Exchanging My Pain for His Glory

My mom was diagnosed with breast cancer in November of last year.  It shook us to our core.  It was aggressive and seemed to come out of nowhere.  Fast forward to earlier this year, and she sat at her very first day of chemotherapy – anxious and afraid like all the others that surrounded her.  Some were there alone, some were young, some were old.  I knew their fears because I knew my moms.  As I sat there in that room that day, I knew God was stirring something inside of me to do.  I just didn’t know what at that moment.

If we are willing to follow them, our disappointments will lead us to our deepest longings. They are the sparks we needed to start the flame of desire. And in that place of longing, we may finally discover what we truly long for more than anything else.
— Emily Freeman, "It's Simply Tuesday"

It was an open room surrounded by thirty other patients sitting reclined in their chairs, all with IV lines hooked up to ports in their chests.  They were there just like my mom receiving their four hours of chemotherapy treatment.  The weight of the magnitude of people battling the beast of cancer came crashing down on me and I found it hard to breathe.  This is one office in one city.  There are thirty patients twice a day.  Multiply that by at least four days a week.  That’s close to 250 patients in a week’s time in a single office.  I fought tears and I felt the lump rise in my throat.  I couldn’t speak.  I felt paralyzed by the amount of pain and fear that surrounded me.

God, why?  That’s what I normally would’ve found myself asking. Instead, I found myself asking God, how

Don’t get me wrong, I’d already asked God “why?” endless times as we faced my mom’s diagnosis of breast cancer.  But as I sat in that room, I realized I may never know all the answers to those why questions.  I can only know how I can be used for His glory.  Struggles are funny like that.  And I can allow Him to use me, because of my circumstances, my pain,  to meet the needs of other hurting people right here where I’m at. 

Perhaps you were created for such a time as this.
— Esther 4:14

It was a strong realization that maybe this isn’t my season to take that international mission trip with other bloggers that I really wanted to go on.  But it is my season to meet the needs of those hurting and lost right here around me.  He can use this battle my mom is facing to allow me to merely give hope and encouragement to others who are also battling for life. 

Sometimes that doesn't come to us immediately and I think that’s where we all get stuck.  We realize God can use us right where we are but we fail to take the next step and actually pray about it, or to seek His will.  I know I’ve had so many missed opportunities because I fear rejection.  But I didn't want this to be one of them.  He created me for this very moment for a purpose.  I may not like the reason I’m here, but I can allow God to use it for His glory. 

I want to meet those people face to face and let them know there is a hope beyond a physical cure on this earth.  Maybe they know that already.  But maybe they need encouragement or just someone to tell them they are praying for them. 

I wanted to do more.  God was calling me to do more.

Some call it coincidence, but I call it a divine appointment.  That’s how the first round of our chemo care bags was created earlier this year for local chemo patients.  I had attended a Thirty-One Gifts party that was being hosted by a good friend of mine in February of this year.  At those parties you always do those “get to know” things that are part awkward and part fun.  I don’t really remember what I said, but a couple of my friends piped up about me being a “writer” (I use that term very loosely because truly I felt like I was just one of many bloggers).  The consultant asked for the name of our blog and unknowingly she was really interested in what I had to say. 

The next day she messaged me about  partnering with her for one week only to advertise the sale chemo care bags to deliver to my mom's oncology office for other women receiving chemotherapy.  In one week alone we sold 30 bags which were filled with essentials and care items to encourage those beginning their chemotherapy treatments.  As we drove up to deliver the bags at the oncology office, a song with the lyrics “I stand with arms high and heart abandoned, in awe of the One who gave it all” played on the radio.  So that’s what I’m doing.  I’m standing with arms high and heart abandoned in awe of what He began through just 30 bags.  It was a spark that lit a fire down in my soul to do more. 

It started small, but it is the spark that God used to begin something new that will be coming soon to our online shop.  Through our growing platform, Courtney and I want nothing more than to spread encouragement and hope to others who face tremendously difficult situations.  We are a lot excited and a little bit scared, but we know God has ordained this and it will be used to bring Him glory.

Out of pain and difficult circumstances are often born some of the greatest missions He has for us.