on fighting

[a reflection on my experience with cancer and the common term “fighting cancer” I heard often]


I never really felt like I was fighting. Swimming upstream, maybe. Muddling my way through a dark tunnel. Fighting is quick, decisive, active. These months have been slow movements, waiting for what would happen to me next. I fought for agency but I don’t think I fought anything else. I walked a path without seeing it, without full understanding or peace. Except for rare moments, when God gave me grace to recall His sweetness and love. A fighting love.

The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still [some versions say “silent”]. (Exodus 14:14)

He was fighting for me all that time. Those endless days when I had no strength, no ability but to be still.

This battle may have ended, but I must still be still.

In returning and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and trust shall be your strength. (Isaiah 30:15)

a feast day poem

the world is beautiful because

you are beautiful, Lord,

and you made the world.

i don’t know how i know that

you’re beautiful, but you’re

endless depths

and riches of glory,

unfolding like an incredible story

or like tasting something too complex

to grasp

in one bite.

you’re like being

thousands of feet in the air

yet right next to a blade of grass or

a crocus.

with you it’s just

beauty, somehow.

beauty with us.

God is

with us,

and who are we

to deserve such


I charge you in the presence of God, who gives life to all things, and of Christ Jesus, who in his testimony before Pontius Pilate made the good confession, to keep the commandment unstained and free from reproach until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ, which he will display at the proper time—he who is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords, who alone has immortality, who dwells in unapproachable light, whom no one has ever seen or can see. To him be honor and eternal dominion. Amen. [1 Timothy 6:13-16 ESV]

for now

As I consider this past year in remission, I returned to these old journaling thoughts from March 2016 and thought I’d share them. And I’m praying for my heart to be as it was then – confident in the love of Christ.




Sometimes I feel overwhelmed thinking about the future and what it could entail. I could relapse and be fighting this disease for so much longer. And it already feels so long. But the day after I was diagnosed, God let me say, “This is what’s happening now.” He helped me live in the present, and in the present there is neither bitterness for the past, nor worry for the future. Things just are. It just is. I just am. And God is with me. In the present no dreams are in jeopardy – it’s only whatever’s being lived out in the moment. No future hopes are shaking or crumbling, although false sources of current hope might be, those earthly foundations that don’t last. In the present is where we find God’s peace. You don’t plan for it, and you don’t survive on past gifts of peace. But right now there is peace for you.

The present is the only time you can experience God’s presence – or anything, for that matter. To think about what could be my life in a few months or in a year is to invite fear into my present, is to say that what I must do with this very moment is to fear some future moments. And that is not a good use for this moment. This moment should be spent with God, experiencing something true, something that already is, some real joy or real sorrow, the presence of the Lord, an idea, a place, a person. That’s what this moment is for. It’s for perfect love, and perfect love doesn’t let fear remain. Only faith and hope and above all, love.

The present is for love. What’s happening now is love. What’s happening now is God is with me. What’s happening now is I am weak and tired and I have chemo in my body and a line in my arm and I have no hair. Also, I’m not supposed to be left alone, and my immune system can’t protect me. Also, God is with me. So love is with me. So what’s happening now is love. And maybe God is revealing Himself to me. Maybe He’s shaping my heart like the good Potter He is. Maybe He’s healing me. But for sure, He’s loving me. This moment, God wrote and is writing. And in it He’s being Himself, that perfect, steadfast love. What’s happening is the sun is shining in my eyes and I’m eating a donut and the world is spinning and hurting and all the while God is just loving. He loves me and He did love me, to the very very end. And He’ll keep on, and then some.

The future could be naught but joy and things I call beautiful. I’m not in the future, though, and I never will be. I will always be in this present moment, and the more I am present to it, the better for my wandering heart.