Right By My Side
Feb 24, 2019 | by Nancy Newbrough
One day, as a senior in high school, I walked into my sociology class to find that my teacher had placed an index card and a pen (identical) on every desk. When class started, she told us to write our deepest worry, problem or trial on the card. Her instructions included not to be concerned about anyone seeing it -- just write it down, flip it over, and then fold the cards in half. Next she walked down each aisle with a big bowl collecting the cards.
Then this teacher said, “I’m going to walk down the aisles again and this time you have the opportunity to ‘trade’ your problem for one of your classmates. Choosing a card from the bowl means you no longer own the worry you put in, but instead take on the one you pull out. Who wants to take a gamble that you will get a ‘better’ problem than the one you just wrote down?”
Not one student traded problems! Each of us decided to live with our fears. We “owned” them and did not want to risk picking up something worse. The teacher went on to explain that as humans, we do not like change, even if it could be an upgrade in our circumstances -- because we are more conditioned to avoid fear. I remember telling God of my gratitude that my problems were manageable (I knew what some of my classmates were going through) and I praised Him for giving me a “good deal.”
In early 2018, I felt God telling me to spend more time intentionally focused on gratitude. I saw a picture of my former sociology teacher on social media and it reminded me of how I had thanked God for the “good deal” of a life He gave me. I started spending more prayer time praising God for His goodness than petitioning Him for my wants and needs (I still spend plenty of time doing that). Every morning I write down five things that I am grateful for and ask my Sovereign God for an attitude of praise. He is faithful to deliver!
In November, I began a series of ultrasounds, biopsies and contrast-dye MRI’s. Being highly afraid of needles and majorly claustrophobic, as each procedure was ordered, I was more scared of the tests than the results. And as each procedure evolved, I would hear the Holy Spirit remind me to have a heart of gratitude. It was not hard to thank God for medical equipment and medical minds that are beyond my comprehension. I would also thank Him for the countless prayer warriors who hit their knees on my behalf and for my husband and sons. I praised Him for not only walking before me, but simultaneously staying right by my side through fear and pain.
On January 11th, I was diagnosed with Inflammatory Ductile Carcinoma, a common type of breast cancer. My doctor called with the results as I was driving home from Whataburger. While pulling into my driveway, I again heard God remind me to have a heart of gratitude. I thanked Him for whatever He was about to do and the testimony that would be mine because of my journey. Through my tears, I praised Him for His faithfulness to stay near me and for His provision. As I was crying and praying, my “Verse of The Day” popped up on my phone…Jeremiah 17:7 (below). It has been my “go to” verse ever since!
Over the last month, I have been covered in prayer! My LIFE Group, Bible Study Group, Fellowship Women’s Ministry Team, Powerhouse Women’s Ministry Team, our precious Worship and Prayer Teams, and friends, family and my guys at home have hit their knees for me. Not only have they prayed for healing … but most of all, they have prayed for me to have a heart of gratitude throughout this experience. He is faithful to deliver! With every doctor appointment, every hospital procedure, every check written to pay for this -- God reminds me that I got “a really good deal.”
I had a partial mastectomy on February 13th and in the coming weeks, I will find out if my next treatment protocol will be chemotherapy or radiation. I am certainly praying that chemo will not be necessary, but if it is, I know God will continue to remind me to praise Him as I go through it.
He was preparing me for this moment over the last year by training my heart to look for ways to exalt Him. And as I became disciplined in finding new ways to thank Him, He has transformed my heart so that I can praise Him wholeheartedly, knowing He is worthy of it all! Just like sociology class, I know many people would not trade their troubles for mine these days! But still I got a “good deal” and would not trade my journey for anyone else’s either. All blessing, honor, power, glory and praise to our gracious, Almighty God!
But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord
and whose confidence is in Him.