Last week, a friend of mine (who also is battling cancer) experienced some disappointment over her lab numbers, and she reached out to let a few of us know. In her text she mentioned that in revealing her sadness to us, she was exposing that her hope had been misplaced.
For whatever reason, that phrase stuck in my head and I’ve been replaying what that means over and over again for days. What my friend meant was that she had put so much hope into having the right lab numbers for chemo (as a patient, your labs must reach a certain number in order for you to have chemotherapy), that when hers came back as less than desirable she was disappointed. Well, I said to myself, ‘Who wouldn’t be?!’.
But then it got me thinking about hope. I dare say that all of us put our hope into things that are unpredictable, ever changing, and not secure. Whether that be our house, our belongings, our health, our careers, our kid’s success, our appearance, our finances, etc. All of these things are so temporary and can be compromised in a split second. Just look at the news. My heart is broken for those in Houston, Port Arthur & Beaumont who have just felt the wrath of Hurricane Harvey (click here for ways to help). And for those (specifically my sister in law and her family from Tampa) who are bracing for Irma. The devastation alone is almost too much for our human minds to process.
But last week, LAST WEEK, my heart was broken into even more pieces. My husband’s cousin lost his precious wife in a car accident. Emily was just 37 years old and an incredible mother to SIX incredible children (two of whom were adopted at birth). And just like that, so many lives were changed forever. Trevor and I went to Kansas this weekend to be with the family. Just sitting in the midst of such sadness made me wrestle even more with the concept of hope. Trying to comprehend the pain her husband, mother, father and brother are feeling is next to impossible. But Emily knew Jesus, and that definitely acts as a salve to the wounds of everyone she loved and left here on earth. Her husband, Matt, knows that she is in heaven with the Lord, all the while HE IS GRIEVING. But he is not grieving like the rest of mankind who have no hope (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18). His hope is in something predictable, unchanging and totally secure. His hope is in the Lord, REGARDLESS of circumstances. (“But now, Lord, where do I put my hope? My only hope is in you.” Psalm 39:7).
I say all of this not to depress you. (I realize this post is very different from my others and I might should insert a pic of me in the cold cap for levity about now.) On the contrary, I say this to encourage you that there is someone out there worthy of our hope. Living with cancer and all of its ugly has changed the way I feel about bad things. Bad things (and sometimes very bad things), hurtful things, and painful things happen. Life is hard. That is a fact and something that is mentioned in the Bible several times (Psalm 34:17-19; 2 Corinthians 12:10; 2 Corinthians 4:8-9; I Peter 5:10; Romans 8:35-39; John 14:27; 2 Corinthians 6:3-5; 2 Timothy 2:3; James 1:2-4). But if I continue to place my hope in circumstances that are beyond my control or things of this world, I will be disappointed a lot.
We are not promised a beautiful life filled with only good things. But we ARE promised a relationship with the God of hope if we choose. Isaiah 40:31 says, “But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on the wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” How amazing is that?! This same God of hope is the one using YOU to send me cards to let me know you are praying for me. He is using YOU to give me hugs and send me funny texts. He is using YOU to drive my kids all over town. He is using YOU to deliver hope to me on a daily basis. The kind of hope that is unexplainable during difficult times.
Words fail me at a time like this when I feel engulfed in bad news. I wish I could just put my heart on this paper (screen) instead. My heart, even in the midst of sadness, is full. It is hopeful in spite of my diagnosis. It is filled with compassion for others who are brokenhearted. It sees life differently after walking this journey. It yearns for others to know the God I know. Because when bad things happen, God still provides indescribable hope. He is preparing us for something even greater than life here on earth.
Tomorrow I will be heading to Baylor to have my blood work drawn and to see the doctor in preparation for chemo #3 on Tuesday morning (September 12th). I shared in a previous post that I was concerned about a spot on my leg. Well, it was confirmed to be a squamous cell carcinoma (a fancy way of saying skin cancer). Since then, a few more spots have popped up and I had another biopsy done of one spot that was only an inch away from the first. This one was also a squamous cell carcinoma. I have cried and cried about these crazy spots and what chemo might or might not be doing to wreak even more havoc on my already weak body (I will try to get more answers tomorrow during my appointment). But I am confident that the Lord will continue to remind me to not misplace my hope in my health improving or my body getting stronger, but instead to fix my eyes on Him no matter what comes my way.
“For my eyes are toward you, O God, my Lord; in you I seek refuge; leave me not defenseless.” Psalm 141:8
“So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” 2 Corinthians 4:18
Thank YOU for helping me remember that as well.
Please join me in praying for all of those affected by the hurricanes, for my fellow cancer fighters (Amy, Heather, Stephanie, Susan, Kay, Angela, Ed, Sterling, Leslie, Beverly, Louise, Patrick and so many others) and especially for Emily’s family. We ALL need hope. Pray that we have the courage to place that hope in something everlasting.
Until next time…much love to you all & make every day count,
PS: Gosh, that post was SO SERIOUS. Sometimes I just get on a roll. I couldn’t let you go without a laugh, however, so I’ll leave you with this…
Bring it, #3!