Growing Your Faith

Normal is the New Black

Normal is the New Black

by Lori Hartin on April 5, 2017
I received an amazing call one week ago today, and has taken me a week to process the impact of that phone call. 

Nearly four years ago, I began a journey down an unknown road that is NEVER a journey that someone chooses. It was the cancer journey.

During this journey, I have fielded many experiences. I was told that I didn't have "real" cancer. I was told that the median life-span for this type of blood cancer is 5-7 years. I even had someone tell me that she knew how I felt because she has struggled with sinus infections all her life. I'll just leave that one right there. But in no way do I mean to undermine the sinus infection.

The cancer journey is really like no other. It is full of emotions and feelings that are hard to describe and so many don't understand. It's full of those, "You just had to be there," feelings and yet it's a place that I never want anyone to have to be. It is unique and scary.

And it's beautiful. All at the same time.
Early in the journey, when I was NOT looking to Scripture to find comfort and peace in my diagnosis, God still dropped an amazing Bible verse into my heart from John 11:4. "His [her] sickness will not end in his [her] death but will bring great glory to God. As these events unfold, the Son of God will be exalted." At the time, I had no idea what that was going to look like, but this verse gave me great peace. 
I realized in this diagnosis that the truth is we all really only have today. But this cancer just made me more aware of that truth. It was this realization that caused me to take a posture of saying yes to however God was going to use this sickness. If He trusted me enough to use me in illness, I was going to trust Him enough to lead me. And it was through this season, that He really refined me in the fire. The Bible reminds us that in our weakness, His power is made perfect. 
There aren't enough words to fully describe what the past three years have been like. But each month, as I would get my CBC's drawn at the lab, and through bone marrow biopsies (yes, that's plural as in more than one), and doctor appointments where staff who barely knew your name just read your chart and rattled off information, God was there all the time whispering to me, "I'm here. I'm in charge. Keep your eyes on Me." And through this season, I have listened. I have kept my eyes on Him. I even became thankful for cancer
And then the call came. My oncologist called last week to let me know that for the first time in four years, all of my labs were normal. Every month, I have a five-minute conversation with Elizabeth who gives me the specifics of each blood count. After asking about what I call the "Fab 4," (white cells, red cells, platelets, and hemoglobin), she said this: "When the results are abnormal, they flash red across my screen. When they're normal, they're black. You, my dear, have levels that are all amazingly black."
Although I would never choose cancer for you, I do know that God does His best work in times of adversity. My prayer today is that if you are reading this, you will let Him do His best work in you. Chances are that it won't look like something fun, but it can be beautiful. And I can promise you that you won't be sorry.