It's Not Always Roses!
So yesterdays blog brought many tears for me but they were mostly tears of joy. Tears of joy in how God demonstrates one of my favorite scriptures! Romans 8: 28, "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." God has brought, is bringing and will continue to bring good from my bump in the road.
As all roses, there are some thorns in today's beautiful bouquet. When you find yourself in the cancer "club" you just happen to get to know more and more people who are sick. At first I did not want any friends like that because I did not think I could deal with it. Then I was asked to be part of the patient advisory board at the hospital. We were a small group and able to make a lot of positive changes for future cancer patients. I had a meeting about my hospital stay that turned into me sharing my story with a conference room full of wonderful people! Next thing I knew I was the spokes person for breast cancer! You may see me (and sometimes my daughter, Ivey) on billboards in Wilmington and surrounding areas, magazines and newspapers. I told them they could only use my story if God got the first credit. They did pretty good. While that brought many good things it brought great friends. Then I spent four years in a pilates class for breast cancer survivors that brought friends who I saw five days a week! I have even gotten 3 messages this week from people who read this blog who are facing these challenges.
Thankfully, many of my friends are doing great, there are some who are sick now. Some are fighting for their life. I have buried a lot of friends. I don't know why I am here and they are not. All I know is survivor's guilt is a real thing. I know there was nothing I could do to change what has happened. I find myself having a hard time celebrating my survival. This is really questioning the fairness of the world. And yet I know life is not fair and I have been told there will be trials and tribulation. I have to remember I have done nothing to be guilty of and I need to choose to be grateful.
I am constantly reminded of statistics and cancer coming back. Recently I was reminded that my chemo often causes congestive heart failure down the road. I know that but I had people specifically praying for that on my chemo days. I could get really down thinking about all of the "what ifs!" Instead I choose to trust God. Often I find myself saying out loud, "I trust you God." He reminds that why should I worry about those things when I have not even been promised tomorrow? Proverbs 27: 1, "Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring."
Peter was king of guilt! It took me a while to learn a lesson from Peter but he ran to Jesus. He knew Jesus was the ultimate counselor, restorer, and healer. He placed himself at Jesus’ feet and listened to what Jesus had to say. Jesus restored Peter. 1 Peter 5:7, "Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you." Shouldn't we always run to Jesus?!
God has shown me that I can be there for others suffering and we can talk openly with each other. Sometimes when things are so bad you do not want to burden your family. God has shown me I am a good listener for people going through cancer. I empathize deeply because I know the pain is real. I feel one of the biggest gifts God has given me is to be able to highlight the hope without condemning the hurt and confusion. He has given me the strength to enter the real pain of other patients. And the biggest gift I can give those hurting is prayer! I thank God for taking my guilt and giving me gifts!
So I continue to look at this "bouquet" of my journey as something beautiful and fragrant. I choose to be grateful because of all of the good. I will always have questions as we all do! But you know what I am going to say...... we just have to trust. God loves us so much and wants what is best for us. Trust Him as your life planner!