Imagine your worst fear coming to life. Do you know how you would face it? Do you think God would be there to help you? I can answer these questions because one of my worst fears came true.
Struggles with fear
My problem 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. 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 I felt a lump. 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? Most of all, I was scared.”
Walking through medicine and anger
I had surgery and it was a success. I was officially only stage 2. I had caught it 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!
God was bigger
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.
After this epiphany, I had many trials through 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!
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.” Psalm 27:14
I am a Christ follower. Grateful for my roles as wife, mother, teacher, writer, sister, daughter, and friend. Praying always to serve God in whatever I do.