Eve M. Harrell
Letter from a Cancer Survivor
In some estimates, around 150 people are diagnosed with cancer every hour in the United States. Death sentence? Not always. Frightening truth? Yes. But we are all dying . . . right?
1994, 2003, 2007 - Years which will forever be etched in my mind . . .
In '94, I was the mother of a 3 and an almost 1 year old. How could this happen? Only 22 years old, I had my whole life ahead of me, I am diagnosed with a rare disease in my Pituitary. My husband overseas, my family 3000 miles away, fear was blindingly alive.
In '03, I was the mother of a 12 and a 9 year old. Only 31 years old, I am diagnosed with a yet 2nd very rare disease called Paraganglioma. I could not imagine my boys growing up without their mother, so I made a deal with God, if He would save me until the boys had graduated High School I would promise to devote my life to Him and He could do with me what He wanted after their graduation. My husband was furious with me. And once again, I was allowing fear to choose my emotion.
In '07, I was the mother of a 16 and a 14 year old. Only 36 years old, a 2nd and 3rd Paraganglioma would be found. Days before my surgery a small group visited us to pray with us. Had never seen them before, and never again, but God knew. . . The night before surgery, I wrote letters to everyone close to me, I still have them. Fearfully, I knew this could possibly be my final act.
Cancer is real and thankfully while my story is still being written, there are many others who's stories are complete.
So today, I write a letter to those whose stories are still being written. A letter of life, a letter of death, a letter of Faith.
Life- So what is life to you? Is it waking up in the morning and watching the sun rise? Is it watching children run around the park laughing and playing? Is it riding The Mind Bender at increasing speed? Is it jumping out of an airplane at amazing heights? Is it watching the tide gently roll in after a long day? Is it witnessing the beauty of a newborn babe as it is placed in the arms of his mother?
Life can be so many things to so many people, but the beauty of it is that it is YOURS. A blessing given to you: every breath, every movement, every heartbeat, every laugh, every cry.
Death- So what about death? Is it scary? Is it final? Is it worrisome? Is it a crossover to an eternal life of peace and joy with The Heavenly Father who created you?
Death is such a dark word, but is it really dark or is it a testament to the life that came before and a journey to the Heavenly Beauty yet to come?
Faith- So what about Faith? Is it real? Is it alive? Is it a myth? Is it Hope?
The dictionary describes Faith with several definitions: 1- confidence or trust in a person or thing; 2- belief not based on proof; 3- belief in God or in the doctrines or teachings of religion.
The Bible describes Faith as this: Hebrews 11:1 - Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.
In today's world, it's so easy to get inundated by distractions which can create a fearful reaction and forget the Promises we have been given:
Matthew 17:20 - If you have Faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, "Move from here to there" and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.
Ephesians 2:8 - For by grace you have been saved through Faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works so that no one may boast.
Galatians 2:16 - Yet we know that a person is not justified by works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ, so we also have believed in Christ Jesus, in order to be justified by Faith in Christ and not by works of the law, because by works of the law no one will be justified.
John 3:16 - For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, that whoever BELIEVES in Him should not perish but have eternal life.
Does this mean I will never feel pain? No. Does it mean that I will never again suffer? No Does it mean that my cancer is cured? Well Yes and No.
Cancer is partially defined as any disease characterized by growths tending to be malignant, invasive, recurring. It is also defined as an evil influence that spreads dangerously. So while my physical disease is multiplying tumors, my spiritual disease was Fear. The opposite of Faith.
I was afraid of everything from the time I was a tyke. My mom told stories of how I was afraid the smoke detector would "create" the fire. I know, pretty funny, but this was my life. Looking back, I was so afraid of death, but unfortunately I was also afraid of life. I could dream up the problem before it ever occurred. I could see the train coming.
And that is how Fear works, it is a cancer which spreads quickly, influencing every thought, every movement, every decision; keeping me from the life He designed for me. (Jeremiah 29:11)
However, Faith, on the other hand, allows you to:
1- Give the Fear up to The Father. - PEACE
2- Live a life of freedom. Freedom from worry, uncertainty, freedom to enjoy the beauty blessed me in my life. – BREATHE
3- Develop a relationship with The One who breathed life into me. He knit me in my mothers womb (Psalm 139:13) - BEAUTIFUL
4- Allow me to FEEL LOVE and ACCEPTANCE for who I am, who I was created as, (Psalm 139:14) and not worry about what others think about me or serve to mold me into their idea of who I should be. - LOVE
5- Live the life He designed for me, with purpose, with love, with strength, with peace. COURAGE
And while cancer may win and take my body one day, my Heavenly Father has blessed me with a Gift, a Promise, An Inheritance which guarantees that I will be seated with Christ in the heavenly realms in order that in the coming ages He might show the incomparable riches of His Grace; expressed in His kindness to us in Christ Jesus. (Ephesians 2:6-7)
I have nothing to be afraid of, the arms of my Father will comfort me all the day long, the wisdom of The Holy Spirit will guide me all my life long and the Love of Jesus has delivered the promise which allows me to be with Him in Heaven when this earthly body is spent.
Father, I am so thankful that You CHOOSE to grant us Freedom from Fear, Share with us Your Bountiful Grace, bring us Comfort and teach us Love. I pray that Your Precious Word will be knitted on the hearts of many others and that they too will know that Fear has no place in the hearts of those You call to be Children of God.
Your Loving Daughter,
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