A thousand days passed between the news of a brain tumor at age seventeen and the joy of true healing.
Just one year after being emotionally broken by community, I received the news that I was physically broken as well.
When you’re seventeen and a wise doctor looks you in the eyes and says you’ll need brain surgery as soon as possible, everyone else looks at your life and expects you to fall apart.
They hope you won’t, of course. But there’s an unspoken, “If ever there were a time to need help or break down, this is your moment.”
I missed my moment.
I didn’t need it.
Instead of tears falling down cheeks or knees falling to the floor, these words fell into the lap of Jesus.
It makes sense now. God, it makes sense. I have a brain tumor. Jesus, I don’t even feel scared. I trust you completely – whatever happens, whether I live or die. I trust you. I love you. Thank you for your Peace.
There’s nothing wrong with a good cry or raising your hands to the heavens and asking Him to be near. I look back on that teenage girl and shake my head in wonder that my first response would be to pray.
But when you’ve lost all community and spent a year trying to figure out what life alone would be like, you can run from God or run to Him.
I didn’t need a moment to break down because over the course of a year I had learned what it meant to be broken before Him.
When community runs out, Jesus runs in. When you see yourself as damaged He declares you lovely.
When you look around and only see ruins, the Holy One bends to carry your holey heart, promising that joy will come in the morning.
Joy always comes.
Six days after receiving the news that would rewrite my story, I checked in for brain surgery. I decided to share my story before there was a bow to tie everything up and package it beautifully. The journey was difficult but the choice was easy – if God could receive the glory, then I wanted to tell the story.
The golf ball sized tumor was removed and life began fresh and new, but the holes in my heart remained.
From the outside looking in, the worst had passed and God had healed me completely. The truth was, I still didn’t believe love existed, I didn’t trust a soul, and community was dead to me.
My mind was healed but my heart was still broken. Over time, God’s relentless love pursued me, wooed me, and led me back into community. My heart had been broken by community but God began to break my heart for community.
He authored the story and as the words began to spread, I realized that God turns tests into testimonies and messes into messages.
Too often we believe that only the “big stories” will reach far and wide.
The only viral that is vital is the message of Christ. That is the only “big story.”
Our own words, whether one or one hundred read them, will never amount to a single blot of ink in the greatest Story ever told.
But if I write and say what He calls me to share? If I preach His story instead of my own? He will flip everything I know upside down, starting with an ordinary day we call Tuesday.
Tuesday. May 26, 2009: Community breaks and I begin to build walls.
Tuesday. June 29, 2010: I have my first MRI.
Tuesday. July 6, 2010: I under-go brain surgery.
Tuesday. July 23, 2013: A love for story becomes the theme of (in)RL.
Tuesday. October 8, 2013: God gives me a miracle. The community that broke? It came back.
Tuesday. June 20, 2014: An MRI shows a heart in my brain.
I didn’t need a moment to break down over the news of a tumor, but I do need a moment to thank him for Tuesdays and the crazy love of One who would replace a brain tumor with a heart.
I want my history to be His legacy. I want every ordinary Tuesday to count.
You can look back over all of my days and in my history you’ll find His story – the only Story I ever want to go viral.
Does your story include a broken season – emotionally, physically, or otherwise? Do you have a story of a not-so-ordinary Tuesday? What do you want your story to say?