Yesterday I went to the pumpkin patch with my Kindergartener. It was so fun to see him get excited about riding a bus and being with all of his friends. I tell young moms all the time that the days are long but the years are short. But yesterday, it hit me fresh. This was my last time of firsts. Phinehas is our last child out of 7. Five years ago he was just a baby and now here he is in Kindergarten. The time just went. All those long days of exhaustion that I wished bedtime would hurry up and get here are done. And my only regret is I wish I had cherished it more.
Five years ago I was diagnosed with breast cancer. To say it was shock is an understatement. Over the course of a year I went through chemo and a bilateral mastectomy among other things. It was hard. I clung to the Savior like never before. Then just 8 months after getting the all clear, I found a lump. My oncologist assured me this was just scar tissue, but I knew it wasn’t. It was in fact cancer. I thought “here we go again…more surgery more chemo more more more.” The problem was I didn’t want to. I didn’t want to be sick from chemo. I didn’t want to be bald again. I didn’t want to miss out on the fun stuff. I didn’t want my children to have their memories of me to be one of sickness. Hadn’t I met my suffering quota? I wanted the days of suffering to be over. People closest to me were praying, saying, “You are going to do this.” And I was saying, “No I’m not.”
Then one night we were having family devotions and one of the kids said something and we all started laughing. As I sat on the couch and laughed with my children, I sensed the presence of God and I heard “A sick mom is better then no mom”. That was all I needed. My entire perspective changed and I knew at that moment I would choose to live even if it meant more suffering. The second time was harder, but so much sweeter. The nearness of God was so apparent.
Like having children, having cancer has taught me so many things about the goodness and faithfulness of God. I believe that wounds of suffering are wounds of grace. I also know that one day all will be made right, even though today is not that day. There are times we are just hoping for our struggles to end. We want the mountain that is supposed to come after the valley. Spring after winter. But what we can miss is that in our pain is the presence of God. He is near and beckoning us to Himself in the midst of our struggle, yet we are tempted to think He has left us. It says in Hebrews that we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with us in our weaknesses. It goes on to say to draw near to the throne of grace to receive mercy and find grace to help. Psalm 56:8 says, “You have kept account of my tossings; put my tears in your bottle. Are they not in your book?” He is no less aware of our sorrows as of our joys. It is in those moments of desperation when we have no other hope that we cry out to the One who is all hope. The One who gave his life for our ransom so that, even though we may suffer on earth, we will never suffer in eternity.
Romans 8:18 “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed in us.”
Whatever your struggle may be, He is near. He is faithful. He is calling you to trust him during long days of suffering. Embrace what He has entrusted to you knowing that one day all will be made right. I have been cancer free for one year now and my only regret in my suffering is that I wished I had cherished God’s presence more.