Unfair

It took me a while to get the place where I didn’t feel guilty saying how unfair I feel my life is. My world and my faith have been shaken a lot—not just recently. I close my eyes and remember a Thursday night in October 10 years ago when I picked up the phone to hear the voice of our friend and doctor, Greg. It was almost word for word what I’ve just recently heard, “There’s no easy way to say this, but there was cancer in your tumor.”

Yes, ten years ago, just at the end of our first year of marriage, I had thyroid cancer. The difference there was this cancer was encapsulated and after a surgical removal of my thyroid, I didn’t have any follow-up treatment. It was like a blip. Cancer one day, gone the next. But those 3 weeks of fear and pain were real. Not long after that I was told that because of another condition I had, that we had about a 50% chance of having children. Another surgery loomed, but we would do anything we could to increase our chances.

Then 7 years ago, we received the shock of our lives when we found out we were pregnant. Still trying to soak it all in, a week later, they discovered that it was an ectopic pregnancy, and our child would die in the fallopian tube. My health could be compromised if nothing was done. There was more heartache at the loss of our child and 6 months of procedures to ensure my health. Once again our chances of having children were impacted…they had dropped to 35%.

A year later our little miracle son was born, named Asher because of the verse in Genesis 30, “Happy am I, for women will call me happy. So she named him Asher.” God had brought blessing out of heartache.

Ten months after Asher’s birth I was diagnosed with early stage lupus. After finally finding a doctor in Charlottesville that I trusted, we were faced with some decisions. What treatment did we want to take? How would or should my lifestyle change? Would we take the risk of having more children? My lupus specialist was all for more children, saying “You are early stage, and there are things we can do to control the flare-ups and keep your lupus at a plateau. You have a long and healthy life ahead of you. We can do this.”

Two years after Asher’s birth, on New Year’s Day, I went into labor with our second miracle. Micah was born just after midnight. Named Micah because we longed for him to “do justly, love mercy and walk humbly with his God” for all the days of his life. (Micah 6:8 )

All of my pregnancies were miserable, and I would throw up for nine months straight. With my final pregnancy two years after Micah, I only gained 14 total pounds. But Audrey entered our world and turned everything miraculously pink. Audrey is Brian’s namesake. I picked her name years ago because it means the same thing her Daddy’s does, and I couldn’t think of a better person after which to name her.

The hands of the clock bring us to today. 4 months into cancer survival and treatment. I did everything “right”. There is no cancer in my family. I exercised, ate healthy, maintained a healthy weight, nursed my babies, and rarely consumed alcohol. But once again, we heard those words, “There is no easy way to tell you this.” My cancer diagnosis is unfair. Life is unfair.

But look at all the blessings that have come from this. During and following my thyroid cancer diagnosis and treatment, I was surrounded by the church body and cared for incredibly. I will never forget our pastor, Phil, in one of his sermons saying, “When I heard that Angie had cancer, I heard that my daughter had cancer!” That was the body life by which I was surrounded. We were all each other’s sisters, brothers, mothers, fathers, children.

I have three miraculous blessings in my life, and every time I call their name, there is a sweet reminder of who they are and why they are named. I struggled recently with acceptance when the doctor looked at me and said I’d never have another child. I had always had my heart set on having four children. Last night the truth hit me and brought me great peace. I do have four children. I truly believe one of them is waiting with Jesus to welcome me home with open arms, and I can’t wait to meet my fourth child. God does hear the desires of our hearts.

I have been surrounded once again by friends and family and our church body these past few months. God has brought old friends into my life that I may have never heard from again, and our hearts are knit together. I am growing closer to my husband and my children. I am learning more than ever about my Lord and Who He is… and who I am. I am learning to see my life through its blessings and not through its unfairness.

Truth is, there has been a lot in my life that is unfair, but that doesn’t mean God is unfair. Life is not God. He is the giver of life, and has given me so much more than I deserve. He has given His only Son to die for me, to spare me from eternal punishment. He has given me the Holy Spirit to comfort me when life feels unfair. He gives me the strength to continue when I am too weak. He carries me when my feet are too blistered to walk any more. He gives me peace when my soul is in turmoil. He has given me loved ones who care for me in ways I don’t deserve. In fact, all of this, every day, I don’t deserve. That is the truth of life. God has provided for us… provided a stream in the desert of an unfair life. He has provided His mercy and love and grace to bring us to a place of knowledge and blessing and peace. He offers so much more than this life. He offers everything He is and we can trust Him even in the unfairness of life.

On the days, when I say to God:

Save me, O God, for the waters have threatened my life. I have sunk in deep mire, and there is no foothold; I have come into deep waters, and a flood overflows me. I am weary with my crying; my throat is parched; my eyes fail while I wait for my God (Psalm 131:1-2)

His reply is not far off:

Fear not for I have redeemed you, I have called you by name, you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. (Isaiah 43:1-2)

He is faithful. I will never be overcome.

(Once again, I ask for your specific prayers. I did end up coming down with a cold, and at this point, although feeling miserable, my temperature is staying down, and my body is fighting. Obviously, I am in a weakened state because of the chemo, and I ask you to please pray that my body would continue to fight off this cold and that it wouldn’t go into any secondary infections… that I would heal quickly, so I can continue treatment. Thank y’all so very much! I may never be overcome by this life, but I am overwhelmed by your love and support.)

4 responses to “Unfair”

  1. The book, Angie…when’s the book?

    Thank you for this. I have a friend whose father so desparately needs to hear the Truth in the last few paragraphs. “Life is unfair, but that does not mean God is unfair. Life is not God.” She just emailed me requesting prayer. God’s timing, what can I say?

    maretta

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  2. Sweet Angie,
    You are an amazing woman…and a beautiful child of God. He must be feeling incredibly glorified and honored by your witness and testimony to His faithfullness and goodness~even in the midst of your “unfair” life.
    Your writings, filled with incredible honesty, fear, emotion and hope, are an encouragement to me as well as put me to shame for my whinning and lack of faith in the small interruptions of my life.
    Praying that you are able to fight off the cold bug, that your body will stay strong so you can continue the necessary treatments~and that you SOON will be healed. God, the loving Father that He is… knows that you need your sweet children as much as they need you. May their laughter and funny antedotes continue to bring smiles to your face! Lifting you up in prayer from clear across the U.S. =)

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  3. Angie,
    One day I look fwd to reading the compilations of your journal with cancer. It truly would make a great inspirational book for those walking similar paths.
    I have been so blessed to be able to share a glimpse into your life, and see your faith at work, hear your struggles, and see your ultimate trust in your savior always there. It is always an encouragement to me, as I live in my own realities. I am so sorry you have caught a cold and will pray that it doesn’t get worse or cause any complications with your body or your treatments. Thanks for sharing and may the Lord be especially close to you this week. Love, Carol

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  4. I just don’t know what to say–it is unfair!
    Your writing is inspirational, always honoring to God; I am amazed at your strength–strength that can only come from God. I agree–this has to be compiled into a book–not just for those walking similar paths but for all of us.
    You’re in my prayers and my thoughts–daily. Love. JANICE

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