Beauty from Ashes

With chemo and surgery behind me, I marvel at how God brought us through it all. He gave me complete peace about chemo, guided me through doing my own nutritional therapy, gave me peace about surgery, and held me every time the fear started to creep in. I received the preliminary pathology report  from my surgery and the results are nothing short of a miracle.

The truth is, I probably shouldn’t have responded as well as I did to chemo and I believe it’s because of the nutritional therapy that I did with it, by the grace and direction of God. Before chemo began, we knew I had invasive Ductal carcinoma (IDC) in both breasts. I had 3 tumors in the left breast and microcalcifications in both breasts that were cancerous. We also knew that at least 4 but likely more lymph nodes on my left side were diseased and I have spots on my femur that we suspect are metastatic (but they’re not sure and couldn’t biopsy due to location). I did 6 rounds of chemo and antibodies (and will continue the antibodies indefinitely) and did nutritional therapy before and during chemo and am continuing it.

2 weeks ago, I had a bilateral mastectomy (which I will blog about soon) and the pathology report revealed that all 3 of my tumors were GONE, the microcalcificationa had essentially melted, and there was no IDC in either breast. They did find a small amount of “pre-cancerous cells.” Then only one lymph node had just a very small amount of cancer remaining, a .02mm spot, to be exact. This, my friends, is amazing.

Today in church, our pastor talked about the story of Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead. If you’re not familiar with the story, it is found in John 11. Lazarus and his sisters, Martha and Mary, were followers of Jesus and He spent time in their home. Lazarus became very ill and when it was apparent he would die, his family and friends sent for Jesus because they believed he could heal him. Jesus did not immediately go and Lazarus died. When Jesus did go back, Lazarus had been dead for 4 days, wrapped in burial clothes, and placed in a tomb. Upon Jesus’ return, both of Lazarus’ sisters said to Jesus that if he had been there,  Lazarus would not have died and they wept.

Verse 33-37: “When Jesus therefore saw her weeping, and the Jews who came with her alsoweeping, He was deeply moved in spirit and was troubled, and said, “Where have you laid him?” They said to Him, “Lord, come and see.” Jesus wept. So the Jews were saying, “See how He loved him!” But some of them said, “Could not this man, who opened the eyes of the blind man, have kept this man also from dying?”

Jesus then went to the tomb and instructed those there to roll the stone away. Martha reminded Jesus that he’d been dead for 4 days and there would be an awful stench (typical woman) but they did as Jesus said. Jesus prayed aloud to His Father in Heaven and then commanded “Lazarus, come forth.” And the dead man walked out of the tomb, still bound by the burial wrappings.”

If you read this passage for yourself, you will see that Jesus CHOSE to allow Lazarus to die, and his family and friends to grieve, rather than to miraculously heal him. Jesus was even emotionally moved and troubled so much that he wept. He experienced the loss with them; he empathized with them.

One of my favorite bible verses is Hebrews 4:15-16

 For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin. Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

Jesus, our High Priest, walked this earth, he felt all the feelings we felt, and then some. What….have YOU sweat blood because you were so distraught?!?! He rejoiced with those who rejoiced and he mourned with those who mourned. He was tempted just as we are (and then some), yet remained sinless. And THEN he died one of the most gruesome deaths so that YOU AND I can spend eternity with God.

Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead had a far greater impact on his ministry than simply healing him would have. Jesus had already healed many but to raise a man from the dead….that brought his ministry to a whole new level, so to speak. Our pastor also briefly spoke on the 3 men in the fiery furnace and how their obedience to God got them thrown into a fiery furnace. They went through the flames but God protected them and was with them; not a hair on their bodies were singed. As a direct result of this, the King turned his heart (and his people) towards God.

As I have gone through this journey, I initially prayed for miraculous healing. I asked God to spare me from chemo, surgery, radiation, etc. I specifically asked Him to reveal to me if he was NOT going to heal me immediately and he responded within 24 hours in the form of a dear friend very reluctantly messaging me on FB. God could have healed me then, but I would not be where I am today. I doubt I would be walking as closely to Him as I am now. I probably wouldn’t have this blog, I wouldn’t be passionate about finding natural therapies for cancer. I wouldn’t have met dozens of other cancer patients/survivors, I wouldn’t be “leaving a legacy” in any of those areas. Oh, I would’ve given God all the glory and honor for miraculously healing me but I wouldn’t have been refined in this fire. I wouldn’t have had moments of extreme weakness where He was able to be my strength. I wouldn’t have asked and heard him answer more times than I can count.

I am reminded of the mighty redwoods and sequoia trees in California. Have you ever had the privilege of seeing them in person? They are….majestic. Here are some pictures but they simply don’t do these amazing giants any justice.

The-Unexplored-adventure-in-the-Redwoods

tfb8dsc5osgsbqp0yvoxThe Big Tree

One of the fascinating things about how God created these trees is that they NEED fire to survive. I’m not kidding! The seeds of these trees are essentially glued in their cones. Only the intense heat of a forest fire will cause the resin to release the seeds! Not only that but the bark of these trees contains natural flame retardants that can protect them to an extent from forest fires. We usually think of forest fires as bad and destructive, but in the case of the redwoods, fires bring about new life!

Sometimes, we have to endure the flames in order to grow, to change, to allow the best part of ourselves to be opened up. Rest assured that as you go through the flames, God will go through them WITH you. Only He can make beauty from ashes….diamonds out of dust!

 

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