"So, as I sit on my special rock, I pray for many things:
- for healing; physically, mentally, and spiritually
- for love; love of family, friends and others
- for hope; the hope I'll never have to do this again
- for peace; the peace that truly passes all understanding"
The above was taken from a journal I wrote 18 years ago - a journal that I kept as I went through my journey with cancer. Eighteen years ago this past weekend, I was diagnosed with cancer. It certainly was not expected - no history of cancer in my family. Yet, it was my journey to take. So it began. That journey is an entire blog series all in its own. There were many things I learned on that journey. I believe that is when I started learning about simple faith.
During this time of my life, I took to writing in a journal. Who would have known all these years later that I would find inspiration from that journal in many ways. At this time every year, I make it a point to read that journal and remind myself of something - that when times get hard, having the simplest of faith creates a journey of hope. For those of you who are reading this and have gone through a struggle similar to this, you know that you come out the other side a different person. I believe that has happened to me. Throughout the surgeries, the chemo treatments, the loss of hair, the radiation, the burns associated with that, and then the recovery, something became increasingly clear.
I knew that God was with me. In anxious-filled thoughts, in moments of despair, in anger and frustration, in sadness of what life would never be like again, and in hope for moving forward, God was with me. Sometimes, I would do as the entry above shares, I would sit and pray. Other times, I felt like I had no more prayer in me. To God, either situation was okay - He was always there for me.
I look back at that time and realized that many of the God-filled moments in my life had been put aside - teaching Sunday School became infrequent, going to church was built around moments when I felt well, there weren't any Bible Studies, I rarely picked up my Bible, and my prayer life was inconsistent. Yet, God didn't give up on me. I talked to Him, He talked back. Through people who graciously helped me during this time. Through cards and letters. Through hugs and kind words. God was talking to me - and I was listening.
God knows us, He understands us, and above all, he loves us. When we believe and have the faith that He is in control, He fills us with hope, joy, and peace. He doesn't just "sprinkle" those things on us, He fills us up - to the brim! Yes, that even happens during times of struggle and despair. Remember, just have faith that He will provide. Go to Him with your thoughts. Live your life in His light. The rest is an incredible journey that brings us to the other side - a different person - one that is embraced with God's love.
Heavenly Father, we know that by living our lives with the simplest of faith, your blessings will adorn us. Help us to always remember that - even when life gets hard. May we come to you with our faith, that you may see our struggles and bring us to the other side - one that is filled with your grace, mercy, peace and love. In your gracious name we pray. Amen."