Tonight I sit on my front porch, with a cold glass of thirst-quenching yumminess beside me, a cloudy night sky above me and the cool summer night air wrapped around me. The scents of fresh cut lawns and sweet hay drift to me from neighboring acres. Crickets sing, a dog barks, and I even hear a bat as it searches for it's evening meal. My children are all clean and tucked safely in bed. All of their friends have gone home, leaving a cozy peacefulness in our house. My husband entered the Sandman's arena an hour ago, but I know that (even after over 13 years together) when I come to bed he will reach for me in his sleep and hold me close. There is a peace and gentleness in my soul that has not come from myself. I look forward to the praise, worship and teaching that will come tomorrow. Tonight is a perfect night.
I am so thankful for this moment. I am fixing it in my mind to remember. Something to be thankful for no matter what. That today, God gave me exactly what my heart desired. It's not anything spectacular by the world's standards, but it is exactly what I was craving. Just that moment where everything is still and right in this busy, broken world.
In one week, I will turn 36. And before that day, I should know whether my 37th year on this earth will be "normal" or filled with a fight for my life.
It's a scary thing to think about. As a matter of fact, I haven't let myself think about it much because of how scary it could be. Even "normal" will never be the same for me as it was before. Worse than this new normal is something I don't want to dwell on.
Statistics say I shouldn't worry. It's "just" thyroid cancer. Possibly the most curable cancer we know of. Nothing to get worked up about. The Bible says I shouldn't worry. Because even if I do, it can't cure me of cancer and add even an hour to the life that God has planned for me to live.
I believe the Bible. And I even believe the statistics. So this concern has not wrapped me up and paralyzed me. But there is a real fear. Fear of the unknown, mostly. How can I prepare for whatever the future holds while we wait to know at least what direction that future is headed?
I am not going to complain. And I'm not going to go into all of what a bad test result might mean for me. I have spent this past week dealing with it personally and sharing with a very few close friends. I didn't deal with it until this week because I didn't have to. But now (finally), I have had the scans we've been waiting for since my surgery last July. These scans will tell us if there are still thyroid cancer cells still in my body. So I was forced to think about it all week long. For a week, my life was focused on preparing for this scan...and that turned out to be a much more emotional thing than I had expected.
But tonight...tonight I have a gift. The gift of enjoying all of the good around me. To accept the perfect things that God has provided in my life. Maybe He gave me this moment as a balm for my weary heart after such a difficult week. Or maybe He gave it to me so that I would have something peaceful to remember through the coming storm. Either way, I am thankful. And tomorrow I will join my brothers and sisters in Christ to worship Him and thank Him and glorify Him. And if next week brings tears and sorrow...well, deep in my heart, anchored more surely than any fear I may have, is a peace that tells me that when the winds blow too strong for me to stand, I will be held. It's not a promise of joy and ease and healing, but it is (and always will be) enough. I have walked a different path than most because this is the path that Christ marked out for me. I hold onto that knowledge. It's not easy, and I don't want you to think that it's easy for me. Let me say it again, it is not easy. But neither is it too hard. You think you could never endure such a thing...and then it happens, and God says, "I will give you the strength you need for this day. You do not have enough of your own, but I have unending strength, and I give it to those who are mine." So you live one day at a time. And you deal with your illness (or poverty, or loss, or persecution) one event at a time. And then you know, as you never knew before, that He is everything. And if He chooses to ask of you everything, it is your honor to give it for His glory.
This one perfect moment, I know this beyond a shadow of a doubt. This moment, fear has been banished. It will creep back in, as it always does. But I have been given a perfect moment and in that moment, I see how His grace abounds. And there is nothing but gratitude left in me.
Now as I head to join my faithful, loving husband for the night, I pray that your faith may be grown, as mine continues to be.