During this season of Christmas, many embrace joy and gladness. The twinkling lights dazzle and the spirit of the season stirs up an awakening of magic and…hope.
Others are experiencing, struggles and the reminder of such a season of cheer drowns them in their own despair and brings relentless thoughts of fear.
Both of these feelings are completely valid and are allowed to co-mingle during the season of Christmas.
The message I learned at church this past Sunday focused on just that, and I felt it was so moving and so real. Mary experienced great hope with bringing a savior into this world, and also great fear for bringing a savior into this world.
I had quite the struggle last Christmas, I was smack dab in the middle of fighting cancer. I had just had my breast removed and I was gearing up for radiation. I was facing a lot of fear… I had walked up to the edge of death and would now live with that fear for the rest of my life.
As the year went by I emotionally drew myself farther and farther away from being “the mom with cancer” … our life started to re-establish itself. I found myself immersed in work that filled me with purpose. I found our schedule starting to fill up again…almost as if nothing had ever happened. Hope filled my heart and became the forefront of my life as we picked up the pieces and thought surely, we will never face that fear again.
Then one day, during a routine appointment, we were told I needed a biopsy, right then and there. My breast surgeon completed my breast exam and found a knot. I assumed it was scar tissue. She wasn’t so confident in my assumption. So here came the large needle and the ultrasound. Her concern seemed to rise as she probed this small, black mass on the screen.
Now it was time to wait. The tissue sample would be sent off and I would hear back the following day. My breast surgeon told me it was a 1-2% chance of cancer reoccurring at this point in my journey. Which in my mind just meant, there is a chance.
Here that fear just kept creeping right back into my heart.
That next 24 hours was strange. I went through the motions of life, because we all know, life doesn’t stop. I reached out to my village, because I wanted that power of prayer and I think it is important for the public to understand the reality of cancer. It doesn’t just go away.
My husband and I realized after this appointment, that this is our forever reality. We will forever be reminded of cancer. Cancer will never disappear from our lives. God willing I’ll never have to go through chemo again or lose my hair or have any more life-saving surgeries. But every single appointment, every blood draw, every scan, every symptom we would worry and fear that cancer was back.
We talked about what we would do if it did come back. The biggest thing I realized is despite that Golliath of fear trying to pummel me into the ground, I felt hope. I believe that God is good and no matter what happens with my life, I WILL be okay. Yes, suffering is real, but hallelujah friends the battle has been won. This life is full of pain and brokenness, but hallelujah friends this is the season where we are celebrating the ultimate beacon of hope, JESUS, and his birth. That he came to save us all.
As you wander through this next week of Christmas, rest in knowing that hope and fear are perfectly acceptable feelings to have. However, try not to wallow in that fear, welcome it and then push yourself to a place where you can experience joy and allow that hope to enter your realm.
Those that are filled with hope, this is the time to reach out to others. When are feeling on top of your life, that is when you need to serve others and find a way to give back. We all face mountains and valleys in our life… and when you are on top of the mountain, I think we should make the trek back down to help another reach that peak as well. For the fruit is really found in the valleys.
***My biopsy came back clear, praise Jesus***