God Was Already in the Middle of Saving Me

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F_Nichole

The day I got the news I hung up the phone, faced my toy-strewn rec room and exhaled. Now what?

I knew that I should have some kind of reaction, some kind of emotion but I  just felt … nothing. And everything. I was wife, mom, daughter, sister and friend. I was a Sunday school teacher and the parent volunteer. I was All of The Things so I had None of The Time for what came next. I certainly had no time to be sick; no time to die.

I turned back to my desk, fumbled for a pen but only found a crayon. I scratched out the words, The Words that would hold me and sustain me in the year to come. Jesus died for my right boob so I don’t have to. Isaiah 53:5. This loose translation of a familiar verse was what I knew. It was the one thing I knew to be true the moment my doctor said the word cancer.

I expected time would stop while I came to terms with the reality of being a 35-year-old cancer patient, but it didn’t. The kids came home from school. Dinner was made. Gymnastics practice happened. Homework was done. All of the regular life stuff happened, just as it always did, and then I went to bed. And in the morning, it happened all over again.

As the days passed, and my weeks began to be filled with doctor’s appointments, tests and scans, I began to feel panicky and out of control. I was an obsessive planner and now all of my plans were tossed out the window. I was at the mercy of whoever called with the next appointment. I felt like I didn’t know myself because I didn’t know what was coming next. I felt completely adrift in my own life—there was so much I didn’t know.

One evening, just before bed, my oldest boy crawled into bed with me. He began to cry as he told me about the terrible things a group of boys at school were saying about him. He felt useless, worthless and weak. I held his face in my hands and said, “Don’t you know who you are? You are precious. You are handmade by God. The same God who created the universe thinks about you. He is smitten by you, just as you are. You are His! And you are mine!”

Once my boy was settled into bed, I pulled out a pad of paper and wrote him a love note. I wrote Psalm 139:13-17 from memory and explained this beautiful truth to my dear boy. And then I remembered Ephesians 2:10 and Ezekiel 36:26-27 and Psalm 23:3 so I wrote those down, too. Every night I opened my Bible and read over the familiar highlighted verses and then wrote a few thoughts about who God is and who I was with God. I wrote and I read and I remembered what I already knew: God sees me, God knows me, God loves me.

As I recovered from my surgery and started chemotherapy, writing what I already knew became a lifeline, a sacred act. The holy act of remembering and drinking in God’s goodness became my communion. Journaling the moments where God had already come through for me reminded me that God was in the midst of bringing me through this current challenge. He was already in the middle of saving me.

It was during this time that I discovered SheLoves and I felt like I had found My People. These wonderful women were living regular lives, struggling with regular stuff and seeing God in the everyday moments of their lives. Reading these stories brought me hope and courage. The more I read of the God who was with the Sisterhood, the more I wanted to record the moments when the same God was with me. I was hungry for stories of an everyday magnificent God who loved with an ordinary divine love. This was the SheLoves story. It was my story, too.

It took a year but I beat cancer. And I wrote a book. The notebook where I wrote about a loving, present God who had known me my whole life became the first draft of my book. When I didn’t know what was going to come next, God moved me forward by showing me what was behind, what I had already overcome, what I already knew.

When I felt lost in cancer, God reminded me that I am found in Him.

I am nearing the five-year cancer-free mark in this journey. They tell me that this is a huge milestone. And it is. But this journey is about more than just cancer. My story is more than just cancer. My story is about love and joy, sorrow and comfort, loss and disappointments and courage. It’s the story of the unexpected and hope and second chances. It is the long way around and divine ordinary moments. My story is about a God who never shows up, because this God is always already with me. I am never being lost because God found me the moment He dreamed of me all the way back at the beginning of time. My story is worthy of being written, worthy of being shared … just like yours.

 

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Nichole Forbes
Nichole is just a regular gal loved by an extraordinary God. She believes in community, justice, freedom, reconciliation and the sacredness of storytelling. Her journey to connect with her Metis culture and history has been her own liberation song. She tries to live bravely every day and say the kind words that need to be heard. She raises her three Not-So-Wee-Ones in the middle of the Canadian prairies with her favorite person ever—her husband, Brad. Nichole blogs, writes and speaks on the things that fill her heart and frame her world. 
Nichole Forbes
Nichole Forbes

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