One of the things that I had worried about constantly was how my illnesses were going to affect my children. I worried enough that one night when I was really upset, my husband sat me down and asked me some life altering questions. He asked, “Do you believe that God has a plan for you?” I replied, “Yes, I have believed this since I was a small child.” He continued, “Then why wouldn’t He also have a plan for our children?” In this simple way, he reminded me that God’s plan for our children included having a mother who would fight cancer. If it affected them negatively, then we and others would help them.
Through deep discussions with close friends, study and contemplation, I was also reminded during my illness that my children have a Savior too. I will not be able to keep them from trials, sadness or pain, but I am assured that the Savior and His angels will be nearby to watch over them. As parents we will lead and guide them, but Christ gave His life and will to the Father in order to save each of us, including my children, and you. My husband helped me see that I needed to trust God and let go of any guilt that my fight with cancer was a harm to our children.
Looking back now, if anything, those experiences have brought them closer to their Savior. Each of the four have been witnesses to God’s miracles, big and small. According to the American Cancer Society, the 5-year survival rate for those diagnosed with stage 3A non-small cell lung cancer is 14%. While my doctors don’t consider me fully in the clear until I hit my five year mark, I am nearly halfway there!
Did you know that dirt doesn’t hurt? That’s right, it will wash right off your hands with soap and water. I find joy in putting my hands right into the dirt of our gardens. Sometimes I don’t put gloves on, just because I love the feeling of my hands in the dirt. The fact is that dirt or soil is absolutely vital for a healthy plant to grow to it’s full potential. In life, difficulty, pain and disappointment do hurt, but they also give experience, perspective and perhaps most importantly, a profound gratitude for the gift of living. We can’t be afraid of life’s dirt getting on us, or our children. Be willing to take your gloves off and embrace life’s dirt. Choose faith in His plan for you, over the fear and despair we face through our trials. Yes, dirt is dirty, messy and hard work, but it will also help us grow to our full potential.