King of the Sewer

Crisis

When my friend, Cindy Finch, was pregnant with her youngest son, Brandon, she was diagnosed with an aggressive form of cancer.

“You’d be dead in a few weeks if you didn’t come to see me,” her oncologist told her.

When doctors gave Cindy the most aggressive cancer treatments available, they said, “they’ll either kill you or save you.”

Cindy became sick beyond functioning; but by a miracle of God, the medicine worked!

Five years into remission, Cindy was thrust in another test:  The treatments had caused her to develop serious heart and lung failure.

Open-heart surgery removed the damaged lining of her heart; two weeks later, they performed open-lung surgery to repair the lining of her lungs.  A homeschool mom, Cindy was suddenly a heart/lung/cancer patient.

We’re blessed to have Cindy with us today.

Welcome

Hi everybody.

I can honestly tell you ~ cancer was both the worst and best thing that ever happened to me.

God used it to change me from the inside out.  With everything taken away ~ my appearance, strength, and mobility ~ I had to place everything in God’s hands.

Losing control, I needed to trust that God knew best.  He taught me to rely on His leadership.  As Christians, we don’t get this when we stay safe in our comfortable church attendance and moral conformity.  It’s only when we’re forced off road in some hectic, crazy situation without options that we finally see what we’re made of, what we’re not made of, and what God is and isn’t.

For instance, He isn’t a vending machine where we put in a prayer and extract our desired answer.  Jesus works His will for our good and His glory.  I’ve learned to affectionately call Him “the King of the Sewer.”  He’s in the midst of it.

My suffering taught me He’s capable of bailing me out.  I’d heard He could help me through, but only by living it did I KNOW that He was and is truly able.

Because of my cancer and other calamities, God ultimately laid out a specific path for my life.  Hetook me and my family to places we never would have been willing to go.

The big vertical scar down the middle of my chest is a picture of how our family has been stretched and transformed from top to bottom.  My body doesn’t function as well; we took huge emotional and financial hits; but our devastation only grew our family roots deep and our faith strong.

When my oldest son noticed another family wasn’t involved in the life of their son, he said something interesting: “Mom, they’re not like us. They haven’t gone through what we have.They’re not as close as us. They just don’t get it.”

With the trauma several years behind me, God has allowed me to return to the sewer ~ this time, to work with others there.

As they pass through this narrow and desperate place, my family and I are honored to serve them.  We each have a soft spot for young cancer patients, and we always seem to have two, three or ten in our lives at any given time.

I now work in oncology as a Social Worker.  I’m quick to hold hands with other families as they make their way through ~ hopefully with God.

I see a lot of things.  Some people live, some people die.  But God is still God, walking people through the sad/glad story of their suffering.

Now whenever I see that all-too familiar scar down someone’s chest, I know I’m with family.  We’ve both fought the big bear of heart failure…and won!

Unwasted

When darkness stalks and skulks your brain
and clasps you in its cloak of pain,
Breathe deep this truth that stills your soul:
I long prevail to make you whole.

I never waste a pang of pain,
A drip of tear or spot of stain.
My comfort pours new life in you,
in perfect time for others too.

By Cheryl Ricker, from “A Friend in the Storm”
© Zondervan 2010

~ ~ ~

You won’t want to miss Friday’s post when Cindy speaks to the terminally ill and those who love them.

In the meantime, we’d love to hear from you!

15 Comments

  1. Wonderful post. Beautiful poem. Very powerful message:-)

    • Thanks Mary! Cindy is a beautiful lady, whose life is proof that God never wastes pain.

      “Unwasted” was originally inspired by another dear friend, Chantale. Unfortunately, Chantale’s story ended differently, when, after a long battle with lung cancer, she went to be with the Lord.

      Chantale invited me into her world during her last year of life. I was nervous because I didn’t know what I’d say during our visits, but the Lord reminded me I could write her poetry.

      Every week or so I’d bring her a new poem. One day she asked if I could read some at her funeral.

      A month after she died, I attended a writer’s conference, where keynote speaker, Kay Marshall Strom, said, “You’ve got to put these poems in a gift book!”

      God never wasted an ounce of Chantale’s pain either. One of the many proofs rests in the fact that “A Friend in the Storm” is touching thousands of lives.

      Mary, I love when people appreciate the poem’s powerful message because it gives me a chance to turn it back to our all-powerful God ~ our perfect Redeemer.

      Blessings on your day!

      Cheryl

    • Congratulations, Mary!! Because of your comment on today’s post, you WIN a FREE copy of “A Friend in the Storm.”

      Please go to the contact page at my website, http://www.AFriendInTheStorm.com to send me your mailing address.

