Candid Reflections On the Most Challenging Season of My Life
That Monday in mid-July was only the beginning of the fiercest storm of my life. Two weeks later, our greatest fear was confirmed–Tori's lump was cancerous. She would later undergo a double mastectomy, chemotherapy, and radiation (and oh yeah, this was amid the Covid pandemic with a hybrid education model in place for our four children. Can you say FUN?).
Tori has shared her story over at Caring Bridge. I recommend you check it out. I want to share what I learned and experienced as I walked alongside Tori in the most challenging season of my life.
- My mindset never was “why God?” Instead, I eagerly wondered, How God? How will You use this experience in our lives for our good and Your glory? We've gotten some glimpses. The rest of the story is still being written.
- The most heart-wrenching aspect of this whole affair was telling the bad news to our children. They cried and we cried too. I trust as hard as this experience was for them, God will use it in their lives to become resilient in the face of adversity.
- God doesn’t promise to pull us out of every hardship but He can pull us through.
- God pulled me through by His mercy and strength. Lamentations 3:21-23 and Isaiah 40:28-30 kept me going day by day.
- God used Tori's cancer to show me my cracks--my hidden faults. I didn't like what I saw. Rather than hide it or defend it, I got help from a trusted Christian counselor. Having another person help me slow down and make sense of what was going on inside of me was beneficial
- In a day and age in which ”believe in yourself” is the mantra, I say “Get over yourself.” You and I just aren’t that strong to handle every burden on our own. I have discovered that I’m at best when I am weak. It is in weakness that my strength ends and Jesus' power truly shines.
- As I endured this supreme trial in life, I often wondered how people without Christ endure such storms. What a crushing burden to think that you must make your way on your own. I am not ashamed to admit I need a “religious crutch” to get through the journey of life. I need more than a crutch. I need a Savior who suffered with me and for me; died, was buried, rose again, ascended into heaven, and welcomes us weary sinners to find rest in Him.
- Our local community is AWESOME. I already knew this but our experience reaffirmed it. The way our village (including our beloved Shawnee Elementary Family and Forks Community Church) loved and supported us through meals, cleaning, and rides was such a blessing and comfort.
- Trials provide perspective about what matters which helped me developed greater assertiveness. For example . . .
- I am living proof of the power of Christ. To the cynic and skeptic who doubt the reality of the resurrection of Jesus I say, “Prove it.” The burden of proof isn’t on me; it’s on you.
- Some might argue that suffering is convincing proof that God doesn’t exist. I’d argue the opposite. Suffering is a powerful proof of the existence of God. Christianity is centered on Christ, God in the flesh who didn’t avoid the suffering of this world. He chose to involve himself with it personally. If Jesus suffered, why should I be surprised by suffering?
- Suffering didn’t weaken my faith. It was the occasion for making it stronger and renewing me in the process.
- The strength and positivity people saw in Tori and me wasn't from a reservoir of inner fortitude; it was and is from the risen power of Jesus Christ who sustains us day by day. His grace is overflowing in us so that even in our weakness we are strong.
All of us will face a storm sooner or later. I hope that something I wrote here might help you to turn to the One who has the power to help you in the storm. If so, comment below. If you are in the midst of a storm and don't know where to turn, I am more than happy to help.
Pastor Tim Zuck
So well written and very much from your heart. We've had to go through very few trials. Your questions "how God?" and "How God will you use .........? really spoke to me as words to remember especially in difficult times. Things I need to remember for the future. Certainly every family member has grown in ways you would have never imagined a year ago and Christ is given the glory.