Psalms 126:5 Those who sow in tears will reap with songs of joy. (NIV)
Our Advent candles are Hope, Peace, Love, and Joy—and then on Christmas Eve we light the Christ Candle. How do you experience Christmas joy when you are battling cancer? Where is the peace? What happened to God’s love?
It’s a reminder to me this year that our hope, peace, love and joy don’t always come from our circumstances, but are only permanently found in Christ. I blogged before about our daughter Amanda being diagnosed with stage three cancer this summer.
Here is Amanda’s update in her own words–the family picture above.
Cancer Update –– Post-surgery and Month One of Chemo
I figured it was time for a life update since people have been asking. Yes, I was diagnosed in late June of this year with stage three melanoma. It was found in a spot on the top of my foot that went deeper and wider than we realized. When surgery was done, it turned out to have traveled to one out of the three lymph nodes in my upper thigh/groin area. I now have some awesome battle wounds, one of which is this great circle that would make an ironic sun tattoo later.
Since my surgery life has been… different. We have had to put our kids in school literally last minute, instead of homeschooling like I had been looking forward to for years. I had more days than I cared to admit of sitting on the shower floor to bathe because my leg and foot could not support my weight. I have had more spots taken off because they were “suspicious”, and the docs did not want to run the risk of leaving them on my body. I have had to learn how to slow down, spend days in bed, accept help, and even ask for it.
I started a targeted chemo treatment about a month ago. They call it targeted because my chancer had a genetic mutation (the cancer, not me). Because of this mutation, the chemo can target the cancer cells directly instead of all my cells, like most chemo. This means I should have lesser side effects, some still, just lesser. It’s taken some getting used to—I’m not one to take life slowly. At times it feels like this is God’s way of forcing me to learn patience.
But in all honestly, I know that He has a much greater purpose. I have seen my kids grow in leaps and bounds in the past few weeks – and in ways that they would never have if I had been functioning normally. I have seen God work and act far beyond what I expected. He has reached others through our little family, through my small illness, for His good and Glory, and I have only been “sick” for a few months. If all I have to do is take a “long nap” one day and be uncomfortable for a few weeks, maybe take some pills for a year for others to realize God’s goodness and mercy and plan and purpose for their life, then dang! Let’s go!
Anyways, the Franks Family is blessed. We appreciate your love and prayers, and we navigate through this year of chemo and scans – next is Dec 30.
God is good, all the Time.
My favorite book on this topic is The Moon is Always Round. It’s a kids book that is deep enough for all of us. The thesis is that God is good even when you can’t feel it, just as the moon is always round, even when you can’t see it. That’s good theology. Our souls expand through tough times, so that our fears, hard times, questions, and grief coexist with our developing hope, peace, love, and joy. As I write, I’m sick of Amanda’s sickness, disappointed at the lack of a fantastic miracle, and totally overjoyed that her faith and trust in the sovereignty of God is stronger than her dad’s.
If you are frantically looking for one more cheap gift this Christmas, you can pick up Bizarre Christmas Bible Stories at Barnes and Noble for $9.99. They want $12.82 at Amazon.