Thursday, March 28, 2013

Soul Cancer~

Cancer is a serious health issue; it has touched my life through family members who have battled it- breast cancer, ovarian cancer, lung cancer, colon cancer, skin cancer, and leukemia.  Cancer affects the health and drains energy from the body of those enduring with it; it can kill when left untreated.

Although I have personally not fought the battle of a physical cancer of the body, I do know what it’s like to battle a cancer of the soul.

My Story
On the outside, it appeared I was living the good life.  I was a stay home mom married to a pilot in the military.  We lived in a nice house in an upscale neighborhood, drove new vehicles, enjoyed many luxuries, and had what appeared to be a happy family.  But the reality was my marriage had been falling apart over time, and emotionally, I was at a point of complete brokenness.  Most days I put on a happy face so no one would suspect my reality of brokenness.  I was getting real good at the “fake it ‘til I make it” way of living.

My lowest point was when I experienced an emptiness that no amount of faking through it would help. I tried superficial stimulation like shopping and pampering myself, and that didn’t help.   I sought out inspiration through reading self help books and giving myself positive pep talks.  That didn’t help.  I began seeking new age spirituality, trying to find answers to the meaning of life just so I could feel better about myself and my circumstances.  I became intrigued with mediums and spirit guides and the supernatural, knowing I wanted to feel connection with a higher power.  But all these didn’t help and fell short of improving my condition.
Like a cancerous tumor in the body that grows and can multiply into something big and deadly, cancer of the soul does the same.  For me, it started out with disappointment of unmet expectations in certain areas of life.  Then add to that, self pity and hurt from being offended by people.  I worried over rejection, feeling unloved and unappreciated, and suffered from insecurity.  These all grew into anger, resentment, and bitterness.  I occasionally entertained thoughts of revenge toward my offenders.  Before I knew it, these emotions were like tumors that rapidly grew and multiplied invading every aspect of my life.  I had a full blown case of soul cancer.

Toward the end of 2001, I was in a place of complete emotional darkness.  It was then when I received a phone call from a lady from down the street in my neighborhood.  She called to invite me to a women’s small group “Bible Study” she was organizing in her home.  She was also a stay home mom and military wife; our children occasionally played together, but we had never got to know one another on a personal level.  When she phoned me with the invitation for Bible study, I almost said no, but something inside me blurted out “sure” and I accepted.  Up to this point in life (I was 37 years old), I had never read the Bible or even knew how to look up verses.
My husband, Kirk, and I both grew up in the Catholic religion as children and young adults.  After our school years we fell away from the religion and did not attend Sunday church services on a regular basis (only 2-4 times a year). Several times in my adult life, I looked inside the gold edged pages of the Bible we owned, but the words never made sense and there were too many ye, lest, thy and thou to keep my interest to keep exploring it’s message. 

I arrived at the first Bible study meeting with the only Bible I owned, a 2” thick oversized Catholic King James Bible my husband and I had received as a wedding gift; it was awkwardly large.  I noticed the other ladies with more compact sized Bibles that actually had wording that made sense when read out loud.  I immediately went to the local Christian book store and bought a new NIV (New International Version) Bible like the ones these other ladies had.  The NIV was a translation I could understand and relate to (no more ye, lest, thy and thou).

As I sat in this small group Bible study for the weeks to come, I learned how to lookup Scripture, I studied a Campus Crusade for Christ Curriculum on what it means to truly follow Jesus, and learned to pray from my heart rather than saying a bunch of words I’d learned as a child.  I could tell something was beginning to happen to my mental well being over this time; the emotions that had kept me in a dark prison of emptiness were slowly dissolving and I was experiencing life with new meaning.  
I remember on a rainy afternoon as Easter was approaching, I was sitting in the carpool lane of my kids’ school, and it was here that I accepted Jesus in my heart as my Lord and Savior. I was listening to a preacher give a sermon on the radio and at the end of the program he led a prayer of salvation that I said out loud with him with tears rolling down my face (tears of joy).  I learned what it meant to be “born again”.   For the first time in my life, I truly felt free and alive. I was a new creation in Christ, the old was gone the new was here.  Kirk and I began attending “Family Bible Church”, a non-denominational church, with my lady friend and her family and Kirk too began his journey with the Lord. 

