My last chemotherapy infusion is the day after tomorrow. It just happens to fall during National Cancer Survivor’s Week. In fact, my local cancer support center is celebrating the week with special events on the same day I receive my seventeenth dose of chemo. Just a coincidence, right?
Maybe. But I prefer to think that Jesus arranged things as they are for this week for a particular reason. I am daring to believe that this “coincidence” is actually a message for me. It is a love note that says, “Wendy, I love you, and I am thrilled that you are healed.”
I believe my Savior wants me to know that He is rejoicing over me.
But here is where is things gets a little… sticky. I know that Jesus also wants to celebrate with me. And I want to, I really do. But for some reason I’m hesitating to do so. At least, not fully. In some way it seems a bit… premature.
My breast cancer journey began just over a year ago and I have to say, it’s been a wild and crazy ride. At times the pace has been more than I’ve felt I could realistically keep up with while at others it’s seemed excruciatingly slow.
Looking back at how events have transpired is sometimes confusing because I have some gaps in my memory. I’ve had to rely on those around me and my phone calendar to accurately piece things together. (Blogging about my experiences has certainly helped to document my journey.)
Whole conversations with people have been forgotten. Oh, I can remember that we talked, I just can’t remember what was said.
Even now with the worst of it all behind me, I’ve noticed a difference in my short term memory; it’s not as good as it once was. (Or as I remember it was… sheesh!) It’s been humbling because in the past I’ve always been good at remembering details. Not anymore.
So I have to wonder… are the changes I’ve experienced, permanent or not, keeping me from fully enjoying the state of health I’m in now? Or is my hesitancy to celebrate the end of my treatment due to a difficulty I have in accepting what my new normal looks like?
These questions and others run through my mind. They’re unsettling. I’m also noticing old feelings of not being or doing enough rising to the surface. They affect how I approach my quiet time with God. I’m reluctant, feeling once more as though I’m not worthy because I’m not performing emotionally or spiritually the way I think I should.
I’m conscious of feeling like I’m just running through the motions during my time with Jesus. And that’s sad.
But there’s good news too. When it comes down to it, I know what those thoughts and feelings really are… they’re lies. They’re old patterns of thoughts and feelings that used to own and control me but no longer have to… unless I allow them to.
So why not just shake them off and begin over again? Why waste time thinking or feeling less than if I don’t have to? While I don’t have the complete answer, I think sitting with these thoughts and feelings for a while with Jesus is important.
I learned enough to know that glossing over the less-than-lovely junk bubbling to the surface isn’t productive. While my inclination is to confess them quickly and move on, I believe Jesus is encouraging me to wait and just let them keep coming for awhile.
So… I am. And here’s the strangely wonderful effect of waiting with my mess. Jesus has shown me that I still have a deep-seated need to control a lot. of. stuff. And right now it’s manifesting itself as a fear of the future, a fear that warns me to not get too excited about being healed, you know… just in case.
It tempts me to doubt my healing to in an attempt to protect myself from whatever I fear the future may bring. And that’s not okay. Because bracing myself for what may come causes me to shut out Jesus.
“These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.” (John 15:11 ESV)
So for now, spending time with Jesus means coming before Him just as I am. It means being honest about my fears. It means clinging to the promises in His word.
And sometimes it means just… being still before Him as I allow my thoughts and emotions to slowly quiet in His presence.
In time, in His time, I am confident that He will enable me to experience the fullness of His joy… no matter what… for today and for all the tomorrows He grants me. And that’s something to rejoice in!