Journeying to the Other Side of Breast Cancer: Walking on Water

I woke up this morning with my 4 year old granddaughter lying beside me. That is always a wonderful way to start the day. A dose of her and my 17-month old grandson seems to overshadow the effects of chemo. They have so much energy and joy it’s contagious! I told a friend that one of the things cancer has done is force me to be still so God has my undivided attention.

I’m not a big TV watcher, but with so much time on my hands my sister, Leslie, who was recovering from throat surgery, and I lay in her bed one day and binge watched a show called, “The Carmichael Show” on Netflix. On one of the episodes Loretta Divine’s character, Cynthia, the mother in the family, was standing in the kitchen ironing and crying. She later explained that she had been crying alone for weeks and didn’t know why. She had gone to Wendy’s one day and realized she knew exactly what to order for her husband and her adult children, but didn’t know what to order for herself. She didn’t know what she actually liked on the Wendy’s menu. In the end she realizes she is depressed and begins seeing a therapist. That episode really resonated with me. It magnified how little attention we often pay to our mental health.

I can remember a time when my mind was so broken and fragmented it felt like my brain was hurting. I would get random feelings of tightness in my chest or feel like I couldn’t breathe as if I were drowning. I mastered crying so silently every night, with my former husband lying next to me, that he never heard a sound. To me all of that was normal. It wasn’t until I had the stroke 6 years ago and my doctor asked me what was going on the week before the stroke that I realized it wasn’t normal. My doctor asked me a series of questions and then asked me to walk him through my days the week of the stroke as much as I could remember. My husband and I were separated at the time, I was working long hours with a hectic commute, not sleeping, not eating a balanced diet, not taking care of me.

I would like to say the stroke cured me of my self neglect, but it did not. As much as I could I just kept going, never realizing you cannot outrun your own mind. It was filled with thoughts of abuse, abandonment, fears, pain, despair and disappointments. Little by little day by day Jesus and I have examined the fragmented pieces of my heart and mind. The Bible promises that I am transformed by the renewing of my mind (Romans 12:2). As with all things with God, I have found His word to be true. My mind is continuously being renewed, repaired, and restored. Nothing will ever erase the memory of being molested or many of the traumatic events that have occurred in my life. But, when I keep my mind and eyes fixed on Jesus, I am able to live in the presentness of Him and me.

With all that I have been through and all that Jesus has done for me it still took something like cancer for me to stop, be still, know He is God (Psalm 46:10) and treat Him with the honor He deserves by making Him the focal point of my days. I’m learning I really can keep my mind and eyes stayed on Him and still get things done. In fact, I get more things done and it’s easier. It’s like Peter, who stepped out of a boat being rocked by wind and waves, in the middle of the sea, was able to walk on water. His eyes were fixed on Jesus, walking toward Him. But, then He got distracted by the wind and waves, became afraid, and began to sink (Matthew 14:22-33).

I’m not feeling well today, but I plan to do a lot of water walking with Jesus! My grand babies are here and we have a lot of dancing to do, songs to sing, dolls and trucks to play with… For today, my eyes are fixed Jesus so He can give me His strength to walk on water with my grand babies! I hope your day is as wonder-filled as I know mine will be! 😊

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