Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Rest for the Weary

Last week I had a CT scan to determine the effectiveness of the oral drugs, which I had been taking for six weeks. The report came back to show that the cancerous tumours in my abdomen have continued to grow. Unfortunately the oral drugs have been ineffective. The scan also revealed that what they originally thought was post-surgery inflammation is actually more cancer lining my abdomen wall. There is also some fluid build up around my lungs again. Seeing as these oral drugs either work or they don't, I will stop taking the pills and we will try another treatment after consulting with our oncologists in Hamilton and Toronto over the next couple weeks.

Needless to say, we are disappointed by this news. We had hoped I'd be able to continue with those easy oral drugs throughout the summer months. And we had hoped and prayed that maybe, just maybe, those oral drugs would miraculously work with this difficult-to-treat low grade epithelial ovarian cancer. 

This news also comes at a time when we're just tired. Tired of the topic of cancer. Tired of the appointments. Tired of the decisions. Tired of disappointments. Tired of sharing bad news with family and friends. Tired of being the persons in need. Tired of living one step at a time. Tired of embracing new normals only to readjust. Tired physically, mentally and emotionally from it all. We're tired. 


As I was reflecting on all of the above, it dawned on me that the verse my prayer girls and I had been memorizing for the past few weeks is this...

"Come to me all you who are weary and burdened, 
and I will give you rest. 
Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, 
for I am gentle and humble in heart 
and you will find rest for your souls. 
For my yoke is easy and my burden is light."
 - Matthew 11:28-30

Those verses are the exact reminders I need. After a year with this cancer diagnosis, going through all sorts of appointments, treatments and surgeries, I suppose it's understandable that we're feeling tired by cancer. It's a burden that interferes with the life we had imagined. It's made me weary physically, but also a lot of us weary emotionally, mentally and spiritually. 

Jesus' chief purpose during his thirty years on earth was to save us so we could be made right with God and have eternal life. What amazes me is that in addition to that incredibly high calling, Jesus was so gentle, humble and compassionate with the individuals he interacted with. For example, in the above verses Jesus doesn't push aside or ignore the weary or burdened. Instead He does the complete opposite; He beckons them to come to Him. When we're burdened, weighed down, at the end of ourselves, God doesn't expect that we pick up the pieces alone and just "figure it out". Instead He calls us to come to Him in our broken state. 

Whew. Honestly, that promise alone gives me rest. It's a reminder that this is not about me. It's not about dealing with everything "well". It's about coming to God in my brokenness. It's about sharing with God, through prayers and journalling, my raw emotions and disappointments. It's about being reminded that He is a good God that wants to spend time with me whether I'm praising or wrestling. It's about trusting Him, knowing His ways are far beyond my comprehension. It's about surrender. And as I continually come to God and give over the burdens of cancer, I will continue to experience His rest, peace, strength and joy. In the simplicity of just coming, the burden becomes lighter. 

14 comments:

  1. Hi Julia, I have heard your story through my cousins Sarah Rhebergen and Destiny Spaling. Although I do not know your struggles, I do know the feelings of being tired in all aspects. I have been sick for a mere 6 months with various illnesses and hate feeling helpless and exhausted and in pain all the time. This verse really spoke to my heart, so thank you for sharing your story and this verse and words of encouragement.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I needed to read this.... thank you Julia!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Hi Julia, thank you for sharing your journey with us. It's a real testament to what it means to walk with the Lord. Diane and I have been following your story and have been keeping you, Andy and the family in our prayers. God bless you and comfort you. Gerald & Diane

    ReplyDelete
  4. Thanks. Dealing with a lot of heavy things... God used your writing to speak to my heart. Praying this truth would keep coming back to you (and me too!)

    ReplyDelete
  5. Thank you for your testimony Julia and for taking the time to share your story. You are ministering to more people than you will likely ever know!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Oh Julia...your words, and the topic of surrendering your disappointments, your tiredness... And dealing with your cancer... It really all is too much...Only Jesus can make that burden lighter...keep falling into His arms..He is our continued safe haven... Continuing to pray for you..thank you for your bravery, diligence, extreme beauty of spirit, and your raw and open heart...you are such a priceless gift..xo

    ReplyDelete
  7. Julia, you remind me so much of your Grandma Beacham, but then I realize it's really Jesus shining through. Last week she was telling me how she enjoys reflecting on Psalm 23, as she pushes her walker around the home, and she starts to quote: "The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not [be in] want." She radiates a rejoicing, thankful spirit, borne out through years of trusting her Saviour. Your blogspot here is resplendent with that same faith and fervor for your Shepherd...."he leads me beside the still waters." - Charlotte Covell

    ReplyDelete
  8. Thank you for sharing so truthfully. Having gone through this journey with my late husband, I understand the heavy feelings and the fear of being a burden. Never fear you are a burden. After sharing my burdens with someone, and apologizing for doing so, a close friend said that sometimes, we are here to help shoulder others' burdens. I believe this to be true. I continue to pray for you and your family. This song has helped me a lot .....
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=91KliTa1ksY

    ReplyDelete
  9. May the Lord give you the rest in Him that your heart needs in order to continue the daily grind and may the uncertainty of what happens next be met head on with His promises to always be with us.

    Donna Rush (Former member Cobourg Alliance Church)

    ReplyDelete
  10. Nancy ... Friend of your momJune 9, 2016 at 11:47 PM

    Julia, thank you for sharing your heart! It's a beauty!

    ReplyDelete
  11. Hi Julia and Andy,
    It was so good to see you both and talk to you for a few minutes at Aunt Ruth's 90th Birthday event in Perth a few weeks ago. We just want you to know that we are praying for you both, and for each of your parents and families. There has also been much prayer for you in the assembly prayer meetings each week here in Montreal. How wonderful it is that we are fellow members of the body of Christ, "For by One Spirit are we all baptized into one body, ... And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it." (I Corinthians 12:13,26). As the Lord Himself said of John the Baptist, that "He was a burning and a shining light" (John5:35), so have both of you been to all those of us who know you, throughout this very trying journey that the Lord has brought you on. With love, in HIM, Robert & Sigrid Muir

    ReplyDelete
  12. Julia, I keeping funding my way back to your blog. It has been recommended to me twice by friends when I was diagnosed and just recently in the AYA newsletter from Princess Margaret. You are a beautiful writer and you are touching so many people including myself. Your words of wisdom and guidance help to strengthen my faith and remind me of the greater journey we are on. Continue to trust and find peace, rest and joy. Sending love and prayers for healing, Alison

    ReplyDelete
  13. Julia, I keeping funding my way back to your blog. It has been recommended to me twice by friends when I was diagnosed and just recently in the AYA newsletter from Princess Margaret. You are a beautiful writer and you are touching so many people including myself. Your words of wisdom and guidance help to strengthen my faith and remind me of the greater journey we are on. Continue to trust and find peace, rest and joy. Sending love and prayers for healing, Alison

    ReplyDelete
  14. My kids are kindergarten students in the school where you worked. We are praying for you. "My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever" Psalm 74:26

    ReplyDelete

I'd love to hear from you. Please jump in on the conversation or just say hi!