I woke yesterday so full of awe and wonder at the awesomeness of God, and how people just do not realize that faith is the key to wholeness in life.
For those of you who do not know what I am referring to, my youngest sister was diagnosed with breast cancer a month or so ago and she underwent a double mastectomy on Thursday, July 9th. Since the onset of this journey, she has remained in faith and asked that we all do the same. She required that no one speak negative things around her ... if you wanted to share in this with her ... if you wanted to be there to support her ... then you needed to believe! Believe that God is the Great Physician and He only was in control of this situation.
For many of us, me included, this was not a difficult task. As a Christian for the past 16+ years, my faith has grown tremendously and believing for God to pour healing into my baby sister's body was an easy feat. Maintaining my emotions ... well that was a totally different ball game.
People get all flustered and confused ... some intentionally ... when you show emotion and claim to walk in faith all at the same time. Wrong! Just because you wholly believe with every fiber in your being that God is who He is and He can do all He says He can do does not mean that you become staunch and upright during difficult times. I can remember shortly after my sister was diagnosed. I had not seen her in a few days, only once since she telephoned me with the news. This particular day I was at her house with many others. I finally could not take it any longer and I called her into the bathroom with me. I closed the door. I broke down crying. I hugged her and said, "I just needed to hug you and tell you I love you"! Did that mean I was faithless? Absolutely not! It meant that I was hurting for her ... I was hurting and hating that my sister even had to go down this road. I wanted to take away anything that she would have to endure in the days ahead.
I was good after that and declaring faith daily ... quoting scripture over her ... knowing that I know that God was indeed in control! We were just waiting now for His hand upon her. People spoke over her. I think the most awesome thing shared was a vision God gave to someone. As this person told it, he had been praying for Cathy when God brought to his mind the story in the Bible when Jesus went into the temple and radically swept through it turning over tables because of the moneychangers doing business in the Temple. Well this is what God told this individual He was going to do with Cathy's cancer ... He was going to radically run the cancer out of her body. WOW!!! How awesome is that!?
I again lost control of my emotions on Thursday, the day of surgery. I was fine until I had to kiss her before she was wheeled down the hall. Again, it was not that I wasn't feeling God's peace ... I surely was ... it was not that I had no faith ... I am very faith filled ... it was simply the thought of what my sister was going to have to endure physically that made me cry. I love her so much that I would trade places with her in a heart beat to prevent her from having to endure this pain and suffering.
Knowing God is in control and standing strong on that premise does not make you emotionless. The two sets of feelings and beliefs can go hand in hand. I have seen too much in my years walking with Christ not to know without a doubt that faith determines a lot of things. You get what you believe for! Faith is the key to receiving God's healing. There are many times in the Bible when Jesus was healing someone and He simply spoke the words, "Your faith has made you whole!" YOUR FAITH! Not the faith of someone else ... not the faith of your church ... not the faith of your siblings or others, but your faith! Having others standing in agreement with you is powerful and I do not make light of this, but ultimately your faith is the determining factor and guides which direction your ship is to sail.
Our faith, along with my sister's, allowed God to work miracles on her the day of surgery. They originally told us it would be 5 to 5 1/2 hours before surgery would be over ... surgery was cut short by almost 2 hours because she was doing so good and what they saw was great! We were advised prior to surgery ... days prior ... that the physicians were certain there would be cancer in my sister's lymph nodes ... no cancer in the lymph nodes! Prior to and after the surgery, my sister looked great. She was smiles before and smiles afterwards. God's radiance was shining upon her and through her. It was nothing short of a day of praising God for His awesomeness.
As the days ahead approach, we are expecting more from God. Right now we understand that Cathy will have to endure chemo ... radiation we are not sure of at this point. Yes she will lose her hair but that is only a trifle thing in lieu of the whole picture. My sister is not a vain person. God may have other plans though so we expectantly stand by and give Him His way. We are so excited to watch Him at work in this situation. We know what our God promised ... we know what our God is capable of ... we know He is in control. God is not a man that He can lie. The peace that comes from this type of knowing truly is beyond human comprehension. Our faith will overcome and God's glory will shine through. It is sort of like watching a movie but in slow motion. The beginning lays out the journey ... the middle is normally where all the suspense lays ... but the ending is what makes you stand and say, "Wow, that was awesome!" We are in the middle of the movie but we know that we know the ending is going to be another wow-moment in life. How can it not be when the Director is the best?
Before I close, I just want again to thank everyone who has been there for my sister and her family, and for all of us. It has been so overwhelming. My sister and her family are enduring a great deal but they are walking hand-in-hand depending on God. Though the remainder of us are nowhere near as effected by this as Cathy and her family are, it is trying on all of us. We love as a family ... we hurt as a family ... we lose as a family ... we cry as a family ... we rejoice as a family! It can all be so emotionally wearing. Keep all of my family in your prayers. You truly find out who has your back during difficult times in life. Some people surprise you because you thought they would be there and they are not, and then others surprise you even more because you never thought they would surface and, lo and behold, you look up and there they are. Whether it was a personal appearance, a text message, a telephone call, or a Facebook posting, it was all so appreciated. We love you all!
One last thing before I close as I think this so needs to be said. I want to say how wonderful it is to watch my sister and her church family. They truly exemplify what a church family is to me ... supportive ... caring ... there for you ... loving! My sister's church family is the best. I have stood back over the past few years and watched them at work. They truly are family in every sense of the word. Cathy is blessed to have you all!
I loved spending this time with my other siblings, family, and friends. We do not get to see each other as often as I would like, but when we are together, it is fun ... filled with laughter and love. I so relish those moments even if they do come at the most inopportune times. I love my family so much!
I will keep you posted as we enter the next leg of this journey. God is unfolding an awesome testimony for my sister to share so others can grow from her faith. Cancer is a heinous disease, but God is all powerful! Draw closer to Him today and allow Him to steer your boat in life. It does not mean you won't travel through stormy seas, but I guarantee you that you will end up in calm waters!