This past year has been a challenging one. It began with a detached retina followed by surgery. In August I lost my dear, sweet father.
However, the most challenging of all was a health diagnosis I received in November. Over Thanksgiving both my daughter and son (who are both in the medical field) noticed that I looked a little jaundice and pushed me to see a doctor immediately. I’ll never forget the words from the doctor, “You have a mass on your pancreas, most likely pancreatic cancer”.
I can honestly tell you that although I had great sadness and thought my life was almost over, I had the most overwhelming sense of peace. A peace I knew could only have come from God. And most of all, I felt no fear. I just knew I was determined to change some things and I needed to live my life out to the fullest.
Over the next month and a half and countless doctor appointments, it was discovered that I have a rare neuroendocrine tumor that is not pancreatic cancer and is treatable. While I’m currently undergoing chemo treatments and looking at surgery in the near future, I’ve tolerated the chemo very well with few side effects and most days go by like normal.
However, normal is different and new for me now. I feel stronger and more alive than I think I have in years. My faith has grown to a place of complete trust and understanding that all things are possible with God.
I’ve always believed action speaks louder than words but through this I am learning that I also need to speak my words of faith and my experiences with others. In the past, I have let fear many times keep me from opportunities to experience life fully.
I chose to not let fear keep me from serving in a place I’ve grown to love – Roatan, Honduras. I had to push away all the nay sayers, the fear of getting sick while I was away and trust that God would be with me all the way.
I chose to share an experience that strengthened my faith. One night when I first started chemo, I closed my eyes and saw the woman who was hemorrhaging touching the cloak of Jesus. When he turned to her, he said “Woman, your faith has healed you”. (Mark 5:25-34)
And now, I choose each day to give love to the people I encounter. I choose to see the best in people. I choose to see the incredible, miraculous world that surrounds me.
None of us ever knows when this life will end. I don’t know what the outcome of my health issues with become. What I do know is that if I’m asked, “What does Christ ask of us?” My answer will firmly be, “He asks us to love and trust Him with all our heart, soul and body, to love one another, to believe that all things are possible and to fear not for His is with us to the ends of the earth.” I know it sounds simple but in reality, it is hard to let go and put all your faith and trust in the unknown. It takes daily discipline and some days are easier than others. But I am finding that His love does set us free.
Julie Robinson, Executive Director, Studio 222 After School Program