Personal Post. Don’t read if you don’t want to know.
I am scheduled for a biopsy tomorrow to let me know if I have cancer or not. The radiologist who read the tests was very concerned. In fact, she had tears in her eyes as she spoke to me. She was unwilling to say it was definitely cancer, but she made it clear it was very serious in her opinion.
Since the hospital only does these types of biopsys on Wednesdays, I have been waiting for 6 days. Your mind can do a lot in six days. I’ve gone through the stages of grief several times, been overwhelmed with guilt because I didn’t pay attention to what seemed a very minor thing compared to the rest of my health problems. I’ve been overwhelmed with anger because this is just one more pile of crap on my already huge crap pile. I’ve had screaming matches with the Lord, telling Him exactly how sucky my life has been and how dare he add this on top of all the other crap I have to cope with…
I wrote out my wishes for my memorial service. I am filling out the necessary forms for any financial or medical decisions which need to be made should I become incapable of doing it. I’m updating my will. I wrote out a list of things I’d like to take care of before I go, to make things easier for my family. I have made decisions for care and treatments based on every possible scenario. I have told no one what is going on with me right now, other than my husband and one daughter. I won’t share this with my family until there is something concrete to share. Especially with my parents, as they have lost their only son, my dear brother Jeff, to cancer less than two years ago. To have to tell them their remaining child has it too is my greatest concern.
Some might say my life is tough. There are health problems, problems with kids, autism, financial problems, in every part of my life there is some sort of issue. Nothing is easy. It’s all a struggle. And has been our entire marriage. There hasn’t been one time when we weren’t facing some crisis or another. For us, it has been a battle every step of the way.
Of course I know there are others out there facing battles of their own. Some are worse than ours. This is not a post to complain about my life and my struggles. This is a post about faith, hope and gratitude. I cannot tell you about that without giving you some background as to where it’s coming from and why.
You may have heard of Job. He’s a man of great faith in the bible. Job’s wife is one of the women in my Women of Strength journal. She’s the most misunderstood person in the bible, in my opinion. Anyway, the story goes like this: Satan came to God and God asked him to consider Job. He was a upright man who respected God. Satan said “Of course he is. Look how you’ve blessed him. He has many wonderful children, he’s incredibly wealthy, he has a hedge around him. Take that away and he’ll curse your name.” The LORD said “Alright, do your worst to him, but you may not harm him physically.” So Satan did.
On one day these things happened to Job: his flocks of oxen and donkeys were attacked and taken by an enemy army and all his servants killed, except the one who came to tell him of the attack. As that one was speaking, a second servant arrived to tell Job fire from heaven fell upon the flocks of sheep and burned them all including his servants, leaving only the one there to tell him. While he still was speaking a third servant came in to announce another army came down and stole all his camels and killed all his servants leaving only the one to come and tell Job what happened. While the third servant was still speaking, a forth servant arrived to tell Job that while his children were celebrating at his oldest sons home a mighty wind came upon the house and collapsed it upon the family. All were killed except the one servant who rode to share the news…
In a matter of minutes, Job lost everything he had. His family, his wealth, his servants (who were really like family members if you understand the customs of the day)-everything gone. Just like that.
What did Job do? He tore his clothes, shaved his head and fell to the ground to worship the LORD. This is a man of incredible faith. Because when bad things happen to me, I am not in the worshiping mood. I’m in the bitterness, anger and hopelessness mood, I’m not gonna lie. It’s not that I don’t have faith, of course I do, but my go-to is to become angry and frustrated by whatever it is that just adds one more load of poop to my already huge pile. I want a break, I don’t want more poop.
Now the reason Job’s wife is the most misunderstood person in the bible is this: She just lost everything too. Her children are dead, her lifestyle is gone. Everything that was their life together has been destroyed. She, too is devastated. But Satan isn’t finished yet. No, no, no.
Satan again went to the LORD. And the LORD said, “Observe Job. He’s lost everything and still he praises ME. He is an upright man who has not sinned against ME in spite of what you’ve done to him.” Satan replies: “Of course he hasn’t cursed you yet. He is still physically healthy. Take away his health and he will surely curse your name.” So the LORD said, “alright you may do what you will to him, but you cannot kill him.” And Satan did.
He covered Job from head to toe with painful boils. Job went out and sat in ashes and scraped the boils with a broken piece of pottery. And he did not curse GOD.
At this point Job’s wife has had enough. She’s lost her family, her home, her wealth, her status in the community, and now the man she loves is covered with painful boils and sits in ashes. She has endured all she can. To see the man she loves in such a state has sent her over the edge. She says to Job: “Enough! Just curse GOD and die!” for it would be easier for her to lose him than to watch him suffer in incredible pain and anguish.
Job responds with great gentleness and kindness to his beloved wife, who has been utterly broken by these events, and says “You are speaking as foolish women speak…Should we not praise GOD in both good and bad times?”
Of course we should. But do we? I didn’t when I got the news there was something very suspicious and I needed a biopsy. I became all that Job wasn’t. I was filled with anxiety, fear, grief and anger that this was happening to me. I screamed at God and told him exactly what I thought of this latest piece of crap and how he could stick it up his ass. I told him if this is what serving you looks like, I’m done with it. You can keep your promises of love and care and all that other stuff because I was finished…
Much like Job’s wife did. She had reached the end of her endurance and just said “screw it!”
The truth is God and I have these “discussions” often. I always tell Him exactly what I think and why I think it. I never sugar coat anything. I just pour it all out all over Him and afterward I feel much better. Then He says, “Feeling better? Now, let’s really talk.” And we do. Sometimes I cry, sometimes I laugh, but I always know He understands me and why I respond the way I respond and it’s okay with Him. He’s got big shoulders, He can take it. And He loves me. He’s patient and kind and filled with compassion for me and my situations. He wants me to trust that He has a plan and it’s all part of it. He wants me to know that even though I don’t understand the plan, or see the big picture, He does and it’s good. Because all things will work together for good for those who love God and are called according to His purpose.
And I love the Lord. He’s my best friend. I couldn’t get out of bed each morning if I didn’t know the Lord was there for me. How could I ever face all the crap in my life without Him? I’d go mad. Or worse, give up completely. And that is never gonna happen. I do not give up. I keep going in spite of it all. And I try to make the best life I can for my family with what I have to work with. No one could ever accuse me of being a quitter.
So the lesson I’ve had to learn again, and again, and again, is to be grateful and praise the Lord in every circumstance. Oh, I always get there in the end, but why shouldn’t that be my go-to instead of worry, fear, anger, etc. Why do I always have to go though all that angst before I can get to the peace that knows no understanding?
You would think I’d be pretty good at it after all the years of craptastic stuff, but I’m not. I still have to go through all that misery to get to peace.
And I am at peace. No matter the results of the biopsy, no matter what happens after that, I’m at peace that I’m loved and cared for by my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. And He’s got this. No matter what, He will not leave me or abandon me to my struggles. My strength has always come from Him, and the strength I need to face this (possible) new challenge will be there too.
But before that happens, I will praise the Lord. I will be grateful for the things I do have in life. I will not let the work of the evil one ruin my relationships with my family or my closeness with my Lord. The evil one will not win, my Lord will win.
And I’m really just along for the ride.