So I’ve been having a lot of thoughts over the last few days... And this may be disjointed but I want to try to share them.
First of all, this decision I’ve made is not one I could, or would, make if I were by myself. God has reiterated His promise to never leave me or forsake me many, many times, in many, many ways, and it is very clear to me that He has kept that promise over and over and over and over. So there is no space to doubt Him as I consider what will happen next.
As I’ve watched my life and the path God has brought me down, which has always seemed unusual to me, this cancer thing makes perfect sense as an end goal for this section of my life—the part I’m living here on earth, right now.
Sometimes I sit back and think about the things in my life that have made the least sense, the things that were the most excruciatingly painful, and they all fit together like pieces in a puzzle. This cancer thing is just the final piece. If I view my life outside the framework of this life, and instead view it within the framework of eternity, the puzzle looks perfect. Crazy sounding? Yes. But true.
One recent example, of just one instance, of God preparing me and speaking to me was my birdfeeder. Yes, I know that sounds crazy. But I’m not crazy and I’m not on any mind altering substances. Back to the birdfeeder. When I moved into my house a couple years ago, I hung up a big huge birdfeeder. Within one hour, two at most, it had birds all over it. At some point the bird seed got all wet and mildewy and gross, so I took it down to clean it. By the time I was going to hang it back up, I was anticipating a CT scan on October 30, 2009. Not knowing what the outcome would be, I didn’t want to hang up my birdfeeder and have the birds come to depend on it as a resource that would be snatched away if I found out I had little time left and had to move out of my house. When I found out in early November that I would probably be around for a while, I very hesitantly put up my birdfeeder. There were no birds the first day. There were no birds the second day. There were no birds after a week, or three weeks. And I have only seen one bird on it in the entire almost two months since it has been up. And she, a female cardinal, was having a really hard time holding on to it while she was trying to grab seeds. All through December as I was looking at the birdless birdfeeder and thinking about God’s love for His creation, I kept thinking that He was protecting the birds Himself and that He was using that as a sign to prepare me for the information I would get from my CT scan in the end of December. As it seemed then, so it has actually proved to be.
There have been many, many examples how God has guided my life like this.
Another example is part of how God designed me, and probably one I shouldn’t share, but I’m going to anyway. I have never ever wanted children of my own. I have felt very, very strongly that my calling is to share art with children and love them and minister to their needs in the process. This is something I love doing and my students are a tremendous blessing to me. Last spring, probably in April, as I was surviving chemo and all of its agonies, I realized that I would rather have cancer than be pregnant. And, it’s a darn good thing God designed me that way because I can’t imagine the level of pain I would feel if I were like many women who have intense desires for bearing children, and then had ovarian cancer and a hysterectomy.
An example of how God has been communicating with me was the other night, through verses I “happened” to read a few nights ago, as I literally opened my bible without looking for anything in particular. I opened to Isaiah 14 and the first thing I read was verses 24-27. Check this out:
24The LORD of hosts has sworn: "As I have planned,
so shall it be,
and as I have purposed,
so shall it stand,
25that I will break the Assyrian in my land,
and on my mountains trample him underfoot;
and his yoke shall depart from them,
and his burden from their shoulder."
26This is the purpose that is purposed
concerning the whole earth,
and this is the hand that is stretched out
over all the nations.
27 For the LORD of hosts has purposed,
and who will annul it?
His hand is stretched out,
and who will turn it back?
Translated into what God spoke into my heart as I read it, it reads something like this (Sorry in advance for the language—like I said, this is how my heart felt it, not how God had Isaiah write it):
The Lord of the Universe who never breaks His promises,
who has sworn to never leave me or forsake me (and who so clearly never has),
and who has promised to come take me to be where He is,
HE says “As I have planned, so shall it be,
and as I have purposed for your life, so shall it stand,
that I will kick cancer’s ass in MY Martha’s body.
I will annihilate it forever when I come for you,
I will destroy it completely and eternally with the glorious restoration of your body to complete healing.
Cancer’s burden will depart from you, it will fall off your shoulders.
Not only is my plan for your complete restoration,
my plan is for complete restoration of the whole earth,
and NO ONE can change it.”
This is in perfect agreement with several things that I know in my heart to be true;
-What my uncle said to me the other day—that my surrender is to Jesus, not the cancer.
-That God has planned every aspect of my life from giving my parents my name before I was born, all the way up to this cancer thing.
-That His love for me is more intense and more profound that I can possibly imagine.
-That yes, it is perfectly normal to desire that perfect healing which Paul described in 2 Corinthians 5:4, verses my pastor just recently gave me, when Paul said, “For while we are still in this tent, we groan, being burdened—not that we would be unclothed, but that we would be further clothed, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life.”
-It is also in complete agreement with what I’ve been learning about how God will create a new Heaven and a New Earth. (Read Heaven, by Randy Alcorn, it’s incredible)
In light of thinking about all of this and trying to articulate it somehow, it kind of blew me away that a dear friend of mine would send me THIS song today. I’d never heard it before, and I don’t generally even like country music, but read the lyrics and you’ll understand. This is another example of God using people in my life as conduits of communication.
And right now, I’m feeling pretty much fine physically in addition to being at peace in all the rest of me—that’s an incredible place to be, and it’s because God is all over this cancer thing and taking perfect care of me.
I can either fight the process and spend all of my energy questioning everything, or I can trust in what I know to be true of the future based on what He has done in the past, and rest in the peace I only find in Him.
The thing is, I’m just as jacked up as anyone else. And it’s not like I’m the only one He offers life and peace to. The reality is that when any person submits his or her life to God totally and completely, He has room to work. His work is painful and slow but there is always a reason for what He does.