• Jill Jarrell Newsome

Looking Back But Moving Forward

As I went upstairs one last time I got chills! The upstairs was empty and I thought back to nine years ago when I walked up here for the first time. Moving day was yesterday, today is our last day at this house and nine years ago today I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I had just finished my chemo and surgery and was starting radiation. Living on the water, we had a lot of upkeep, lots of stairs and a huge yard. It had been a dream of mine to live there since I was a little girl but it was time to break camp. In this season, we wanted a more simple life. I had been thanking God for the perfect house at the perfect time. Mike and I, really, wanted a new house but the market was down and no one was building. When our house sold, Mike suggested that I ride around and look the week before my six hour surgery. I found this house in a neighborhood with tiny yards that had been a relative's land years before. I love those kinds of signs. I told the realtor I would like to see this house that had a builder's name, who is a friend and had custom built another home for us. This was not his typical neighborhood and this neighborhood had been established for ten years. It was “odd”. The realtor told me that this house had been taken off of the market for three months. That night I called the builder and he said it was not off the market. It was later determined that it was a "computer glitch" but we know it was God saving it for us. Jeremiah 32: 27, "I am the LORD, the God of all mankind. Is anything too hard for me?"

My doctors had been very honest and we did not know if I would get to spend time in this house. Mike and I talked about the fact that he might live in this house alone. Moving into a new place, picking out floors, carpet and paint was a good distraction. I loved planning for the future in this house - it was a good distraction. I had thought a lot about my eternal future. I knew where I was going and I would be ok but I was fighting for my family. They had lost two grandparents already that year and another diagnosed with stage 4 melanoma. I had not been given a lot of hope by my doctors. And five years would be a miracle! Chills again! I stand upstairs and look and think eight years have flown by in this house and I feel wonderful! Seeing it empty, again, takes me back. Tears. Tears of relief, joy and remembering the pain. Tears that God and I spent so much time together every day then - life didn't get in the way when I just laid around. Tears of gratefulness for health, tears for each day, knowing every day is a gift and the hard times that made me grow. Tears especially for me moving closer to God every day during and because of that time! Now each tear represents pure joy -the all knowing that God’s got this!

I have had survivor's guilt as I lost my cousin to breast cancer on this date a few years ago. I lost another good friend at church to breast cancer a few years ago - we had been in an exercise class together for breast cancer survivors. She had two girls like me and it hit home hard! We talked about it and cried together. Medically, if someone would not make it, it was me. The same with another group I was in at the hospital. Why? I do not know. I have let that go knowing that I will never understand on this earth. Isaiah 55: 8-9, "'For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,' declares the Lord. 'As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.'" I am moving forward as I accept this gift of life, tearfully, and thank God for those women who went before me and for the life they graced us with. Philippians 1: 3, "I thank my God every time I remember you."

Life goes on and God gives it abundantly. John 10: 10, "I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly." The biggest lesson learned was that first night of hearing “cancer" We were not sure if I had a month. I had so much more I needed to do for God. Thank You, God, for letting me have more time to do this. Thank You for giving me this passion and for me knowing that this is a privilege and honor to get to be in ministry with You! 1 Chronicles 16: 8, "Oh, give thanks to the Lord! Call upon His name; Make known His deeds among the peoples!" As I walk out the door, I thank God for the love, laughter, memories and faith of that season. Thankful to look back on all the blessings and thankful to be moving forward! He goes with us as we move into a season of open doors as I wait to build another home and, most importantly, as I wait for God to open the right doors for where He is calling me! Jeremiah 29: 11, "For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope." Thanks be to God!



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