My Journey through Breast Cancer

On October 11, 2013, I was diagnosed with Stage II Triple Negative Breast Cancer (TNBC) ... or as we like to call it, extreme measures for a nap (EMFN). For a while, this blog will be my cancer journal. Enter at your own risk.

21 January 2008


I believe it is gratefulness that resides in the heart of contentment. And, because contentment can sometimes be a daily battle with me, periodically I like to take time to remember the many and great blessings in my life.

Not long ago I was thinking through 2007 and what a great year it was. I was able to travel several places with my husband, even summited a 14,000-foot peak. I was able to visit my very dear friend Kimberly in Florida. I celebrated my first wedding anniversary with the man of my dreams. I stayed relatively healthy (we'll pretend that little kidney stone incident didn't happen). Those around me stayed relatively healthy. Even with hospital bills to pay, we didn't experience any unmanageable debt in our lives, though it was a great temptation at times (see having to buy a refrigerator instead of the TV we've been saving for). In general, it was a great year, and the blessings were many.

But even without the travel and the opportunities we were able to take advantage of, when I stop to think about the relationships in my life, I begin to find myself most amazingly blessed.

I am married to the most amazing man. I am aware he is not perfect, but he is perfect for me. All 20 months of our marriage have been a blast ... even those first six, somewhat overly emotional, months of adjustment. I continue to be in awe of the huge blessing he is in my life. What really amazes me is that he came along at a time when I was not avidly praying for a husband, even looking for one. God brought him to me, the right man, when I not only wasn't looking, but when I truly wasn't worthy of such a blessing.

I am also blessed by a wonderful family. Along with my husband, my parents and my sisters & brothers, have always been and still are my best friends. They meet most of my friendship needs, and my community needs. It doesn't mean I don't have friends outside them, but my need for outside friends is not as great as it is with some. As life goes on, I become more and more aware of just how unusual my family is. And the more aware of that I become, the more grateful I am for each and every one of them. My experiences as part of a big family leave me inclined to have a big family of my own (I know I know, better start that soon). And again, I was just born into this family. Before I even had a chance to try and be worthy, God chose to bless my life with this amazing and Godly group of people.

... which brings me to something I've been pondering lately. The very definition of a blessing is to receive something we do not deserve, have not earned or paid for, something that will bring us joy and happiness. Yes, I believe God blesses the faithful because they are faithful, but I also think its important to remember that we do nots EARN God's blessing. We don't earn anything we receive from God. He loved us first, remember? He loved us when we did not deserve it, when we were unworthy of even a glance in our general direction. And yet, not only did he glance in our general direction, he has called us each by name, loved us each individually, though we are sinners and unworthy. What an awesome God we serve!

Of late I have been a nominal servant of Christ. I make it to church regularly, and I genuinely struggle with my tepid spirituality, knowing there is so much God wants to show me if I would only seek him. But I have not actively pursued God for some time. And I'm finding myself more and more unworthy of his love and attention, not to mention his blessings. I've done nothing to deserve them ... and yet, he continues to show his love for me in so many ways. Let me say again, what an awesome God we serve! And what's more, I believe he will pursue me until the day I die and finally meet him face to face. There is great comfort in that.

But I am feeling the weight of responsibility begin to get heavier these days. The only logical response to such love and care is to love in return, to pursue in return, to serve in return. And for the first time in a long time ... a very long time ... I am beginning to let go of my fears of what pursuing God might mean. You see, I used to pursue God passionately, and then He took me to China, and I endured four very difficult years. Its crazy that I should still fear hardship, when that time in China ended over four years ago, and even though those were hard years, I wouldn't trade them for anything. Weird how the mind works sometimes .... At any rate, God's unconditional and persistent love for me is drawing back, growing within me a desire to love Him passionately in return.

What other response could there be in the midst of so much blessing?

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