Meet my friend, Stacey

Let me introduce you to a remarkable woman named Stacey.  I'm a regular subscriber to Stacey's blog, and her post just yesterday revealed a poignant and vulnerable account of her journey.  As a vibrant single woman, Stacey began by admitting that there was a particular phrase that she ached to hear.  But, I'll let her finish the story in her own words....

STACEY:  "You may have been thinking I was going to say, "I love you," as those words we long to hear.  But, those were not the three words I longed to hear.  No.

Back in 2004 following my breast cancer surgery, the best words I heard from the doctors and the oncologists were, "You're cancer free!" My family and I were so happy to hear this. You don't want to have cancer at any age, but 34 was not the time to get it either. I had just found my career, and then this happened.

I lived four years knowing I was cancer free, and being so happy how God had orchestrated my "healing." I knew that surgery had been His answer and I was content with that treatment. Paul writes in Philippians 4, "...for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances." And how true that was for me those four years. It was then in 2008 when I found out the cancer had returned, and returned with a vengeance. I spent time talking with people about my short journey and telling of the contentment I felt knowing that God was in control of the situation, even with the news that I was soon going to have surgery to remove part of my pelvis. Some found it hard to believe I was so content and thought I was hiding my true feelings. But I wasn't.

I spent my waking hours proclaiming the glory of the Lord to those who inquired about my surgery. It was God using surgery to heal me back then, and I knew it was true again this time. Many told me they never would have known I was sick in the first place. Others couldn't believe how "matter-of-fact" I was about having come through surgery for breast cancer with no other treatments at the time, and was now facing yet another scarier surgery. I took no credit for being "calm, cool and collected" about it, as people sometimes noted. I shouted from the mountain top that "My God Reigns."

In the Spring of 2011, our lives intersected when Stacey joined our Family Talk team to serve as our incredibly competent and brilliant Web Designer - a position she still holds.  I'll never forget the day a modified recliner chair was assembled in her empty cubicle in anticipation of her first day of work the following Monday.  "Curious," I thought, "I wonder why that's needed?"  I was soon to find out.

You see, today Stacey lives with constant pain. The breast cancer victory above was short-lived.  The cancer returned, but this time in her hip.  Thus, more exhausting medical visits.  Recurring trips to the oncologist.  Pain management.  More medical terms.   Alternative treatments.  And all of this culminating with the removal of her pelvic bone on the right side (where the hip joins) in August 2008.  The chair and it's accompanying logistics are a constant reminder of a complete lack of bone structure on that side, and her subsequent inability to sit upright at a desk for more than 2 minutes at a time.   In fact, when our Family Talk staff assembles for daily devotions upstairs in Dr. Dobson's library, precious Stacey dials in and joins us via speaker phone from the first floor, because she can neither make the trip upstairs, nor last the 20 minutes necessary in a straightback chair.  Truly, this dear co-worker cannot even walk to the kitchen to reheat her lunch without grimacing.  It's an incredible glimpse of a life filled with struggle and physical pain.

This is precisely why her glorious conclusion yesterday hit me right between the eyes:

"Today after yet several more surgeries (3 in 2010 and 1 in 2012), I still shout, but only from the rooftops. It's harder these days. Not harder to give God the glory, because I still do that daily, but it's harder to find the strength to shout it. I am still content—on most days. I do have my moments where not being able to do a particular task overwhelms my emotions and I have a short breakdown—sometimes with tears (also referred to in our house as a meltdown). I never stay in that moment, though. Why?

Isaiah 53:1-4 tells us how Jesus was going to be treated by human kind here on earth. And in verse 5 it says, "But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed." As found in 1 Peter 2:24, “'He himself bore our sins' in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; 'by his wounds you have been healed.'” (Emphasis added.) Jesus was treated much worse than anything you or I will ever experience. Yet, He took all my sins and sicknesses on Himself that day on the cross so that I (and you) may live in righteousness and be healed of all sicknesses and diseases. Now, I know it may or may not be here on this side of eternity, yet I can (and will) shout, "I AM HEALED!"

Where I used to desire to hear the words, "You're cancer free," I now long for the day when I hear my Lord say to me, "Well done, good and faithful servant!" (Original text is found in Matthew 25:23).

I pray I live up to serving the Lord well."

You do, my friend.  You do indeed.

Join me on following Stacey's journey at Step of Faith.

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