Thursday, November 23, 2017

Can Anything Good Come From Cancer?

I've noticed that some of the most thankful people I know are also those who have experienced some hard circumstances. Of course there are others who have turned bitter and angry with difficulties, but I want to be one of those who use trials to make me more Christ-like. 

A friend asked, "If we don't hear an update, do we assume that Ed is feeling well?"

Yes. Ed is feeling well. We are so grateful that he has energy to work and enjoy life. His chemo week each month drags him down and he is more tired for the next week, but it could be so much worse. 

But I'm also more quiet when I'm discouraged. Some people write through all kinds of emotions, but I don't feel like writing when I'm down. It is humbling to admit that immediately after I wrote about trusting our Father, I was hit with the biggest test of my faith yet. Even with Ed feeling so well, it is hard not worry that Ed's next MRI will find his tumor growing. Some days I felt like each hour I had to pull my mind out of a worry rut and back to the path of trust.

A few weeks ago I heard a sermon on thankfulness. I challenged myself to come up with a list of good things that have come from this journey with cancer. Here is a few notes that I jotted down that day.

Can Anything Good Come From Cancer?

1. I am reminded that I am not self-sufficient. I can't survive without God. I can feel confident and capable- until I'm completely helpless with circumstances beyond my control.

Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think any thing as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God; (2 Corinthians 3:5)

2. I found that God does provide abundantly. All my needs are met by His hand. We say that God's grace is sufficient, but it is only when I was tested with something that was beyond my strength that I found that truly His grace is available exactly when I need it.

And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work: (2 Corinthians 9:8)

3. I experienced the care of other believers through their prayers, gifts, and encouragement. I can't begin to explain what it means to be surrounded by the strength of others' prayers.

4. I was motivated to value each day. No longer did I take a day for granted. Without cancer I would not be thanking God for Ed's good health this month; I would just expect it. Many morning I wake up and my first thought is, "I have another day with Ed." 

5. Relationships became more valuable. Many things do not seem important while others become far more valuable. I realize how many of my frustrations are just earthly temporary things that don't really matter.

6. It gave me an opportunity to prepare for the future. Though I hate it sometimes, I appreciate all the ways that Ed is trying to make life easier for me in case he is gone.

I realize that I still have Ed. A list like this would be much harder if our journey this past six months would have included a funeral like some of you have experienced. 

If this thanksgiving was a painful reminder of everything you have lost - broken relationships, departed loved ones, or heart wounds - all I can say is that God cares for your grief. 

This morning Ed preached at a Thanksgiving service and began his sermon with this verse.
To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he might be glorified. (Isaiah 61:3)
I believe this verse is a prophecy about Jesus. Only Jesus can take yucky things, like cancer, and use it to bring glory to Himself.

14 comments :

  1. Oh Gina, thanks for the list and encouraging words.
    I cry out to God over and over, He knows our needs, but still wants to hear the desires of our hearts.
    With love,
    Diane

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  2. Your post reminded me of when my now 17 year old daughter was experiencing cancer when she was 11 years old. I remember experiencing some of your same thoughts Gina. I think when we go through trials such as cancer I think it causes us to draw nearer to Him. It helps us to remember Who holds the future.
    Anyway,I've been praying for Ed and for you. I know it's scary right now but keep praying. God loves you and He will get you through this.

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  3. Praying that God will continue to bless you with His abundant grace. Your thankful heart is an inspiration to me. My favorite songs through our numerous medical situations--He Gives more Grace and Grace Enough!

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  4. Gina, a friend of mine has started up a website called Give Thanks Find Joy http://givethanksfindjoy.weebly.com/. You might like to check it out if you have time. Big hugs from across the ocean.

