The Scripted Life
by Rachel Smolen
“Surely God is my help; the Lord is the one who sustains me.” –Psalm 54:4
Just like your story of cancer, mine is both universal and intimately personal.
I was thirty-five years old, married to the boy I had a crush on since I was a freshman in high school, and the mother of four children between the ages of six and three when the uninvited guest of cancer came and plopped itself smack dab in the middle of my body, my marriage, my kids, my friends, and my world. Uninvited, for sure. But not without purpose, as I would soon find out.
Life up to that point had been moving along pretty scripted and controlled for me. The husband. The kids. The new home. We loved each other and we loved Jesus. It wasn’t perfection by any stretch of the imagination but we were on the journey we had chosen.
Then, I started feeling poorly. Nothing spectacular, mind you. I thought I had a stomach bug that wouldn’t let up. Sure, I was little tired but wasn’t every mother I knew with young children at home? When I finally set up an appointment with my family physician, it dawned on me that it had been years and years since I had needed to visit him. The only physician I had frequented often at that stage in my life was my ob-gyn.
What started as a simple check-up was followed within an hour by hospital tests and then a phone call by mid-afternoon from our doctor to my husband. I knew standing in our kitchen, as my husband asked clarifying questions over that land-line, something was terribly wrong. He hung the phone up and simply said, “They have found a mass on your pancreas.” Suddenly, who I was when my restless body hit that bed that night wasn’t going to be the same person I was when I woke up that morning. A new normal had been escorted in. And 8 years later, that new normal continues to be a pathway for hard and deep and meaningful things to be brought to my heart, soul, and mind.
What were introduced to me on that day was how quickly life can change and how little control I truly had over the things that were dearest to my heart. All that I knew before that phone call would be tested and sifted. My faith would take a beating and my marriage would be overwhelmed. My kids would experience fear and my parents would feel grief. The best of friends would struggle for the right words to say and I would struggle with the vulnerability that cancer ushered in. As we all know, cancer just doesn’t affect a person. It affects everyone who loves that person too.
Standing where I’m at now, I can say this with full confidence: God sustains. He did it for me and He will do it for you no matter where you are on your cancer journey. There is not a hurt, a loss, a physical suffering, or a future that He has left you to deal with on your own. Though cancer takes us by surprise, not for one second does it ever catch God off guard. He is aware of your suffering and makes available His comfort even in the hardest, darkest spaces. Trust Him to be your help and your comfort.
Rachel Smolen resides in Evansville, Indiana with her husband, Jeff, and their four children, Marcy, Matt, Mallory, and Mandy. She is a homemaker and a blogger and loves hearing stories of other’s personal journeys through faith and relationships. Rachel graduated Purdue University with a degree in Psychology and is a huge Boilermaker fan .
Chemo Buddies is pleased to feature her writing about her journey on a weekly basis.