One of the greatest gifts God gives us here on earth, in addition to His continual presence, is the love and support of friends – the kind who “stick closer than a brother,” (Prov. 18:24). And these gifts of companionship are never more meaningful than when we are in need.
Mike (my dearest friend and companion) and I recently received some unwanted news… news that immediately moved us into that place of need.
On November 28 (2023) I had to get both a mammogram and ultrasound because of some changes I had recently noticed. (Ladies, please remember to do those regular self-breast exams.)
After reading the images, the radiologist came to the room with a look of real concern. For even though it had only been seven months since my last mammogram (which was normal), all the initial indicators this time suggested breast cancer.
Though we had done some work to prepare ourselves on the trip over to the clinic, the radiologist’s words seemed to echo in a vacuum. I’d never had positive results from any test. So his words sounded foreign and unreal.
And yet by the time we got in the car headed home, we were already sensing God’s nearness and assurance that whatever happened from this point forward, He’d be with us at every turn. And we were ready to say, in that moment, “Your will be done.”
The next step in the process was a biopsy. And the earliest a biopsy could be scheduled was December 14.
Two weeks and two days of not knowing. Of keeping the imagination from creating the worst possible scenario. Of guarding the mind against running amuck and tainting every hour of those two-plus weeks in between. This was our challenge.
One of the first things we did was to share what we’d just learned with our closest and dearest family and friends who are believers. We know we need their prayers now more than ever.
And every day since we can vouch for the fact that God is hearing and responding to their prayers because it is as if we are being borne along by His grace because of them.
The next thing Mike and I did was to make a commitment to God and to each other to diligently keep our minds saturated with Scripture. And to surrender ourselves and our will to His sovereignty and providence.
Let me pause here to say that we haven’t done this perfectly, of course. I’ve had a handful of mornings when I first woke up, and even a few days, when I let my mind wander into dangerous territory and think and imagine situations that fill me with fear.
But it’s completely obvious when that’s happening.
And I know what to do to fix it. I talk to Mike about it, and then I shift my focus back to God and speak His Word to my mind and spirit.
Practicing these couple of behaviors consistently – which we can choose to do – have consistently kept us in a calm and peaceful place during this time of waiting and unknowing.
What’s most curious in this whole story is the fact that for the last several months Mike and I have been working to create a course that teaches Christians how to overcome troubling emotions by conquering negative thinking.
And now that the course is almost complete, God drops something in our path that makes us put our own teaching to the test!
To be honest, we’ve both been more than amazed at how well it’s working. (Though we shouldn’t be, because what’s inside the course comes directly from Scripture.)
More about that later, but for now I want to close this initial journal entry by sharing the passage God brought to my mind as we drove home from the clinic that day… the passage that has become my goal for this journey, no matter where it leads:
Oh, how great are God’s riches and wisdom and knowledge! How impossible it is for us to understand his decisions and his ways!
For who can know the Lord’s thoughts? Who knows enough to give him advice?
And who has given him so much that he needs to pay it back?
For everything comes from him and exists by his power and is intended for his glory. All glory to him forever! Amen.
And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him.
Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect. (Romans 11:33-12:2, NLT)
Because we don’t want to waste this opportunity for learning and growing and gleaning everything God wants to give us while we’re here… and then in turn use it to help others going through their own dark times… we’re choosing to document this journey in our blog every few days.
Our prayer is that you benefit by sharing in this experience with us. And if you know someone who’s hurting right now that might be encouraged by reading these entries, feel free to also pass them along.
Finally, if you find it in your heart to pray for us as God takes us into the shadows, we would be most grateful.