Clayton, a pastor in Philipsburg, Montana, shared the story of his wife’s breast cancer experience. Clayton and his family worked as overseas missionaries in Papua New Guinea when his wife found a mass in her breast. They went first to a small clinic, then to Australia, then back to the states, fearing the worst. Being only 40 at the time of her diagnosis, her doctors assumed that she would go through the worst case scenario. However, the diagnosis was early enough that the cancer was only Stage I. 2 years later, she is in remission. Clayton shared his touching story, focusing mainly on faith.
Through different support group situations, it’s amazing how, once you have cancer, you start meeting people that have cancer. After having cancer in the family, you become aware that we’re a community, and we need to support each other.
We need community. Our American culture tells us that we can be an island to ourselves, we’re strong, we can survive, we can do it on our own. I don’t believe that’s the way God intended us to be, and I don’t think that is a true statement. I think the truth is, we are weak. We are frail. We do struggle. In these kinds of times, we need each other. Be with your friends, be with your family.
I think God’s using cancer to glorify him, and give us an opportunity to talk about how great he is to us. We had a confidence that this is not all there is to life, that there’s an afterlife and we have confidence of where we’re headed, and so there wasn’t really anger… Not really anger, more of, ‘Okay, Lord. How do you want to do this? How do you want to use us next? Because our life is really yours, not ours.’ I don’t think he caused cancer, but he does allow things to happen to cause us to turn to him and hopefully turn others to him.
I think our family motto is, if you’re going to struggle, struggle towards God, rather than away from God. He knows what you’re going through, and what you’re thinking. If you’re concerned about where Mom’s going to be, or that you don’t have a mom, take that to him. In anger and frustration, he’s not going to run away or turn his back on you because you’re struggling with what’s happening in life.
Our daughter asked is ‘Is Mom gonna die?’ And we were in the house and I remember trying to field that question, is mom gonna die, and I remember thinking, well, how can I answer that, I’m not a doctor, and I’m your father, and I’m the husband of your mother, I’d love to say she’s not gonna die, but I can’t say that… The nice thing is that we have confidence through Mom’s word, of where mom would go, if she were to die. And she’s a believer in the death and resurrection of Christ, and so that gives us the confidence that if she were to die, she’d be in the presence of her savior.
Debbie Richardson Wheeling, WV
Chris Schubert La Crescent, MN