For Everything There is a Season

It’s October. The first full month of autumn. The month that brings us cooler weather, beautiful changes of color in the trees, pumpkins everywhere, and lots and lots of PINK reminding us that it’s Breast Cancer Awareness Month. No one is more aware of breast cancer than a woman who’s battled it or a family that has lost someone to it. Nevertheless- it’s a good thing to look back, remember and reflect on the life lessons from that season. For me it was 11 years ago that I heard these words:

“You have breast cancer.”

Those are the 4 words that dramatically changed the trajectory of my life. Never in my wildest nightmares had I imagined that I‘d be the recipient of that diagnosis. Needless to say, my life has not been the same since. But not in a bad way. It might be difficult to understand this unless you’ve been there, but I am most humbly and deeply grateful to my God for having dealt me this hand.

It started off as a simple sonogram to get a clear read on a small lump I’d discovered in my right breast, which at the time I was not the least concerned about. I’d had lumps before and besides, breast cancer doesn’t run in my family. I thought it was probably just another cyst. But when the radiologist explained to me that what I could see on the monitor was not normal I had to ask, “So what do you think it is?” Expressionless, she looked me square in the eye and said, “I think it’s a small breast cancer.”

At that point you don’t even hear the words “think” and “small” because the word CANCER is screaming through your head. Almost laughingly I replied, “You’re kidding me.” Well, she wasn’t kidding. Not one bit. Not a crack of a smile. Cancer is nothing to smile about. She quickly got down to business and scheduled me for a biopsy 2 days later, and the day after that she called to confirm the diagnosis. My personal crisis had officially begun.

Breast cancer happened *to* me, but more importantly it happened *for* me.

Because what also happened in that intensive time with the Lord is more worth writing about. It was a stunning moment when I received that diagnosis, but I knew it was not merely about breast cancer. This was about my heart.

A year prior to this diagnosis, shortly before my 50th birthday, I was teaching through the book of Exodus. After teaching a lesson on grace, I received a call from the co-leader of the study. With love and gentleness she mentioned I had come across a bit harsh when teaching about grace. I presented grace as something good that we get but we don’t deserve (my emphasis on “don’t deserve”). My co-leader said, “I just wonder if you haven’t really received the fullness of God’s grace for yourself. Picture grace – the grace of God and what Jesus Christ accomplished on the cross, as water flowing forcefully from a faucet. You can know that water exists there in the pipeline and even teach about it and receive a trickle of that water without ever turning the faucet on full blast.” Thank God for a friend who loves you enough to speak truth in love.

Then it hit me. Instead of openly receiving the full, refreshing overflow of grace that God had for me, I had lived my life on only tiny droplets of His grace instead of receiving the intense, gushing waterfall of grace that God purposed for me. I remember getting on my knees in my kitchen and saying, “Ok Lord, if there is any truth at all to what she said, then come on! I can handle it! I want all you have for me!”

That started the preparation work a year in advance for what I was about to go through. God began His work, hammering away on the hard callus around my heart with the tender, loving kindness that only a Savior can do.

CONSIDER THIS:  God did not strike me with cancer in order to work on my heart, but He allowed cancer to touch my life, using it as an instrument in the process of changing me for the better, and helping me to become every bit the woman of God He’d always planned for me to be. He allowed cancer to become part of my journey; part of my story, knowing that He’d already decided before the foundation of the earth that there would be profound purpose in it… and that He would redeem this time for His glory.

Consider a recent trial in your life… maybe it was a medical diagnosis that rocked your world, or the loss of a job, or a loved one.

• What have you learned about God in process?
• What has God shown you about Himself, about yourself?
• How has your trial changed you for the better?

Share your thoughts in the comment section below!

And always remember, you are greatly and dearly loved by The King!
xo P💗