My Heart His Words

The Dreaded "C" word: Cancer

I’ve been mulling over this post for several days now. My heart wants to go there, but my head does not. It’s not a  pretty place, it’s an awkward & painful place, yet at the same time it’s a beautiful place-if I choose to look at it that way.

I still remember the day, as if it were yesterday: April 3, 2012. I was at work & it was around 3/3:30pm when my cellphone rings. I look at it & feel slightly annoyed because it’s my dad calling me & well, ‘he knows I’m at work right now, why wouldn’t he call later?!’ is the ugly of what I thought to myself. Since that day I could kick myself for feeling that way, but hey-it’s real, it’s ugly & it’s not something I’m proud of, but it happened!  Because I was at work, I didn’t answer my phone, so it beeps telling me I have a new voice mail from my dad.  I waited until I was leaving work to listen to the message. My dad’s voice sounded strained… different… and he asked me to call him when I could. This was weird. My dad never calls me, (we live 30 minutes away-so we see each other more than we talk on the phone).  I pulled up his number on my phone & dialed through blue-tooth… he answers & the conversation goes something like this: “Hi Baby, how are you, how was your day?”  I respond & then he proceeds, “Well, I have some bad news. Your mom and I felt you should be the first to know.” At this point my heart literally falls to the ground & starts racing… “I’ve been diagnosed with Stage III Lung Cancer” Wow! Talk about a life-changing moment!! My head starts racing, I start asking a million questions-what can they do, what will they do, what will he do, what can I do!?

In the weeks that followed, I happily took several days off work just so I could be with him & my mom for the doctor visits, asking questions, getting answers & just trying to support both of them & spend time together during this painful time.  The doctors basically told him with treatment he only had a 20% survival rate.  The treatment would last 6 months & if it didn’t kill him, it would make him very sick.  Ultimately he would never, ever feel as good as he felt right now. Wow! Doesn’t that sound promising & encouraging?{not!}

The next several months came with a lot of pain, frustration, anger & even times of confusion for all of us.  It was a very hard road. My mom and I never once told him what we felt or hoped he should do.  He did ask us, “should I do the treatment?” but neither of us believed we could make that decision for him. This was truly the most personal decision a person could face. All we could tell him is that we loved him & would wholeheartedly support him with whatever decision he made.  Being the amazing provider and protector that he’s always been, it was no surprise to us that his biggest concern was becoming a burden to us, and ultimately leaving us.

After getting all the facts, thinking about it & praying about it, my dad chose what I truly believe to be the best option for him. When he called to talk with me about his decision, he shared this verse:

“Then David said to Gad, “I am in great distress. Let us now fall into the hand of the LORD for His mercies are great, but do not let me fall into the hand of man.”” 2 Samuel 24:14 NAS
How could I disagree with that!? It was crystal clear to me: The man who had taught me the Word of God & who had always told me to seek God first. The man who agonized over truths God revealed to him in His word, yet pressed forward, often alone because of his understandings… This man, had yet again heard from God on the matter & was at peace within.  He would rather fall into the hands of God, than into the hands of men.  How could I be anything but understanding & supportive?  Wanna know a secret?? I kid you not, it’s been easy to support him with this decision, because I wholeheartedly agree with him.
While cancer is a very ugly thing & has taken people from my life who I love dearly, I have learned so much through my dad’s life example. From the get-go his diagnosis has taught me so much about God’s love, His mercy, His unwavering Truth & His ability to work in ways we don’t always understand. I may be small, but my God is big & it’s because of that Truth that I can write you today.
It’s been 20 months since my dad’s diagnosis & let me tell you, he is healthier today than he was back then! He took it upon himself to start eating & drinking healthier (thanks to my amazing Mom!), as well as getting exercise & just ENJOYING life! He rests when his body wants rest, but he LIVES the rest of the time!  Oh don’t get me wrong, he gets the blues sometimes when he starts thinking about the reality of the cancer {who wouldn’t?}, but overall, his disposition is one of LIVING the life God’s blessed him with TODAY.
Through my dad’s life example I am coming to see life differently.
We are never promised more than this very moment, right here, right now, yet somehow we so easily forget that & start planning our days, night, weeks, months & years way ahead of time.  Is it not our biggest responsibility to live for TODAY? “I know that there is nothing better for men than to be happy and do good while they live.” Ecclesiastes 3:12 NIV
“So I saw that there is nothing better for a man than to enjoy his work, because that is his lot. For who can bring him to see what will happen after him?” Ecclesiastes 3:22 NIV

If we say we love God & we are walking in His ways, then how can we truly ever doubt that our lives are in His hands? He made us! He breathed life into us! What makes us think that the Creator of life would possibly cut our lives short of what He’s called us to do? Don’t get me wrong, I realize there’s some very deep theological opinions on this topic, but I’m not going there! {ha ha!}  For me, realizing that man really doesn’t have any control over life or death-was a freeing & healing thing for me.  Being able to understand that regardless of my dad’s diagnosis, God would take him when He wanted to & not a moment sooner.  I’m still not entirely convinced that my dad will actually die of cancer.  No, I’m not in denial-I realize he has cancer, I just mean that I don’t believe the cancer is what will take him; I believe God will take him.  Basically what I’m trying to say is, a diagnosis or a doctor cannot overstep my God, He really is the Man in Charge! {smile}
This past year has been very trying as we all try to cope, in our own ways, with my dad’s cancer. I am choosing to allow it to mold & shape me into the woman God wants me to be.
I’m working on these areas in my life: 
1) Focus more on loving people for who they are: flaws & all. After all, I’m as flawed as anybody & always hope for love & acceptance from others, so how can I not give it?  “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.”John 13:34 NIV
2) Living each moment to the fullest. Planning a little less & LIVING a lot more. {easier said than done for the Type-A planner in me! ha ha what can I say, I’m a work in progress!} “Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring forth.”Proverbs 27:1 NIV
3)  Trusting God with the big and small of my life.  This can sound really contrite, but it’s not meant that way. I’m a planner! No, seriously, I’m a planner! I like to know what is going on in my life for the next year. I like structure, organization, predictability & security.  Flying by the seat of my pants, “winging” it, waiting till the last minute, not knowing, these are all very new & scary, unfamiliar things for me.  A very, very dear mommy-friend of mine, shared a phrase with me about raising kids that has been life changing.  When talking about being a mother & having a career she said, “you learn to find beauty in the chaos”.  Um hell-O, how does a Type-A person do this? I mean, chaos? Really? How in the world do I find beauty in that, it’s chaos?? {smile} but I am learning what she means. It’s not simply about the chaos, it’s about finding the beauty in this very moment, every single day. I don’t need to have it all figured out, God already does. I don’t have to embrace chaos & unorganized mess, but I do have to embrace the tender moments that are within those messy moments. Embracing the people I love the most-caring for them and cherishing the moments I have with them, even if the moment includes some chaos!
“Are not two sparrows sold for a penny ? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of your Father. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.” Matthew 10:29-31 NIV
“Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.”I Peter 5:7 NIV
“Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;”Proverbs 3:5 NIV

In focusing on trusting God in ALL things, and believing His Word, I’m learning that He really does have everything under control. If he numbers the hairs on my head & cares for the sparrows, how much more does he care for me & will provide for all my needs?

I hope that in sharing my heart with you, you may be encouraged in your own journey. Feel free to leave comments below, I’d love to hear from you! 🙂



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Satin Pelfrey

Satin Pelfrey

Satin is a writer, wife and stepmom encouraging others through the hard days, bringing the Scriptures alive through life-application and drawing them closer to Jesus.

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