Less than a week ago my mom thought she was experiencing bad stomach pain from a virus or something, and now she has already undergone surgery for ovarian cancer. The speed at which this has all happened is overwhelming. No one expects things like this to happen, it is something we hear about happening, but never really imagine happening to us. Like my dad said at one point, it was as if you were just dipping your toes in the ocean (my stomach hurts), to being hurled into a stormy sea (stage 3 ovarian cancer). But this is not the end of the story. You see, as Christians, we are never actually alone, and God has promised that He will always be with us.
Joshua 1:9 "Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go." <--- one of many verses on the subject of God being with us
Knowing that God is with us is the most wonderful, comforting feeling. I can't really describe it, but all I can say is that God is light, and when we draw near to Him He can fill us so full of light that there is no room for darkness. My mom has been so incredibly brave during this journey. She doesn't complain or say a cross word, she is kind and loving and just as selfless as ever. She feels God's presence with her during this difficult time, and that makes such a difference.
One of our long-time family friends gifted my mom a devotional a few days ago called “Jesus Calling: Enjoying Peace in His Presence” by Sarah Young. (P.S. my mom loves reading on her Kindle, so if you feel like sending her something to keep her busy during chemo, a little Amazon giftcard would be much-loved J ). We read each day’s devotional together (whichever family member is with her at the time), and today’s brought so much comfort to our souls. Young writes, (from the perspective of Jesus talking to us) “You are surrounded by a sea of problems, but you are face to Face with Me, your Peace. As long as you focus on Me, you are safe. If you gaze too long at the myriad problems around you, you will sink under the weight of your burdens. When you start to sink, simply call out “Help me, Jesus!” and I will lift you up”
Philippians 4:7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, ‘Lord, save me!’ “
My mom may feel like Pete right now, sinking down in the water, but she has deep, wonderful faith and she continually calls to Jesus, and He raises her up. I am so grateful for the peace that the Holy Spirit has given me these last few days. It is weird to have gone from totally freaking out (that was my first reaction), to an overwhelming since of peace (how I feel now). And I know that this dramatic shift I’ve experienced is a gift from God, His Holy Spirit that brings me peace that passes all understanding.
And I would just like to add that we have felt all the prayers from everyone who loves Gabrielle, or even people who stumble across this blog but don't know her. We have felt enveloped by love and support from family, friends, coworkers, and hospital staff her at Northwest. Thank you so much from the bottom of my heart. Please continue to pray for her. :-)