Trials, Naps, and Cancer
I am more tired than I ever have been in my life, or at least any time I can recall in my life. (My children remind me that I can’t recall how tired I was when I was born, and that was a time when I slept a lot.)
Well, these days, I am again sleeping a lot. In fact, I think I’ve taken a nap every day since December 13. My Christmas shopping never got finished. My laundry is piling over. And I’m operating under a 5 lb. weight limit and strict arm motion restrictions. My sister says I have t-rex arms.
I currently sleep wedged on about 8 pillows, and those pillows still don’t take away my back pain and the discomfort I still experience, now 2 weeks since surgery.
I feel like I have a lot of reasons to complain, and in truthfulness I have been tempted to do so more than once.
How about you?
How are things going in your life? Any health issues? Any family issues? Do you have any days when you wake up and it seems like your brain is still in bed?
Many of you already know that I was diagnosed with breast cancer in early November. Since that time, I’ve greatly appreciated your words of encouragement, as well as the many of you survivors who have already walked this path. It’s not a path I enjoy, but a path for which I am thankful.
Have you come to a place where you can be thankful for your trials?
There you go, that pesky James 1 verse is at it again. You know, the one talking about trials in life and how we’re supposed to be joyful because of them. Joyful in trials? I’m supposed to be joyful as I fight cancer? You’re supposed to be joyful as you deal with a family crisis, or unexpected job change, or perhaps as you’re fighting cancer, too?
We live in the details of life, but God lives in the long term timeline.
Therefore, we need to be joyful in our trials.
In late 2016, when Andy Lynch told me that Celina track coach Dan Otten considered battling cancer the best thing to ever happen to him, I was touched and emotionally impressed, but now I realize I didn’t get it then. I really didn’t get it until now.
Why? Because I hadn’t yet walked that trial. It takes the trial to truly understand the joy.
That’s James 1:2-4. When you start reading James 1, don’t stop at verse 4. The entire chapter is filled with encouraging components concerning your perseverance, wisdom, knowledge, and ultimately, finding the life God has designed for you to live. Yes, this chapter was written to guide you to a fully alive life! And it all begins with a trial.
I underwent major surgery December 13. Since then, my life has included a little walking, a lot of sitting, and a lot of naps. Recently a friend asked me if I am frustrated that I have been unable to jump back into my preferred speed of life. Even though I have disliked a lot of my journey, my quick, and honest answer to that question was, “No, I am not frustrated at all. I am thankful.”
Am I thankful for the pain? Not really. Am I thankful for the upcoming months of treatments? In my natural self, the answer is no. Do I like the fact that I have been advised to live every day of the rest of my years, planning my food, stress levels, activity choices, sleep patterns, exercise schedule, and pretty much all my life choices in a manner to prevent cancer?
Now that I think about it….
While I recognize that here on earth, we won’t achieve perfection- we truly can strive to live as God has desired. And to be honest, there are a lot of things taking place on our planet earth that I don’t think God desires. But He does desire to see you live a life of fullness, as He does for me.
So, as I walk through this cancer journey, would you do something for me?
I’m asking you this favor because I know you have trials too. As you face each of the trials in your life, turn to James 1. Read it. Meditate on it. If needed, read that passage day after day, and trust that there is a light at the end of your tunnel. Ask God how He wants you to handle the trial. Be open to your Father God desiring to mold and shape you. Sometimes God changes others through our trials; but many times He also changes us.
Coach Dan Otten found that to be true. I am believing that I will reach a point where I too say that cancer became the best turning point of my life.
If you are one of the 12.7 million people diagnosed with cancer each year, know you are not alone. Don’t give up the fight. Lean on others for encouragement. Cling to God through every single moment. When I was given my diagnosis, many people asked me for my treatment plan. Even before I had a medical plan, I had this. Perhaps it will encourage you, as it has me:
How to Be Joyful in My Trials
- Spend time daily with God
- Be thankful, even for little things
- Practice positive thinking, even when it’s hard
- Forgive those against whom I have held grudges
- Forgive myself
- Surround myself with worship music and scripture, and sing LOUDLY.
- Strive to be in a GOOD state of mind, regardless of how my physical health feels. If I can’t achieve that good state of mind, be honest with others, and ask for prayer support.
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