A diagnosis of breast cancer is not what you would think of as an answer to prayer but in a strange sort of way, it became one for me. I had prayed months earlier that my faith could be deepened so I seized the opportunity. As we all know, in order to grow stronger you have to be stretched so my “faith” muscles were put to the test. God, in His infinite wisdom, knew my breast cancer could bring Him glory while at the same time strengthen my relationship with Him.
It was no surprise God was there through it all – from the decision making processes through the fear of surgery, from the first chemotherapy treatment through the last radiation dose, from the prayers of desperation to the gentle reminders of His presence. He entered my pain to walk every step with me on my incredible journey of faith.
I learned how to recognize blessings in my cancer and apply them to enhance my spiritual awareness and growth. For example, while standing in the check-out line at my first oncology appointment, I felt as though I were among a flock of sheep. Why a flock, I wondered. Because sheep need a shepherd; sheep need to be rescued; sheep need someone to care for them night and day. Psalm 23:1 says “The Lord is my shepherd.” I had my own personal shepherd to meet my every need. The analogy became a tremendous source of comfort. I adopted it throughout my faith journey and incorporated the concept into the development of Ewe R Blessed Ministries.
Other coping strategies were discovered like having a positive perspective versus a negative outlook. It seemed to invite a healthier outcome. Chemotherapy became “a healing balm” rather than a poison; my dreaded hair loss became a sacrifice of praise; brokenness became a chance to be remolded and transformed; and tears became a segue to peace.
Journal entries and email updates to family and friends eventually became a published Bible study packed with scripture, biblical parallels, anecdotes, personal stories, meditative moments, reflections, and a splash of humor. Confronting Cancer with Faith reminds us that God is bigger than cancer. From the point of suspicion to finding contentment in the aftermath, survivors and/or co-survivors impacted by any type of cancer can find encouragement, comfort, and hope. To learn more visit confrontingcancerwithfaith.com.
-Karen O. Allen, MT (ASCP), MAEd, CCRP
Quality Assurance Manager, UAB Comprehensive Cancer Center
Author of Confronting Cancer with Faith