A letter to my daughters
Dear Maren and Greta,
You, sweet girls, are six-and-a-half and two-and-a-half. Tomorrow is a big day for our little family, and you won’t read these words for many years. I thought it important to take time to tell you some important things before… well, just Before.
Tomorrow we find out if Mommy has cancer. This time a cancer diagnosis, if it comes, will be of the Stage IV variety: it’s the kind that we have been pedaling furiously against for the past nineteen months. A surgeon will cut a wedge out of the upper lobe in my right lung. Inside the wedge will be a 10mm x 11mm spot that showed up on my cancer scan three weeks ago. We are praying fervently that God’s finger would be upon that spot before the surgeons tools cut it out. We pray for non-cancer results; we pray for mercy.
Without a doubt, the greatest injustice in this scene is it’s impact on you. I am writhing and seething with rage that you, my babies, have a threat like cancer in your Mommy in your teeny tiny world. It is especially cruel because for now, in these wee years, I am the center of your world. In another several years you will be fifteen and eleven, and our dynamic will change. A few years after that you will be twenty-two and eighteen, and my most influential years with you will be over. My nest will ache for you, I’m sure… but the pain of an empty nest is something that sounds pretty marvelous today. The fact that cancer is poised to take me from you leaves me to wallow in a deep despair–not for myself, of course; my story is a happy ending because I will be in heaven. The despair is about you two living a mother-less life; I will not be there to help you through what could be one of the greatest trials you will face in your lifetime.
But girls, I choose to rise above. I will not cry, whine, tremble, wallow, rage or despair. I will be peaceful, joyful, loving, hopeful and content in my circumstances. That, my dear girls, is my gift to you. If The Worst of The Worst plays out, you can trust me to find the good. That is how I will mother you; it is my legacy for you. My hope is that you will look for the good as you face your own tribulations in your life. You are strong, you are beautiful, you are amazing. You must believe that about yourself; it is the key to joy.
Years from now you will read this and you will know that I’ve had a bizarre and strong sense of peace as I’ve lived these days. The peace is not the knowledge that I will live a long and healthy life. The peace is the knowledge that God is good and uses all things for His good. I trust Him girls, not only with my life, but with yours as well. It is with an open hand that I hold you and lift you up to Him. You were a twinkle in His eye before you were the life that felt like soft bubbles bursting when you kicked in my belly.
It is my privilege to raise you, and I will do it well. My love for you is far and wide and high and deep. For each of my days, I vow to Do Today Well. For you.
My fervent prayer when I was first diagnosed is that God would bless me with 50 more years with you. Now that time has passed, I’m down to 48-1/2, and I believe God can do it. But I choose to trust Him no matter the outcome. I have peace from Him. Please girls, seek out your peace too. It is there to be found.
And now girls, I pray.
Our Father, Who art in heaven,
Hallowed be Thy Name.
Thy Kingdom come.
Thy Will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven. Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil. Amen.
A friend called me a lightening rod for miracles–and it’s true, I’ve had miracle healings of my spine and of my liver. Bring on the storm; beauty rises from ashes; I know this full well.
All my love,
The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me,
because the Lord has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim freedom for the captives
and release from darkness for the prisoners,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor
and the day of vengeance of our God,
to comfort all who mourn,
and provide for those who grieve in Zion—
to bestow on them a crown of beauty
instead of ashes,
the oil of joy
instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise
instead of a spirit of despair.
They will be called oaks of righteousness,
a planting of the Lord
for the display of his splendor.
— Isaiah 61:1-3