The intermittent sensations – not strong enough to call pains – in my bones have increased in number over recent months. I feel them in my ribs, my left arm, my pubic bone, my cheek bones, and one spot on my spine. I'll discuss it with my oncologist during my routine visit next week. But the dull aches in my breasts – even the fake one – started just a couple of weeks ago. My quick prayer out the door as I headed to my mammogram appointment was that anything abnormal would be detected. Short. Concise. Probably nothing like the story I’m about to share.
I wasn’t worried. I’m not really a worrier by nature, despite the fact that I have occasional anxiety…mostly when I first wake up or when doing something labeled fun but isn’t part of my routine. I actually started crying in line to board a cruise ship six weeks ago because it was outside of the norm for me. Guess that means I should either stop going on expeditions entirely or begin doing them a lot more often. If time and money were in abundance, I’d definitely force myself to choose the latter.
I arrived at the hospital for my appointment in plenty of time, filled out my paperwork, and waited for the mammogram tech to call me back. Not long after I sat down an older woman entered the room and glanced at the table of clipboards. Looking down at the different forms she asked aloud what she was to complete. I was the only other person in the room so I got up and handed her what she needed. As I returned to my seat I asked her if all was well, or something to that effect. She smiled sweetly and simply responded, “Well….” and kind of laughed. Something about her seemed familiar. I told her, “I’m sorry. I guess not. But you’re still smiling,”I acknowledged.
Once she sat down I could see her face. I didn’t recognize her features, but strange to say I knew her spirit. “This question may sound out of left field,” I began, “but were, or are, you and your husband missionaries?”
Her face brightened, “Yes!” she exclaimed.
As I peered into her eyes I told her how we had met in that same waiting room a year or two earlier. “You were on furlough and your husband was having tests for prostate cancer,” I recounted.
She remembered part of my story as well and soon we were both called back to change into our gowns. Once seated again I got reacquainted with Sandi who shared with me her journey from the previous year. The day we first met she went on to be diagnosed with stage 3C breast cancer. She believed that the timing of her coming home from South Africa where she served on the mission field was God’s divine providence. Her entire story, which I wish I could share here (maybe in a future book?) had God’s fingerprints all over it. She smiled as she said, “I tell people this cancer has been a gift. A true gift.”
We continued chatting without a break between our words when one of the techs approached us and told Sandi, “I’m sorry for the delay, but you were scheduled to have your mammogram test at the other location and are supposed to be there.” “No she’s not!” I interjected and laughed. Sandi and I knew she was right where she was meant to be, so we could run into each other again. Thankfully, they were able to work her in so she didn’t have to leave or wait much longer.
“I’ve often wondered about you,” Sandi shared. “And this morning I nearly prayed that God would let me see you again.” I told her she apparently didn’t need to pray about it because the Lord knew her heart and answered it anyway.
What are the chances? That we’d both be back to the same office, on the same day, at the same time, more than a year later? Especially when she was actually scheduled to go elsewhere?
She gave me her contact information so we could remain in touch. Our oncologist (we discovered we have the same one) had told Sandi about my book, so I promised I’d mail her a copy.
I can’t say I know why God had us meet more than a year ago or again today. Maybe I’ll know in the future. Maybe I won’t. But each encounter convinced me they weren’t chance meetings…no…they were heavenly orchestrated.
Before I left with an "all clear" from the tech Sandi stood and hugged me as she whispered, “I know I love you.”
"A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for a time of adversity." ~ Proverbs 17:17
To my fellow Christ-followers (however imperfect) have you ever been in a tough situation, maybe even a darn-near impossible predicament, and found yourself saying, "Lord, please be with me." I know I have. When frightened, I've repeated it over and over. But just recently I started wondering why we ask that. Beg that. Nearly demand that when God's word promises us that He is with us - always.
We read the following familiar words in the book of Hebrews:
"...for God has said: “Never will I leave you, never will I forsake you.” So we say with confidence: “The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid."
In Matthew we read these words that Jesus spoke to the disciples:
"Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age."
I don't think those words were strictly for the disciples within earshot of Jesus that day. They were also spoken to us. We are to teach new believers about Christ's commands that have been passed down through the ages AND He is with US until the end of the age. Isn't that good news? We are NEVER alone no matter how lonely we may feel. Our feelings don't determine whether or not God is really with us...His word does. We can't always rely on our feelings but we CAN rely on Jesus's promises.
The past couple of weeks I've tried to affirm my trust in His promises to be with us by replacing the words, "Lord, please be with me" with, "Lord, thank you for being with me." This morning, I stared at myself in the mirror prior to leaving for an appointment, concerned that anxiety could creep its way in at any moment. I nearly asked the Lord to be with me, but then stopped myself before I could utter that request and instead thanked Him for His presence. For the record, anxiety remained at bay.
I encourage you, too, if you've never thanked Jesus for being with you, to begin doing that. Acknowledge the fact that He's with you at the start of each day and throughout the day. I can't help but to think it makes Him smile. Who likes to be ignored?
Lastly, I'll leave you with this other reminder from scripture that you don't need to ask the Lord to be with you, because He already said that He is.
Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous.
Driving along the winding, tree-lined country road to my morning appointment hardly reflected the peaceful scenery that surrounded me. Pieces of yesterday’s phone conversation I had had with someone I considered a friend punctured my heart and churned my stomach.
Her undeserved insults left me wondering if I’d ever trust her again.
Thoughts of what I should have said…could have said but refrained…
zig-zagged across my mind as my car came upon three huge crows in the road picking at brunch. “Move!” my mind yelled, as I continued barreling up the road. They always do, don’t they? Eventually? Right at the last second? The answer to that is no. In this instance, two flew off while the other slammed into the grill of my car. It sounded as if I’d hit a Chihuahua. Looking in my rearview mirror I saw it flapping on the side of the road and asked out loud as if it could hear or understand me, “Why didn’t you let go? Couldn’t you have learned to LET GO!”
Yeah. Let go. Holding on to some things can be deadly.
The lesson hit me as hard as I’d hit the bird.
There are so many things we hang on to in life that can tear us up from the inside out… like regret, endless “what ifs”, the desire for our younger self, the desire for our past life which we perceive as far better than today’s, bitterness, painful memories, a negative self-image, etc... I’m sure you could add to this list. But what happens when we hold on and refuse to let go? With whitened knuckles our focus becomes narrow and we fail to appreciate today. We love less. We serve less. We grow less. So what can we do? The antidote is to follow the surviving birds’ example and let go. The temptation is to cling, but the choice is there and ours to make.
I parked my car along the downtown street and headed to my appointment. The storefronts were quaint and inviting with their fall décor. Several shops before I reached my destination I noticed a large, lone, black feather on the sidewalk. It felt like a sign, as if God was reminding me, “The lesson to let go wasn’t a nice idea to simply share with someone else. I intended it for you.”
So in that moment I chose to let go of the hurtful feelings and thoughts that stemmed from that conversation and ended up having one amazing day. So as for tomorrow? Wash. Rinse. Repeat. Hopefully minus the dead bird.
What do you need to let go of?
“Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”
Funny that the title "Author" appears above this description yet I have no idea what to share about myself in this space! How about my first name is Kim. My last name is Tisor. Tisor rhymes with miser, though I try not to be one.
For more information about me, please visit the author page.