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Nearly twenty-five years ago, my mom “lost” her battle with cancer. While I know that God’s ways are not our ways (Isaiah 55:8), and He works all things together for our good (Romans 8:28), I remember that day with raw emotions.
I also know that our loss is her gain, for she gained so much that day 25 years ago. Yes, she left behind her husband and her girls, her family and her friends, her home and her life, but she gained peace and healing, freedom from sin and ultimately freedom to worship her Jesus, right there at his feet, the one who created her and loved her from the beginning (Psalm 139:13-15)!
Almost two weeks ago, I learned that my younger sister is fighting this same battle, and her news prompted this open letter to cancer. It’s raw and probably not my normal writing, but it’s how I was feeling late that night. I’m sharing with you because again, life’s not all fun and roses; in fact, it rarely is. It’s hard. Crazy hard. But I want to share with you my struggle to encourage you and let you know that we are just like you…barely making it lots of days. This is real life.
You’ve been a part of my life for a long, long time. If I remember correctly, you were lurking nearby when I was just a small girl, perhaps even younger. The first time I heard your name was when you wrecked our family by slowly taking over Aunt Julie. She was so young and beautiful. You like the young ones, don’t you? Who am I kidding? You have no preference.
After you did all you could do with her, you moved on to Mama. She was even younger and had two small girls. You really are despicable. She fought a good fight…pushed you back in your corner, where you stayed for a time, all the while gaining strength, waiting for the right moment to overtake her. Just so you know, she didn’t give in to you. She waited until her Savior called her home, but he waited to do that until she knew her little girls would be all right without her.
Cancer, you suck.
You know that? Because you didn’t stop there. You moved on to Uncle Robert. What did you want with him anyway? He was a single man, one who dedicated his life to his work, his farm, and watching over his aging mother.
If men could be truly good, he was good man. I watched how you wrecked him, too. He was strong, though, and actually gave you the upper hand because he didn’t want to risk how awful his quality of life could be if he underwent treatment. He saw how much damage those could do in his two sisters.
You’d think you’d have had enough by then. But you didn’t. Granted, you gave us a break of several years–how kind. The fourth target was another aunt. Praise be to God, HE put his foot down! He didn’t let you have her, but that’s not to say you didn’t have your fun and take a toll on her body and her spirit and her family. Deplorable.
Seriously, again? You strike again in my little sister! My little sister who is a wife and mother of four little kids. How wonderfully clever of you. You beat my mama down to nothing, drug us all through a hell of sorts, and now show your ugly face again? Cancer, you really do suck. And I’d not be exaggerating one bit to say you are the biggest bully–ever! You go around in your quiet little way and strike when unsuspected. You delight in misery and pain and heartache.
But let me tell you something…. We are not alone. You may be winning this battle…your score card may say you are ahead, but let me assure you, we are NOT alone.
We know Him who fights our battles
You can play your little game of fear, but we know the Overcomer.
That pain game…we know the Healer.
Those feelings of being alone…we know Immanuel, God with us.
Your friend death you bring with you…we know the Alpha and Omega, Eternal God.
You can bring your best game, but in the end, we know El Shaddia, Psalm 91:1 (The All Sufficient One) and El Elyon, Genesis 14:19-20 (The Most High God). This same God; He is our Shield, our Shepherd, our Deliverer. In Him, we can hide our face from your crap because he is our Hiding Place, Pslam 32:7. And to top it all off, he is Faithful and True. What he says he will do, he does. And while he sometimes lets you “win,” He always has His way.
See Cancer, even in your crafty existence, He knows. He sees every move you make, every heart you crush, every body you overtake, and He can stop you. For those He calls his own, you only get them for a brief time because in the end, you have to hand them over.
God Wins, Cancer
What’s delightfully ironic is that those who are called His get a new body anyway, so who cares if you trash this one. They get to be with Him, their Creator, forever, clean and whole and free.
Therefore, we refuse to be overcome or defeated by you. You may be stronger, but we will endure until the end because our Deliverer is coming. I assert right now that I will no longer allow you to cause me to live in fear. Fear for myself or my family. We trust the God who is all those things I mentioned and infinitely more. His plan will rock you because what’s funny is that you get to play a part in that plan and see just how good He is.
Genesis 50:20 says, “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.”
Oh yes, Cancer, you play your little game, but in the end, we know who wins.
Very Thoughtfully Yours,
~In honor of my sister and Aunt Annie, and in loving memory of Mama, Aunt Julie, and Uncle Robert.~
***UPDATE: My sister is doing well. She had surgery on the very day I originally shared this post, and all went well. There have been challenges, as anyone would expect, but we hold to the fact that God is in control. Thank you all, from the bottom of my heart, for praying for my little sister!***
Avis Harris says
Wow…I can’t speak…nor see for the tears in my eyes. Wonderfully written and I’m claiming this letter as our family’s warcry to our well-known enemy!
“But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:37-39
Brina Lynn says
You brought tears to my eyes,too. It took me several minutes to read your comment. Thank you so much! Love you!
Jennifer Fountain says
Wow. So powerful! I can imagine what a tough season this is for you. Praying that all goes well and that this victory is felt on earth. Hugs, mama!!
Brina Lynn says
Thank you! Surgery went very well!
Michelle Wright says
Now boohooing like a baby, but so well written! I love my friend and we are praying for her and all your family! It so hard to understand sometimes, but then again we aren’t meant to;were just meant to have faith. I have faith and I believe in God, in prayer, in healing and in love! Love you bunches S!! Hugs and prayers your way my sweet sweet friend
Brina Lynn says
Thank you, Michelle!
Gloria Trull says
Brina, I started reading your beautiful comments last night while I was sitting in our loved one’s hospital room. I am so glad I didn’t get very far before I was interrupted & I had to finish reading it at home. I say this because before I even got to the photo, I was crying so hard I could barely see it. I think I actually took that picture or one just like it. Until Cancer took Aunt Julie, all of them helped raise me & were a big part of my life ever since I can remember. It is so terrible to know that only 2 of the wonderful people in that photo are still with us. I grew up with your Mom & even though she was my Aunt, we were so close to the same age that it felt like we were sisters. What is really strange is that now I feel like her 2 daughters are more like my sisters than my cousins! Cancer again took one of the sweetest, most amazing woman & Mother that God ever created. My heart hurts every time I think about how she had to miss seeing what amazing women & Mothers her 2 girls grew up to be & all of her precious & brilliant grandchildren. Cancer robbed you & all of us once again.
I agree with you though about God stopping cancer in it’s tracks this time. I know that God has heard all of our prayers and he will not let Cancer have another victory in this family. God always has a plan and even though we cannot even begin to understand why certain things happen, we must always believe that God loves us more than any human can begin to comprehend.
Every time I pray about this, I get the feeling that everthing will turn out good this time, thanks to our loving & all powerful God! His healing hands can defeat anything and I am going to keep praying. ?❤️
Brina Lynn says
Gloria, thank you so much for your sweet words and your prayers! I miss them all terribly, but I know that God is the author of life and that He is in control of all things. In that, I find comfort. He is a good, good Father!