Friday, July 11, 2014
Delivered From Fear
Yesterday was an extremely tense day for my family. My sister, Betty, who has been struggling with breast cancer for the last 9 months, went in for a mastectomy. The news from the doctors leading up to the surgery was not terribly encouraging -- after several months of chemotherapy, the tumor she started with hadn't responded to the chemo, and in fact, a second tumor had formed. They had held off on doing the mastectomy to try to get the cancer gone first, because once the breast tissue is removed, it can be hard to monitor the state of things. But with the chemo not working, well, it was time. We (family, friends, community) prayed so much in the weeks and days leading up to the surgery. Her adoptive father, who is a minister (we were separated by adoption in early childhood), prayed over her and the surgeons as they went in for the procedure, and we all continued to pray throughout. I am so very thankful to be able to share today that the surgery went exceedingly well! The doctors feel that they removed every last trace of the cancer, and that the lymph nodes that they removed during the surgery seem to be clear. We have another week to wait to be sure on the latter, and then she will begin radiation treatment. So she's not out of the woods yet, but this is all such wonderful, encouraging progress. We all had so very many fears about how this could go, but God has heard our cries for help, and answered our prayers in the most wonderful of ways!
This whole process has me in mind of the Scripture verse Psalm 34:4 -- "I sought the Lord, and he heard me, and delivered me from all my fears." This has been a touchstone verse for me for a long time -- one that I recite in my head in times of trouble. Although I have great faith in the Lord, I am still a frail human vessel. Fear can and does take root sometimes. Reciting this verse to myself helps to bring me back to center, reminds me that I am commanded through Scripture to "pray without ceasing," and that in doing so, the Lord hears me and takes away my fears. It's such an important verse to me, that I included it in "The Lord is Our Refuge" set, so that hopefully it can be an encouragement to others -- YOU! -- as well. Designer Stephanie Wright has shared with me that this is an important verse to her, too. She used it on the card that we're sharing today, which, yes, I know we've shared before, but it is so sweet and perfect for this occasion that I wanted to share it again. :-) I hope that seeing this powerful verse on this sweet card will help you find center today, too. Remember, God does hear us, and it makes Him very happy to take away our fears!