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  5. One thing I learned during a very challenging bout with deep grief...to talk to our Lord, as I would with a friend. I have always made it a point to 'enter into his courts with praise and thanks giving' which is of course important, but so is talking to God as a close friend. I was surprised at how much poured out of me, and into His hands,as I allowed myself to do this. Jesus called us "friends" A very precious gift that no one should miss! Prayers and hugs continue for you, Ed and your family. Hugs and prayers continue for you, Ed and family. ((( hugs )))

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  6. I remember those months of living MRI-to-MRI, wondering if my husband’s glioblastoma had begun growing again. We were especially stressed during the week before the MRI appointments. On one of those days we decided that since God already knew what the results would be and He was making plans to sustain us, we needed to trust Him and try not to worry. This allowed us a great deal of peace. I pray for peace for you and your family.
    “You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast because they trust in you.” Isaiah 26:3.

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  7. This is such a beautiful post of the caring & graciousness of our Lord! Thank you for sharing. It has been a help to me today as my heart is heavy now. God bless you all!

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  8. your post brought tears to my eyes, my own husband is now cancer free - he was stage four a year ago. I am fearful the cancer will return...I feel anxious this weekend about it - maybe because last Thanksgiving my husband was very ill, and this Thanksgiving he cooked the full Thanksgiving meal - had two plates of food - worked out in the yard, refinished a piece of furniture, took our grandchildren on a long walk around the neighborhood. My husband just had a scan of his throat - where the cancer started and it is all clear. Now we are waiting on to hear when the next full PET scan of his body will be to be sure cancer has not come back somewhere else. I just put my trust in God. I continue to pray for your Ed and your family. All my best.

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  9. Thanks for sharing your thoughts about the positives in dealing with cancer. In February this year I was diagnosed with breast cancer stage 2. I went through five months of chemo, followed by a lumpectomy. Had four weeks of radiation which I finished two weeks ago. I can truly say the joy of the Lord is my strength! I have grown so much in my relationship with my husband, my friends, and my family. God has taught me to be truly be thankful for the blessings in my life and to take time to celebrate each day. I also read Laura Story's book "When God Doesn't Fix it", which was truly an inspiration to me. Sometimes the "why's" in life are hard, but it's in the "how" that I can truly honor and glorify God and be a blessing to others. Also, the Thanksgiving poem "Thankful for the Thorns" has been inspirational to me as well. God bless you as you walk this walk with your husband.

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  10. I once told my husband that I follow the blogs of a few different Christian ladies. All of them add light to my life through God's Word. However, when I read your posts there is this feeling of peace. Today you have once again been the living example of someone who doesn't play tug of war with God when it comes to worry and fear. What calm assurance there is in letting go and letting God be awesome.

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  11. I have also wondered the same question your friend asked you. Thank you for sharing your heart; the ebb and flow of our trusting vs fretting can be like the waves of the ocean. We never know what the next wave will bring. But God knows and understands the desires of our heart and will bring us back to trust when we openly bring our fears to Him. So thankful that God "is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think."

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  12. My dear sister, I pray daily for you and Ed and your family. I cannot begin to imagine the emotions that go along with this trial. Thank you for being "real" with us about your emotions..........and thank you for reminding us that Jesus is the only sufficient help and that we MUST run to Him for help.
    Praying on,
    Kim

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  13. Father God, I plead the blood of our Savior, Lord Jesus Christ for Ed's cancer to die and for him to live a long, healthy, prosperous, satisfied life with his loving, faithful wife and children. There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. We love YOU, LORD with all of our hearts and we love our brothers and sisters and will stand steadfast in faith coming boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need. We know You shall supply all of our needs according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus. Amen!

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  14. I stumbled onto your blog when I found your bread recipe link on Pinterest and I now pray for you and your beautiful family. I'm so sorry that your walking through this extremely difficult and scary time. I'm praying for healing and peace. The Lord walks ahead of us and helps us put one foot in front of the other when we cannot take another step. He knows our frame and crowns us with lvingkindness and compassion (Psalm 103) and His mercies are new every morning. Grace and peace to you and yours.

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I'm still learning how to be a joyful homemaker and I'd love to hear from you!

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