to handle the curve ball I was thrown on May 1, 2017. God was working in the background to prepare me mentally, emotionally and spiritually. Now that doesn’t mean that I am implying this has all been easy. It surely hasn’t. I’ve had my ups and downs – but the downs have definitely been few. I have also had an enormous amount of folks near and far lifting me in prayer on a daily basis. I have felt those prayers and I am so thankful for each and every prayer warrior who has interceded on my behalf.
God has definitely blessed this mess……time and time again. While I know I’m on the front end of this adventure…….there may be some long, difficult days ahead. But I am confident that the same God who has worked to prepare me for this season in my life will continue to walk beside me……step by step……day by day…….minute by minute and help me cross the finish line. Of that……I am certain.
Lastly – I feel I must take a moment to say “thank you” to so many of you who have reached out to me regarding my blog. I admit – this is a first for me. I’ve never “blogged” before…..and while I felt like I was “doing this for me” – I’m learning that many others are benefitting from my blog as well. How can that be? I am completely in awe that so many have even read my blog and honestly had no idea that my words would ever have the “reach” that it has. That can only be attributed to the good Lord. I just felt compelled to share my story……He gets credit for the rest. And I must say when I’ve received texts saying “I had my mammogram this week” or “I’ve scheduled my FIRST EVER mammogram”……well, that is exactly why I’m doing this! Prevention is key my friends!
Be blessed! Have a great week!
Ecclesiastes 3:11New International Version (NIV)
11 He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet[a] no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.