Happy National Cancer Survivors’ Day

…or should I maybe make that “Happy [inter]National Cancer Survivors’ Day” since I’m in Israel…?

Either way, I hope it’s a great day! Things in Israel are going well–I’ll try to give a better update in the next week, but for right now, I wanted to briefly reflect on and celebrate what being a “survivor” has meant through sharing what I’m thankful for on this day.

On this, NCSD, I praise the Lord for 5 years of remission, 5 years of NOT having to sit through chemo, and 5 years of generally good health (despite what the Chicago winter did to my poor toes and fingers this year).

I wrote in my book that I wished I woke up every single day by praising God for the true gift that my life is since I know firsthand that it’s fragile, and yet, unfortunately, I don’t do that…

…at least not explicitly. 

However, in thinking about these past 5 years and how many good things have come in them (alongside hard stuff, too, no doubt), I realized that the way I’ve lived my life since cancer has been an ode of sorts to God’s gift of my life that is so very fragile. I’ve talked about how I’ve taken more risks post-cancer, and I think that’s true. Yet, somehow I’m both more fearful and more fearless post-cancer. 

Evidence of my increased fear is in my paranoia about wearing sunscreen, being alert for creepers while I’m walking or running alone, and other things along those lines. Like I wrote in my book, part of me realizes that if cancer–the unthinkable–can happen to me, I have a deep sense that I am not immune from the other stuff we never expect to happen to us.

However, I’m also more fearless somehow…it’s confusing, I know. But I look at the past 5 years and praise God for the adventures I’ve had and how He has helped me take more risks to follow where He leads. There’s a non-profit called “First Descents” that has adventure trips for young adult cancer patients or survivors, and its slogan is “Get Busy Living.” I love that motto–it’s somewhat humanistic and all, but I think in the past 5 years, I’ve gotten much busier living my life. I shared about this in previous posts, but since I’m celebrating NCSD today, hopefully you’ll forgive me for being repetitive.

Today I praise the Lord for His healing and overwhelming sovereignty in my life. I’m still amazed when I think of all the detailed ways He prepared me to walk through cancer–I still tear up even today when I think of it. I praise Him for life and for so many amazing opportunities to get busy living the life that He has called me to. From opening doors to two stints in Hawaii where I got to pour into and love on students (shoutout to the Hawaii Baptist Academy class of 2014 for graduating today!); to impressing on my heart that I needed to tell my story “to the next generation” and sustaining me through all of my doubts in the two years of writing, editing, and trying to publish my book all the way to its publication 8 months ago; to leading me back to Wheaton for grad school this year and growing me so much as well as giving me a pilgrimage-of-sorts; to providing so many other adventures, opportunities, and challenges to get busy living for Him and sharing what He’s done in my life, God is to be daily praised for this gift that is life. 

So today, on this, [inter]National Cancer Survivors’ Day, may all glory go to God and may I continue to get busy living the life He has for me–whether that includes a return to Hawaii, more amazing blessings, or even the return of my lymphoma or other inevitable challenges. To Him be the glory; He is faithful in every situation–including both cancer and blessings. 

Whether you have cancer, are a survivor, have your own challenge right now, or are feeling pretty blessed, may you, too, get busy living the life to which God has called you. Don’t wait for cancer to sober you up or convict you of the need to pursue what He has for you (cause cancer sucks, among other reasons).

On Christ the solid Rock I stand,