Today we have Nichole Stern (the Founder of www.hisbeautymyashes.com and a member of the Proverbs 31 Writing Team) sharing with us! Her mom is a cancer survivor and shares an incredible blog about healing with us. You do NOT want to miss it!
The Evidence of Things Not Seen by Nichole Stern
In May of 2007, my Mama was diagnosed with stage four small cell carcinoma of the right lung. One doctor went as far as to tell her she probably had about six months to live and she certainly wouldn’t live longer than five years after the diagnosis.
Her diagnosis brought me to my knees. My Mama was my best friend. She was my safe place and my biggest fan. A world without her 1000 watt smile? Birthdays without her “happy birthday” voicemail? Christmas without her giddiness over even the smallest gifts? Unimaginable.
But now, heartbreakingly possible.
Mama started chemotherapy treatments that continued for six months, followed by radiation to her lungs and her head, because when small cell lung cancer revisits, it most often does so in the brain.
Chemo made Mama weak and sick. Radiation caused her excruciating pain in her head, horrible indigestion, and angry burns on her chest and back. My Dad would lie beside her in bed, rubbing her head with his calloused hands, willing the pain to stop and the cancer to flee this woman he’d loved “all his life”; he’ll tell you his life didn’t really start until her. These moments were a beautiful picture of “in sickness and in health,”, but they were also a gut wrenching sight for me because I couldn’t imagine my Daddy without my Mama, and this diagnosis could make the unimaginable, imaginable.
Her treatments were complete by Christmas that year, and the new year found us hopeful. The scans showed no cancer and we exhaled for what seemed like the first time in eight months.
Then a scan and lung biopsy three months later put us back on high alert. There were some suspicious cells around the tumor site.
Mama started her second round of chemo two weeks after my wedding day.
By the grace of God, that second bout of chemo in 2008 was her last. She has been cancer free ever since. And while we have had some scares along the way, and life will never be the same, Jehovah Rapha, God our Healer, remains faithful and true and we praise Him for His work in and through this storm.
While grateful for her healing, I’ve often wondered why we had to endure such a horrible disease. If God planned to heal her all along, why did He allow the diagnosis at all?
I don’t have all the answers to my questions, and probably never will this side of heaven. But I have asked God to give me some perspective and He has honored my request.
Before this battle with cancer, miracles were almost like fairy tales to me. Through it, I have come to understand that miracles sometimes take the form of strength to shave your Mama’s beautiful head, or the courage to sit beside her during treatments when you’re scared of needles. Sometimes miracles take the form of healing even when the Doctors say "there’s no way."
When this journey started over nine years ago, my faith had shallow roots and tender shoots. But as the storm raged and satan tried to steal my hope, I learned how to cling to Truth and trust God like I’d never done before.
Without cancer, my faith would still be shallowly based upon only what I could see.
Because of cancer, I now understand Hebrews 11:1:
Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
My Mama is a walking miracle, and we celebrate this evidence that our God, though we cannot see Him, is at work in, through, and around us.
Whatever your storm today, may I encourage you to trust God like never before? Will you let Him deepen your faith in what you cannot see?
Nichole is a grateful Jesus girl saved by grace who has been called to live out Psalm 107:2 “…let the redeemed of the Lord tell their story.”
She is a writer and speaker who finds great joy in mentoring young women and helping others learn more about God through studying His word.
Connect with Nichole @ www.hisbeautymyashes.com
FB: Nichole Stern
Photo by: Photography by Sylvia (Sylvia Arbelaez)