In eighth grade, I took this confirmation class and on our confirmation day, we said a testimony in front of the congregation. I remember standing up at the podium with my white dress and reciting a verse on trials. I think, at the time, I thought that confusion and doubt were my trials...and I clung to this truth from God. I still read that verse a lot and it has encouraged me for six years...
but I wanted to specifically share how 'rejoicing in trials' has encouraged me in the last few days.
The story started simply- I felt bad, took my temperature, saw I had a fever, and shoved a crazy amount of day-quil and ny-quil into my system. Then it got a little more complicated because, along with failing to get better, I found a pretty giant swollen lymph node. Of course I googled it. I had all the symptoms of lymphoma. After going to the doctor, I was relieved. She assured me that it was "just a fever," and I left feeling that google was stupid and good-for-nothing for even suggesting the cancer idea.
Then I got a phone call from the doctor. (already alarming because doctors don't just call you for kicks, I don't think). She asked if she could call my mom. And said that I had to come in the next day-- calling back a little after "Actually, you need to come in tonight." (I'm pretty alarmed at this point).
She told me that when they drew my blood, my white blood cells were really low and then this completely undramatic doctor (who was quick to calm me that morning) mentioned that it may be cancer, but she hoped that the blood results weren't accurate.
So, that was my yesterday: Learning this … and going to the ER with "my team" of lovely, beautiful friends.
And here's what I'm learning:
In all of the commotion and confusion, I'm learning that God is constant. It has always been so easy for me to say that when things go well...but I can honestly say that, even in this uncertainty, It is easier for me to say it now. My little worry is nothing in comparison to the BIGNESS of God. I started to think of ways that I could show Jesus IF I did have cancer. I could stand on campus with a bald head and hold a sign that says "God Loves Me- Always." I could quit school and focus on writing and traveling for Jesus. I could tell the people I love most- " I'm not beating around the bush anymore. I want you to have the freedom I have in Christ." I could stop worrying about my own rejection and my own problems. I could stop trying to plan out my future. I could just live fully and powerfully- even if it was with treatments and appointments and physical weakness.
I do not want to have cancer. Actually, I don't want to be sick at all. BUT I could already see how God could use it if I did end up having it, and it is most important to me that I am a tool for Christ- someone He can mold and count on- no matter what kind of things Satan and this world throw on me.
I went into the doctor's today and a new doctor told me (a few times) that I was "an interesting patient." He made it completely crystal that he could not figure out what was wrong with me, but because of my red blood cell count, He is leaning away from the idea of cancer. Praise God!
They still have no idea what is going on and no verdict has officially been ruled out yet, but I have two doctor appointments tomorrow and I think I'll know more after that:)
BUT whatever I find out, I am taking away some things:
1- that I am praising God through thick and thin. This weekend, I finished reading the Bible story of Job- a story of a man who had everything taken from Him by Satan, yet looked towards God still. I could never imagine having everything taken. But in situations of life that feel crummy...I want to remember that GOD IS GOOD. I know He never leaves me..and he never puts anything in front of me that is sure to tempt me away from Him (or at least "beyond what (I) can bear"- 1 Cor 10:13) - and my closeness to Him is my treasure.
2- HE CAN USE ME NOW! I don't want to have to be sick to stand on corners and hold a sign that proclaims how much God loves me. I don't want to be short on years to live fully. Weirdly, I wasn't too fearful of dying or of being sick. More than anything, I realized how deeply I wanted to experience being a wife and mother to beautiful people. I realized how deeply I want to live freely with Jesus and the people He has me walking with. I want to live as if people's opinions of me really didn't matter. I don't want to only live like I was dying when it seems like I have nothing to lose. I want to act now...because I still have nothing (of more importance than God) to lose.
3- Some people DO have cancer- right now! And maybe some of them don’t have the hope in Jesus I have. Why does it take things like this to whip me into the right thinking?! Why am I not a warrior for other people? Its really easy to want to fight against something and pray against something when its happening to me...but what about when its happening to others? Why am I so content in my safe, healthy, little world when others feel like they are drowning in something? I want to fight with and for them. I want for them to feel community and to know the hope of Jesus. That’s so important.
4- It’s okay to ask God for bad things to go away. He hates sickness and death. He never wanted that for us when He created Eden. Even Jesus asked, before His crucifixion, if there was any other way for God to do what He wanted to do (Matt 26:39- My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.”) BUT He does tell us that He works for the good of those who love Him (Romans 8:28) and we get to hold on to that truth even if it doesn't feel like a truth. And, just like He does in 1 Peter 1:6-7, He tells us to rejoice in suffering. That’s hard, but He is wise and I trust Him.
So I’ll keep you posted, but I have been seriously reminded that, no matter what happens, BY HIS STRENGTH, I am going to live passionately and radically for the King.
UPDATE!!!!: my white blood cell count was at a 1.2....now its at a 1.9!! the healthy range is from 3-10, so i have a little way to go, but things are looking up. Prayers are still wonderful and i'll be going in for tests on mon/tues (9/10-9/11).
Its funny though. They still have no idea what this sickness is. I also don't think they understand why it seems like I'm improving. Prayer is powerful!