Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Life vs. Death

There’s something I’ve been wanting to get off my chest:

An interesting, yet disturbing thing seems to happen when you’re diagnosed with stage 4 cancer. Death suddenly becomes a very real thing and everyone around you seems to be acutely aware of it.

Now, as I’ve learned, everyone responds to this reality in a different way. For example, some people hear the phrase “stage 4 cancer” and immediately urge family members to be sure that I have a will and funeral plans in place (as if I already have one foot firmly panted in the grave and the other on a banana peel). Others fear that their time with me may be limited and they try to cherish every passing moment. Yet others pity me and look at me like I’m a poor lost puppy with a broken leg. Still, there are those precious few friends who treat me like… me (and, oh, how thankful I am for them)!

Here’s the thing: I’m tired of focusing on cancer and death. It’s depressing! I already spend enough time feeling horrible from the medications. When I’m feeling better, all I want to do is live my life.

Besides, I’ve been thinking: Death belongs to Satan. Life belongs to Christ.

“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” ~ John 10:10

Satan would love for me to get myopic in my vision and become depressed about my circumstances. He’d love for me to stop living my life and only think about the possibility of death. Really, his end goal is for me to become purposeless and stop making an impact in this world for Christ.

Yet at the same time, my heavenly Father knows very well what my circumstances are. He’s the one who allowed them in the first place. In fact, I believe this cancer was ordained by God to accomplish his will. To that end, he is always desiring that I would be focused on life and living it to the full as he designed it! God has a plan for me… and I’m positive it doesn’t include giving in, pitying myself, and sitting around waiting to die. There are far better things I can be doing with my time.

Still, I can understand that it’s very easy to get focused on disease and death in the midst of such a major diagnosis. It would be easy to let cancer define my life and define me, but I do not believe that this is how God defines me… and if God doesn’t define me in that manner, then I certainly shouldn’t either! Sure, I’m a cancer patient. From the moment I was diagnosed, my life unalterably changed and will never be the same again. That is a fact...

…But every single day, I have a choice to make. Will I focus on my illness or will I focus on my life? Will I get self-absorbed or will I seek to bless others around me? Will I give in, give up, pity myself, and wait for death or will I choose to live life to the fullest and seek to fulfill God’s plan for my life in the midst of whatever circumstances I may be facing at the time?

That’s easy… I choose life! How about you?


  1. Amen Heather! I can not tell you enough how your words have strengthened my faith. The Lord has used my trials and He is using yours. A verse I have always found to be encouraging is found in 2 Corithians 1:3-5

    "Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of Compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows."

    Thank you for sharing your comfort with me. I hope we can get together soon.


  2. Heather, A friend referred me to your blog. We have never met, but I wanted to let you know I will pray for you. Your realization of the gospel and its simplicity and yet amazing complexity are encouraging. Something I try to keep in the back of my mind is that we are all dying (a physical death) some have a better knowledge of the relative time, but none of us knows the day or hour. We however who are followers of Christ know the hope of the gospel and the life eternal. I will pray for a miracle of healing of the physical, but I will pray for countinuting strenght of the spirit. Live life with purpose. I love a quote by John Piper (actually I don't think it is originally his) "One life, twill soon be past. Only what is done for Christ will last." That is over the door frame of my house as I leave the hosue every day I try to read it and live that when I walk out the door into the rest of the dying world who does not have hope.

    Blessings to another sister.


  3. Very well said Heather. Inspiring! Thanks for posting!

  4. Heather,

    Great news, God is great, prayer is good!