Thursday, April 28, 2011

Possibilites - M. Laycock

It seems that all the earth is waiting. Spring has been slow in coming, the warming breath of a stronger sun somehow delayed. Ice still skims the pond across from our home. The geese seem puzzled, flying low but not touching down. Each day we hope for warmer temperatures, each day there is disappointment.

But the clouds are looking more like the burgeoning mounds heavy with rain and here and there a sprout of green tells us the season is unfolding. Soon it will break forth, resplendent in green. Soon spring will be a reality, not just a promise.

Last Monday, lying on the cruciform table in a hospital's operating room, I prayed and wondered about waking up face to face with my creator. I thought about all the promises He has made to us about eternity, the possibility of living always in His presence. On that day, the possibility had never before been so real.

"There are always risks with surgery," my doctor had said. As the anaesthesiologist approached I stared at the sets of gleaming lights and gave myself, once again, into the hands of Jesus.

I woke a few hours later on a respirator in the ICU, my hands tied down so I wouldn't attempt to yank the tubes from my throat. Anaphylactic shock required intubation. One of the risks - being allergic to the radioactive blue dye they inject to find the sentinel node in the armpit, which they test to determine if the cancer has spread.

I was thankful for a medical team that was quick to respond; thankful that I woke; thankful to see my husband standing beside my bed; thankful the sentinel node is not cancerous. And then all the "what ifs" began to flow through my mind ... what if the intubation wasn't done quickly enough? What if I had died there in that sterile OR? I believe I would have been instantly standing face to face with Jesus, so the what ifs were not so much disturbing as intriguing. Like the reality of the signs of spring, I know what's to come. Someday.

But the time has been delayed. I still stand on the seemingly firm soil of this earth. God has plans for me still, it would seem. So I look to the future, look to His hand to guide, His Spirit to move, His peace to engulf me as it has continually since hearing the fear-ridden word, cancer. I look and see the new sprouts of green that tell me the promises are real. Life in His presence is possible, now, and someday ... then, when all the possibilities become reality.

Friday, April 15, 2011

When God Puts You in the Sidecar

My husband is a motorcycle enthusiast. So far he hasn’t gone out and bought one, but whenever he sees one he likes on the road he’ll point it out and say, “Nice bike,” then look at me to gauge my reaction. We were sitting at a stoplight not long ago and a shiny motorcycle pulled up beside us. It had a sidecar attached.

“There you go,” Spence said.

I laughed, imagining what it would be like to ride in such a little appendage. “I think I’d rather be on the bike with you,” I said, “or better yet, on one of my own.” Sidecars are for kids, I thought. You don’t have any control in a sidecar; you just have to hang on and try to enjoy the ride.

It seems God has put me in a sidecar for a time. I’ve just been diagnosed with cancer and suddenly my life is not mine to control. Doctors are telling me what will happen, when and where I will go. I don’t really want to experience any of what they’re telling me I will go through. But I have no choice. All I can do is hang on and find ways to cope with the ride.

In the book of John, Jesus tells the apostle Peter about a time when the same thing would happen to him. “I tell you the truth, when you were younger you dressed yourself and went where you wanted; but when you are old you will stretch out your hands and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go.” Jesus said this to indicate the kind of death by which Peter would glorify God. Then he said to him, “Follow me!” (John 21:18-19)

I don’t know exactly what lies ahead for me. I’m hopeful that this cancer can be eradicated and I’ll go on with my life. I’m praying my time in the sidecar will be short. But perhaps God has another plan. In the meantime, I take encouragement from those few words, “by which Peter would glorify God.” What happened to him was not in vain. It had a purpose. The events of our lives all have purpose and are meant to bring glory to God. We have agency in that, by his grace and mercy - we can choose to hunker down and cling to the sidecar in fear, or we can sit tall and trust the driver.

I’m spurred on too, by the next words Jesus spoke. “Follow me!” That’s a path Peter tried hard to take, one that changed him into a man of God, a leader of men. It’s a path that leads to “a spacious place,” (Ps. 18:19), where God’s presence is evident, to the joy that comes in understanding God’s undying love and the peace that makes us lean into the wind and relish every moment on this earth – even moments in the sidecar.

“but the Lord was my support. He brought me out into a spacious place; he rescued me because he delighted in me” (Psalm 18:18-19).

Tuesday, April 12, 2011


Waiting ….

I’m not good at it. But these things help …

Visits from friends and family who like to play cards, dominoes and laugh a lot.

The brightness of cut spring tulips yellow against the brown stone of the table.

Big geese breaking through thinning ice on the pond; laughing with my husband as we watch.

Driving across country watching the dark earth emerge in patches from beneath the white; willows turning red and beginning to sprout; a spring wind bringing rain.

Studying the Word with friends; scriptures written just for me, just for today, just for that moment.

Waiting … with blessings.

Friday, April 08, 2011

Awakening to Joy

You might find the title of this post strange since, for the next while I will be using this blog to journal about my experience with breast cancer. I don't know how long it will go on, or how often I will post, but I would welcome your comments and covet your prayers. Bless you all. Marcia *********************

On March 24th, 2010, I had a mammogram and ultrasound and then a biopsy on a lump that seemed to be getting bigger. (I had a biopsy last year which they said was negative but there was a bit of a bump there after the cyst had been aspirated and recently it seemed to swell). I saw my Dr. and the results of this second biopsy came back positive for breast cancer. I see a surgeon on Wednesday April 13th and will know more after that. I expect to be having surgery within the next 2-3 weeks and then, best case scenario, a short dose of radiation treatments as a safety precaution. If there is further sign of the cancer in the lymph nodes that will mean more aggressive treatment.

So ... only God knows what the future holds for me. It's been a bit of a roller coaster ride sometimes, but I have had that amazing "peace that passes all understanding" as I've been dealing with this. Now I understand what that phrase really means and it is truly amazing. God is good. Jesus is my strength.

It has been amazing to me how relevant scripture has been “showing up.” Friends have been sending them, of course, but for the past while we’ve been studying The Psalms of Ascent – a Beth Moore Bible study and in the two weeks prior to these results the scriptures seemed to be speaking directly to me. I also get a scripture quote sent to my email inbox every day. For the past two weeks they have all been about leaning on God or about his care for us in hard times. These words have been a great source of strength and even joy to me.

Joy in the midst of this? Yes. My husband and I were driving through central Alberta the other day. It was one of the first truly spring-like days we’ve had. The sun was warm, the mountains gleaming in the distance and I found myself thanking the Lord that this is happening now, when the earth is awakening and renewing itself. And the joy was there. Not just in a trickle but in a torrent, like the rivers that are breaking free of the ice.

Perhaps this is a spiritual awakening in me – no, not perhaps, it’s already happening – or perhaps it’s a picture of what death is – not an ending but a beginning. I find myself totally willing to accept either. How could I not? Both are gifts directly from the hand of God, purposed only for me.

Glory to His name.