Thank you, Cancer (1/2)


Thank you cancer

Here is the post I mentioned yesterday:


It’s something I am pretty sure no one has ever said before in the history of time. But it’s been a phrase that has been rolling around in my head since my son was diagnosed.

Thank you cancer.

Thank you for what? For hurting my child, for threatening his life, for making the last six months some of the hardest I have had to face? No. Obviously no.

I’d never wish or ask for this for my son. Nor anyone else.

This world sucks. It sucks! There is cancer, death, starvation, abuse, destruction, diet soda, and shin splints.

To be all Christian about it: We live in a  broken world. It’s broken all over the place. Broken people, broken weather, broken cars, and again…all the broken people.

Somehow we come into this life with the assumption that life is going to be easy. When something is hard, our first reaction is that it shouldn’t have to happen and if it does there is a time and a place for it. But there never is a time and place. It’s never just one thing. It’s never the way you want it.

In the last 6 months while battling cancer, we have had other stuff getting in our way. I was diagnosed with a heart defect (which, thankfully, we don’t have to worry about for a while). Someone broke the window on our car, and our car broke down, and the other car broke. Someone burnt out on our lawn. There was other illness and emotional turmoil in our extended family. I was diagnosed with depression, and, like a genius, messed up my antidepressants in a bad way that sent me into a 6-week darkest depths spiral. My daughter continued her off and on insomnia, and had her own ups and downs with the cancer. I was sent to the ER with a mysterious side pain, that was right up there with labor. My father-in-law passed away. Etc. Etc. Etc.

It’s never just one thing at a time.

Here is the thing: It’s not even supposed to be.

In one of my truly favorite scriptures, Jesus tells us in the bible that life is just hard. It’s not meant to be this easy peasy road.

“In this world you will have trouble” -John 16:33B

We will have trouble. Simple and straightforward.  It’s a forgone conclusion. No matter how nice you are, how much money you have or don’t have, where you live, or who your parents are. Because why? The world sucks!

At the beginning of this whole cancer debacle, people would ask me, rhetorical or not, why would God do this to a baby?

I don’t know and I don’t care.

Sometimes stuff just happens. Sometimes cancer happens.

And with every fiber of my being I don’t believe God did this. I believe He let the broken world we live in affect my son. But ya know what? God has shown up like crazy along the way. So I don’t ask why, because it doesn’t’t matter. The fact is, it’s happening. God is with us. That is what I know. That is all I need to know.

At an early age, I learned the world sucked. But I also was lucky enough to also know that God was going to get me through.

And you know what? Cancer isn’t fun. It’s millions of doctors appointments and blood tests. It’s hospital visits on Thanksgiving and isolation from loved ones. It’s pumping your baby full of toxins, and making him painfully sick in hopes to save his life.

But I still say: Thank you, cancer.

For you it may not be cancer.. for you it may be job loss, depression, disease, heartache, loss, etc…

Thank you, _________.

Why am I thankful for hardship, for pain, for my precious baby boy who was a part of my body to have a life threatening disease?

Because the part of life that sucks can make us better people than we would be without it. Because I can say that through it God has healed, God has strengthened, God has revealed himself to those who have never seen Him before, and God is here with my son.

I am thankful, because after the last six months I am a different person — a stronger person, and in my heart I believe I am more of the person God wants me to be.

God has done all that. So you may be asking, why are you saying “thank you, cancer” instead of “thank you, God?”

I say thank you to God on a daily basis. I think being outwardly appreciative of God showing up is vital. But when I say thank you cancer, I am not negating God’s role. I just feel like its important to look at the good stuff that can only come from the terrible stuff. Sometimes you have to be broken down before you can be rebuilt stronger. Sometimes you have to be thrown into an unexpected life situation before you can grow. Sometimes life is hard, and that is okay.

Thank you, cancer, for being the catalyst to great friendships.

Thank you, cancer, for showing me what hope is all about.

Thank you, cancer, for helping me finally figure out how to find strength in God.

Thank you, cancer, for forcing me to grow in ways I struggled with before.

Ultimately, I am thankful to God for using the terrible stuff and turning it into good stuff.  But I feel like I also need to acknowledge for the brokenness in our life because it was the catalyst for change that brought me to where I am today.

God can bring so much good out of the brokenness of the world, it’s amazing. Sometimes it’s in much smaller doses than we expect or want, so we completely miss it  Sometimes it is just a matter of letting him.

During the last six months, I actively found myself asking the questions:

1) Where is God working?

2) Where can I show love here?

3) Where do I need to grow?

And even though sometimes the answers were harder than others, it’s the answers that have given me hope. The answers have given me strength. The answers have helped me grow in dramatic and awesome ways.

That’s what my post will be about tomorrow.  (Continue on to read part 2 here.)


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