Let me backtrack to July.
Mike’s out of town on a missions trip. The kids are also out of town. My mom is having surgery the next day. I have the house to myself. I sit down to order a homeschool book on ebay.
It was a Monday, around noon.
An hour later, I receive a call from my doctor who tells me I have a large solid thyroid nodule that is suspicious looking and I will need to have a biopsy.
The minute after I get the call from my doctor, a friend calls (a good family friend, an elder at church, a husband and father I respect). I cry on the phone with him. He is the first person I tell about my ultrasound results. He had just been through cancer.
My word. The timing of that call!
He said “oh dear” with an empathetic tone in his voice. He asked if he could just pray for me real quick and suggested I give Mike a call and keep him in the know.
I was a mess.
The next day, my ebay order arrived. That was fast. But the seller lived in Maryland. She mailed the book as soon as she got the order.
So, on Tuesday night, I came home from a long day at the hospital after my mom’s surgery that morning. She was doing terrific, but I held off on talking about my own medical issue with her. It knew it should wait. Meanwhile, however, I had been in a waiting room all day long thinking about it. Worrying about it.
Reminder: Mike was on a missions trip. I did tell him the first chance I had. But he could only talk for 2 minutes and I told him about my doctor calling, about the biopsy, and about my funeral plans (kidding, sort of) while I was in the drive-thru picking up dinner at Chick-fil-A before teaching a Bible Study to jr. high teens that night.
I was a mess.
Anyway, back to the ebay order.
I got the package on Tuesday – after coming home from the hospital – and in it was the book (obviously) and also a little pamphlet. It was the seller’s personal testimony.
It says “The testimony of an 18 year old cancer survivor”
I remember precisely what I thought at that moment: hmm, I wonder if she had thyroid cancer.
Yep. That’s what she had.
So… now that it’s been 2 months, I can finally sit down and process this little weird event that happened and I believe I can guess what the Lord was up to here.
(let me just be honest here and say I did think it was a “sign” and I thought I was facing a cancer diagnosis right then and there…I admit it. My husband, on the other hand, took the opposite (biblical) position and said I shouldn’t look at this as anything more than what it was. Sure, God could have been working here but it was not a diagnosis, so relax thyself and stop planning the funeral). (kidding, sort of).
Long story short, God used her testimony to encourage me in many, many ways.
First and foremost, tell your story. I felt like that message was loud and clear. Tell your story – tell of how Christ has brought you through whatever He has brought you through.
I emailed Joanna and thanked her. I told her about my situation and we emailed back and forth a couple of times. It started to become apparent that God was not only using her to encourage me, but I was an encouragement to her, as well. She was going through a particularly hard time right then, but she continued to do what God called her to do: keep sharing her story. (She has distributed over 15,000 of these little brochures globally).
She even sent me her book that she wrote after her final treatment for thyroid cancer.
I sat down to read it in one night. Can you imagine going through something like this when you are in high school? And then writing a book and reliving it?
I’m glad she did. Not just for her and the many people she had already encouraged years ago when she first wrote the book and track, but for me, too.
And it came to my doorstep at just the right time.
(my biopsy results showed the nodule was benign and I’ll be having surgery on 10/14…and feeling much more relaxed than I was two months ago. I mean, I’m ready for it to be removed – PLEASE TAKE IT AWAY – but God has given me tremendous amounts of peace.
Also, God gave me an opportunity that I could not decline to share my story–about infertility and adoption–at our church last Sunday. I felt like that happened at just the right time, too. That excites me!!