• Walking in The Spirit of Grace "grace upon grace"

When I changed my online business name to A Spirit of Grace, I didn't fully understand why this title kept coming to the surface each time I sat and prayed about it.  I knew the time had come for me to give all of myself to God, and not just the parts I wanted Him to have.  I was aware of the amount of grace that He had given me in my life - which was often not deserved.  Yet, my mind and heart continued to struggle to create blogs posts that would not only show God's amazing grace but how that grace passed from person to person in daily life.  So, instead of writing blog posts, I wrote short scripture-based messages to my newsletter followers.  Then, I stopped completely.  

To be fair to myself, I had enrolled in online classes from Nazarene Bible College, where writing some kind of paper five days a week was taking all my time.  I loved the way God was stretching me to grow and to deepen my faith in Him.  I read, wrote, and shared thoughts with other students in the courses, leaving me running on empty by the end of the day.  So, A Spirit of Grace remained silent.

Then, around 13 weeks ago, on Wednesday, July 27th, 2022, I began to walk in God's spirit of grace as I learned that I had an attached dark spot on one of my lymph nodes on the side of my right breast.  

I had discovered a mass of hardened lactation ducts, and after some self-help remedies, I went to see my doctor.  She agreed with my assessment, then said, "I like to error on the side of caution, so I'm ordering a diagnostic ultrasound along with your mammogram."  I didn't know it then, but her deciding to see this thing further, was the beginning of my grace walk,  Her decision to act and not wait, likely saved my life.I remember as I walked out of Mad River Hospital, I thought about the words of the ultrasound tech, "You will need a biopsy, as soon as we can get you scheduled."  I wanted to say tomorrow, but of course, medicine has changed greatly since Covid became part of our lives, so nothing gets scheduled as timely as it should.  I also remember thinking that I didn't need a biopsy to confirm what she told me - I knew. 

It is a surreal to say out loud that you have breast cancer.  So, when I called my daughter, Sarah, who had been waiting for my call all afternoon, I cried as I told her what they had found and what needed to be done next.  She sat and listened but I could feel her anxiety and tears just below the surface.  And, when I finally stopped and said, "Wait, God has me.  He is with me and will see my through this,"  she responded with, "I need to cry now."  And, she did.  I listened to her fears, and tried to find someway to make it easier,  but cancer isn't easy to take in.  Cancer comes in many forms and levels of aggression.  It can be cured but it can also lead to death.  There are no guarantees  when it comes to cancer.  

As she expressed her feelings, I found myself being very practical about the whole situation.  Maybe, as her mom, I wanted to make the whole thing easier, somehow better than it sounded.  I had cancer but I knew little else about what it meant.  I remember saying to her, "This isn't a death sentence.  I hear God telling me that I'm not dying.  There is much I will be learning about myself in this process - so much for me to embrace and even more that I will be letting go of.  Suffering is a part of life, yet on the other side of suffering is God's Grace.  I am in God's hands and I am so thankful that He has me."   

Finally, we just talked about what was next to do, and she assured me that I wasn't alone.  Thankfully, all three of my children told me I wasn't alone and how much I was loved.  Those were the most comforting words I could every hear from my children.  As we were about to hang up, she asked if I was home?  I said, "no, I'm sitting at Safeway, heading in to buy lots of chocolate!"  We both laughed at the irony of the situation.  Drowning my sorrows in chocolate seemed like the best medicine for the moment.

That evening, after calling my other two children, I sat in my darkened living room in the quiet.  My life had changed that day.  I didn't know exactly how it was going to change but it was going to change in many different ways.  The one thing I knew for certain that would not change was my faith and reliance on God.  He is the final decision maker when it comes to my life and I will hold fast to Him as I walk this walk of cancer.  

This was just the first day and my goal is to blog about my entire experience.  Some of you may want to follow along, read every once in a while, or simple be done with it. 

But I will write.  I will write for my own form of therapy.  I was write for those that will one day walk a similar walk and need support.  And I will write to others may see where God shows His grace in the darkest days of our lives.   

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