Daily life has dramatically changed since my diagnosis with stage four ovarian cancer, as you can imagine. I went from a full calendar of plans for writing more books in my Beauties from Ashes series and a children’s book, articles and interviews, volunteer ministry, time with family—to doctor’s appointments, ER visits, scary, painful procedures, and multiple tests.
My normal came to a screeching halt then obliterated into the wind. Not what I expected or wanted! I seriously would not wish this upon anyone.
But like it or not, cancer is now my reality.
It’s taken me time to even come to terms with that statement. How could this be ME? I asked as I stared into the mirror at my now bald head. Yes, I’ve already lost my long hair.
But if you keep up with me on social media, then you know that when the day came to shave my head, I decided that I will not mourn hair loss because hair grows back (I might have a LOT more gray, but that’s what hair color is for!). Also, hats and wigs are fun!
So, with the help of my daughter, a few dear friends, and my fabulous hairstylist—we made a spa day of it. And when I saw my new look, I made this declaration:
I am a WARRIOR PRINCESS FOR JESUS, a GI Jane— and I’m going to kick cancer’s butt!
My friends, I wish I could maintain that attitude constantly. But the truth is, I’m human, cancer is hard, and dark thoughts are nefarious little devils, waiting to rob me of my hope in Christ—even though the Lord has given me this amazing verse to cling to:
“Then your light will burst forth like the dawn, and your healing will quickly appear; then your righteousness will go before you and the glory of the Lord will be a rear guard.” Isaiah 58:8
Isn’t that an amazing verse?! Yes and Amen, Lord!
Last Monday was my second round of chemotherapy. The side effects don’t seem to present themselves until a day or two later. The demons of nausea, vomiting, and pain worm their way through the body in the dark of the night. Let me tell you, it’s easy to slip into a vortex of fear and despair when feeling this ill. And that’s exactly what happened to me a few times this past week.
Enter the mighty God of the universe…
As I faced what felt like the valley of the shadow of death, the Good Shepherd was there to walk with me. At first, I couldn’t hear Him lovingly calling my name. I had lost sight of His presence, blinded by sickness and terror. My ugly thoughts were like a voracious boa constrictor, squeezing out any ounce of faith or hope.
Oh, how I’m glad the Father pursues us, especially when we’ve lost our way. From somewhere deep inside, Scriptures began to bubble to the surface of my scrambled and desperate thoughts, washing away the lies and trading them for truth.
“Do not be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.” Isaiah 41:10
Finally, peace took over and I was able to rest in the shadow of God’s wings. A deep, restful sleep fell over me. Again, I wish I could tell you that the next morning when I woke, the pain was gone and I was overflowing with the Spirit of God.
But that’s not what happened. I was still very sick.
Although the nausea was at bay from medication, I was in a lot of pain which the meds didn’t seem to touch. And I was extremely weak. Once again, despondency took over. To make matters worse, I decided to research what to expect after the surgery that I’ll be facing soon. Not a good idea! The enemy was happy to give me more to worry about, and I took his bait.
God and His promises to the rescue once again!
“Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life[a]?… “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” Matthew 6:26-27; 33-34
God also said to me in my spirit, “I have given you today. Live in the NOW. The now is the only place to find true peace. My peace is for today, like the mana I gave to the Israelites. They could not store it up for the future but had to gather it daily. I am the One who holds your future. You don’t need to be concerned. I have gone before you. Trust me.”
I’ve always been a planner. And there’s nothing wrong with making prayerful plans for the future. But when we start to feel anxiety and worry over the future, we give power to the enemy and can easily lose our way from the place of peace for today in the Father.
Remember, like mana, peace is something we receive from Him daily. It cannot be stored. This ensures our dependence upon our good Father.
Living in the NOW is what the Father wants for all His children.
You don’t need to have cancer or be facing something difficult to benefit from living for today.
We can all experience God’s freedom and peace of living for today, for the now.
As I write this post, the nasty side effects of chemo have greatly diminished. When I woke up this morning, God reminded me of the Psalm and song that says, “This is the day the Lord has made. I will rejoice and be glad in it.”
I made the decision to do just that. I was able to go for a short walk and to breakfast with my amazing husband yesterday! And then last night, my sweet daughter-in-love, Katie, along with my 10-week old granddaughter came for a surprise visit from Texas. The blessings just keep coming!
I’ll do another round of chemotherapy on May 3. Once again, I will be faced with all the side effects. But I’m not going to focus on that today.
I choose to live in the NOW where God’s peace resides. Today is a gift and I’m not going to waste it!
Thank you for your continued prayers. I’d love to hear from you in the comments below! Trust me, I have lots of time on my hands to pray 🙂
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