Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Words Sweet to the Soul & The Next Step in Mom's Story

It's been 18 months since Mom's life- changing breast cancer diagnosis.  In some ways, that feels like yesterday.  In others, it feels like forever ago.  Everything is different now.

Eighteen months ago, I would have said my mom is a fighter and that she is battling cancer without much thought.  But, even that has changed.  Let me tell you why...

I know better now, from holding Mom's hand, that we have to choose our words and attitudes so carefully, especially when it comes to cancer.

Gracious words are like a honeycomb,
    sweetness to the soul and health to the body.

To say that a cancer patient is a "fighter" is to suggest that others are not, that there is some choice in the matter.  When we speak of cancer patients as "fighting" and "battling" cancer we need to be thoughtful.  We mean well, but using those words can insinuate that some people are better at cancer than others.  Without realizing it, we imply that cancer patients have control over their own outcomes, that their outcomes depend largely on their own efforts.  

That is not fair because cancer isn't fair. 

Here's the thing we all need to know and remember.

Cancer patients don't have a choice because no one chooses cancer.  

When someone has cancer, there's no room for questions or "if onlys."  As soon as it invades your life, you are a fighter, no matter what happens next.  The biology that goes on inside the body will back me up on that.      

The bigger truth here is that no matter how hard we try (or don't), we have very little control over what happens to us in the end.  That goes for all of us, with or without cancer.

a note to mom from my son (his faith is much stronger than his spelling)
God, on the other hand, is in control.  He knows what He is doing.

So while Mom's whole world has changed, Her Savior, Jesus, remains.  He holds her hand every single day.  He walks ahead of her making the way, opening doors and closing others.  And sometimes, He carries her.  He is there doing His thing, step by step.  Belief and trust far outweigh the numbers with God.  He has this for her!  

It's a beautiful thing.  

You probably wouldn't guess it, but Mom is stronger now than she was eighteen months ago.  Instead of fighting for herself and with herself, she is trusting God to fight for her and through her.  She believes Him for His promise to work ALL things for good and His glory.  God has used Mom's weakest moments and biggest fears to help her find and know her real strength.   

That is a blessing worth celebrating!  My mom is a miracle, the product of what only God can do.  

As the cook in one of Mom's favorite local restaurants told me since her diagnosis,

"She's been shinning."

Only God.

I have realized that my Mom is a perfect example of who God is and what He does best.  God has given her the same saving grace and abundant life we ALL need.  He's the only perfect lover, the ultimate healer, the best comforter, and the most powerful redeemer any of us will ever have.

We all need Jesus.  Period.

Look at my Mom.  Her "white-coat" fear was so severe, she avoided doctors, all kinds, for 20 years.  At first, we had to drag her for treatment.  Now, she has been seen by so many doctors we couldn't even begin to count the appointments.  There's not an ache or pain that hasn't been addressed or an inch of her body that hasn't been checked.  

Eighteen months later, she goes to many of those appointments on her own, clutching cross in hand.  

Only God.

Doctors originally wouldn't discuss operating on her tumor.  It was too large.  But, guess what she's doing in this picture eighteen months later?

mom and my sis before surgery
She is getting prepped for a mastectomy.  You heard me right.

Before I took this picture, the doctor came in and told my mom and the nurses that she is "a special case."  She is special because most people in her shoes do not make it to this point, and here she is.

Only God.

That cancer that doctors couldn't touch months ago in her chest, God has touched.  She had the operation on a Monday and was off to a college basketball game with friends on Tuesday.

Only God.

Eighteen months ago, my mom was so broken she could barely move.  Today she is redeemed and moving so fast we have to keep slowing her down and reminding her "think yoga and not aerobics."  

My mom is here with a glorious purpose.  God's purpose.  In truth, she is so much healthier today than she was eighteen months ago.

We don't need pathology reports and test results to tell us that.

Gracious Words from God, His grace, and Our Savior make all the difference.

Every battle she will ever fight has already been won.

 A prayer for today-

Dear Heavenly Father,

I thank You for Your truth and saving grace.  I thank You for the miracles You work in all of us who believe.  

I pray today for my mom and cancer patients everywhere ______________(name those on your heart).  Lord, bless them with Your strength and Your peace that passes understanding.  Hold them in Your arms, Lord, as You fight for them and through them each day.  Be with their families.

I know You work all things for good and Your glory.  

In the name of Jesus, my Lord and Savior, I pray,

In Christ's love,

To read more posts on Mom's story:



  1. Beautiful!!!!! Thanks so much for the post! You and your family are in my thoughts and prayers!!!