Is anyone else a little envious of people who no matter what happens to them they just say, “Oh, I trust God.” I am. I really have to work on trust. It doesn’t come naturally to me. It used to, but cancer changed it. And often during cancer treatment, I would feel angry when people would throw rather flip easy God answers toward me. I’m not telling you anything God doesn’t already know! There are no easy answers when people are struggling with major life crises.
Now I know I am not alone as I get many emails from women battling breast cancer who tell me their relationship with God is different. They struggle more or they find more solace or they have a mini-miracle happen or they can’t feel God’s presence at all.
Never did I feel like God abandoned me. Always, I felt His presence during treatment especially through my medical professionals, family and friends that did so much for me. But cancer changes things. Pre-cancer I could sit and meditate and listen to that “still small voice” for a very long time. During cancer treatment and even now, it is very hard for me to listen as I can never get my mind quiet enough. I can’t hear like I used to hear. I need spiritual hearing aids!
Speaking of hearing aids, I have been helping my almost 80-year-old, very active mom adjust to hearing aids and have learned some valuable lessons. 1) You have to have the right hearing aids for you which can take testing and trying out 2 or 3 different types of hearing aids before you find the right ones. 2) You have to follow directions from the audiologist. 3) It takes time to adjust. 4) Once you have adjusted, you can hear more clearly and life is so much better and vibrant!
I am applying these lessons for my new spiritual hearing aids with God. I write from a Christian perspective as I practice my faith as a Roman Catholic. Hopefully, my lessons will help you no matter how you might be struggling.
1) Find the right aids for you – that could be quiet time, a cancer support group, a visit to a counselor or therapist, or finding someone who has been down Cancer Road to help direct your path. If you are not dealing with cancer but some other major life challenge, seek out the new – perhaps a Bible study, a new group of like-minded individuals, a new craft or hobby or a support group for whatever you are suffering.
2) Follow directions from whatever aid you decide. This is definitely not easy. But often others can see what you cannot see. Make sure you absolutely trust those giving you direction.
3) Give your evolved relationship with God time and most importantly, give yourself time to adjust to your new life. This can take years not months. Be patient with yourself. I hear from women who feel so alone after cancer treatment because once they are done with Chemo, everyone expects them to be back to their old self. You will never be back to your old self. You have changed dramatically. Honor the changes in yourself and value the lessons you have been taught.
4) Adjustment happens as you cooperate with the process and with the new God has in store for you. One of my favorite scriptures talks about the Lord giving us “double for our trouble”. I believe it, and I am declaring it to you! Zechariah 9:12 Return to a fortress,O prisoners of hope; This very day, I announce I am restoring double to you.
My new lessons are beginning to bear fruit on my tree of life. Well, maybe not fruit yet, but at least I can now see many buds where before everything looked so barren. There is hope…cling to it.