Journeying to the Other Side of Breast Cancer: Jesus and Me

I have never been what I would consider an outdoorsy person. There is nothing appealing to me about camping or other activities that require me to trespass in the natural habitat of bugs, spiders, snakes, and all the other woodland creatures that make the great outdoors their home. However, of late, my stance has begun to shift a bit. I still have no interest in camping, but I have discovered I like hiking. And the highlight of any day for me is a day that I am able to go walking at the beautiful lake pictured above. I try to go as often as I can. The scenery alone is worth it. There is something about walking there that allows me to talk to Jesus and Him to me in a way that I don’t experience anywhere else. It is our “secret” place.

On Friday after I left radiation I felt like I had enough energy to walk around the lake at least once. Once around is about a mile and a half. It was a little chilly, but I had on layers and the sun was shining. Once I started walking I warmed up quickly. As I walked I listened to my “Jesus and Me” Playlist filled with some of my favorite Gospel/Contemporary Christian/Praise and Worship music (there are way too many labels for music now – just my opinion). About half way around the lake I started getting tired. On a good day physically, I try to go around the lake twice. My right leg is still significantly weaker than my left from the stroke I had in 2011. The more tired I got I felt myself beginning to drag my right leg a bit.

For whatever reason I started to get upset that I wouldn’t be able to walk around the lake twice, which snowballed into a full blown meltdown inside with me asking Jesus why everything always had to be so hard for me. I told Him I was tired of being sick. I complained I had forgotten what it feels like to just wake up and not have to have a conversation with my body in order to get out of bed or to be able to go through an entire day without any pain anywhere. I whined I knew all of this had some kind of purpose and I was trying my best to see His plan for me, but I couldn’t. I could see where breast cancer, the stroke, my divorces, being a teenage mom, being molested… have all helped me be an encouragement (I hope) to other people and an overall compassionate person. But, on Friday, walking around the lake, dragging my right leg, aching all over, with my left breast throbbing, I wanted to know, ‘WHAT ABOUT ME!’

I could see no benefit for me out of all that has happened thus far in my life’s journey. Just as I was nearing the entrance of the lake, which would have completed one loop around, my emotional tirade with Jesus was abruptly interrupted by a unique looking, but beautiful dog. She and her owner were walking on the opposite side of the pathway. As we passed each other the dog stopped and made her way near me as if she wanted me to pet her. She was really furry with grey and brown patches all over. I could tell she was an older dog.

Her owner very friendly said, “You can pet her. She won’t bite. She loves walking here. She is 19 years old. She is blind. You see her leg? It wobbles and shakes now. My wife and I found her under our neighbor’s car when she was 3 months old. She has been such a good dog for us.” She stood close to me so I could pet her. I took notice of her right leg shaking. When she and her owner walked away I watched her walk closely behind him. She couldn’t see. So, he lead; she simply followed. They kept pace with each other. She didn’t pull away from him or try to walk ahead of him. Nor did she walk too slowly and lag behind him, even with her wobbly, shaky right leg.

As I turned to continue walking Jesus said, “Lisa, I know you cannot see as I see. I know you often wonder if all you have suffered has any value for you. It does. Just like that dog you just saw, I am asking only that you let Me be your eyes. That you trust Me enough to know that even when you can’t see where I am taking you, you will follow Me anyway, knowing I only want the very best for you. Trust Me enough that even when your body is weary, your legs are weak, and you feel as if you cannot take another step, you know I am a God that can enable you to walk on water if you, but trust Me. You were created not only to be a blessing, but to be blessed. It is out of your blessedness that you are equipped to be a blessing.”

Listening to Jesus talk to me I walked past the entrance and completed a second loop around the lake. I wish I could say His words made everything better and I was suddenly all smiles and giggles inside. That’s not how it is with Him and me. I was comforted by His words. I asked Him to help me trust Him more and promised to do my very best to allow Him to lead, while I simply follow. And of course I apologized profusely for my nasty attitude on such a beautiful day.

One of the many things I love about Jesus is He knows me intimately and doesn’t penalize me for being me. He knows I ask a million questions. He knows He has to reassure me daily, sometimes hourly that He will never leave me and He still loves me. He knows some days the smallest thing can cause a total emotional meltdown (ie: dragging my leg at the lake when I already knew I was tired and weak when I got there). He knows when He asks me to do something I really don’t want to do my first response is generally, ‘Ok, but…’ That’s just Him and me. That’s how our relationship works. I fall more in love with Him everyday and for some reason known only to Him He just keeps loving me just as I am.

For today, I am going to hold on to the image of that beautiful 19 year old, weary, wobbly, blind dog and her owner walking at the lake for as long as I can. Whenever I find myself wondering what’s in it for me in all of this I want to be able to remind myself I am walking out my life’s journey with my very best Friend, a companion who loves me unconditionally, who will never leave or forsake me. One who I can wholeheartedly trust to lead, while I simply follow. It gets no better than that! That really is enough for me.

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