This week has been a difficult one. Not so much because the cancer is still there and I start treatment again next week, but because I long to be obedient to God's will. And that's a tough one when you feel you have lost sight of it or feel as if you need to be reminded of it again. And let's face it -- I've got chemo brain -- and I'm in need of a good reminder.
But let me back track a bit. For those of you who have read this blog for awhile, you may know that food has played an integral role in my new life with cancer. After I was initially diagnosed, I learned that cancer thrived on sugar. So I quit sugar cold turkey. Good-bye chocolate almond ice cream, Chips Ahoy and Costco's chocolate muffins. Hello blueberries.
Then after my first recurrence, I learned of a Christian guy who abhorred chemo and felt that eating a raw diet was the cure to cancer. As I spent hours reading his blog, he also mentioned that one should pray about such a decision before foregoing chemo and juicing all day. But I found myself juicing all day.
Soon after, I found my way to a center in Chicago that believed in an integrative approach to cancer. A plant-based diet, supplements, exercise, low stress -- all the stuff we know to do, but don't -- is what they advocated. And I did it. Until chemo began. And then because I had that icky taste in my mouth, I couldn't stomach taking 50 supplements a day and eating salads for breakfast. I remember telling my Dad after my second treatment, "Grab your car keys, get in your car and go get me some bagels and cream cheese." I basically put a gun to the guy's head. When he returned, I ate three of them in five minutes. No lie.
So when I learned that my cancer had grown after not following a strict raw or vegan diet, I thought I had been disobedient to God. That also made me think, Maybe I shouldn't have done chemo either. I began second guessing myself as to what I've felt God's will has been for me while on this journey. And I felt as if I was back to square one. And, trust me, that's a horrible place to be. And I've been there all week. And my fervent prayer has been for God to clearly illuminate my path.
So after reading this, you're probably wondering why I titled this post, "All Because of Birds." You are probably thinking that a bird dropped a note out of its beak while I was reading my Bible that read, "Eat Raw!" Nope. I received something better. But again, I must back track a bit.
So a few months back, as I was sitting in my backyard, I decided that I wanted to make a sign and hang it near my bird feeder. I thought it would be nice to write the verse that referenced God and his care of the birds. But given my extremely limited knowledge of scripture, I had to ask my friend and her husband if they knew of the scripture I was thinking of and where it was found in the Bible. Looking back, (again, chemo brain) I think they both said, "Matthew", but they weren't exactly sure of the verse.
OK, so that leads me back to today. So after having a week from hell without the heat, I decided that I would just rest today. My plan was to get Rachel off to school, run just a couple of errands, watch a movie (Secretariat) and read magazines. Basically, just veg. But when you're desperately seeking God's will, you can't just veg.
So I grabbed my Bible and again headed to the backyard. (I find such peace back there, I tell ya.) As I sat down, my tears began to flow. And didn't stop. I began by thanking God because I KNEW He would direct my path. I knew it. Whether it was today or next year, I know that He does not ignore those who depend on Him. And I told Him that I was sorry for my tears. Because my tears represented frustration, not lack of faith. And I was desperate to be obedient to His will.
Through my tears, I began to turn to the Psalms. I again read Psalms 20 and 21, the scriptures in which I believe God promised me healing on September 11, 2011.
I can't read those enough.
I then found my way to Matthew, remembering about the sign I had wanted to make and hearing several birds chirping just a few feet away from me. I thought it was highly unlikely that I would find that scripture, though my eyes initially scanned for the word "birds." I then stumbled upon a section in my Bible that I had circled three years ago that read, "Seven Reasons Not to Worry." Well, of course this caught my attention as that's all I've done this week.
And that section directed me to
Matthew 6:26 --
Matthew 6:26 --
"Look at the birds. They don't plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren't you far more valuable to him than they are? Can all your worries add a single moment to your life?"
And then to Matthew 6:31 --
"So don't worry about these things saying, "What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear? These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows your needs. Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and He will give you everything you need."
My heart just melted. My tears dried up. And I sat in utter amazement that the God of this universe just answered the cries of this Mom in her backyard. Because this Mom has been freaking out over cancer and her diet -- big time.
Does this mean I will do something stupid like eat chocolate almond ice cream for breakfast and dinner despite the fact that I know cancer loves sugar? Absolutely not. What this means to me is that I will take care of the body that God has given me. To the best of my ability. I will eat as healthy as I can but will not obsess over the foods I eat or the type of shampoo I use. For they won't be responsible for my healing.
If you are reading this and have cancer, I urge you to pray for God's will regarding your treatment. Those living with cancer get so bombarded with so many well intentioned people saying, "Try this herb!" "See this doctor!" "Eat this food!" -- it's utterly overwhelming. I believe God heals in many different ways. As a result, seek His face. Run to Him. Seek his will for YOUR life and don't stop until your heavenly Father answers you.
And if you are reading this and know of someone who has cancer, please pray for guidance for the many decisions that lie ahead of them. As the necklace says,
"can't do cancer without God."
"can't do cancer without God."
I know this was a very long post. But I pray that it helps many who read it. Whether you have cancer or not.
Again, one of my favorite verses --
"Draw near to Him and He will draw near to you."
So grab your Bible and head for the backyard.
He just might be waiting for you.