A few years ago when I was going through one of the most challenging seasons of my life, a very dear friend said something to me that has stayed with me since the day she said it. We met for dinner and as I was crying she said, “But, Lisa can’t you see God knew He could trust you u with this?” The “this” she was speaking of was having a stroke and going through a divorce in the same year, along with a few other curve balls that were thrown in the mix. I didn’t really think about what she said when she said it. But, later and quite often since then I have heard her words. It had never even occurred to me that God was permitting the things that were happening in my life, because He trusted me to go through it as an ambassador for Him and on the other side of it be stronger, wiser, and even closer to Him.
I have been asking myself and Jesus if He can really trust me with breast cancer and all that it entails. So far, I have not been a big bundle of sunshine and have spent a whole lot of time going over, in great detail, all of the reasons I have a “right” to be upset and some days really angry with Jesus. I know I am human and all of the emotions I feel whenever I feel them are normal and it’s ok to cry when I feel like crying or to be upset just because I am upset. I’ve long since gotten over living according how I feel, which changes from day to day and sometimes moment to moment. So, how I feel about having breast cancer really isn’t the issue. It’s my perspective that matters.
After the surgery last week, I began to really examine my heart about this breast cancer issue. As I did I discovered my perspective hasn’t been what it should be. From my perspective, Jesus permitted something to happen to me that I don’t like and just didn’t seem fair to me. Deep in my heart I just kept saying, ‘I cannot believe You would allow this to happen to me too.’ My entire perspective has been about me, with the secondary hope that somehow my suffering would help someone else. I didn’t have an option to choose or decline having breast cancer. But, I can choose HOW I will handle having breast cancer. And that all depends on my perspective.
By the end of last week, I was able to send the same friend I spoke of a text that said in part: “I know I may still have some tough days, but I’m ready for whatever this cancer journey brings…there has to be somebody along this journey that is trying to take on cancer without Jesus. I want to represent Him well and introduce Him to whomever I am given the opportunity. Today I feel privileged to have been assigned such a task.” And I meant what I said from my heart. I know I won’t feel privileged to have been assigned breast cancer everyday. In fact, I don’t feel that way today. But, every day that I journey toward the other side of breast cancer I will press pass however I feel, and be the very best representative for Jesus I can be, just because I love Him. My hope is that He truly can trust me with this. But, more importantly I KNOW I can trust HIM with this.
Yesterday, I had my follow up appointment with the breast surgeon. She said my cancer is stage 1 A, which means it did not spread to my lymph nodes or metastasize anywhere else in my body. The tumor (or tissues from it, I guess) is being sent for a specialized test called an Oncotype DX test. This test will determine if chemotherapy will be a part of my treatment plan or if I will be able to do just radiation five days a week for seven weeks. I see the oncologist on the 23rd. The results should be back by then and he will determine my treatment plan. I am truly grateful for the results and no matter what the treatment plan is my perspective will remain the same.
For today, since I have truly decided to get over myself, I plan to pray each day for someone I don’t know personally. Today’s unsuspecting victim of my prayer attack is…Bruno Mars. Since his music brought my mind to complete blankness and gave me such relief during the time I truly needed it, he was the first person that came to mind. Only I will not pray for Bruno Mars, because that is just his work “costume” that he puts on everyday, his stage name. Instead I will pray for Peter Hernandez, who I am sure is probably a little different than “Bruno Mars.”
Although he appears to have everything a man could ever want or need, I don’t know that he has the one thing EVERY man (and woman) needs. And that is the free gift of salvation through Jesus Christ and a relationship with Him. Who knows, maybe I can pray him into the direction of some true Jesus Followers (not the religious people who are following a religion, not Jesus), and in some way, no matter how small, a seed is planted in his heart and he catches a glimpse of who Jesus really is and how much He truly loves him just as he is at this moment in time. Were it not for the breast cancer (and probably the concussion), I seriously doubt that I would have spent as much time as I did listening to Bruno Mars’ music and it probably would never have crossed my mind to pray for him.
One of the many amazing things I have discovered throughout my relationship with Jesus is that if I allow Him to, He helps me to see Him and purpose in everything. Even the things I consider “bad.” But, even those things work together for my good and His glory (Romans 8:28). So, if you are in relationship with Him nothing is ever as bad as it seems. There is a beautiful song called, “Blessings” by Laura Story that really expresses that well.