“We’re out of options. There’s nothing left we can do.”
We knew the day would come eventually—but that didn’t diminish the force of the blow. After four consecutive years of chemotherapy, my mom had run out of strains to try.
I sat crumpled on one side of her queen-sized bed, my younger sister hunched over the other. Mom had put up one heck of a fight—but it wasn’t enough. At age 59, she had been defeated; the cancer had won.
The bright lights on the final scoreboard taunted me in the silence of Mom’s bedroom that summer morning in 2011. I averted my eyes, searching for something other than suffering.
My vision blurred with tears, I glanced up at the window and saw blue sky. I wanted to make like a bird and fly away, carefree into the distance. Anywhere but here.
Anywhere but here.
But Jesus’ words from the gospel of John penetrated my wandering mind: “You do not want to leave too, do you?” (John 6:67)
Peter’s response became my anthem: “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.”
To whom shall I go?
This question both haunted and rescued me.
As much as I craved escape, I knew I had no better place to be than safe in the providence of my Redeemer.
When my mom was first diagnosed with breast cancer nine years prior to that awful morning, I fell apart emotionally and spiritually.
My spiritual pulse flatlined. I wasn’t angry with God, I just became . . . neutral. I lost all desire to pray or read my Bible.
I fell into a pit of spiritual lethargy and apathy. At the time I lived 8,000 miles away from my mom. I was supposed to be serving as a missionary in Cape Town, South Africa—but how could I possibly lead women’s Bible studies or disciple college students when I couldn’t even bring myself to open my Bible?
How could I tell others that God could be trusted when I wasn’t even sure I believed it myself?
I was convinced that my mom was going to die, and fully persuaded that I would die too if I lost her. There was no way I would cope if she was gone.
Fast forward nine years later, and her time was up. After falling twice in one night even with the aid of a walker, Mom decided to stop the chemo and let the cancer run its course.
All hope of survival was gone.
And it broke me.
My throat ran dry from the incessant silent screams within my soul.
And yet, as is often the case with the work of God, tiny green shoots sprung up from the dark soil of hardship.
There’s a surprising benefit to losing hope. When you reach the end of yourself, you realize that all you have is Christ.
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