Thursday, November 5, 2015

Mercy and Grace

I am currently receiving treatment for breast cancer.  There is much that God has and is speaking into me personally, but there are also aspects of God’s work during this season that hopefully will benefit others. 

There are many forms of “cancer,” so to speak that people endure; for example, being a parent of a teenager struggling with depression or an addiction, having a parent with Alzheimer’s, or a strained and difficult marriage.  My hope and prayer is that for those of you struggling with a “cancer” in your life that you by God’s mercy and grace may be strengthened and encouraged.

When I first received the cancer diagnosis, among other feelings, I felt a loss of hope because I could not see anything to look forward to in the coming months but doctor appointments, surgery, recovery, tests, and treatments.  Yet, the reality is that I encounter much that is good through this experience.  As I entered what seemed to be a dark and desolate wilderness, I witness God’s beauty and love for me through people in numerous and various ways. May you also taste and see God’s beauty and all the good and love that God has for you through, whatever you are experiencing.

It was seven weeks from the time I received the cancer news until the surgery to take the tumor out.  During that period, I would awake in the night struggling with fear around all that was happening.  Needless to say, I did not like having a cancer tumor inside me that could kill me.  Truly what helped to chase the fears away were Scripture and prayer.  I memorized, mediated upon, and prayed with Psalm 23 and held on to the words and pictures and metaphors it offers.  May the Lord be your Shepherd…

Along with fear, I felt dread about the things that I had to do and possible outcomes that I did not want to face, like MRIs, surgeries, and treatments.  This is where the struggle between what I desperately wanted or did not want came up against God’s will.  He could answer my prayers how I wanted or He may not for some mysterious reason or greater good.  God has allowed this for His reasons and purposes. There are points in this journey where I have to surrender and say not my will, but God’s will.  This does not come easily or quickly, but with anguish and time.  Romans 12:1-2 is more personal now.  I pray that you also will be able by the mercies of God to offer your bodies as a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable and pleasing to the Lord, which is your spiritual service of worship.

Amidst the heaviness and seriousness of having breast cancer, I take breaks from it when I do not read about it, talk about it, and I try not to think about it and just do normal and fun things like seeing movies, going shopping or hiking. 

Last, what came to mind clearly and specifically at two different points is that I don’t deserve this.  Amidst the overflow, abundant outpouring of prayers and support that I have received, I knew that I am not that good to receive so much love.  Also, when my prayers and the prayers of many were answered how I wanted, I realized again that I don’t deserve this and that is the point.  God, in his mercy and compassion, has spared me from some of the outcomes, and at the same time I am receiving his gracious gifts.  God’s mercy and grace has no bearing upon how good or bad I am or what I do or don’t do, nor is it in comparison to someone else.  It just is.  May you also experience and know God’s mercy and grace in a deeper way.   

Janet Wineman is another chick with cancer experiencing God’s mercy and grace.

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