I thought I was going to Africa. The last week of January Tom and I fasted Sunday through Sunday asking God to prepare our hearts and minds for all that He had for us in 2010. We were thinking mostly about our church, our children and our "chores." On the 2nd day of that fast I sensed God call me to go with Sumer to Ethiopia. I laughed about it every time I mentioned it! God confirmed that call when I heard Sumer's story and saw the pictures of the "children in the dump."
I've been reading Hudson Taylor's biography this year (it's long) and two weeks ago knelt by our bed and said to Tom, "I don't think we really 'get it.'" I was referring to the TOTAL SURRENDER to God's heart for His world that I saw in the missionaries who served China in the mid 1800's. They challenged me! God was speaking strongly to me about complete surrender. He knew something I didn't know, and was graciously preparing me for the news.
Monday, March 1 I discoverd that God was taking me on a different journey. Instead of going to Ethiopia on March 24, I'm going to Vanderbilt Hospital on March 23 to have colon cancer removed from my body. I never, in my wildest imagination dreamt I would experience cancer. When other people "got it" I assumed they had poor genes, or that they ate too many twinkies. My children are fussing at me. They are convinced that eating healthy has caused this cancer. I saw a poster that told me I'm in .2% of the population who "gets" colon cancer before the age of 50. (Lucky me.)
This is not the trip I signed up for. I told someone yesterday that I felt like I was being inducted into a sorority I never wanted to join. It's like all the other "cancer people" have adjusted to their situation and are eating and drinking and even laughing at times with one another and I'm frantically looking for an open window I can crawl through to escape. It's not fun.
But already God has been so incredibly REAL to me. I'm not even going to try to explain or describe it to you. You'll see when you get your turn to "dance with disaster." (Tom preached on that just a few Sundays ago!) Those of you who have already "danced" know exactly what I'm talking about.
Many people have marveled at my faith and some have encouraged me that I don't have to be strong all the time. (Believe me, I'm not.) But when Dr. Caudill put his arm around me and said, "you've got cancer" my mortality forced me to take notice. I cried, I looked at Tom's face and pleaded for it to not be so, but when we got in the car I took a deep breath and realized death isn't the enemy I thought it was. From deep within me I knew (in my KNOWER) that Jesus took care of death for me a long time ago on a cruel Roman cross.
Guess what the name of the Hudson Taylor biography is, "It's not Death to Die."
And it's not. Since Monday, March 1 we've discovered I'm not dying afterall, at least not now. Seems I just might live another 40 or 50 years. I do have quite the ordeal to endure. But I'm going to look at it this way; God has invited me on a journey. A sweet and precious invitation to put everything I've ever taught to the test. It's like lab work in my college biology class. Either what I've been teaching is true or it's not.
I've trusted God since I was 11 years old. He's never let me down--not ever. Now is certainly NOT the time to stop doing what's been working for me. I asked Him what He wanted of me when we were talking on Tuesday morning. Very clearly He said, "Leighann, I want you to trust Me. I want you to depend on Me. And, I want you to be obedient." It was a great relief to hear this command. I responded, "Lord, I can do that! I know how to do that." You see, I've been doing that for years--He's not asking anything more of me now than He ever has before.
Thank you for being interested enough to keep up with my journey. I'm not going to bog this site down with medical details. To tell you the truth I don't really want you to know the specifics of what I'm having to go through with my "innards!" But if you want to come visit here and see what God is teaching me I'm going to try to keep that flowing.
Thank you so much for your prayers and your expressions of love. I am humbled that God has so richly blessed Tom and me with incredible ministries filled with friends across the globe. We love you dearly and are sustained by your love in return.
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