Journeying to the Other Side of Breast Cancer: Purpose-Filled Pain

Early on in my breast cancer journey I shared with my friend and fellow breast cancer survivor, Tonya, that I had a dull ache in my heart that just would not go away. Tonya, who by the way is an absolute sweetheart, assured me the pain would eventually go away. As of today, despite my best efforts to pray it away and the tremendous amount of peace I now have, the dull ache in my heart remains. Some days I feel it more than others, but most days it is the underlying feeling beneath my heartbeat. Recently, the Lord brought back to my mind what He told me several years ago about pain.

I was still recovering from the stroke, doing all of the necessary therapies, when Jesus gave me a wonderful acronym for the word pain; Perspective Alignment Insight Navigation. At the time the pain I was experiencing was more mental and emotional, than it was physical. But, pain is pain. He explained the acronym to me by saying, “When you experience pain you must first consciously and willing examine your Perspective. You must see your pain through My eyes, knowing I am a good, loving, kind, and merciful God. Seeing your pain as anything other than something I have permitted in order to help you look more like Me and build your testimony of My miraculous works, will only lead to an endless cycle of more pain and despair. You are Mine and I love you. So, you must know I would only permit your pain out of necessity. Once you have a clear perspective you must Align yourself with My Word on the matter. Then you must ask Holy Spirit for wisdom and guidance that you may have His Insight regarding your issue. Finally, you must trust Me to help you Navigate through your pain. For only I know the way you must go. I have gone ahead of you. I assure you there is an expected end for ALL pain suffered in your life.”

Perspective: It has taken me awhile, but as I mentioned in a previous blog post, my perspective regarding the cancer, chemo, and radiation has radically changed. I did what Jesus said and upon examination I knew my perspective had to change. I do know He loves me. What the devil meant for evil, I know Jesus will most assuredly turn around for good (Genesis 50:20). 

Alignment: To date, I have not prayed once about the cancer or the treatment for it. I have poured out my heart to Jesus about how I feel and about my desire to be an extension of Him throughout the process. Never have I prayed for healing and, although I hoped I wouldn’t have to do chemotherapy, I didn’t pray about that either. Not praying about something so significant is extremely unusual for me. I pray about everything. Without realizing it, I aligned myself with God’s Word on the issue, before my journey began. In December, about a week before the biopsy, Jesus told me this affliction was not unto death (John 11:4). Though He did not say the affliction would be cancer, He did say He had already carried it to the cross. It was His load to carry, not mine. I believed His words and have been standing on His promise ever since. He shared with me the most important detail in advance. I am not going to die, which to me meant I would ultimately be healed. How the healing took place didn’t matter.

Insight: It seems Holy Spirit illuminates His insight to me daily. He reminds me that healing is a process and the dull ache in my heart is the residue of A LOT of painful things happening in succession, but assures me it will go away in time. He showed me that peace and pain, laughter and tears, joy and sorrow, can and often do coexist. He helps me to see more clearly, as He sees, and make “ordinary” moments extraordinary no matter how I feel inside.

Navigation: Years ago, I bought a book by Stormie Omartian called, “Just Enough Light for the Step I Am On.” I ended up sending the book to someone, without reading it. I think of the title often. Daily, Jesus reminds me that I only have to take one step, one breath, one moment, one day at a time. I know He is the Leader on this journey. I need only follow. Eventually, I will arrive precisely where He wants me to be physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually, and geographically, at the exact moment He has predetermined I will be there.

I can’t say that everyday I have been able to stick to the instructions outlined in the acronym Jesus taught me. So far, there have been many days that I just want to hurt in peace, with my headphones on, not thinking about or dealing with anything. In my spirit, I just stop walking and sit down. I am so glad Jesus always waits for me to get my second wind and never leaves me behind. For today, my strength lies in 2 Corinthians 12:8-10 (NIV). Paul, speaking of a thorn in his flesh, says, “Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” I hear you, Paul! 

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