August 24, 2012

The Ride of a Lifetime

It’s my pleasure to introduce to you my guest post today, Donna Bostick; Donna was a great encouragement to me long before we ever met face to face. I knew we were kindred spirits both in our love for Jesus and our love of laughter. When you’ve been through hard times, like Donna and me, you learn to laugh in the face of fear. “How can we laugh,” you ask? Because we chose to enjoy the ride–good or bad–it was a ride chosen by the hand of God and His hand can always be trusted.

You’re gonna love this girl! She’ll bless your heart! Visit Donna’s blog, leave a comment and enter to win a copy of An Untroubled Heart!

“Life is like a roller coaster.  It has its ups and downs. But it’s your choice to scream or enjoy the ride.” Author Unknown

I love a good roller coaster.  Higher. Faster.  Bigger.  Loop-d-loops for days!

What’s not to love about the need for speed, the thrill of the highs, the lows, the unexpected twists and turns of the track?

Unfortunately, my roller coaster did not have wheels or equipped with seatbelts to hold me in place.    My roller coaster came in the form of a lump.  A lump on my thyroid.

I was working in our church basement alongside our women’s ministry members haphazardly throwing glitter over these little cardboard boxes in the shape of stars, adding some frou-frou embellishments to giveaways for our annual Christmas tea.  And crafting is not listed amongst my spiritual gifting.  So let your imagination run wild with you – I had glitter from head to toe!  I began swooshing the glitter off my body and onto the floor and as I swooshed, I found a small lump in the area of my throat.

Later that week, I made a doctor’s appointment thinking it was just a little inconvenience and nothing a little pill couldn’t fix.   The doctor immediately picked up the phone scheduling a same day appointment with the diagnostic imaging office.

Still, not too concerned, I jumped in my car and made my way over to the radiologist’s office.  There I waited and waited and waited some more!   My ride had come to a complete, unexpected jolting stop as the radiologist contacted my doctor. I was told to go immediately back over to my doctor’s office and she would tell me everything I needed to know.

Upon entering her office, I heard her say, “Donna”, I think its cancer and we will be here by your side and we will PRAY for you!”   As soon as she said, “Pray for me”, this still no longer small voice in my head began to scream.   It was when those words rushed my ears; I knew I was no longer feeling the need for speed.  I wanted the ride to stop and stop NOW!

So more tests, more curves were thrown my way.  Six weeks later, surgery was scheduled.   A few hours after surgery, as I was wheeled down the hospital hall, I could hear the surgeon tell my mom half of my thyroid was removed and the lumps were benign. Peace to my once filled screaming ears!

Two days later, as I entered the exam room for my follow-up, the surgeon handed me a slip of paper with gigantic unpronounceable words that seemed to roll on forever.  And then he spoke, “Donna, it is cancer.  You have the fastest growing kind of cancer you can have. We need to operate again as soon as possible!”

Yes. I freaked.  I became unglued.  Emotions, thoughts that I had stuffed for weeks all came to the surface and my mom was on the receiving end of them all.  I don’t remember the exact words, but I’m thinking it was somewhere around World War 4 proportion.  Not my proudest moment.

Two days later, back in the exam room to schedule the second surgery.  The doctor hands me another piece of paper with more big words.  A third diagnosis – still cancer – but a slower growing form with surgery required in six weeks.  YAY God – from a valley back to the peak!

The second surgery was scheduled for seven weeks as I made the choice to attend our church’s spring women’s retreat covering the fruit of the spirit.  “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,gentleness and self-control.” (Galatians 5:22-23) And this girl was in deep need of some fruit!!

As we closed out the retreat Saturday afternoon, the speaker along with our women’s ministry director called me to the front of the room and asked me to sit in a chair as all in attendance laid hands on me and began praying for God to fill me with His fruit and for healing.  And as I sat down and heard their prayers, “the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, (Philippians 4:7) began to flood my mind and my thoughts like never before – an experience that I will never forget.

The following Tuesday, my second surgery was completed. Test results revealed no cancer in the second half of my thyroid.  Yay God, back to the peak!

I wish I could tell you that I chose to enjoy the ride.  But I didn’t.  I chose to scream and scream loudly.  Since then, I have been making the choice to be filled with His peace as I undergo follow-up tests every six months.  Sometimes the choice is quick and sometimes not so quick.

Despite my screaming fit, God continues to fill me with His peace, a peace that can only be found in Him. So, won’t you join me in choosing His peace in the difficult times, in both the ups and downs of our journey to His heart?  Won’t you choose to enjoy the ride instead of choosing to scream?

Let’s begin to let go of our fears and take hold of His promises in His Word. We’re His daughters, protected and defended by His peace. Fears may have shaped our past, but they don’t have to define our future.

Lord, I praise You that You are our Jehovah Shalom, our Prince of Peace. I thank you for being a God who forgives and that You love us no matter what – even when we are screaming and kicking and demanding our way. Thank You for the privilege of running to you and having our fears replaced with Your peace, a peace that passes our understanding.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

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Comments

  1. Tracy says:

    Donna-what a powerful testimony. Thank you for encouraging me as we continue to ride the rollar coaster of my mother’s cancer. Your joy and strength in the Lord is as evident on paper as it is in person. Have a blessed weekend my dear friend!

  2. Rhonda says:

    I have lost two immediate family members to pancreatic and lung cancer and the other has Hepititis C. If I should face such times I am trusting God that He will provide the comfort, peace and strength

    • Donna B says:

      Rhonda,

      So sorry for your losses. Praying for you and your family to be the source of your trust, comfort, peace and strength. He is there for you, just call out to Him.

