Well I told you I have been processing a lot. I’m a little less than 3 weeks away from the year mark of receiving my cancer call. I’ve been feeling slightly anxious about that anniversary and I wasn’t sure why. I’m not really fearful or scared that it’s gonna come back or anything. But it was the looking back and comparing it to the now. It’s like when you have a baby and he’s about to turn one. You look back to the previous year and think, “Wow, this time last year I was still pregnant.” Or “I remember this time last year I was in the hospital in labor.” Or “How fast the time goes, he was in preemie clothes, or had his first solid food, or started crawling, etc. etc.”. So I’m coming up on all those memories in a very different way. February 10 I received my phone call. March 24 I had my mastectomy. And my list continues.
When you go through something “life-threatening” like cancer you tend to re-evaluate a lot. Look at things differently. Re-prioritize. You hear those stories of people who did a complete 180 – making a lot of changes in their life. So as February 10 kept crawling closer and closer I found myself feeling more and more oppressed. I was looking back and comparing this time (the time before the phone call) to last year and I didn’t see anything different. My life looked and felt the same.
See, over the last year I have made declarations like: “I will never yell at my kids again” “I am going to be a better wife now” “Things are going to be very different going forward (never defining what different meant).” All because of cancer. So when I saw that everything was the same I started getting upset and very discouraged.
This weekend I had the opportunity to attend a women’s retreat with my sweet friend Kim at the beautiful Winshape Retreat Center. I prayed God would meet me there because I knew I needed a fresh word from him. The speaker spoke to us about the lies our enemy, the devil, puts in our minds. How we needed to combat those lies with God’s truth from His Word. How satan is sneaky making us question our worth and identity.
I kept hearing the word ‘joy’ over and over whenever I would pray or study this past weekend. And it hit me! What is the biggest thing God has done for me over this past year? HEALED ME! And what should be celebrated on February 10? Him healing me!! And how should I respond to me being healed? With JOY!! Of course!! Stupid satan was trying to steal my joy feeding me all these lies that I hadn’t made enough changes over the last year. That I wasn’t victorious in the battle of cancer because my life had gone back to normal. That I wasn’t worthy to celebrate anything because there was no obvious differences in my life.
That. Is. A. Lie. From. The. Pit. Of. HELL!
I have every right to be joyful on February 10. The definition of joy: the emotion of great delight or happiness caused by something exceptionally good. Ladies and gentlemen I do declare I think something exceptionally good happened this year and by golly I’m going to claim joy on February 10. My life doesn’t need to look different. If I’m truthful, my prayer all along was that my life would go back to normal. Why? Because my life was pretty great before February 10. I wasn’t someone who needed a complete 180 life change before cancer. Yes, we changed some of our priorities and we look at life more intently now, but day-to-day, THANK GOD, is back to good ol’ normal!
So…bring on February 10! I’m gonna meet you with a whole big bowl of awesome sauce and sparkly confetti!
Something for you to think about: Where might you be believing a lie – stealing from yourself the joy, contentment and peace God has for you? What phrases or words are floating around your head? Is it negative or positive self-talk? Where are you making declarations on your life that may not be God-ordained? Words such as ‘should’, ‘always’, & ‘never’ are usually good clues to self-imposed declarations. When you hear phrases starting with ‘you’ in your head rather than ‘I’ that is a clue that it is not God speaking to you. For example: “You are a pitiful excuse for a survivor – you are doing nothing different with your life – what do you have to show for this year?” And my response is oppression, defeat, and discouragement. Compare that to “I am your healer, the great physician. I love you and am proud of how you have glorified me in your journey. I give you joy! Celebrate the renewed life I have given you. I am well-pleased. “I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.”(John 15:11)”.) And my response is joy, victory, and encouragement: “Bring joy to your servant, Lord, for I put my trust in you.” (Psalm 86:4)