Today my husband and I will build another altar of remembrance stones as we celebrate our 34th anniversary four weeks early. We are going to steal away from the weariness and emotions of the past seven weeks and celebrate our love for each other, two children of God whom our Abba joined together. When we resurface Monday at noon, we will be 24 hours away from the bittersweet act of relinquishment.
Tuesday afternoon, August 31, I will undergo a double mastectomy as part of my treatment for eradicating current and future chance of breast cancer. After the second diagnosis of breast cancer in four years and a host of medical and spiritual download during these weeks, the reality of my year-long journey begins with Tuesday’s relinquishment of this most intimate part of my body that fed my babies and nurtured my husband’s and my love.
But God had promised – long before the first cancer and certainly before this one – that nurture would flow from deep within; the very reason I have been on a “wellspring of life” cleanse for so many years. In exchange for relinquishment that He knows is a hard thing He’s asking, He has been confirming over and over these weeks His promises of long ago. The pressure that’s been building has been serving a strong purpose. It has caused me to have to lean hard on my Beloved…and I know there is an artesian well getting ready to burst forth! (See A Word of Welcome from Nancy Bentz).
This morning before I began to write, I was soaking in one of my favorite devotionals, Streams in the Desert. I was peeking ahead to August 31 – the day of surgery – and there, highlighted from a previous year I had read through this devotional, was the word that “God had to bring Abraham to the end of his own strength and let him see that with his own body he could do nothing. He had to consider his own body “as good as dead” (Heb. 11:12) and then trust God to do all the work. When he looked away from himself and trusted only God, he became ‘fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised.’ (Romans 4:21).”
Like Abraham, who LIVED God’s sure promise after the long years of waiting, and like Paul, who pressed on (leaned in hard!) to gain the prize of the high calling in Christ Jesus, I have been in the process of being readied for this specific “Esther” time in my life. Tuesday marks a difficult day in the natural, but in the Spirit a whole new door is swinging wide open in ways I don’t yet even know. I’ll be finding out as He continues to make His Presence known in the days, weeks, months, and years to come. These past seven weeks have been a show of His intimate nearness – and His power and sure promises accompany Him.
Because He is no respecter of persons, His intimate nearness and power are available to you, too. Has your heart desired greater knowledge of and intimacy with God? Have you been asked lately hard things of God? Have you come to the point of relinquishment?Only God and you really know for sure.
Perhaps the most important question for any of us is this: “Would I trade the pain I went through (if it could be taken away) if it meant I must relinquish what I learned of God then?”
Relinquish for God? Yes. Relinquish Him? No!
For He has made me…
“But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ.” Phil. 3:7 (NIV)
“I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” Phil 3:14 (MKJV)