Life has a way of surprising you. When these moments occur, you find out more about your own character and the things that truly matter to you. My own story has recently added a new chapter, one I am not so happy about – one entitled Cancer. Three weeks ago I got the call from my doctor, informing me that I did indeed have breast cancer. Since then, I’ve done a lot of thinking, a lot of praying, and a lot of wondering what comes next. It is a new journey I am on, and a somewhat overwhelming one – but I am not alone.
Cancer is a small word for a big, scary concept. It is a disease that attacks the body, but even more perniciously so, it can attempt to attack your soul. I know that God has plans for me, and that He will use this time for His purpose. Some of that work I feel is to refine my faith, for I have already seen some of my weakness made plain.
You see, cancer has already attacked my pride. Though I hate to admit it, I have four main sources of pride. My strength, my intelligence, my hair, and my bustline. I heard a few chortles at that last – but I’ll explain. Having been Rubenesque my entire life, I always despaired of meeting the standard of beauty held by the society in which we live. I always felt ugly and awkward, and didn’t hold much pride in myself, or so I thought. Turns out, I just transferred those feelings over to the things that I felt I did excel in – being a strong, intelligent woman, with great hair and at the very least some top-heavy feminine curves to inspire jealousy.
Three of those pillars of personal pride are now being challenged. Surgery will eventually be necessary – though thankfully not a double mastectomy, and reconstructive surgery will happen as well. Still, I will forever be different in that regard. In the next couple of weeks, my hair will start to fall out from the chemotherapy treatments. It is only temporary, but it is still another blow. And for the strength, well…now I am forced to recognize that I cannot do it all on my own. I must rely on the kindness of others – and in some ways that is the hardest thing of all. For I am the one on whom others lean. I am supposed to be there for everyone else. It scares me so much to know that I cannot always be that bastion of strength. My pride has been attacked on three fronts, and it cannot stand.
God has already shown me some of the good He intends from this new adventure. I can only pray that He continue to use me to bless others as I have already been blessed.
2 Corinthians 12:9-11
English Standard Version (ESV)
9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.