This blog was originally written on 8/13/13- after my diagnosis of Stage IV breast cancer.
As I begin this journey into the unknown of cancer treatment, I'm finding things I don't like. I don't like feeling so tired and lifeless. I don't like wondering how the next round of chemo will affect me differently. But, what I'm really learning is that I don't like being squeezed!
I recently read that just as there is a condition known as "post-traumatic stress", researchers are now talking about "post-traumatic growth." One line of thinking is that adversity can lead to growth. Another is that the highest levels of growth cannot be achieved without adversity.
But adversity doesn't automatically bring growth. Much of the outcome depends on how you respond to adversity. Just as you find out what's inside a tube of toothpaste when it gets squeezed, adversity reveals what you're made of. Sometimes we say, "I could never go through what that person went through." Then we go through it and realize - our heart keeps beating and our world goes on.
You don't know what you're capable of until you have to cope.
As I continue to be squeezed, I pray what comes out will be an encouragement to others. A message of hope that good and growth can come from adversity. A realization that rising to a challenge reveals hidden strengths within us that otherwise would have remained dormant.
More importantly though is that I, along with others being squeezed, recognize that the key to post-traumatic growth is in seeing God in all things, drawing close to Him when we can't understand the situation, and knowing He only has our best interests at heart.
"Can anything ever separate us from Christ's love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity....No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us."
(Romans 3: 35a,38)