Thursday, May 28, 2015

Six Years Later

It's hard to believe that six years ago today I was diagnosed with ovarian cancer.  Six years ago we were filled with hope that God would cure me of this disease.  Six years ago we had no idea what kind of roller coaster we would be on fighting the cancer.  Six years ago we were still looking forward to a long life with our family.

Now it's six years later.  We are no longer hoping for a cure.  Instead of a roller coaster of fighting a disease, we are on a roller coaster of my final days.  Instead of a future as a family, I am now looking toward a future in eternity.  What a difference six years can make.

A few months ago I posted this picture.

It was my hope that I could look at this picture and be reminded of the race I was running.  I knew I was almost done and I was hoping my last days would be ones of always looking forward to my final home.  I was hoping this picture would remind me of the amazing things that were awaiting me in Heaven.  It hasn't quite worked out the way I thought.

If I took a survey I would guess that most of us would want to die peacefully in our sleep, just like the prayer:
Now I lay me down to sleep.
I pray the Lord my soul to keep.
If I should die before I wake
I pray the Lord my soul to take.

I can't begin to tell you how many times I've prayed this prayer over the past few months.  There have been times I've even begged the Lord to let me fall asleep and wake up in His arms.  I think we understand that there will be physical pain before we go home, but we have no idea the other things we will have to face in our last days.

We don't know how many days we have left.  The agony of waiting is very heart wrenching.  The mourning that has to happen can be physically exhausting.  I never knew how much mourning I would have to go through.  I mourn every time I say a last goodbye to someone.  I mourn when I remember that goodbye.  I mourn when I think about all the things my family will have to experience not only in my death but also in all the things that they will experience, both good and bad, without me.  I know first hand how painful it is to be without a mom at events from confirmations to simple picnics in the park.  The pain of knowing what they will experience at times almost seems too much to bear.  It's no wonder at times I pray "Please let me die before I wake".

But I think the hardest part is walking through the valley of the shadow of death.  For me it has not been a short road.  There have been so many ups and downs and twists and turns it's hard to know what to think sometimes.  And let me tell you, the devil works harder in those last days than I ever thought possible.  It's his last chance to take me away from my Savior, and he is going to find every weakness I have ever felt or thought about my Savior and try to use is against me.  I've doubted His love for me because I've suffered for six years.  I've questioned His wisdom in taking a mother away from her family.  I've questioned decisions I've made and wondered if He led me down the wrong path.  If I have thought it, the devil has used it.

Yet the one thing I've never doubted is where I am going, and that is only by God's mercy and grace that I have been freed from that doubt.  It comes from that second part of Psalm 23:4.

Even though I walk
through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me,
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me.

Through every temptation the devil has put in my way, my Shepherd has come to protect me.  He has always been with me, sending his angels to guard and protect me.  He has always been with me, using his rod and his staff to lead me through my long shadow of death.  He has always been with me, and he will get me to my eternal home when His time is right.  It might mean many more hard days ahead for me.  But that won't stop him because nothing, not even death, can stop him from getting me home to him and in his everlasting arms.

So i'ts my sixth anniversary of cancer.  Honestly just a few weeks ago I didn't think I'd make it this far.  To have six years with my friends and family I am extremely grateful.  Now I look forward to my Heaven day where I will have the best day of my life.  I can't wait to see you all there.

See you soon!