After the diagnosis: Experiencing peace in the midst of the storm

December 30th....A day that started like the 363 days that came before it that year. We were on vacation. My husband had not been feeling well. I was mad at him that he didn't go to the doctor before we left for vacation. We thought he had pneumonia. Yet by the time the day came to a close we heard the words no one wants to hear "cancer." Every detail about the emergency room we were in, the television show that played in the background and the words of the doctor are still fresh on my mind.

The pain was brutal. It was sharp. It was devastating. The next 6 days my husband laid in the hospital room awaiting the final results of the biopsy. He had a tumor in his chest. His lung was collapsed. His heart was constricted. And our world was turned upside down. My husband was 29 at the time of the diagnosis. We had a 4 year old boy and a 3 year old girl. Our life was going great. I started working from home. My husband was in his last semester at the community college. Our credit card had been paid off. And then the words no one wants to hear "cancer" changed our life.

And it is in that moment that you are faced with a decision. It is so easy to say that we trust in God. It is so easy to sing songs that talk about praising God through the good and the bad. It is so easy to throw out phrases like "our God is awesome. And He is good all the time. And He will never leave us nor forsake us." It is easy to do all of that when the sky is clear and the birds are chirping and life is going good. But when your life is uprooted and everything changes in a blink of an eye you are faced with the decision of whether or not you are going to live the words you once so easily proclaimed.

And it is in the midst of the storm that God's peace does begin to sweep all over you. And it is a peace that surpasses all understanding. Because my eyes during the last 12 months have seen 150 days of hospitalizations. My eyes have witnessed my husband hooked up to chemotherapy for 24 hours straight. My eyes have seen the negative effects that chemo does to a person. My ears have heard the heartbreaking questions that two toddlers have asked. My eyes have seen the statistics to the type of cancer my husband has. My eyes have seen the low numbers in the bank account. My eyes have witnessed the plans I had for 2015 crumble.

I have been wearied. I have felt bruised. I have felt battered. My pillow has been stained with tears. My eyes have burned from all the crying. I have been exhausted beyond description. I have felt as though I was crawling towards the finish line. Although there were people supporting us, I have felt as though we were alone on this journey. I have not understood why my husband had to get cancer. I have held it together and smiled in front of people and crumbled and fell apart when I was alone.

But I have absolutely felt the peace of God. I have felt His strength carry me when I was too weak to take one more step. I have felt His comfort embrace me. I have felt His presence when this road felt so lonely. I have felt Him wipe the tears that were running down my face. As the storm pounded in our life, I have felt His shelter protect us. I have never felt alone. I have never felt abandoned. I have never felt as though God was punishing us or that He had turned His back on us in our darkest hour.
And that is because I have chose to trust God when our situation didn't make sense. I chose to hold on to the words in the Scripture even if our situation didn't make sense. I chose to live the words we so easily proclaim when everything is going well in our life.

The road has not been easy. It has been a challenging year. It has been a painful year. But God's peace has been with us every step of the way. To the person who is reading this if your sky just blackened with storm clouds or if you have been enduring a storm for some time I encourage you to continue trusting God. Don't let go. Don't walk away. Or maybe it has been years since called out to God and you are going through something I encourage you to reach out to Him. You may not understand the situation you are in but God will fill you with peace. And He will give you strength to endure the trial you are facing.



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