Wednesday, July 7, 2010

A Retelling

I've mentioned in passing that I'm taking part in a Bible study this summer that prompts its participants to write stories about God's hand in their lives. We read the Biblical accounts of various women in the Bible, and then this jumpstarts ideas for writing our own stories. It's incredible. Anyway, we meet on Tuesday mornings to share our stories from the week. It's so inspiring to hear of God's presence in these women's lives. Today, I decided to share my story with you each week. The goal is to end the summer with a solid start of story collecting. What an experience!

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It was one of the most difficult days of my life. As we made the thirty-minute drive to the hospital, my husband, Brian, did his best to console me, but I was a mess. A dreadful, pitiful mess. Just as I would get a hold of myself, another fear would pop into my brain and burst my joyful bubble into a million pieces.

My latest pathology report had indicated a critical need to shut down all estrogen production in my body, as a means of fighting my breast cancer. The obvious and most effective way for doing so was to remove my ovaries. Wow. It seemed like such a final thing for my body to endure. Menopause at the age of twenty-six did not sound fun, not to mention the fact that I had had my cancer-removal surgery only 11 days prior.

For weeks, people with good intentions had been warning me of the effects of removing my ovaries. Countless women advised me against such drastic measures. They shared horror stories of menopause and created intense fears inside my tiny little head. In fact, I had become quite skilled at directly telling these caring souls to buzz off. For whatever reason, once a person is in a crisis, others feel the insatiable need to offer advice and counsel about the most inappropriate things, when the best method of comforting is simply to say, “I’m so sorry.”

Now, the issue had become less a matter of choice and more a situation of necessity. The effects of menopause and the loss of fertility were no longer an item for debate, but now just a cold, hard truth.

As we pulled into the dark parking garage at the hospital, I could feel my heart beating out of my chest. “I don’t think I can do it,” I solemnly muttered to Brian.

“You don’t have to. It’s your choice,” he offered back as he took my hand.

“No. I have to. This is the best thing. In my head, I’m okay with it. But, I’m terrified of the irreversible consequences. My heart is so torn.”

With that, we walked into the building, and headed straight for the pre-op room. God definitely had his hand on me that difficult day, because the surgery schedule was running early. That never happens. Within 30 minutes, I was suited up and on the operating table. I don’t think that it was, at all, a coincidence that the Lord worked it out, so that I didn’t have to wait around, pondering the worst-case scenarios. I didn’t have to talk to many people, and I wasn’t forced to discuss my thoughts and feelings with those around me.

I was fully expecting to come out with a beard and sweating bullets. Wasn’t that what menopause was all about? But, would you believe that I looked and felt basically the same as when I went into surgery?

“I’m sure the beard will come in a few days…” I told myself.

But, days, weeks, and months went by and nothing major seemed to change, except my heart.

The holes that I feared would be created by my loss of ever having the possibility to bear children were filled with an immense love for the Lord. This woman of God, who had longed to be a mother from the time of her childhood, no longer possessed that desire. Is that the hand of God, or what?

I was able to rejoice with others who announced pregnancies, without even feeling a twinge of jealousy. How great is our God!

I’m filled with excitement as others welcome new babies into their families and homes, without any concern for my own lack of children. Praise the Lord!

Now, as I look back on that fretful day, I can’t help but smile. The Lord has chosen the most unusual life for us. He hasn’t given Brian and me the “normal” life that we expected. You know the one. The one where you get married, struggle over paint colors and furniture placement, wrestle through the financial strain of combining incomes and making stupid purchases, get back on track, and then announce a pregnancy. Throw in a couple of pets and a move or two, and you’ve got what we expected.

Instead, my Heavenly Father, who loves me so, has created the most incredible journey of faith that I could’ve ever imagined. He has exceeded my expectations, in order to showcase His power. He has carried us through incredible trials and bonded us in His name. To GOD be the glory, great and mighty things He has done!

7 comments:

Another teacher said...

What a beautiful story. You are so honest about your fears and your struggles. While I know you are writing this for your Bible study, I honestly think you should assemble these stories into a book. It would be a story of your faith and struggles as you draw nearer to the Lord.

I also completely understand about other people giving "advice" when you are going through something. When I finally got pregnant with my son after trying for over a year and a half, I had numerous women tell me horror stories of miscarriages, ectopic pregnancies, and other horrific problems where they lost their babies. I actually started walking away from women telling me these stories, and it was a valuable lesson for me as well. Sometimes we need to learn to keep our "advice" to ourselves.

Erin said...

Well written, Lindsey. Your heart for God inspires me so much. I am so proud of how you've allowed Him to fill holes that once were so prominent. It is not easy to let go of control of our emotions or desires. You are doing a great job of living each day for HIM!

one of nettie's girls said...

Beautiful story. You SHOULD compile them into a book. I also want to know the name of the study you are doing.

Hoovers in the Heartland said...

Lindsey your stories are always so inspiring. Reading your words have given me encouragement and a hunger to dig into His word and build my own relationship with Him. Thank you so much for sharing your love, fears, desires, and hopes.

Anonymous said...

Your entry reminds me to not question what I thought my life would be like. I never thought I would have an only child, but I do and we cannot change things (unless we adopt), but he is the center of our universe. And I am finding that I kind of like that! You inspire me often...I just thought you should know!

holly

Rebecca (Craving Simplicity) said...

I LOVE LOVE LOVE this post. I am praising the Lord with you. I've been lurking, but I'm finally back in the blogging world. :) (The old Mrs. Cup!)

Julie-CA said...

Well, I just finishished my morning cup of joe, reading my Bible word and my daily devotional book... then logging onto the computer and reading this story was just icing on the cake today. What a lovely way to start my day, reading a story jam packed with God's oh-so-evident goodness and unfailing love in the life of my sister-in-Christ. Thank you for sharing this Lindsey. I am so excited to hear more next Tuesday... =)