Sunday, July 3, 2011

Happy 3rd Cancerversary

This weekend we celebrated surviving 3 years since I was diagnosed! I remember that day like it was yesterday. My heart was so broken. I can't even describe how devastated I felt. For weeks I cried until tears came no more or until I fell asleep from pure exhaustion. As months passed, I remember waking up night after night, hoping it was just a nightmare. Unfortunately it was all too real.


As time continued we began to get a grip on our emotions and fell into a new routine involving lots of prayer, research, doctor appointments, treatments, surgeries, rest, and being the recipients of many different kinds of service.

In time, we developed a 'new normal' that brought us closer to God and closer to our family. One of the things we felt was important to teach the boys was to pray for miracles (not just one big miracle), so they could learn to see how God blesses us every day even if things didn't work out the way we wanted them to. That decision has been very important to us because it has shaped how Bruce and I count our blessings also.

As I look back over the past three years, I think about how my prayers have changed. Initially, the only thing that mattered was that I would be cured and that life would go back to how things used to be. I was so focused on being "cured" that I wasn't as appreciative for the blessings that I was receiving as I should have been. As I got more use to the idea that I had cancer, I focused my prayers on having a long life. (But when I was feeling sick, even a day could seem like an eternity, so maybe a long life wasn't really what I meant.) Then I progressed to the point were I could ask the Lord that "His will be done" in my life because He knows what is best and that way I would be happy. At that point I also struggled with how my faith affected "His will". It felt almost like a cop-out, because now I had no input and whatever happened, happened. That didn't seem quite right either, but at least I was at peace with whatever His will was for my life. That was real progress! Recently, I have prayed that I will be able to live as long as I need to to fulfill my mission here on earth. This actually feels like a good fit. It is up to me to do whatever I can to be an instrument in His hands, for as long as He sees fit. These ideas may seem like arguing semantics to many, but when you are a God-fearing, control freak like me, it feels better to be on the Lord's errand while He is in charge of how long that errand will be...

Three years later I am still not brave enough to say that I am grateful for trials, but I see the purpose of them. I know that they change us. For good or for bad, they change us and it is our decision which that will be.

Cancer has changed me for the good. It has changed my perspective, it has changed my priorities, it has fortified my relationships, and it has strengthened my testimony that Jesus is my Savior and that He is mindful of me. For these changes I am grateful!
I honestly feel like I am still here because of the faith and prayers of thousands! A humble and grateful 'thank you'!




15 comments:

Julie said...

Thanks for sharing your testimony. You have been and are such an example to me.
(And, again, so excited to have you in YW. When you kept asking about the ox yesterday, I thought, we're going to get along so well!)

Jen said...

Thank you for being honest about not being grateful for trials--I'm not either! I'm glad that you can see the purpose in what you've been asked to bear and are choosing to have it impact you positively. I feel for you and everything you've been through the past three years. You are truly inspiring! We will continue to pray for you and your beautiful family.

Anna Linnea said...

HaPpY CaNcErVeRsArY!!! So glad that you are doing well. We are going to be there in a few weeks so we need to make some plans.....

meegz said...

Ah yet another post to bring tears to my eyes. I just love you Jeanel. I love your insights and I love your strength. Of course you know I love your boldness -- so here goes mine: um, you really ought to post more on here.:)

Lots of love from all of us to you.

PS Speaking of prayers -- you know you are in ours but after that Post I need to tell you that you have impacted our children's testimonies as well. They used to pray that you would be cured -- when I heard that you had taught your children to pray for many miracles, I did the same. Somewhere in there, they started praying something to this extent "Please bless Jeanel that she will live as long and happy a life as thou would have her"
You are an AMAZING example and have touched MANY lives!! Thank YOU!!

Rachelle said...

Jeanel, I know I was just an old co-worker that crossed your path in life briefly, but I want you to know that I still think of you often and pray that you are doing well. Thank you for the update, and thank you for your testimony and example.

Page said...

This was very inspiring. Thank you, Jeanel.

Stephanie said...

Thank you. I needed the reminder of what I too know to be true. I think and pray for you often.

Mimi said...

Jeanel, this is Megan's mom, Jan. (mimi to grandkids). Megan always tells me to check out your blog and tonight I decided to finally do it. I have also included you in my daily prayers and really was uplifted as I read about your testimony developing on this "cancer journey". I have several other friends with similar trials and it is such a difficult thing to deal with. I know you are learning some of the things the Lord desires and that he has and will continue to bestow His blessings on you and our family. Keep you faith strong by your actions. with love and care.

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Smith Alexander said...

Thank you. I needed the reminder of what I too know to be true. I think and pray for you often. Dich tieng trung quoc

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