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.
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!
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
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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!