If I had a BFF who was fighting cervical cancer (or any other kind!), I would probably want to help her in any way possible. I might help organize meals for her recovery, or offer (to no success) to clean her house and fold her laundry. I would certainly pray for her and ask my most trusted prayer warriors to join in. I would want to go to lunch with her and make fun of cancer and laugh until we cried. I probably would refuse to make plans just in case she needed a friend that day. I may dash across stage to fetch tissues when playing along at worship made her cry. And then, I’d really want to offer her some sort of verbal support. Some encouragement, a little peace, and some hope.
If I had a BFF fighting cervical cancer I would want her to know these things:
Your uterus does not define your womanhood. You are a woman. Not because of your ability to make beautiful future in-law quality children. But you are a woman, because the God of the universe chose you to be. He created you uniquely with the attributes of a woman. I see it in the way your heart struggles over longing to be with your kids more and the conviction of how much you desire to nurture and care for them. I see it in the kindness of your heart, and in your passion. In your submission to your husband and your respect for his leadership. And let’s face it, your love for Grey’s Anatomy is kind of a dead giveaway. 😉
I couldn’t even attempt to belittle the severity of the procedure you’re about to endure. You have every right to be sad, scared, and maybe even a little angry. But you DO NOT have the right to feel like less of a woman. YOU are a champion of women. You are surviving! You may not be subject to the gross atrocities of this female life anymore (sorry… was that worded less graphically?), but that is not because you are not worthy. No ma’am! You are beyond worthy. Your suffering and this trial of your life gives you hero status in the eyes of women everywhere.
But no uterus is still no uterus, even though you know you’re still all woman. And let’s face it, any loss is cause for mourning. You are most definitely allowed to grieve the loss you feel. Whether you wanted more kids or not, no one likes to have those decisions made for them. So, grieve. Grieve the life that might have been.
God’s sovereignty started a LONG time ago. When I think about the many people who will be part of this journey with you, I am so comforted to know that the Lord has been on the throne since before the foundation of the world. Your husband, your kids, your parents, your community, your doctor, your nurses, the receptionist at the doctor, the anesthesiologist, the billing coordinator, the lady you bought the planner from, ME, etc etc etc. ALL of these people have been part of your plan since before you were born. I’m not sure why, but I think it’s pretty cool. Whatever God is up to here, I believe that one (or many!) of these people will be affected by your story. Keep that in mind. Or not… maybe that’s too much pressure. 😉
Your life will never be the same (and that’s a good thing!). Everything will be different now. Every doctor’s appointment will be met with anxiety and re-living the emotions that you’ve experienced already. You will forever share cancer awareness articles and photos on Facebook and you will wear your ribbon shirt with pride! You’ll finally have some “medical history” to report on that paperwork at the doctor’s office and you may even have a scar. Life will be different.
But I want you to remember other things in your life that changed your life FOREVER. Your salvation changed you from death to life. You will never ever be on the path to death again… and that’s a pretty good thing! When you got married, everything changed. Your life became about more than you. You became ONE with your husband and you had to rethink your whole world to include him. And then you became a mom. And sometimes I’m pretty sad that we can’t go back for just like three seconds to breathe, but being a mom is a gift that causes you to refocus and consider your children in every decision made.
When it comes to “life-changing” moments in life, you’ve got a pretty good tract record of positive ones. This will be no different, no doubt! Sure, life is different now. You have cancer. You will forever be especially aware of cancer as it relates to everything around you… you may begin to read those warning labels a little more seriously. Or you’ll get preventative care on every body part that your insurance will pay for. But life isn’t changing for the worse.
Because you know what? There may be pain in the night and joy comes in the morning!
Like, so cliche, right? But for serious. I think sometimes trials are solely for the purpose of the rejoicing when it’s over. God demands glory in all things. He doesn’t expect us to just say, “Yay! This cancer is so friggin’ awesome!” James says, “Count it pure joy when you face trials of any kind.” And that sounds weird and sick. But James isn’t glad to suffer. He is glad to be strengthened and disciplined, because trials produce perseverance. And a Christian walking in the perseverance of the Spirit is like gold to the glory of the Father. How can He not be magnified to see you walk through this so beautifully, and vulnerably, and faithfully?
I am so proud and thankful to call you friend! I share your feelings of fear, sadness, confusion… obviously at like 1/10th of a percent of how you feel. But I love you and am so deeply sorry for you. It’s hard to know what to say… especially when you’re like me and just not overwhelmingly nice most of the time. But you are on my mind, constantly. And I am looking forward to many celebratory cancer-free anniversaries and wearing matching shirts on whatever cancer walk you drag me to. You are such a light and are beasting this thing already!
And so to my BFF Emily who is currently kicking cancer’s big fat butt… these are my prayers for you.
That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of Him having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which He has called you, are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His great might. Ephesians 1:17-19
For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of His glory He may grant you to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith – that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth, and length, and height and depth, and to knowthe love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think according to the POWER at work WITHIN us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen. Ephesians 3:14-21