She received a sign of God’s protection right after waking up from another surgery.
Posted in , Mar 26, 2021
This wasn’t the first surgery I’d undergone since my cancer diagnosis, but I worried it wouldn’t be my last.
Back in July, I had gone to the doctor to ask about a strange, painful rash on my chest. Like a sunburn that wouldn’t heal. It turned out to be breast cancer. I was shocked.
I had a lumpectomy at the end of August. I woke up post-op, my chest tightly bandaged. I thought the operation would be the end of it. But cancer cells had been discovered in the margins. That meant I needed an additional surgery, called a re-excision, to remove those cells.
Tomorrow’s surgery was the re-excision. Would I get the all clear? Or would I have to endure more surgeries? Maybe even radiation?
To distract myself from what I’d soon face, I sat down at my computer to check my e-mail. I had a few unread messages, mostly store promotions. One subject line made me pause—God’s Will Be Done.
I’d prayed those words every day of my cancer treatment—to let “God’s will be done.”
I opened the e-mail. I recognized the sender. Months before my diagnosis, I had bought a beautiful prayer bowl for a friend. Since then, the company had sent me a weekly newsletter, which was filled with encouragement, prayers and Scripture.
This one felt as if it had been written to me. It reminded me that, during times of great hardship, you have to stop and take a breath. To find peace amid the chaos. It was just what I needed to hear.
I had to reply. “Thank you so very much for today’s message,” I wrote. I explained how I’d ended up on the company’s mailing list and told a bit about my cancer journey. Then I closed by writing, “Who would have thought that a gift I gave would give me so much in return?”
I hit send. I honestly didn’t expect anyone to read my e-mail. Certainly not a reply. That evening, though, I got one—from the owner of the company!
Her name was Karen. She’d had health scares of her own, she told me.
“When I was going into surgery, I would imagine that I was resting in God’s hands, as if they were a big hammock,” she wrote. “Try picturing that. It always brought me comfort.”
The next day, lying on the gurney before my surgery, I pictured God’s hands gently cradling me. As I was being rolled into the operating room, I could almost feel the gentle sway of that hammock….
It was peaceful.
Then I was waking up in a recovery room. I looked around. During my previous treatment and surgery, I’d gotten to know the hospital well. Every room I’d ever been in was decorated in the same modern, minimalist style. Not this room.
Instead of abstract art, there was a more traditional painting hanging on the wall. It depicted a beautiful garden. Right in the painting’s center was a hammock.
I hadn’t told anyone about my email exchange with Karen. There was no way the person who’d assigned that room could have known what the painting would mean to me. It had to be a sign.
My re-excision was successful. Doctors were able to remove the cancerous cells. I still have follow-up exams and tests, but I have faith that, whatever happens, I’ll be all right. God is holding me in his hands—today, tomorrow and always.
For more inspiring stories, subscribe to Guideposts magazine.