Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Footprints: The Trail of a Year

 Jesus said, “It is finished.” John 19:30

Sweet Friends,

   Exactly one year ago today, I was sitting on the floor in our playroom playing with my precious McKinley, when the phone rang; it was my doctor. We had been anxiously awaiting the results from my biopsy, without any real fear that the results would come back negative. The doctor so sweetly said, "Randi, We have results from your biopsy and I'm so sorry to tell you this, but you have breast cancer." My heart stopped. I was speechless. I don't really remember much else in that conversation. I don't know that anything in the world could have prepared my heart for that news. I called Matt at work, bawling. I couldn't even get the words to come out of my mouth: "I have cancer." I didn't want to say it, because then it would be real.  And I would have done anything in the world that day for it not to be real. Matt, being the incredible warrior that he is, just said 'Baby, I love you more than anything in the world, and we are going to get through this. God's got us.  He must have a purpose' and then he just started praying. I cried, he prayed.  I'm sure I had many conversations that day with the Lord, asking Him 'Why me?' I couldn't make sense of it in my mind. I was young and healthy, I had a 1 year old baby and a husband who needed me. I had no idea the plans God had for me. So, I cried... a lot.  In desperation, I prayed. And prayed. This must be a mistake. But then I knew full well that God doesn't make mistakes. I wrestled with the Lord that day and on many days to come. Somewhere along the road, I stopped praying that God would take my cancer away, but instead that He would use it in mighty ways in my heart and in the heart's and lives of others. I clung so hard to God's promise: "For we know that in ALL things God works for the Good of those who love him and who have been called according to his purpose." Romans 8:28  Okay, God, You've got this. I love you. Work it together for good. I trust you...

  Y'all I sit here today, exactly a year later from the day that changed my life, and I have never been more certain of God's goodness. I have had 2 major surgeries, 3 minor surgeries, 16 rounds of chemotherapy, endless amounts of injections and medicine, been put into menopause, I've lost my breasts, my hair and potentially my ability to have biological children. Wow, that seems like a lot! But as much as I have gone through and as much as seemingly has been taken away from me, God has given me so much more. I am overwhelmed thinking about all that He has given me.  He has given me a peace that transcends all understanding, a calm amidst a storm, a heart that is so deeply and desperately in Love with Him, a confidence in His plans, a husband that absolutely amazes me,  a daughter whose spirit encourages mine every day, a family that has loved us to the uttermost, a beauty that comes from deep within, friends that have constantly reminded us of truth, sweet relationships with new friends, a crazy, flourishing ministry with our Young Life kids, divine provision to meet all our needs, and a deep, unwavering Trust in my Savior. God is so good, all the time.  I knew about God's goodness before I had cancer, but now I have experienced His goodness with every ounce of my being.  And I wouldn't trade that for anything. He had such a bigger plan for me, than I had for myself.

    Last Tuesday, I saw Dr. O for the first time since I finished chemotherapy and she ran a gamet of tests on me.  That morning, before our appointment, I sat still in the presence of the Lord and asked Him once again for a peace to flood my heart. Oh, those icky feelings of worry and anxiety were creeping in. I deeply wanted to hear good news from the doctor, but I felt the Lord reminding me to guard my heart. "Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it" Proverbs 4:23. I could hear him saying, "Randi, no matter what news you receive today, I love you and I am good. Don't stop trusting me now."  So, here we were again, Matt and I anxiously awaiting the results from my tests. Matt prayed. Except, this time, my doctor so sweetly said, "Randi, we have the results from all the tests, and there is No Evidence of Disease!" NO EVIDENCE OF DISEASE means NO CANCER in me. Praise God!!! "Praise the Lord.  Praise the Lord, my soul. I will praise the Lord all my life; I will sing praise to my God as long as I live!" Psalm 146:1-2 To God be the Glory. Although I have had the dream team of Doctors and unbelievable medical care, I know with full certainty that the Great Physician was ultimately the one who healed me.  But even if they would have told us that the cancer was all over my body, it wouldn't have changed God's goodness. I have learned well this year that God's plans often differ than ours because He can see everything in its entirety. "God understands the way to it and he alone knows where it dwells, for he views the ends of the earth and sees everything under the heavens" Job 28:23-24  As my sweet friend always remind me, "God knows!" I would so much rather trust the King of the universe who sees everything, than to trust what I think is best. I don't know what tomorrow holds, but I know full well Who holds my tomorrow. But as for today we will celebrate because I have no cancer in me!  "You have turned for me my mourning into dancing; you have loosed my sackcloth and girded me with gladness, That my soul may sing praise to You and not be silent.  O Lord my God, I will give thanks to you forever" Psalm 30:11-12 

Friends, I look back on this year and all I see today is God's miraculous work. God has been faithful every day to his promise that "He will never leave us or forsake us" Hebrews 13:5b. I was recently reminded of the beloved poem "Footprints." It's definitely worth reading today:

I know that the Lord carried me through this past year.  To Him be the Glory. It was never my strength, it was completely His.  Although so much of it has been my story, I hope it all pointed to His story. I pray that no matter what 'cancer' is in your life, that you would know, without a shadow of a doubt, how good God is and how deeply he loves you!  Sometimes we just have to let him carry us. Thank you for walking through this last year with us. Thank you for crying with us, encouraging us, praying for us and celebrating with us. We love you!