As I reflect back over the years, I realize God had used a variety of people and circumstances to plant seeds of faith in my life.  In His perfect timing, when I finally got to the end of myself in complete brokenness, God used this Jesus loving lady down the street to invite me to her home for Bible study.  Because of her act of love and obedience to God, He was able to grab hold of my heart and show Himself in a mighty way.  Up to this point I had shunned anyone who wanted to talk to me about Jesus.  I used to secretly mock those people I called “Jesus freaks”.  When I’d stumble on a Christian radio station, the music/lyrics would make my skin crawl, and I’d quickly change the station to something Top 40 Pop.  But not now… things were different.  I couldn’t stop thinking about Jesus, learning more about Him, and was excited to listen to “Jesus music” on the radio. Through the most supernatural chain of events I’ve ever experienced, my empty darkness was turned to overflowing light through the power of Jesus.  I am honored to now be among those I called Jesus freaks.
Soul Cancer is Rooted in Unforgiveness

Easter season 2002, Jesus showed me that my many tumors- disappointment, self pity, anger, resentment, insecurity, bitterness, etc.- were emotions rooted in the sin of UNFORGIVENESS.  As I spent more time getting to know Jesus through Scripture, I felt His conviction to FORGIVE everyone who had offended and hurt me.

Complete forgiveness of everything and everyone that had hurt me was a hard thing to wrap my mind around.  I believed what people did was wrong and I thought if I forgave them I was sending the message to them that what they did to me was ok.  I thought if I held on to my feelings of anger toward them and their actions, I was punishing them in some way. Thinking this way is such a lie. The truth of the matter is forgiveness doesn’t mean I approved of the offenders’ actions and am letting them off the hook, forgiveness means I am eliminating the emotional poison from my life so that I could be free of the soul cancer and move on in a healthy way.  Unforgiveness does not punish the offender, it punishes the one holding onto the offence. Forgiveness is from the character of Christ and leads to health, peace and supernatural healing, while unforgiveness poisons the body and is cancer to the soul leading to death.

Here and Now

As we approach Easter this year, I celebrate the season when I met Jesus on a personal level, asked Him into my heart, was saved and He cured from soul cancer. I celebrate this week that over 2000 years ago, Christ Jesus died in my place for the forgiveness of my sins because He loves me so much.  And just as important as His death on the cross, He rose again three days later from the dead and lives!  During Easter season in 2002, Jesus saved me and healed me from a place of darkness and gave me a new life… through His resurrection, He raised me from the dead life I was living.  He restored and rebuilt my marriage to a place of strength and honor better than it’s ever been.  My children have been overflowed with blessing and favor as a result of Jesus entering my family’s life and curing my soul cancer.  As the Lord forgives me, I too shall forgive others… I never want soul cancer again!

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone.  Forgive as the Lord forgave you. (Colossians 3:12-13, NIV)   SSMT verse #7
Do you hold onto any unforgiveness?
 Do you want a cancer free soul?
Start today by leaving judgment, resentment, anger, and revenge in God’s hands.  
Jesus, Please come into my life and heal me. I believe you died on the cross to forgive me of my sins and rose again three days later. I want to live in a way so that I can forgive others as you forgave me. Do what you need to do to to change my heart and cure me of unforgiveness toward ___________(name of person). I was hurt when he/she   ________________ (name of offense). It made me feel ______________ (unloved, unworthy, dirty, betrayed, misused, etc.). Through your mighty power Christ Jesus, I forgive ________ (name of person). I surrender my heart to you, Lord from this day forward.  Thank you for loving me.
In Jesus’ name, Amen.


Laura said...

Thanks for sharing your story:-) It was great to hear how you met Jesus!! xox

Suzanne said...

I really enjoyed reading this thank you so much for sharing.

Minko chan said...

I just came across your site and its so motivating to know what Father God has done in your life.

Keep it up!