Sunday, February 15, 2009

I Will Not Be Shaken

I Will Not Be Shaken

A few weeks ago, during my routine female-exam, some abnormalities were detected that could indicate uterine cancer, or at the very least that I might need surgery. I had tests done, and have had to wait the last two weeks for results. Those results came in just Friday, and I learned that I do not have cancer (but do have a situation that is pre-cancerous that will potentially require intervention at some time in the future) and that I do not need surgery right now. During the wait, God showed me several things about myself, and about Him. Not the least of which is that I needed to continually say “I will NOT be shaken” out loud, so that I would not give in to fear and worry.

I am in the newest Beth Moore Bible study about Esther. The subtitle is ‘It’s Tough Being a Woman”. Interesting that she shares that many women, when asked what is toughest about being a woman mentioned HORMONES. That very next week, I faced a test that clearly proved that hormones were making my life tough at that very time!

When you are facing a potential ‘crisis’, it brings you to your knees. At least it did that for me. It’s not that I am not on my knees otherwise, but when you feel desperate and scared, it is the best posture to assume and you tend to go there quickly!

I questioned God at first. What in the world is up with the timing of this? Who will drive my girls to school and other activities? Who will take care of my household responsibilities? I have a wedding to plan! I am speaking this Spring at Retreat! I have a very full load of counseling each week – I can’t just tell ladies to put their depression or marriage problems on hold while I go through cancer! And the regular, normal tasks involved in my ministry that have to be tended to – how do those kinds of things get delegated?! This timing is all wrong!

Then last week, our lesson focused on timing, and how Esther was put in the position she was in ‘for such a time as this’. I started to realize that I need not question the timing – that if God saw fit to allow this right now, then it IS the right timing and He will tend to all the details. I just needed to be willing to accept it, regardless of what seemed to me like bad timing! More than that, it could be the very thing that He would use in my family life and ministry in ways that I cannot even see. I needed to just trust Him with the timing. By the time I got the test results, I had resolved to bless God no matter what. I was ready to delegate what I could, and let things go if I needed to.

Beth taught us that Esther was a woman who could have easily had some major issues that she might feel would disqualify her to be of service to God. She was an orphan, chosen for her outward beauty, and did not get called by the king for 30 days, not to mention all the other challenges in her lifestyle. And yet, God chose HER to save her people. She was not rendered useless because of her past or her circumstances. He has shown me that through two weeks of waiting to hear if I had cancer, even though I was feeling very useless to others because I was just trying to keep a grip, and process my circumstances, that He would work through me anyway – reminding me that I am only the vessel. There have been some awesome moments in my family and ministry in the past couple of weeks that can only be attributed to God and His grace! He has taught me many times how to minister while wounded.

Something about looking your mortality in the face causes you to weigh your priorities.
Somehow, I have a renewed passion for my family and my ministry. Maybe it was the thought of having to give them up, in a sense, that made me appreciate them all the more. I started to wonder if God was just done using me here – but apparently not, at least not right now. I needed to be able to praise Him either way! And when I go back for another biopsy in June to see if the cells become cancerous, I need to be able to praise Him then, too.

The Esther study is teaching us that we have a ‘destiny’….I came to terms last week with the idea that my destiny could be cancer, or it might be in the future. Instead of ‘why me’….I had to say ‘why not me’. I was and am willing, because it is NOT about ME alone – God will use it as He sees fit. I surrender to His will! Otherwise, I could miss my destiny.

I am always aware that things that I have gone through and will go through are not just for me, ever. Mine is a ministry born out of adversity, and if God allowed or allows cancer, surgery, or whatever in my life, then to Him be the glory! Beth has taught us that we are not called to an easy life, we are called to a purposeful life. A diagnosis is part of a greater plan.

God has revealed Himself in some fresh ways to me through this. I am so grateful for that. I’ve adopted a new ‘life passage’ for such a time as this:

Romans 11:33-36, NIV:
33Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God!
How unsearchable his judgments,
and his paths beyond tracing out!
34"Who has known the mind of the Lord?
Or who has been his counselor?"
35"Who has ever given to God,
that God should repay him?"
36For from him and through him and to him are all things.
To him be the glory forever! Amen.


Melinda said...

Ellen, I'm sorry I didn't know you were dealing with this. I am thankful that it isn't serious and that they can deal with it. I am thankful for the strength you found in waiting for the results. And even though it's a little belated, I will be praying for you.


Laurie said...

Ellen, I agree with Melinda...I am so sorry that I was clueless. My prayers will become stronger for you and ask God to help you find th strength you need to persevere. Thankfully it wasn't cancer! HUGS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Ellen said...

hey you two, no need to be sorry that you didn't know. I really didn't tell more than a few friends here about it....I didn't want to alarm anyone unless or until I knew what I was dealing with. But now that I am on this side of it, I felt that I would share it so that it might help someone else. Thanks for your prayers, you both mean so much to me!!

Debra said...

What an awesome testimony. Even though I am not facing issues such as these, I am incrdibly encouraged by what God has shown you. To God Be The matter what! See you in May :)

JulieG said...

Hello Ellen, Thank you for your blog! Having been through a similar scare several years ago, I identify with your thoughts of "what if." Mine wasnt cancer either, but (sparing the details here) I did have a surgical procedure that changed my life for the better!
I rejoice with you that you will be fine and continue on in your ministry.
Your co-laborer,