It’s been over 1 year since my last post. A lot has happened, a lot has changed, but God is still revealing His plan for my life.
Early last year, I had been working through some stuff. Just trying to make sense of some things that had been bothering me. Trying to explore my relationship with God. Trying to gain some understanding. Little did I know what God would have in store for me.
In June of 2016, I was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. I feel blessed that a problem with my gall bladder; which led to its removal actually; set the stage up to find the cancer while it was relatively early in stage IIB, before it had progressed further.
I am still far from cancer free, I am still Stage IIb, but I am alive. I have been through much treatment. Chemo, radiation, even an attempt at what is called a Whipple procedure which unfortunately found my cancer to be nonresectible, which means it cannot at least for now be removed.
I have watched through the last year as I have lost my livelihood, watched my body deteriorate in ways I could not imagine. I watched as I lost my independence and now live with a permanent caregiver.
As always in these situations, we tend to always look at what we have lost. We hardly ever think of what we have gained.
If I have learned anything from this experience, it is that God is a loving and wonderful creator. Many would be upset, possibly angry, that God would allow such a thing to happen to one of His children. Some might succumb to bitterness, maybe even hate?
I reject all of that.
I won’t lie. There are days when I despair. I’m only human. Days when grief has overwhelmed me, when all the luster of living has seemingly faded.
That is not my story though. I don’t blame God for anything. Throughout this entire ordeal, His blessings have been abundant. He has put a solid foundation of people around me that have taken care of me during my entire illness. When I was on the verge of being completely broke, unable to pay my rent, He provided a way to keep me in my home. He has provided me with everything I have needed as I travel along this journey.
And that’s exactly what I think of this as. While I can’t say ultimately where this journey will end, only He knows that answer, I know that I have learned more than I ever could healthy about His love, His providence, and so many more things.
In a lot of ways, He has taught me the value of family. The true value of people in our lives. So often, we take people for granted. We get used to them. We just assume they will always be there. It’s when things go very bad, and the people we care about respond in support of you, even at their own expense, that’s when you really begin to understand the depths of what is really important.
I see now that before my illness, I was too preoccupied with the wrong things. I cultivated nice items. Things that were expensive, but ultimately empty. I realized my vision was not set on God, but on making myself comfortable. I learned that it is the people in our lives. The people we care about. The people we call family, that is important. It’s not things. It’s not even comfort. My Jesus died on a cross to save the sinner known as Drew. He didn’t have comfort, He had nothing! It was the people that mattered. I learned that my love should be for God, for the people in my life to the exclusion of everything else. I’m not saying it’s bad to have nice things, I’m saying take care of who you love, and worry about the other stuff later. God does provide.
I see know that I used God as a crutch often for when I was feeling bad, but I didn’t lean on Him when things were good and I was feeling all right. I learned God is not just for Sunday, He is for everyday! What I mean is, I obviously believed. I thought I was closer to God everyday, but I realized I wasn’t! God was what I turned to when I needed to make myself feel better when I was feeling down, but where was He when I was feeling good? Did I pray thanks for His blessings? Sometimes, but I did it with a shallowness in my heart that made it meaningless. That’s the point, my mind might have been right, but my heart was in the wrong place. My heart was in the world, not on God. You can’t follow after Jesus on Sunday, then give Him lip service Monday through Saturday, you have to mean it everyday!
Every prayer should be heartfelt, every song sung in His name should come from the deepest secret place inside you, where the real you resides. I should not have waited until my body was dying to finally have the hardest, deepest discussions with God. Those should have happened right away. He is our Heavenly Father. Why do we wait to talk with Him until it’s almost too late? How many of us only pray when we are in trouble? How many times I have experienced the very real power of the living God in my life, but I refused to see it or acknowledg it, except with a pat thank you prayer that I didn’t really mean the way I should have meant it? You learn real quickly when it seems like your life could be over how to pray, and the difference is startling.
I learned that Gods grace is everlasting. His patience is unlike anything I can describe. That’s powerful. He has been so patient with me, as I learn a little bit at a time. As His will is revealed to me. I’ve learned to have more patience, and forgiveness for others. I’ve learned that the outward appearance of people is no marker to what they are as a person inside. So I guess in a way I have learned acceptance. I accept people. Just as they are, nothing more, nothing less. This one is harder for me to describe. It’s like when you go to church, and you see some people that maybe don’t wear the nicest clothing, and so some people in the church might look down on them because of a preconceived notion that they are not giving God their best. Most of us would not tolerate that attitude in church, but somehow we have no problem doing that elsewhere. I’ve learned that the lowliest person is just as important to God as the richest.
I think I’ve rambled on enough right now though, I hope to fill in more at a later time, for now I just pray everyone is blessed, and may God show you His will in your life!