Psalm 84:6 – When they walk through the Valley of Weeping, it will become a place of springs where pools of blessing and refreshment collect after rains! (TLB)
This morning as I prepared to take another handful of pills to control nausea and pain, I stopped briefly to consider the question posed when I open my Facebook page: "What's on your mind?"
Although I'm dealing with the knowledge that I am about halfway through the time that the doctor gave me when I was first diagnosed with stage four pancreatic cancer, that isn't the first thing that comes to my mind when I read those first lines on Facebook or hear my friends when they pose the question "How are you?" It is true, there is so much that I can no longer do — drive, visit with friends, concentrate for long periods to read or write — but I choose to focus on what I can do, and in so doing, I feel well.
My focus since the start of my dad's illness four years ago has been to find joy in the Valley of Weeping, and I'll be the first to admit that the last six months have challenged me. Hugh, my friend for fifty-seven years and husband for fifty-four, died at the end of August. My fluffy cat, who shared many of my secret tears and joys for the last dozen years, died one month later. On "Black Friday", I learned of my present diagnosis, and four days later, I received the call that my 99-year-old dad was dying. And yes, there have been days when I felt like I was in the Valley of Weeping, a valley with insurmountable mountains hemming me in on all sides. Yet, I am content. How can that be? I'm content because when I felt that I had no more energy, friends and family have slipped in beside me and brought strength and comfort. They have brought me food, visited, held my hand, and prayed for me. They have shared their strength with the weak, and each in their own way has brought me joy.
More importantly, I can say truthfully, "I am well," not because I am out of touch with the reality of my disease, but because I have faced it, not in my own strength, but with God's. I believe that I have had a healing, not in the traditional way where one walks away and says that the cancer is gone, but in a deeper sense. Although the doctors can't offer surgery, chemo, or radiation, I have a peace beyond all human understanding. It is a peace that only God can give. He has healed my anxiety, my fretting heart. He has taught me how to rest, how to live and take joy from each day, and how to trust Him with my future as I have the past. While I am alive, I am living fully, completely resting in the strength and love of God.
Join me in living fully while you are alive, and look for joy each day.
Prayer: Dear God, thank You. Even though we may be walking through the Valley of Weeping, grief, or death, we don't need to be afraid of the future, for You have promised to be with us each step of the way. Teach us to look for the kind of joy in each day that only You can bring. Amen.
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Listen while you read: "There Is Power In The Blood" (Lyrics)