Posts filed under ‘Faith + Cancer’

Wedges

A few weeks ago I experienced a defining moment in friendship:  my close friend shared with me that I’d hurt her.

Although the situation that led to hurt feelings was unintentional, it happened nonetheless. Feelings of isolation, rejection and bitterness crept inside of her heart. I walked around oblivious.

And would have stayed oblivious had she not broken the ice.

After we both recognized our weaknesses in the situation and talked it out, we were fine. Actually, our friendship grew closer.

And the wedge that had grown, unbeknownst to me, was removed.

But it didn’t end there.

As I reflected on the experience, I realized there was another relationship in my life where wedges had formed.

Except this time, I was the hurt friend.

And the person who’d hurt me was God.

And while I knew I needed to do what my friend had just done with me, I delayed the experience. What place did I have to tell a perfect God that I felt hurt by Him?

None, or so I felt.

After realizing that this next step was inevitable, I finally caved. I shared with God feelings I’d suppressed and hidden. Feelings that brought me shame, but needed to be spoken nonetheless.

I shared with Him that I felt He caused my cancer. That I felt hurt from Him allowing it to happen. That I don’t know why I get to live and others die. I told him I struggle with knowing He is good. I told Him that sometimes the physical pain, embarrassing moments and situations that leave my heart broken because of cancer are tough. Really tough. And that as a big God who controls everything, I didn’t understand how His plans are labeled as “good.”

I felt silly saying some of it. I knew a lot of it wasn’t true. But as I shared my heart and admitted how I felt, I immediately noticed a change.

He wasn’t mad at me. Lightening didn’t strike. Ironically, I felt closer to Him.

And ultimately, I felt like I could believe Him again.

The walls came down once I addressed my feelings and the lies I’d believed. I recognized that I’d been trying to not make waves or ruffle any feathers. Even God’s feathers.

While openness was tough in the moment, I learned it’s what intimacy requires. If I want solid relationships, I’ve got to draw close and be willing to do the hard things.

I’ve got to remove the wedges.

October 14, 2013 at 9:55 am 2 comments

Jesus Doesn’t Fix Everything

hope-and-faith-through-cancerI was “officially” diagnosed with Lynch Syndrome last week. At first, it didn’t phase me. But as the days went on and I took time to review the paperwork, it began to really sink in.

The implication of living with a known genetic disorder is enlightening yet heavy. It’s good on one hand – aggressive monitoring for me and preventing disease in family members is a plus.

But it’s also hard – loss of a ‘normal’ doctor-free life and a reminder of a journey paved with loss also knocks at my door.

I’ve taken the past week to let it all sink in. Rather than brushing it to the side as if it’s “no big deal” (my pattern in the past), I’ve really tried to be introspective with my feelings.

Especially my faith.

And then today, a sermon came along and stopped me in my tracks when the preacher said:

Jesus Doesn’t Fix Everything – But He Does Help us Through It.

Come to Me All Who Are Weary

I grew up in a Christian community that like it or not – carries unspoken rules on how we handle trials in our lives. It’s part of the gig – which I would never trade. But, there are a few things I would change.

It’s typical for us to respond to trials thinking if we pray hard enough or have enough faith, Jesus will take away our situation and fix everything. As Christians, we put a smile on our face and say we’re trusting God without really letting ourselves grieve.

Rejoicing, encouragement and joy through trial is certainly part of the journey. God meets us in our despair and provides hope – so I’m not saying this doesn’t happen.

All too often though, Christians spit out quick verses like nicotine patches, hoping they’ll take the deep grief away. But ask any smoker – those patches don’t always work. And sometimes, our loss or sorrow is so deep, we need more than a quick devotion or verse to get us through.

Jesus says, “Come who are weary…” not “Come … although you’ve got yourself already pulled together.

Struggling with Faith in the Midst of Trial

Jesus wasn’t immune to grief or sorrow – in fact he was surrounded by it. So while he might not “fix” everything, he does provide what we need to get through it.

A holy perspective on any trial will change everything.

Today, “Terror in Boston” is scrolling across my television screen. I have friends suffering from marriages falling apart, children getting sick, deep depression taking hold, and checkbooks bouncing.

Lots of tears. Lots of cancer. Lots of pain. Lots of fear.

Trial is something we will all deal with at some point.

If you’re looking for hope or guidance on how to get through trials, I suggest taking an hour and listening to the sermon below. There comes a point when reciting verses and plastering on a cheery smile won’t hold you through some of the darkest days.

And hearing that it’s OK – and how to still have faith in the midst of it – was a game changer for me today. I pray that others will also find this extremely encouraging and helpful.

No, Jesus doesn’t fix everything. But, he loves us and will help get us through.

Trial & Jesus
1 Peter 1:3-9
Mark Driscoll – Mars Hill Church
Listen to the audio here: http://marshill.com/media/trial/trial-and-jesus

April 19, 2013 at 10:28 am 3 comments

Wanting the miracle and preparing for the fight | Faith and Cancer

Long time no post. I know… I’ve been busy.

But today’s revelation is blog worthy.

For some of us, God miraculously removes our cancer. For others of us, we have to fight.

Both roads are equally part of His plan. 

Both roads are good.

Jerichos and Ais…

joshua-sermon-series-graphic

Graphic from The Avenue Church

We talked about Joshua of the Bible today at church.

Most of us know about Jericho – Joshua’s squad marched around the city and the walls fell down.

But just a few chapters later, there’s another city, Ai, which God also told Joshua to seize.

Except this city didn’t fall like Jericho. Joshua had to follow God’s strategic plan for Ai to conquer it.

As my pastor explained, “Sometimes God gives us “Jerichos” in our life – our challenges can be tackled with ease and creativity. Other times, God calls us to “Ai” – our challenges must be faced with strategy and toil.”

And then it hit me.

This can apply to the fight against cancer, too.

Two roads to the fight against cancer

For some of us – our cancer experience is a Jericho.

God miraculously takes away tumors and cancer cells. The cancer goes away. We are healed.

For others of us, the road is not so easy. Roadblocks. Recurrence. Treatment. We put things in place to help us survive… which is not even a guarantee.

Even if we do not get dealt the Jericho, it does not mean that God’s turned his back on us.

We have to remember what “victory” truly means.

Just take it from Joey…

fight-cancer-hospital-hallwayAs a youth, I remember Joey Butler’s loud voice echoing through the old chapels at youth camp. I was saddened today to read an article in the KC Star about his advanced disease.

But just like God used him to encourage my young faith as a teen, I was encouraged today by his words now as a fellow cancer survivor:

“This circumstance [cancer] is teaching my family and friends to trust God,” he says. “This is not all there is. You know there’s more to come after this life. … This is not our final destination.”

For Joey, it seems that he didn’t get the road to Jericho when it came to his cancer diagnosis.

His cancer journey is more like the conquest of Ai. Aggressive treatments to fight the cancer have failed. I’m humbled by his response:

“Here’s what belief means: It means I put all my belief, all my weight, on Christ. I’m all in,” he continued. “I’ve had no regrets.”

But Joey knows that the “victory” in cancer for us Christians is not that we defy death.

Instead, it’s that we let God use our cancer journeys to save lives.

Even if those roads to victory look more like Ai than Jericho.

March 10, 2013 at 11:22 pm 1 comment


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