I’ve been doing all that I can
To hold it all together, piece by piece
I’ve been feeling like a failure
Trying to be braver than I could ever be
It’s just not me…
So be my healer
Be my comfort
Be my peace
Cause I can be broken
I can be needy
Lord, I need You now to be, be my God
So I can just be me
At first, I did what I knew to do. I fought the good fight. When fear came, I spoke to it and sent it packing, telling it what God was telling me, things like Psalm 112: 7-8 “I will not fear evil tidings for my heart is fixed, trusting in the Lord.” And John 11: 4 when Jesus said of Lazarus – and now of me as well – “This sickness will not end in death. No, it is for God’s glory so that God’s Son may be glorified through it.”
I reminded fear of the words of my life verse after God reminded me: Isaiah 46: 4 “I will be your God throughout your lifetime – until your hair is white with age. I made you and I will carry you along and save you.” I took great comfort in this verse – especially when God had me consider the fact that my hair is still decidedly brown.
I resisted fear with the Word of God and the Word overcame it again and again.
But there were other voices. The pressure they brought to bear on my decision to believe God for a supernatural healing, without medical intervention beyond what had already been done, was relentless and disheartening. One voice, above the others, really wore me out – the voice of doubt, fear, unbelief and strong disapproval that expressed itself through my sister.
The pressure to give in and have a mastectomy became almost unbearable. The scans came back showing the cancer was back and it was growing. The doctor gently urged me to consider the surgery which she referred to as “removing the Mothership.”
Still I waited, resisting. I felt fine. God was still speaking, leading me to verses like John 20: 29 “Blessed are those who have not seen, and yet believe” when another scan came back with unwanted news.
Being alone with a decision of this magnitude is hard. I know I don’t need to tell you that, Jahar. You always knew in your heart that you couldn’t trust those government-appointed defense attorneys so you kept sending them away. You fought the good fight too.
And then the letter arrived and at last you agreed to representation that turned out to be as treacherous as you had feared: having those attorneys represent you was like having no one in your corner at all.
I understand your finally giving in to that kind of pressure. I do not fault you in the least. When the Bible says “It is not good for man to be alone” it is not only referring to Adam having no helpmate in the Garden of Eden. Being alone day after day with no one to talk to when a momentous decision looms and pressure is unceasing opens the door to weariness.
I became weary of standing alone, reaching my breaking point. I finally gave in, knowing in my heart this was not what I believed was right or necessary. I had the mastectomy simply to get out from under the pressure, to shut my sister up.
With family and friends I have kept quiet about how I really feel – that having the surgery was a spectacular failure of faith and evidence of weakness on my part – that I missed the opportunity to witness the miracle God wanted me to have. Instead, I talk about the great job the surgeon did and how wonderful the nurses were. I laugh about how bad the food was but how nice that I had a private room and the best surgeon in town who kept me in hospital two additional days. I talk about how easy it will be for me to look normal in clothes because I am small-breasted. I tell them how happy I am that I opted for no surgical reconstruction on that side. And they all go away satisfied that “Lynn’s gonna be ok and we can go on with our lives now, everything is back to normal.”
Those are the topics it is safe for me to discuss and hide behind. I stick to them like a script. Through all this I learned that with some people, you just can’t be totally honest because people then gain access to your heart who don’t deserve to be there.
I won’t be making that mistake again.
Tomorrow morning is my second post-op appointment. I’ve been practicing in anticipation of what the questions will be when my sister calls tomorrow afternoon. I blame myself for getting into this pressure situation in the first place. I said too much to too many people who I knew did not share my faith and confidence in an Almighty God who still heals.
I won’t be making that mistake again either.
I’ve been living like an orphan
Trying to belong here
But it’s just not my home
I’ve been holding on so tightly
To all the things that I think could satisfy my soul
But I’m letting go…
So be my father, my mighty warrior
Be my king
Cause I can be scattered
Frail and shattered
Lord, I need you now to be, be my God
So I can just be me
My sister flew down to Florida to be with me for the first four days after I left the hospital. Her presence was a mixed blessing. In the end, I decided I was grateful for the distraction. And the take-out she bought us each night.
She went with me to my first post-op appointment before leaving for the airport. I met her in the waiting room afterwards. The first words out of her mouth as we walked down the hall toward the elevators were “So what did the pathology report say?” Without batting an eye I told her it hadn’t come back yet.
I had the pathology report in my purse and knew exactly what it said. I was freaking out inside, still trying to accept the number of lymph nodes the surgeon had removed. I was pissed, knowing what this put me at risk for. My sister didn’t need this information because I did not need to hear her response. I was still trying to get my game face on and accept what I had just learned.
So I kept silent, deciding this season of being pressured by others to handle my health challenge as their fear and unbelief dictated rather than how God was leading me to handle it was over.
She left for the airport none the wiser.
Cause I was lost in this dark world
Until I was finally found in You
So now I’m needing, desperately pleading
Oh Lord, be all to me
And be my savior, be my lifeline
Won’t You be my everything
Cause I’m so tired of trying to be
Someone I was never meant to be
Be my God
Please be my God
Be my God
So I can just be me
So I can just be me
I can just be me
So what did the pathology report say? Lymph nodes are clean. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.
“Blessed are those who have not seen, and yet believe.” John 20: 29
Trusting God will get us through the terrible trial-by-fire season we are in, Jahar. I know that is easier said than done. I was suddenly thinking this afternoon about how a friend of yours from the wrestling team remembered you. He said you would really push him not to give up, referring to some drill the team was forced to do repeatedly that you all hated.
Sometimes people need that strong encouragement. How I wish we could talk directly so we could encourage each other to keep believing in the goodness of God no matter what twists and turns the path takes before life gets good again.
And it will get good again, Jahar. Of that I am certain. For both of us.
But as for me, I trust in You, O Lord. I say “You are my God.” My times are in Your hand. Psalm 31: 14-15
It has been difficult to find the will to continue writing. Feeling like a failure as I did, it was hard to imagine I had anything to say worth hearing. Maybe with this letter behind me, I can now move past that. I hope so; I have a lot more to say in your defense.
You know what’s odd? I keep waiting to feel grief or anger or whatever it is I imagine I am supposed to feel over being disfigured and I feel – nothing. It is what it is. Maybe I am able to be so accepting of my new normal, as some have blithely called it, because I don’t expect to ever marry again so no one will know but me how I look.
Or maybe, this is my first miracle. If it is, I’ll take it, for now.
Blessings and peace to you, Jahar. He is able.