Today’s my 22-year cancerversary, which means it's the anniversary of when I was first told, “You Have Cancer." I was a junior in high school. I’d had a colonoscopy a few days prior, and we were waiting on test results. I knew my GI had found a mass, but I didn’t know more than that.

I didn't realize cancer was even being discussed.

I worked at the library every Tuesday night, so 22 years ago it was a Tuesday, and I went to work. My parents got the doctor's call, and they drove to the library to tell me the news. I write about that moment in my memoir, Blush. I naively faced the next six months of surgery, radiation and chemotherapy.

Honestly, being young and ignorant helped me get through it. 

Toward the end of treatment, I was feeling really empowered, so I made myself a t-shirt. (This was before custom t-shirt websites got popular.) I bought some sticky iron-on letters from a craft store. The front of the shirt said SURVIVOR, and the back had this verse: "I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith." —2 Tim. 4:7.


Choosing for Today

As I reflect over what happened 22 years ago, I realize how little I understood about cancer. I didn’t know I would fight cancer a second time, or that the side effects from my treatments would still affect me today. But I'm glad I hadn't a clue to what was coming, and I'm glad I'd proudly declared my faith.

None of us know what our futures hold, but I know they'll be full of highs and lows. Despite the many challenges that may come our way, we can choose to have faith today. 

This looks like controlling our thoughts. Reminding ourselves about what we believe. Trusting that light will come at the end of dark tunnels—on days we feel like it, and days we don't.

I know it's not always easy. I've had my share of doubts and frustrations over the past 22 years, and I even had a crisis of faith.

But my confidence in God eventually bounced back, and what I proclaimed on my SURVIVOR t-shirt, as a 17-year-old cancer survivor 22 years ago, is anchoring me today. My faith is deeper. Richer. Refined. Stronger.

And after the past few years, which have been just as challenging as a cancer diagnosis, I've needed it. I'm so thankful for the lessons cancer taught me about faith.

My prayer is that no matter what's coming your way today, or beyond, that you'll encounter God and experience the same thing. 

It's a GREAT day to be alive. Have a good week, and I will see you next Monday!

Prayer: Jesus, I choose you today. I choose to trust. To hope. To love. Help this faith sink deep into me and get me through anything. Amen. 

"I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.”
2 Timothy 4:7, NIV

This devotional first appeared in the Monday Morning Survival Guide. Subscribe to get next Monday's devotional emailed to you.

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