Wednesday, March 1, 2017
Four Years: Reflection and Celebration
March 1 is a date that is etched in my memory. It is an anniversary of sorts. Today marks four years since I was first diagnosed with cancer. Since I am still alive, this day causes celebration. But it is always a serious day of reflection for me. I write a blog post each year on this day as a remembrance of how God has been with me through the trials and the triumphs of this journey. I still have quarterly appointments with my oncologist; I still have blood tests for cancer markers; I still have scans twice a year. I still deal with insurance issues and I still think that every headache or back ache or twinge of pain could be cancer. But those nuisances don’t consume me and I look to each new day as just that, a new and blessed day. Since I am a Type A control freak planner, I still make goals and plans for the future, but I really try to look at each day as it is—in the present. Every morning when I awake, the first thing I say to God is, “Thank you for another day. Thank you that I woke up.” And I truly mean it. I get another day. Another day to love my boys, another day with my husband, another day with friends, another day doing work that I love, another day to reflect on God’s beauty. I don’t understand the many mysteries of God. But I do know that the journey I was on made me hypervigilant about living and hypervigilant about knowing God better every day. So much of who God is and how He works will always be unfathomable to my finite mind. But I continue to get to know Him more each day as I learn about trust, belief, faith, and grace. I reviewed this passage in Romans: “We can rejoice too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love. “(Romans 5: 3-5) I really wish that I didn’t have to go through two years of chemo, surgeries, and recoveries to develop endurance and strength of character, but I did. And God used it—for His glory. So much of the time when we are in the midst of the trial, in the thick of the pain, it is difficult if not impossible to see hope. And it doesn’t help when people give platitudes like, “God has a reason for this” or “Good will come out of this.” Those may certainly be true, but within the trial, that is the last thing suffering people want to hear. It is usually when we come through it and have hindsight that we can look back and see how God worked in and through us. But that takes time….lots of time. Today on this anniversary of my diagnosis I can also celebrate being 2.5 years cancer FREE. And the biggest thing I want to remember is to not become complacent. It can be so easy to wade through life in the ordinary and the mundane, not being thankful, grateful, or appreciative. It is so easy to do that when you are not faced with a serious struggle. It is so easy to depend on yourself and not God when things are moving along smoothly. Four years ago today I was dealt a life changing blow. It was a life changing blow that not only affected my life, but my husband’s, my boys’, my family, and my friends. It was a life changing blow that redefined my prayers and my priorities. The little things weren’t important and my priorities became streamlined and focused. I want to remember those precious moments where God pointed me to what is true, right, real, and valuable. I don’t want to get caught up in the piles, the frustrations, the seemingly small things that rob me of joy. It takes a daily surrender and acknowledgement of God. It takes His spirit in me, and His amazing grace. And it takes an anniversary of remembrance and reflection. Thank you Jesus for this day. Thank you for life. Both abundant and eternal.