First pride, then the crash— the bigger the ego, the harder the fall.” (Proverbs 16:18, The Message)
I crashed HARD!!! I crashed LOUD!!! And I crashed with the biggest THUD ever!!!
Have you ever had one of those times when you needed the biggest DO-OVER ever? I did. I have. And I am sure I will have more!
It all started out with finding a small lump in the front of my throat area. I went to see the doctor; she sent me for tests and more tests. After the first test, I was sent back to her office to go over the test results. As I walked in, she greeted me with these words, “Donna, I believe its thyroid cancer and if it is, we will take it one test at a time, one day at a time and we will pray.” So more tests were scheduled. And eventually surgery.
A few hours after surgery, as I was wheeled down the hospital hallway, I could hear the surgeon tell my mom half of my thyroid was removed and the lumps were benign. Two days later, as I entered the exam room for my follow-up, the surgeon handed me a slip of paper with gigantic unpronounceable words that seemed to roll on forever. And then he spoke, “Donna, it is cancer. You have the fastest growing kind of cancer you can have. We need to operate again as soon as possible!”
YES, I freaked. YES, I became unglued. Emotions and thoughts that I had stuffed for weeks all came to the surface and my Momma was on the receiving end of them. I don’t remember the exact words, but I’m thinking it was somewhere around World War 3 proportion. I dropped the biggest bombs on my Momma as she became my punching bag for my words that escaped my mouth in fear and anger. Not my finest moment!
I had been playing a game of “Let’s Pretend” in my head and my heart. For about six weeks, I was pretending that I had the greatest and the strongest kind of faith going on. While I was fine on the outside, fear was crippling me inside. Anyone that asked how I was, my response was the proverbial, “I am fine”. I avoided the subject at all cost.
I was letting pride take over! Too prideful to let my friends see my cry. Too prideful to let my friends know that my faith was wavering. Too prideful to let my friends know that my stomach was tied up in knots. Too prideful to admit that I wasn’t as strong as I wanted them to think I was.
Couple the stuffed fear with the pride and my poor Momma didn’t have a chance!! She was the easy, available target for every angry and fearful word that came out of mouth. And unfortunately for Momma, I had an unending supply of hurtful words that I bombarded her with – so hurtful that my Momma didn’t make it back for my second surgery.
Two days later, back in the exam room to schedule the second surgery. The doctor hands me yet another piece of paper with more big words. A third diagnosis – still cancer – but a slower growing form with surgery required in six weeks.
The second surgery was scheduled for seven weeks as I made the choice to attend our church’s spring women’s retreat covering the fruit of the spirit. “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.” (Galatians 5:22-23) And this girl was in deep need of some fruit – lots of fruit – especially the fruit of self-control – my tongue, my emotions and my thoughts needed some controlling.
As we closed out the retreat Saturday afternoon, the speaker along with our women’s ministry director called me to the front of the room and asked me to sit in a chair as all of my friends laid hands on me and began praying for God to fill me with His fruit and with His healing. And as I sat down and heard their prayers His peace began to flood my mind and my thoughts like never before – an experience that I will never forget.
The following Tuesday, my second surgery was completed. Test results revealed no cancer in the second half of my thyroid. And no chemo or radiation were needed. Praise Jesus! And yes, I was singing and dancing the Hallelujah chorus!
I wish I could tell you that I got a do-over. But I didn’t. I chose to scream and scream loudly at my Momma’s expense. Despite my screaming fit and God allowing my pride to land me on my face, He still loves me. So now, when and if, I begin to let pride and/or fear creep in, (when and if – because I know I will slip up and it will happen), I choose humility over pride; I choose peace over fear! I choose going to my knees in prayer and asking God for His help instead of relying on my own strength. Won’t you join me in “throwing off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us?” (Hebrews 12:1b, NIV84) As a Daughter of the King, won’t you join me in running the race with perseverance? Won’t you join me in facing things that are out of our control but not act out of control?
Lord, help us to make the right choices. Help us to throw off everything that hinders us from running the race that You have marked out for us. Help us to choose humility over pride. Peace over fear. Your strength over our strength. Help us to take baby steps. Help us move forward with imperfect progress. Help us to make progress towards Your heart. In Jesus’ name. Amen.