My treatment for breast cancer was almost done, finally. I felt sure that I’d settle in to a new normal, quickly finding a rhythm that would have me bounding energetically into my cancer-free days. I’d immediately find an intense new workout program (I imagined), dive fully in to the new homeschooling year with my kids, pick up all the balls that had dropped in managing our home, and move completely past this chapter of cancer treatment.
I thought I’d be independent: healed, fit, strong, and ready in all of my hard-earned strength to jump into the next chapter of my life.
Except, that isn’t what happened.
I didn’t instantly feel great. Lingering physical issues persisted . . . and still do, to this very day. The issues are a constant reminder that after the months-long assault my body experienced with conventional cancer treatments, there would be real and lasting physical impact. Of course there would be! Sometimes the lingering physical side effects pale in comparison to waves of emotions that can cast dark shadows over my day — with unpredictable moments of gripping anxiety, heart-racing worry, and an irrepressible cloud of funk.
These months of healing have continued to press me daily, deeper into God’s heart, His purposes, and His promises.
I remain needy and desperate, and He keeps meeting me. Loving me. Guiding and healing and illuminating His Word and my path ever more.
I often think of Paul’s constant burden:
So to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh . . . Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”
(2 Corinthians 12:7-9)
I relate to Paul’s thorn. Though we don’t know what it was — perhaps a physical ailment– it kept him in a posture of remembering his weakness and depending on God’s strength. God didn’t remove the thorn even though Paul begged. Perhaps the thorn provided Paul with a constant, relentless, desperation for God to provide and guide. The thorn kept Paul seeking God, never resting or trusting in his own strength alone.
So, I’m grateful.
My unfolding healing and journey to health hasn’t been immediate, like I imagined. Instead, it has come layer upon layer . . . keeping me soaking each day in God’s grace, searching hard for wisdom and direction, seeking His word and presence for guidance and comfort.
I know He provides. I know He will for me, too. He already has.
Though this chapter of healing from cancer will eventually feel more solid with closure, my journey to full health will never truly stop. I will continue to seek God as I learn always to live out my life in the fullness of His grace and strength.