October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. My personal journey with breast cancer has prompted a passion to support others through education and encouragement to reduce the risk of and PREVENT cancer. Cancer is an enemy. It is used by the Enemy. It takes you into battle with your whole being; heart, mind, body and soul. There is pain, loss and other casualties in the war. For this post however, I want to share my gratitude for the blessing of Cancer.
Did I surprise you? The irony of being diagnosed with a potentially terminal disease that leads you into greater wellness is worthy of pondering. Nothing is impossible with God. God used my journey with breast cancer to lead me to more abundant life. My prayer for you is, allow our God of mercy and grace to bless you and birth in you new life regardless of the circumstances.
After hearing my diagnosis on December 20th, 2006 it took me over a week to finally allow tears to fall. I went on automatic pilot and began my fact finding mission about my cancer and treatment options. I celebrated the holidays the best I could.
And then… I went to yoga class. Yoga for me has always been a form of “body prayer and praise.” I worship my Jesus and connect to HIM as I bow down in surrender and rise up in strength. Following the class I went into the steam sauna to detox in both body and soul. I prayed, “Cleanse me of my sins, oh Lord, and renew a steadfast spirit within me”. I felt lost, alone and afraid. That event in my life is now lovingly referred to as my “Steam Clean”. Alone and in the silence I cried out to God. My heart finally was open, ready to hear his voice personally speak to me. God asked me in that sauna, “Are you living or dying?” I knew the choice was mine. Our conversation continued and in that unlikely place, my heart was transformed from intense anguish to “peace beyond understanding”.
On June 13th, six months later, I climbed my first Adirondack High Peak. At the top of Cascade Mountain, I raised my arms, that act alone was amazing grace following bilateral mastectomy and reconstructive surgeries. In triumph and praise I shouted, “I choose Life”. I still feel the emotion of that moment as I share with you. The act of standing on the mountain top, my feet steady on the ROCK, my eyes looking to heaven, and my arms lifted in praise was life changing; a life-giving event. I was alive and full of gratitude with my entire being. “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”
For those of you that attended Holy Yoga during September you know the class intentions and meditations focused on God saying to us, “I am offering you life or death, blessing or curse. Choose life so that you and your children will live.”(Deuteronomy 30:19)
I choose to find the blessings of having had Cancer. I am grateful for what it has taught me and what I continue to learn. God continues to re-create me. What I have lost in body has actually made me more whole. Choose life, choose blessings.