      Blessings,
      Donna

  3. Charlotte says:

    Alright bible study ladies, I was not sure where to post this to get a group response but this seemed most reasonable. So I am working on chapter 2 questions and micca posed the question, “how can you determine if those fears are simply false Evidence Appearing Real or things you ought to be concerned about?” I thought of two things. First, ask myself if it is a worry for this moment or the future? I thought of this because if I measure my current fears on this godly principal I learn that they are future concerns and in this moment they are fine (ie kids in school and finances). Second I wrote that I can weigh the fear against whether it is based on feeling or God’s truth. As I reread that section in the chapter it seemed as though this is what micca was alluding to. I would like to ask…… What are some of your thoughts to determine the reality of fear?

    • Donna B says:

      Charlotte,

      Love how you are working and talking through your answers here. I love what you wrote as well. It is amazing how we fear things that never happen. The amazing thing is that we ALWAYS have God by our side no matter what the fear is or when the fear occurs. I love the verse that He will never leave us nor forsake us. That verse alone brings me much comfort! Keep turning those pages and God will reveal Himself through the words that He has given Micca.

      Blessings,
      Donna

  4. Renee J says:

    I love what you said about fears may have shaped our past but they do not have to define our future. My past was lived in fear but no longer, now I live in the fact that I am a child of the King, and give Him my fears trying not to take them back, the biggest one today is income… being a single mother I have to remember that He is my provider and has always provided for me before. Thanjk you for sharing your heart with me.

    • Donna B says:

      Renee J,

      Praising God with you!! What freedom it is to live a life as a Child of His. And yep, it is hard not to take those fears back. Praying that God will fill you with His courage so that you will leave them at the foot of the cross.

      Blessings,
      Donna

  5. Renee J says:

    I love what you said about fears may have shaped our past but they do not have to define our future. My past was lived in fear but no longer, now I live in the fact that I am a child of the King, and give Him my fears trying not to take them back, the biggest one today is income… being a single mother I have to remember that He is my provider and has always provided for me before. Thank you for sharing your heart with me.

  6. Laura Acuna says:

    Donna-

    I am eight years past my thyroid surgery. Like you, I had half of my thyroid removed for suspicious lumps. Mine were also also found to be benign, but then, like you, two days later I received word that there was cancer on the thyroid itself–thankfully the slow growing kind. Once I passed the 5 year mark, I need to only be checked once a year instead of every six months. That was a happy milestone! I am ok and grateful not only for my good health, but for the experience itself–it has added texture and empathy to my life and ministry. I am sure you will agree that once a person hears the word “cancer” regard to one’s own body, it is a life changing moment. Thank you for writing this. There is much to learn from your story! Laura

    • Donna B says:

      Laura,

      Yep, when you hear the word cancer, all kinds of things flash through your mind. But am praising Him and thanking Him for it …. without it, I would have never experienced Him as my Peace.

      Praying for you and your journey too. And praising Him that He has kept it from re-occuring,

      Donna

  7. Donna B says:

    And the winner of a free copy of “An Untroubled Heart” is Karen!!

    Micca,

    Thank you so much for the privilege and honor of posting on your blog. But most importantly thank you for sharing your story with me through “An Untroubled Heart”. It has changed my heart. It has changed my life. Thanks also for your gift of friendship! You have blessed me beyond words and measure. Love ya and I can’t wait to read the next one! :0)

    Father God, I praise You and I thank You for Micca. I thank You for her heart to help women overcome their fears and increase their faith in you. I thank You for her realness, her giftedness, and her desire to help others draw closer to you. Protect her heart. Guide her thoughts. Encourage her. Strengthen her. Be her source of joy. Fill her with your wisdom and knowledge as she shares Your Word with the women that have signed up for this study. Fill her with your courage as she shares her heart.

    I also thank you for each lady who has signed up for this study. Go before them and encourage them as they turn the pages and as they face their own fears. Give them the courage and the desire to put those fears aside and focus on your heart and your desires for them. Give them ears to hear. Eyes to read and and understanding of Your Word. Transform hearts. Change lifes. Make yourself known to each one and meet each one at their point of need. Focus their eyes and heart on you and not on the cirsumstances of their lifes. Go before them, direct their paths, guard their minds. Encourage them when it gets tough to face their fears. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

  8. Donna,

    As a breast cancer survivor (3 years) I know all too well the roller coaster that you have so accurately described. I also know the astounding peace that you beautifully spoke of as well. It’s a peace found only as we grasp the hand of our almighty Savior and turn our face full on to His faithfulness.

    All I can know is that in this life we will have trial and struggle but there is no safer place to weather the storm than safely tucked in the palm of His mighty and strong hand. We all know that it’s easy to dance and sing under sunny, blue skies but I have learned that it is entirely possible to dance and sing under the stormy ones as well. There’s just no one like our God ~ full of mercy and compassion! We could go on forever about His goodness, couldn’t we?

    Thanks again for sharing your journey. Prayers for your continued good health.

    Be blessed!
    Cindy K

  9. Donna:
    Thank you for being so honest. I learn so much more from those who share from the heart. When I see someone facing what I am facing and they sugar coat it and don’t share the fear, anxiety or dread with others it is hard for me because than I begin to think something is wrong with me. Well if so and so is going through this and is full of joy and strength then something must be wrong with me since I can’t do the same.
    M. Waters

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