In the middle of summer of 2022, God told me to quit everything.
At the time I had applied to teach three yoga classes at three different facilities and I had applied for twelve credit hours for the fall semester at APSU. My husband and I were also helping our boys adjust to a new school and I was trying to prepare myself for phase two in my immuno-chemotherapy treatment, commonly known as the “Red Devil”.
I didn’t feel like I was doing too much, until I stopped doing everything.
In my “normal pre-cancer” days, I would manage my stress by staying busy. But when I was diagnosed, I had been praying for God to show me how to live a more intentional life. “God, What are you trying to teach me, in this season of mandatory rest?” It has been through this process of healing my body that I have had the opportunity to discover what my priorities were. And the more I discovered what God set in place for my life, the less attractive “staying busy” seemed to be. This time I could see the other side of the road where my productivity, my higher education, and all my social engagements await me, but I could also see the large break in the road from where I am now, and where I had expected me to be. Often I see my own limitations instead of God’s unlimited perspective. And from this perspective I felt at peace and I felt held.
Despite my complaints, internally I kept coming back to this feeling of peace. This is not the kind of peace the world offers, but the kind that makes you feel strong when you physically can not get out of bed, and the kind of peace that really warms your heart just knowing you get to be a mom, even when raising middle schoolers can have its challenges. Being a mom of two young boys just starting middle school while undergoing the process of chemotherapy, would not normally offer a landscape for joy and praise, but here we are. Throughout this season together, my boys often have told me, “Mommy it doesn’t feel like you have cancer, it feels like you just chose to be bald.” I love that this is their perspective; however, truthfully, our life has been put on hold.
Only, instead of a complete halt, the four of us have been placed on a constant conveyor belt full of drives back and forth to Vanderbelt, receiving chemotherapy and sometimes just going there to discover my white blood count levels were too low, in which case, I was sent home without treatment. In addition to my white blood counts, my thyroid and cortisol levels as well as my liver have all been near the “danger zones” all of which have been time consuming to think and worry about.
And even still, I felt an inner peace, and knew God was with me. By stepping back and observing rather than reacting, I could see God was answering prayers that I had forgotten that I had been praying for.
During this season, He had given me several opportunities to mend broken relationships and spend some quality time with many of my loved ones. Which got me thinking, how very few people get to know how others truly feel about them while they are still living. This was very encouraging and continues to lift my spirits. With the overwhelming support of our community here in Clarksville and that of our friends and family around the United States, my children have been seeing what it truly means and looks like to care for people with compassion and empathy. As many of you may know, this is a very hard skill to teach our children if we do not have the ability to experience the receiving end of this unique gift first hand.
“I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” -American Poet Maya Angelou
I am feeling it all.
Finally, with the third and final phase of my recovery just beyond the horizon, doubt creeps in and anxiety overwhelms my thoughts. However, the thoughts of a double mastectomy, a complete hysterectomy seemed overwhelming as well, yet I overcame them both, and now reconstruction surgery will again bring me to bed rest, which reminds me of my limitations.
Even with the miracle of cancer being completely removed from my body, this next phase will test my faith, it will once again completely change the way I feel and the way I look physically. I would be lying if I didn’t tell you I was worried and afraid of the unknown, especially with my previous complications of my hysterectomy. However, nothing encourages you more to live for today than being when faced with your own mortality.
I have not reached acceptance, because I am still in route, but I have seen a miracle within me and although my light feels dim from time to time, nothing can turn off this light.
Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” (John 8:12)