      Everybody else ~ I’ll be giving away another book with Friday’s post (tomorrow), so you might want to check back. Thank you!

      Cheryl

  2. How wonderful is our God! This witness reminded me about my own experience 5 years ago when I suddenly became disabled because of long treatments with cortisone and chemotherapy.

    I can also attest that to experience God’s love, His compassion and His tender whisperings of comfort in one’s heart when you are devastated by pain, that it is true, real and beyond description. Our God is REAL, He is with us and wants to comfort us- sometimes we just have to walk a more difficult path to realise and accept Him as our King, Lord of Lords and the Truth of all Truths!

    • Thanks for sharing your story, Magda!

      You reminded me that God doesn’t just use storms to show us what we’re made of, but also to show us what He is made of: 100% love.

      He comforts us so we can comfort others.
      Indeed, thanks for sharing His comfort today!

      I hear the praise in your voice, and I say a resounding, “Amen!”

  3. HI Cheryl:

    I just loved this story. Your friend life is a testimony about God’s love and healing. Thanks for sharing.

    Cheri

    • Thanks Cheri,

      Cindy is a very courageous woman for her willingness to share the broken parts of her past in order to reveal the amazing parts of God!

      God bless you today!

      Cheryl

  4. Thank you for this. People think I’m crazy when I tell them cancer is the best thing that ever happened to me. Having gone through a long fight with throat cancer including a radical neck dissection and radiation treatment and seeing the ‘before and after’ in my life. I wouldn’t change a thing.
    I think that’s why I never have related to being labeled a “cancer survivor”…. I didn’t survive anything, I thrived in the really important arenas of life. Love, relationship with God and family, and the freeing of my heart from all fear. And maybe most importantly, the stripping away of all in life that gets in the way of the good stuff.

    Thanks again.

    • Wow, Poppa; your comment encourages me deeply!

      When people like you and Cindy tell me that cancer is the best thing that ever happened to you, it tells me that, no matter what happens in life, I don’t need to be afraid. God will give me His strength and a new perspective. Not only that, but He’ll make me a better person.

      May God continue to speak to and through you!

      Thank YOU!

      Cheryl

  5. Later today we’re having a drawing and one of you is going to win a FREE copy of “A Friend in the Storm” from Zondervan! All you need to do is leave a comment! I’ll “reply” to the winner so you might want to check back. Thanks! 🙂

  6. Hi Cheryl,
    You don’t need to enter me in the drawing as I have a copy of your wonderful book already (what a blessing it is!). I enjoyed the interview with Cindy. What an encouragement and blessing! Thank you for sharing. Miralee

  7. John M Osterman |

    What an awesome God we serve! You rock Cindy!
    My wife & I received a call from a friend to go to the hospital where her husbands son fell from a roof at a frat house. The boys were drinking the night before (hot summer day – no air conditioning) so they slept on the roof. Christian asked his half brother Jake if he was ok on the roof, because he had to go to work (in the morning). Jake said, he was ok. Satan had a different idea. Jake fell three stories off the roof onto concrete.

    We went to the hospital after receiving the call. I asked his dad if Jake was a christian – he said he wasn’t sure. So with Sherri on one side praying in the spirit, I began to pray for this 20 year old who was in a drug induced coma. Then I felt the leading of the Holy Spirit to speak directly to him. But first I bound the evil spiritual wickedness and cast them off and away from him, in the Name of Jesus. I told Jake that I was a friend of his dad. I also told him that I was a friend of Jesus.

    I told Jake that Satan wanted him to go to hell and that (in his mind) Jake needed to call on Jesus, for forgiveness, healing, restoration, and renewing. Jake was intibated and in a coma, but I knew he could hear me. I put his hand down (both hands and legs were tied down) and keep praying in the spirit. I felt a movement as his hand went up to mine. I grasped his hand and said, I am here Jake – I won’t leave you & and Jesus will never leave or forsake you. You must call on him, right now, if you want to live.

    All of a sudden, he lifted his left leg up (bent in the middle) and raised up his upper torso. All the bells and whistles went off that were attached to him. The nursed came in and asked what was going on – I just said – It’s the power of Jesus – the healing power of the Master has touched this boy and he is healed.

    Well Jake made it and his dad later prayed with him and made sure that he knew his son was going to heaven and had chosen Jesus as he had.

    What an awesome God we serve. He is soooooo Good! Praise His Holy Name.

    • What a powerful story, John! The power of God! Thanks so much for sharing!

      I’m glad you were there to fervently pray for Jake! Talk about spiritual warfare!

      You’re right: God IS so good! I’m praising His name right along with you!

      Cheryl

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