Two days ago I had my six month oncology appointment. The timing for this appointment was perfect because about 10 days earlier I’d found a lump (node?) I’d been watching. While, I wasn’t too worried about the lump, I still wanted to make sure the doctor checked it out.
Before I left the house I said to Todd, “Please pray for me, because I feel like there is someone I need to talk to this morning!” He smiled, kissed me goodbye, and said, “Of course!”
During the drive, I thought about this mystery person. I wondered if this person was a man or a woman, a patient or a waiting friend, perhaps a doctor; or maybe even a Starbucks barista. I began to pray that God would show me who to talk to and what He wanted me to do. The thought immediately crossed my mind to take 2 copies of my book, Good Grief! with me since I was already planning on dropping one off for the Chaplains at the hospital.
As I parked the car, I signed the second book, “You are not alone!” and out loud said, “Okay God, who am I supposed to give this to?” Immediately, the picture of a woman wearing a purple scarf on her head crossed my mind. Okay!
Walking toward the entrance, I smiled as I remembered nearly one year ago walking through the same entrance with chills running down my spine as I thought, “THIS is where they are going to fix me!” I felt that same excitement walking in the doors on Monday, and I got a little bit giddy. I perused the waiting area to see where the line began to get my blood drawn, and then I saw her. In a sea of 60 men and women, there she was… the only person wearing a scarf on her head. And, guess what color her scarf was? Four different shades of PURPLE!
I checked into the blood draw area, and went to find a seat right behind her, not having a clue what to say to this woman (who by the way was in the middle of a conversation with someone else). I really should have prepared to talk to her more. I opened my mouth to speak and I’m still not even sure what I said as I fumbled through some sort of “I’m not sure why, but I felt like I needed to give you a copy of this book I wrote… there was something about God in there, and oh yeah, I’m a 3 time cancer survivor.” Any semblance of eloquence shot right out of my body in that moment!! HA! I’m sure she thought I was nuts. But, I figured, if God was going to place this woman on my heart this morning, He could use even my bumbling to reach her wherever she was at, in spite of me.
Over the last few weeks, our LIFE group has been studying Warren Wiersbe’s, Be Joyful Commentary on Philippians. This past Sunday, this quote really stuck out to me: “Instead of finding himself confined as a prisoner, Paul discovered that his circumstances really opened up new areas of ministry.” YES! This is often how I have looked at my own cancer.
I think part of the reason I could be giddy at a Cancer Center is because I see and look for the opportunity. Without my cancer, I would not be able to build a personal rapport with other cancer patients, survivors, and even doctors. Before I was first diagnosed, I could sympathize with men and women affected by cancer, but I could never really empathize with them. I now have a deeper level of ministry because of my cancer, and because of these circumstances.
Therefore, I will walk alongside others who have struggled with cancer. I will continue to share my story and in the process do my best to point others to a loving, compassionate, merciful God, whose heart breaks for what they are going through. And, I will allow God to use my cancer for good because I refuse to allow myself to be a prisoner to cancer, and I refuse to allow my cancer to dictate my response to life.
Q. Have you ever felt imprisoned by your circumstances?
*Photo via Flickr, Shaire Productions