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.

22 February 2014

life is a battlefield

Does life ever feel like you're fighting a war? A war in which many daily battles are fought, some won, too many lost. We are warriors! Fighting daily for our families, our homes, ourselves.

There are the everyday battles, the seemingly small, but not insignificant, external ones: the laundry and the dishes and the cleaning and the scheduling and the chauffeuring and the finances and the cooking and the feeding. These battles can keep me feeling bogged down, like all I do all day is put out fires, a slave to the urgent needs of my household. I don't have time to be proactive, or plan ... let alone sit down and breathe for a minute. I definitely fight my to-do list.

Then there are the many internal battles we moms fight each day. My biggest daily battle is for my patience, with my kids, with myself. And when that patience can't be found, it is followed by the inevitable battle with guilt and shame. We fight battles for wisdom and confidence in our parenting as we battle "social norms" and countless "suggestions" from those around us. We often have to fight for what we believe is right for our kids and our home.

There's the never-ending battle for my weight and the consequential battle for self-esteem. Right now I even get to fight chemo-related acne and hair loss. Not helpful.

That reminds me ... I'm fighting cancer, battling for my very life.

There's the battle for serenity in the midst of my battles. I fight daily for just a few minutes to stop and breathe.

In our Women's Bible Study, we've just started Exodus, and last week we studied the Israelites' escape from Egypt. They walked on dry ground after God, through Moses, parted the Red Sea. They watched as God swept the pursuing Egyptian army away and drowned them when they tried to follow. God provided sweet water from a bitter stream, he instituted a daily bread delivery system in the form of manna. He hemmed them in before and behind with a pillar of fire and a cloud. Those lucky Israelites were witness to some of the biggest miracles in the Old Testament!

When they were safe on the other side of the Red Sea, and clear of the Egyptian army, the Israelites sang a song of praise to the Lord. "The Lord is my strength and my defense; he has become my salvation. He is my God, and I will praise him, my father's God, and I will exalt him. The Lord is a warrior; the Lord is his name." (Exodus 15:2-3) This song of praise goes on for 18 verses.

My favorite part? The Lord is a warrior! In another version, it says "The Lord is a man of war." And even earlier in this story, as the Israelites are still being pursued by Pharaoh and the Egyptians, Moses reminds them, promises them, "The Lord will fight for you, and you have only to be silent." And he did. Oh, how he fought for them!

My Father God is a warrior! He fights alongside me and  for me. If I would only let him. I'll be honest, I'm not entirely sure what that looks like. I can't stop doing laundry and dishes and paying bills. But maybe I can stop fighting the expectations I place on my to-do list, on the cleanliness of my house and the nutrition of every meal and the neatness of my daughter's hair. Maybe I should stop fighting for self-esteem and believe what the Lord says, that I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Maybe I should stop fighting my insecurities as a parent, and trust the Lord to lead. Instead of fighting for patience, let the Holy Spirit fill me and be patient for me. Even fighting cancer isn't my fight, it is the Lord's. His will be done.

I think I would take a lot more deep breaths of contentment if I would just be silent, and let the Lord, the man of war, fight for me. As he says: Be still, and know that I am God.

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