In the six months since my cancer was diagnosed, (yes, it’s been six months already!) many of you have commented on my strength. While I’m both flattered and encouraged by your kind words, I feel I must give credit where credit is due.
The strength you speak of is not my own. I believe with all my heart that it comes from my relationship with the living God, creator of the universe. Oh, it’s true that tough times in the past have made me stronger and I’d be remiss not to mention that I have the support of a loving husband, family, friends and community but ultimately, if it were not for my relationship with God, I’d probably be a basket case by now!
I grew up in a church-going family but by the time I reached my late teens, I’d turned my back on the things I was taught and gone my own way. It wasn’t until I’d made a huge mess of my life that I heard something I’d never heard in all those years of Sunday School and church. I heard about a God who wanted to have a personal relationship with me and that made all the difference in the world! It wasn’t about a religion and following a bunch of old-fashioned rules. It was simply about someone who could take the mess I’d made out of my life and turn it into something beautiful. That’s where my strength comes from!
Does the fact that I have cancer mean that God has forgotten me or worse yet, that he doesn’t exist? Absolutely not! I have no idea why he has allowed this to happen but I am confident that the words of Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future” are as true for me today as they were for the Jews who were living in exile in Babylon in the days of the prophet.
In addition to acknowledging the true source of my strength, I must also admit that I had an amazing example in my oldest daughter who died at the age of five following a 14 month battle with leukemia. She endured so much more than I have with incredible dignity and grace. Though her wee body was ravaged by chemotherapy and radiation, her faith never wavered! She certainly knew where her strength came from and her legacy lives on in those whose lives she touched. I am inspired to fight the fight as well as she did!