Tuesday, 15 August 2017

What's the point?

"Why do you want this surgery? It's not going to make you live any longer," the surgical oncologist at our local hospital said with her chin thrust and her stare pointed. She nearly turned it into a mantra, repeating it five times during our one-sided conversation, each time with the same direct stare.

"It's not going to make you live longer."

Two weeks later, I'm sitting in a plastic surgeon's office in Newport Beach. My hopes rise at the thought of this appointment, because he is highly recommended.

"What's the point? You're a stage IV patient. What can you expect to gain from this?" No answer was expected. After considering I was wanting the least toxins possible released into my body through surgery, he responded, "You're a stage IV patient. I wouldn't worry about toxicity."

What's the point?

What's the point? It blindsided me, then insidiously infiltrated my thoughts, making it hard to commit to anything, because, well, what's the point? I bought the lie, without realizing that I pawned my hope for despair.


"Hey, Shallena, you're going to a small church now. You'll have a chance to participate." That weekend the teacher of the big kids class told me to come prepared to teach the little kids class. The next weekend I said, "Jamie, I'd rather not go to the kids classes at church. After all, what's the point? Our kids are the only kids anyway, so I'll just teach them at home. We can go to the main service, okay?"

"We've got a Rocky Mountain horse that needs a home," the children's horseback riding teacher told me one day. "She's four and a clean slate." Oh wow! That's the exact horse I've wanted! But not right now. I'm too tired. I need to use my energy for other things. After all, what's the point of a horse if I don't make it? It will just give Jamie more to do.

"I saw they are conducting therapy dog training right down the road. Maybe you should call about it." I toyed with the idea, "That sure would be a good thing for the kids to do. I don't know if I want to commit to meeting the requirements. What would be the point if I'm not there to take them to different places?"

The thoughts go on and on. I don't want to drive down the mountain because if I have a car wreck, my life is shortened more than it is already threatened. After all, my children need me as long as they can have me. I want to learn to run, but I'm no good at it. It would be hard, and after all, what's the point? However, truthfully, I've been grumpy, cranky, on edge, anxious, and nervous. I haven't been a supportive mother or wife for the past maybe, two months. Honestly, what's the point of all that??!!

I couldn't sleep, and when I did, it was filled with bad dreams and nightmares.

Please don't misunderstand. This was not self-pity. This was real questioning. The question had been there all along, but now surfaced at every opportunity. Before I had been able to rise above it, or at least ignore it, but having two medical professionals deny me the standard of medical care that they would give to a more "viable" patient affected me more than I realized.

I felt so alone. I knew I should be faithful. I tried to think it was just detox symptoms causing this, but I was really scared that I was feeling this way because my cancer was spreading (another fear that is ever-ready to erupt.) I prayed and prayed and prayed.

Two days ago I got an email telling me that a group gathered to pray for me. That night I had no bad dreams and slept more peacefully. I had a dream in which Jamie and I were walking into a hospital with a tall, blonde doctor and she said, "Your cancer is shrinking. What are you doing?" I didn't answer her except to say, "You're going to see a miracle... ." I wasn't hoping or using my game face. It was a calm, simple knowing. Then I woke up.

While that was a dream, I was so happy to realize that hope was still alive in me! I thank God for His mercy in keeping a little flicker alive to burst into flame. I have more energy again! The lie is broken, and I give all my doubts to Jesus, because He cares for me.

I'm going to commit. Thursday starts dog training, and then we can use our Malawian puppies to help hurting people in the USA.

What about you? You're broken. You've been abused. You've made self-destructive choices. You're selfish. You've got a serious medical condition. You've rejected God's grace. You hurt so bad you can't see straight. What's the point?

The point is that you are here. You are alive! You are free to choose today, and today, and today. Now is the time to break the power of the lie, but you cannot do it yourself. God is for you, and no one can stand against you. Run to Him. He is waiting for you with outstretched arms. You may not be delivered immediately out of your troubles, but you have a promise that will always be true:

Psalm 34
      18The Lord is close to the brokenhearted
and saves those who are crushed in spirit.
19The righteous person may have many troubles,
but the Lord delivers him from them all;

For those of you, who like me, let fear disable you, He gives this promise:

Psalm 34
4I sought the Lord, and he answered me;
he delivered me from all my fears.
5Those who look to him are radiant;
their faces are never covered with shame.

Psalm 34 is so hopeful and wonderful. Why don't you read it today?

Until next time, and in all things,