I was diagnosed with triple negative breast cancer in August 2018. Right before my diagnosis, I was not in a great place, emotionally or mentally. I was feeling beat up and bitter about some things in my life.
Monday, August 27th, 2018, one week after having mammograms, ultrasounds and a breast biopsy, I awoke to the phone call. The one telling me they had my results and they wanted me to come in.
That day changed my life in so many ways and while maybe in those first few minutes, hours, days and even months I didn’t see a miracle, looking back I absolutely do. God started so many incredible miracles that day and I believe they are continuing to unfold every day.
I am a worrier. I am an emotional person. I am someone who has dealt with depression, anxiety and health issues for much of my life. But the day I found out I had breast cancer, I felt strangely calm. I actually don’t recall crying much at all on that first day (VERY different story when I found out it was triple negative breast cancer but even then, God gave me supernatural grace). The peace God gave me through the initial shock of a cancer diagnosis is what I consider miracle one.
Miracle two? Restoration. God restored things that right before my diagnosis felt so broken, I was ready to throw away the pieces.
I’ve written about miracle number three before — they were actually 11 miracles. My oncologist gave me one month to go through the process of mature egg retrieval and if it failed, she basically said too bad. But God allowed 11 of my eggs to be retrieved and they wait until I get the all clear to become pregnant.
The way God gave me what I needed to fight for my life is miracle four.
Four very real miracles; that almost feels like too much for even one lifetime. You would think I would be a walking billboard for faith, joy, life!
But the craziest thing about my cancer journey was the way I was so singularly focused on SURVIVING, that the emotions, the long term ramifications of what I was going through, all kind of bypassed me. I would have moments- some longer than others!- where reality would hit me, but for the most part it was like an autopilot setting had been turned on and I just walked through things robotically.
March 2020 my medical team felt confident I’d be clear to get back to “normal life.” They gave me clearance to start teaching again, to be out in public, to resume living. But we all know what came next. So my life was put back into neutral.
A little over a year has passed and I can confidently say, this has been one of the hardest, if not the hardest, year of my life. Why? Because my mind started to come back and with it, the emotions that had been suppressed. I also discovered how completely my body had been altered through my cancer treatment. Physically and mentally, this year has been draining and I have more than once said to God, “Heal me or take me- I can’t live like this anymore.”
But my story isn’t meant to end there.
I grew up in a Christian household, asked Jesus to be my Lord and Savior and forgive my sins when I was six years old. I never went through any great rebellious period. But my adult faith has seen it’s fair share of struggles. I have’t even been to a regular church service in years. But God is faithful even when we aren’t and He doesn’t need a church building or service to reach us.
In January, I decided to start a morning quiet time. It has evolved and grown over the months but basically it is a time for me to expand my faith, pour out my heart to God and be still in His presence.
One day at the beginning of April I was reading during my quiet time and I heard in my spirit so clearly God speaking to me. It was a word I desperately needed and I have clung to it ever since.
I’ve seen fruit from this time show up in other parts of my day. I fully believe this morning quiet time has been one of the best decisions I have made in my life. If you don’t already, I would encourage you to try to incorporate some quiet time in your day. It may feel like you don’t have time, but start small – five minutes. I know it will bless and strengthen you.
Life isn’t easy. It is full of pain, disappointments, grief … But in the midst of all of that, there are miracles all around us.
God is not done with me. There is a greater purpose in what I have gone through and what I continue to go through. I AM A LIVING, BREATHING MIRACLE. I want to hold onto that fact and marvel in it. God chose to create me. He chose to create you! You are not an accident. You are not worthless. You are not meant to simply survive. There is so much more for us, if we will but ask.
Throughout my breast cancer journey, I have done a series of “before and after” pictures. My long hair/my short hair, my shaved head/my bald head … There was pain in those photos. There was loss, longing for a return to the old way. But I heard this song for the first time the other day, and about one line into it I was bawling. Yes, there are plenty of times throughout this where I have wanted to return to the “before” … But you know what, that was the physical. This journey has grown me in such beautiful and unexpected ways, that, as the song says “the camera can’t capture.” In light of eternity, that changing of my inner man matters so much more.
I would love for you to stick around to see how this miracle in process unfolds.