Laura: I don’t know anyone who has ever said, “I sure hope sickness and death and grieving will be part of the story God writes for my life.” But I’ve learned that God uses the hard parts of our stories to comfort others.
When I was 20 years old, my mom was diagnosed with kidney cancer in her right kidney. Two years later, my dad was diagnosed with kidney cancer in his right kidney. They both had surgery and treatments and were in remission for a few years. Then, my dad’s cancer metastasized to his bones. Not long after, my mom was diagnosed with a totally different cancer: double-hit non-Hodgkin lymphoma. At one point, Mom was receiving in-patient chemo at Vanderbilt in Nashville and Dad had a hard time physically walking into the hospital to go see her because of all the cancer in his leg bones.
2020 was a tough year, and we had to often self-quarantine before being around my parents, but God in His grace gave us a beautiful spring and summer full of memories when Mom and Dad were both feeling well. My dad planned to retire in January 2021, and Mom and Dad moved to where my family lives (Joplin, Missouri) the last week of December 2020. The day after they made it to Joplin, Dad went into the hospital. The cancer he had been fighting for eight years was filling his lungs. Two weeks later, Dad passed away on January 17, 2021.
Mom and I were at the Matthew West concert in Joplin a few weeks ago. “Truth Be Told” was one of my dad’s favorite songs before he died. And truth be told, the days and weeks surrounding my dad’s death have been some of the hardest days I’ve ever walked through. When we were taking care of him in hospice care, it was as if I was in a pit and Jesus was sitting there holding me as we waited in the darkness together. I can say now with confidence: there’s no depth so deep that God can’t reach, no darkness so dark that God can’t pierce it with light.
Mom and I are flying to Houston next week for her two-year cancer scans at MD Anderson Cancer Center. This two-year scan is a huge benchmark for her specific type of cancer. Please pray for us as we once again sit in a doctor’s office awaiting test results. We yearn all the more for an eternity when God will right all wrongs and cure all cancers. I hold onto this truth: “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33