Imagine facing your worst fear. Do you know how you would handle it? Do you think God would be there to help you? I can answer these questions because one of my worst fears came true.
Keeping Christ Close while facing your worst fear became the most important thing to me.
Struggles with Fear
My struggles with fear began in my 40’s. I had three siblings diagnosed with cancer, and they were all 50 years old and younger. I was the fifth child out of seven and we were all close.
My oldest brother passed away from esophageal cancer at 52 years old. We were devastated, and it was a horrible time.
Through this experience, I became paranoid and felt I was living with a target on my back. I had doctors do extra tests, and I never missed a mammogram. My friend also preached, “do breast self-exams in the shower daily; use soap and put your arms up!”
I was faithful in my self-exams and prayed about my paranoia and struggles with fear. I frequently read devotionals that suggested, “Let go, and let God” or “Give your worries to God”.
We all know that is harder to do than it seems!
When a Fear becomes a Diagnosis
I had a clear mammogram in October, and thought, “I am going to let this go”. And I did, I really did! I was allowing myself to live my best life. In that same year, I retired from 22 years of teaching, and it was time to enjoy it!
You can imagine my surprise six months later when during a self-exam, I felt a lump. My worst fear became a diagnosis.
I will never forget the date, May 24th, 2017. I was diagnosed with breast cancer.
I experienced anger. I was mad, it was like a kick in the pants. What the heck?
“Look Lord, I thought we agreed, that my family experienced enough grief and pain! Why are you sending me this now? Haven’t I dedicated my life to others? How can you let my kids go through this again? My mother? My brother’s family?”
So many questions for God but most of all, I was scared.
I began the journey of facing fear. I had surgery and it was a success since I was officially only stage 2. The cancer was caught early and my medical outlook was good (thanks to my beautiful friend’s advice of daily self-exams).
I was still mad and questioning how this could have happened. I was also praying, in rebellion. Have you ever done that? Prayed despite the lack of faith you are feeling?
I was desperate. It was like living two lives… the one where I smiled outwardly, and the one that was in my head lashing out.
While emotionally exhausted, I still had to handle the business of life. I hate dealing with paperwork, and when your world has bottomed out, it becomes a real nuisance.
I won’t forget the moment sitting in a small cafe when I filed a claim on my accelerated death policy. I had felt I needed this policy for peace of mind and signing the document helped me let go of some fear I was carrying.
I started to fill out the boxes: Name, DOB, date of diagnosis, May 24, 2017, date of signed insurance policy, May 24, 2016.
Did I really sign this policy one year TO THE DAY that I was diagnosed? I was blown away! It seemed like a divine appointment.
Keeping Christ close while facing my worst fear started to become a reality for me.
God is Bigger than Fear
After this realization, I began to recognize the extraordinary events that showed me I had been protected by God. He had weaved many details together to get me there. It all led up to that moment, and I felt many of my questions were answered. God really is bigger than fear.
After this epiphany, I had many trials throughout my treatment. It wasn’t an easy path, and I am still dealing with the aftermath of appointments and medicine, but I haven’t had doubts and God continues to lead me.
During my treatment, I decided to read the Book of Psalms which repeatedly says, “Take refuge in the Lord!” I now see that His hand probably led me to Psalms.
Whatever fears or challenges I have to face, I realize now what many friends have told me, “God is with you in every detail, every step of the way.” He really is bigger than our worst fear!
I now share my story with others so they can see it is possible to keep Christ close while facing their worst fear.
For more by Kay: Coping with fear and anxiety during a crisis
“Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.”