August 10th, 2012 by Sheree
It’s been a while since I’ve blogged but I have a good excuse. It’s because I’ve been feeling so good. All I’ve wanted to do is anything that gets me out of the house and makes me feel normal again. So sitting at home in front of my computer hasn’t been on the top of my priority list. There are however things that have been stirring inside me that I feel I must get out, so here I am.
If you’ve followed my journey over the past eight months you know about my intense battle with cancer. Now that I am on the other side of it and have had some time to reflect I realize that there are things I’ve learned that I must start sharing.
The first and biggest lesson I learned was on the definition of a miracle. I don’t mean the literal definition, but my own definition. You see, from the onset of my diagnosis I assumed God was going to show me something amazing through my battle. I was sure I would experience a miracle. The only problem was, my definition of a miracle and God’s were two different things. In my limited capacity of understanding I thought God was going to somehow miraculously spare me the pain and suffering that traditionally comes with chemo and radiation. He didn’t. In fact, every side effect they mentioned could happen did; and some they never mentioned happened as well.
Needless to say, it didn’t take long for me to get discouraged. Where was my God? Why wasn’t he coming to my rescue? What had I done to deserve this harsh treatment? Discouragement soon turned to despair as I waited in vain for the miracle that never came.
About the time my treatment ended I really began to seek God as I tried to make sense of it all. Why had He allowed me to suffer so much? As I pressed in to God I felt as if He whispered into my soul, “My Son suffered even more, He didn’t deserve it and he never complained”. It stopped me dead in my tracks. My whining immediately stopped too. How could I have expected better treatment than Jesus received? Why did I think I deserved a miraculous deliverance from pain and suffering when God’s own Son wasn’t spared?
Reflecting on this truth opened my eyes to see that Jesus’ suffering was for others which made me realize that perhaps my suffering was for others too. Once I took my eyes off of myself and started looking for the upside in my adversity I soon saw that there were great lessons that I could glean from my pain.
My change in perspective was a miracle, perhaps the miracle that I had been waiting for. While it didn’t look like I expected, it was far greater than I deserved. I am now a changed person with a new outlook on everything.
Below are the top 5 things I learned:
- What the enemy meant for harm, God intended for my good. If it sounds familiar it’s because it’s an adaptation of what Joseph said to his brothers twenty years after they sold him into slavery. Sometimes it takes us a while to see the good, but we serve a God who is always in control even when it doesn’t look like it.
- Don’t complain about your lot in life.The enemy can’t do anything to us that God hasn’t given him permission to do. That means when life is hard, God is allowing it for a reason. When we complain we are basically saying to God that His plan for our spiritual growth is wrong. Instead of complaining we should embrace it with the attitude to learn from it.
- Love is the most important thing. I’ve never experienced love like I did though my battle. It was incredible. But it exposed my own deficiencies in loving others. Through receiving love I learned how to give love and how truly important it is.
- Always check your motives. Somehow when God strips everything away from you, you begin to see that your motives weren’t always as pure as you thought. Having to completely step away from ministry for a couple of months helped me put things in proper perspective. It’s not about the numbers, but instead about each woman I have an opportunity to serve and love.
- Don’t let your tomorrow get in the way of your today. I’ve spent years pursuing the dream that God gave me, making the dream my goal and not enjoying where I am today. When you suddenly don’t know if you will make it to tomorrow you realize how important today is.
My challenge to you is to take another look at your life. What hard things have you gone through that are really miracles wrapped up in a different package than you expected?