As I try to put my thoughts together for this post from the most INCREDIBLE day, I feel myself getting tired…it has been a long day too.
My day started early and my phone was already buzzing with a text and a few emails. The text was from a PBCC friend who took a picture of the sunrise this morning…she sent the picture to me in an email. I checked my email and WOW…nothing displays the reality of Gods control than a Florida sunrise. These colors were so beautifully blended. I had a rough day yesterday and this picture reminded me that God was in control and today was a new day. I got out of bed, found my usual attire for chemo (jeans and a t-shirt) and played with the kids before heading for the door.
I arrived for treatment ten minutes early, so with the morning starting as it did, I did my devotion in the car. Today's theme was easy – God is in control and every situation can be a part of Gods plan. I really wanted to go…”Okay God, I get it! You are in control, I am not and You are using all of this somehow…now CHILL!” It's almost as if Jeff Foxworthy popped up and said, “Here's your sign.”
Upon heading into chemo I was seated by a woman that, frankly, I texted Steve “I bet she had one of those special brownies” and she smelled like it too. I was starting to think this was going to be the quietest treatment day ever. I could deal with that. I lost sleep due to leg pain, so I could sleep.
Before dozing off I forgot to open my “Wednesday” and “Thursday” cards. At this point, I remember reading Wednesdays card, but Thursdays was priceless. It read, “If people ask why you are wearing a scarf on your head and you say because you're a pirate…they will have no follow-up question.” I read this and laughed out loud…not the subtle cover your mouth and then clear your throat quiet laugh…oh no, this was loud, echo laughter in a room that was completely silent. Just then a young lady walked by named Sarah. She needed a seat and the one on my other side was free. Once she was seated and hooked-up, I showed her the card…and yea, she cracked up too.
Sarah and I started a conversation with this card, that lasted well over 3 hours…maybe longer but I'm not sure really what time we started talking anymore. Our conversation turned to the question, “Why does God let bad things happen to good people?” Sarah went on to share her story…she did the church thing for a bit and still wanted to believe in a loving God, but there were a lot of bad things that happened in her life that made her leave church, even when her sister begged her to come back to church with her so many times. Sarah asked, “Why would a loving God leave when things get rough?” I remember this question because this started my long and fun answer.
I showed Sarah the picture I was sent this morning…what an amazing, in control, Creator God. Then I shared with her the devotion from this morning, how God can use any situation. Then, I shared my testimony (something I admit I haven't done in a while) sharing with her how hard it was trying to accept a loving, Creator God that I felt like never really completed me…I was left with several physical disabilities. I really wrestled with this for years. People would tell me that God had a plan for my life and that for some it would be to be single (never say this to a single female people). Then after I accepted Gods call in my life to go into ministry I was told how hard it would be for a female with disabilities to be taken seriously. Most ministry graduates find themselves in another line of work after only 5 years…I'm starting my 8th year in ministry this May…oh yea, and I'm happily married with two boys. (Of course this is the short version, but you get the idea).
I showed Sarah points in my life that you could tell God was there, though I didn't get it then, but God was in control of my life. The friends I grew close to in college, the professors that poured into my life, my first ministry opportunities, the fact that Steve and I were friends for years standing right beside one another in group pictures before we even started really taking interest in one another. Sarah started sharing moments in her life that she labeled as “coincidences” and as these moments started adding up, I remember turning to Sarah and saying, “Girl, I love you, but you can only win the lottery so many times.” My point was that there was something bigger at work in her life. She saw it, I saw it…the light bulb clicked.
She started asking questions about Jesus, the cross, what it really meant to be saved…I mean this girl wanted to know! we started talking and through my handy little iPad, we read Scripture together about Gods love displayed through the ultimate sacrifice of His Son so that we may have life…and live our life here to the full. I explained to her that God is the only relationship that we can have that truly goes the distance…His love never fails.
By the end of our conversation, we were both in tears and I think everyone else was simply just avoiding the scene! But she stopped and called her sister on speakerphone that goes to a church here in Florida and the conversation went like this:
SARAH – Hello
SISTER – Sarah?! You ok?
SARAH – I'm coming to church with you on Sunday….
SISTER -(Very loud scream of excitement)
SARAH – I found God, He was there the whole time. Remember when….that was God, He was there!”
I couldn't quit smiling! God had me in the right place at the right time!
Then, I met with my head doctor to discuss treatment options. long story short, it was decided to try a different form of chemo that is more aggressive with the tumor and less tolerable to my CIDP. Long story short, it will attack the tumor, but I will be in CIDP pain. I can handle that…just get the tumor gone.
As my doctor headed to walk away he said, “You know Bethany, I think these ladies have the most critical patients seated by you for a reason in here…you just glow!” Wow…I had no idea they were doing that this entire time!
THEN…I Skyped with my specialist in Atlanta who has dealt with CIDP in the past. We talked about no radiation next Monday (yay…I get a BREAK!) and perpetration for the different chemo starting Tuesday. Out of the blue he asks, “Do you remember talking about your number one thing a few weeks ago”? I was talking about making my number one thing the most important in my life…and that was family. I was sharing how I hated going through this, but it would help me get my number one thing back to its position. This idea is from Andy Stanley, founder of North Point Community Church located near Atlanta. Well, my specialist never forgot that and his wife was begging him to go to church for years. He started listening to Andy's leadership podcast, then started making the 30 minute drive to North Point every week…then last Sunday they decided it was time to complete “Starting Point” a membership class! He told me that he needed this for a long time and he saw something different about me (we both laughed at that). He said they were praying for me too. HOW AWESOME IS THAT???
God has me right where He wanted me this entire time! I should not have doubted that…but I really needed this too! God is amazing!!!!
I know you are celebrating with me! I can't keep my eyes open much longer though….so celebrate a growing extended family!!