Hope

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First, although I’m a writer, I always write other people’s stories (thankfully). But given the story God is writing in my life lately, a blog seems like a good tool to keep friends and family up to date. So here goes.

This week, my urologist confirmed that I have renal cell carcinoma ($10 word for kidney cancer).  The tumor was larger than they thought initially, but the good news is that it’s completely contained in the right kidney. When they remove the kidney, as we plan to next week, I’ll be cancer-free.

Finding out I had cancer this week brought back many memories of our son Patrick’s autism diagnosis 8 1/2 years ago…feelings of fear, isolation and abandonment. Back then we were spiritually isolated. We had not opened ourselves up to real, authentic relationships with people who would share God’s Word and love me enough to tell me the truth (particularly about my pride, controlling attitude, materialism & over-indulgence in alcohol). It was a dark, frustrating time. I never would have written the word ‘autism’ into our story, or guessed that God would work any of those years for our good. (Romans 8:28).

I am grateful that God is the author of my story and not me (Psalm 139; Luke 12:6-7). Had the word autism never come into our life, I would have missed out on so much joy…The delight of seeing the world from Patrick’s quirky, hilarious perspective…The joy of watching our oldest son, Max, mature into a faithful, kind and compassionate young man…Overwhelming pride and love for Matt as he has grown as a spiritual leader and an amazing husband…And the blessing of deep, authentic relationships with other believers who have encouraged me to throw away my materialistic, performance-based faith and fully trust in God’s plans (Proverbs 3:5-9). I wouldn’t trade the path Christ has us on for anything.

I feel the same way about the season God has me in now. I deeply hope that the word ‘cancer’ will represent a very short chapter in the ongoing story of my life – a “blip” on the radar. Through many mercies from God (including early detection), that likely will be the case. But great medical care (as grateful as I am), is not where my hope is found. My hope is found in my relationship with Christ, and the fact that regardless of whether or not the surgery goes well, I serve a living God who loved me, a sinner, enough to send His Son to die for me (Ephesians 2:4-9; Romans 5:6-8). The hope I have in Christ not only guarantees me not only a glorious eternity, but a joyful and hopeful Friday, August 12. My cup is running over with friendship, encouragement in God’s Word and from friends like you. I thank God for my crazy, hilarious, faithful community of friends. I’m grateful for all the cards, notes and generosity that you’ve thrown my way this week.  You are a living example of God’s care for us.

Happy Friday and Psalm 147:10-11,

Ann

P.S. I’m looking forward to worshipping with my buddies this Sunday at Watermark Community Church at 9am, 11 am and 5:30 pm. If you’ve never been, come and see us at Watermark (service times and a map here).

SCRIPTURE REFERENCES:  

(Romans 8:28) “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”

(Pslam 139:1-5) “You have searched me, LORD, and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways. Before a word is on my tongue you, LORD, know it completely. You hem me in behind and before, and you lay your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain.”

(Luke 12:6-7)  Jesus said, “What is the price of five sparrows—two copper coins? Yet God does not forget a single one of them. And the very hairs on your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are more valuable to God than a whole flock of sparrows.”

(Proverbs 3:5-8) Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD and shun evil. This will bring health to your body and nourishment to your bones.

(Ephesians 2:4-9) “But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”

(Romans 5:6-8) “You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

(Psalm 147:10-11) “He takes no pleasure in the strength of a horse or in human might. No, the Lord’s delight is in those who fear him, those who put their hope in his unfailing love.”