Monday, December 11, 2017

How these words happened to light my path

Years ago, after years of coexisting with the cancer diagnosis, I developed flu-like symptoms...bone pain, muscle aches, headaches, fatigue...I went to our family doctor, who diagnosed it as 'walking pneumonia' and prescribed antibiotics.

It was a busy time in my life. My husband, a salesperson, traveled often in business, and I managed the household. I drove our three children to and from school and chauffeured them to after-school cheer practices, gym meets and horseback riding lessons. I worked part-time in business and also volunteered at school and church. 

I didn't have time to be sick.

It had been years since I'd been diagnosed with cancer, and was still in a 'wait and see' approach to treating it. The  frequent checkups simply served as a reminder that each day is, indeed, a precious gift.  The diagnosis sharpened my vision of God's presence in the ordinary events of my life, and I began writing short, one page stories about it. 

I shared the stories with family and friends, and the insights kept piling up and so did the stories. Eventually, I needed more. I felt compelled to reach beyond my circle of contacts.  I needed to write for publication. 

Back then, there was no Facebook. There was no online blogging. There were no e-books. There was only print.  

Print took time.  If you wanted to publish articles, you had to develop a knack for each publication's style, contact the editor and wait weeks for a reply.  If you wanted to write a book, it would have to be approved by a gatekeeper, who sent it to an editorial review board for acceptance. Most were rejected.  If you were a nobody, like me, it was difficult to break into print. Becoming a published writer was a very competitive, elite field.

It took time...time that I didn't have.  
Then this illness hits. 

I couldn't work. I cancelled volunteer commitments. My neighbors drove the kids to school. Week after week, I kept thinking I'd be better soon. My health, however, continued to decline.  I became too weak to empty the dishwasher, drive my car, or check the mailbox. 

That's when the oncologist got involved. He upped the antibiotics, but when that didn't help, I phoned him and explained what was happening.  I'll never forget his response, "I think this is the lymphoma," he said. "Stay by the phone. I'm going to get you into the hospital. I'll call you back with instructions." 

This was before cellphones. My beloved husband was working, making sales calls, so there was no way to reach him. I phoned a friend, Jan, who agreed to take me to the hospital. She'd arrive shortly.

In those silent, waiting, moments, I randomly flipped open my Bible.

"What I tell you now in the gloom," I read, "shout abroad when daybreak comes." (Matthew 10:27)

 I was so weak I couldn't sit up straight in my chair. Every bone in my body hurt. My muscles ached. My head was pounding. My body was drained.  

But the verse spoke to me.

I'm going to get well, I thought. It doesn't say 'if' daybreak comes, it says 'when' daybreak comes.

And my shouting abroad? That's going to be my writing. 

I was going to get well. I was going to write. I knew it. I just knew it. 

P.S. During my hospital stay, I happened to be playing this song  by Amy Grant (Thy Word is A Lamp Unto My Feet). when my pastor came to see me.  Sorry there are no cool graphics on this one, only lyrics, which I thought were more important. What can I say? I'm a writer. I love words.  And I love that you are here, reading them. May God bless you, my friend!  

Have you ever heard God speak to you? Please leave a comment, or email me at 

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