Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Peace that transcends understanding

My friend (and mentor) Pauline commented shortly before this last surgery " I wish I knew why God has chosen to allow you to bear this load". I have been trying to find an answer to that "why". Some Divine revelation. Some unique purpose. Some amazing reason for all of this. All I come up with is that He is strengthening my faith with every passing day.
Most everyone reading this knows me, but just in case someone has stumbled upon this blog and does not know my current situation, let me take a moment now and try to give the brief version.
I have had chronic laryngitis for years. For the past 3 years, I have had doctor after doctor tell me that my vocal cords are damaged from acid reflux and that there is nothing I can do about it.
Last September, I went to see Dr Schweinfurth at UMC and on the 23 of that month He surgically removed what we believed to be a cyst off of my right vocal cord. 2 weeks later, he told us that I have Carcinoma in Situ of the true vocal cords. I don't have "cancer". I have a nice little package of cancer cells making themselves at home on my vocal cords. We planned to do a biopsy in the spring to see how many cancer cells were left after the tissue healed from the surgery. Around Christmas, my voice started to get hoarse again and I began to notice polyphony when I sang. I got an appointment on the 15th of January. By this time I could not sing at all and my speaking voice sounded terrible. There was no question that something was growing on my cord(s), so I had surgery (micro flap excision and laser ablation....not "vocal cord stripping") again on the 26th (Monday of this week). Now I am on strict voice rest (that's medical terminology for do not, under any circumstances, utter a word) until I go back to see Dr. Schweinfurth on the 12th of Feb. At that visit, I will get the pathology report and we will know where to go from here. Perhaps this will be the end of it and we will only need to do one more surgery, that being a biopsy to insure that there are no more cancer cells lurking about. Then again, I could be that 1 in a million case that progresses to invasive carcinoma. Of course, I could have any level of dysplasia, which would be wonderful news.
Which brings me back to Pauline's statement. I use my voice to serve Him. I teach Sunday school. I sing in the choir. I lead Ladies Bible Study. Before I lost my ability to talk over a room full of children, I lead the Children's worship on Sunday mornings. I teach music for VBS. I tell people about Him and about my passion for Him. I don't drink or smoke, and I am only 36. So why? Why has God chosen to allow me to travel this road? What does me having pre-cancer and going through multiple surgeries followed by extended periods of time without being able to talk have to do with His master plan? I don't know. But that's okay. He knows.
People do not believe me when I say that I have absolutely no idea what He is doing and am totally okay with it. Really. It is okay. God has a plan and a purpose for everything. He knows the full story, all the characters, and every detail of the plot. I don't. I trust Him because I love Him and because I believe that He loves me and because I believe that HE knows what He is doing.
Who would have thought that a fictional character could put words to my feelings? I read "Scrapping Plans", by my friend Rebecca Sietz, after my surgery ( I get a lot of reading done when i can't talk) and one of her characters made reference to having a "peace that passes understanding". Philippians 4:6-7 says: "Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. " The peace of GOD. Yep, that's it. That explains it all. The peace of GOD transcends all understanding. Not peace of medicine, or doctors, or statistics, but the peace of GOD transcends all understanding. When things don't make sense, the peace of GOD makes it all "okay". I don't know what the outcome of this surgery will be, but I trust HIM. I know that HE knows what He is doing. Even though it makes sense for me to be "anxious and worried" about the pathology results, I am not. Like Peter, as long as I stay focused on my Savior, I am okay. It is when i start focusing on the storm and the waves that I start to sink, not into the water as Peter did, but into the depths of worry and dispair.
Does this mean I don't question God? I wish it did. No, I have my "why" moments. Does this mean that I like what is going on inside my body? Of course not. BUT I rest secure in the arms of my Father in heaven who loves me. HE knows what the outcome of all of this is going to be. I have never been closer to Him than in these times of silence. I have never felt His presence more than I have over the past several months. My faith has been strengthened exponentially through this ordeal.
So, today I take comfort that the Creator of the entire universe loves me. The same God that chose the colors of the Iris, Daylily and Rose, chose the color of my skin, eyes, and hair. The same God who spoke and made light, gently knit me together in my mother's womb. He knows the number of hairs on my head. He knows every thought I have ever thought or will ever think. He KNOWs me. So, today, I take comfort in that fact. He knows what this is doing to me. He knows my fears and my doubts. He knows the physical pain I am going through as well as the emotional pain that comes from not being able to communicate with those I love. He knows how much it pains me to sit silently through church while others sing His praises. He knows. Even though I don't understand, He knows why this is happening and I trust Him. Perhaps it is for no other reason than to draw this daughter closer to his chest.
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