A Spacious Place?

This morning I read Psalm 25 and I lamented. I wept. I begged God for a heart of trust and waiting in my constant affliction. And I begged Him for good results today as I went into my oncologist appointment. I used the words of Charles Spurgeon, that God would “hear my distress” and “make His suppliant whole.”

A couple weeks ago, my oncologist checked my tumor markers and they were still rising despite a CT scan that showed no progression and a clean biopsy of a questionable spot, so she ordered a PET scan for me to check on a deeper level (a metabolic level) to see if they could find anything. Fortunately, our insurance company approved it and I was able to have the PET scan last Thursday.

Shaking her head when she came in the exam room, my doctor said, “I’ve been talking about you,” and I saw written notes all over the PET results. “All the radiologists recognize your name,” she said, “Yours is such a tricky case.” Sadly, friends, the news is not good. The cancer has spread and there is metastasis in my abdomen, technically in my peritoneum (which is the membrane lining of the abdomen and pelvis). She is starting me on a different chemo regimen next week on a newer chemo that has been shown to be effective with metastatic breast cancer.

Devastation is an understatement, and I am struggling with a feeling of hopelessness with treatment and working through yet again the acceptance of living with incurable cancer. It is hard to live this tenuous life knowing there is a monster inside of me that’s mind is set on killing me, and I weary of the fight.

In his book, Rejoicing in Lament, J. Todd Billings describes the feeling so well, the thick fog of uncertainty, when he writes about Psalm 31 (“You have set my feet in a spacious place.”:

“One thing about the experience of being diagnosed with cancer is that it feels like a narrowing, a tightening, rather than ‘a spacious place’ to dwell. We all know, in theory, that we are mortal, but in day-to-day life many of us don’t live with the thought… in being diagnosed with a disease that makes the prospect of life in the future uncertain, there is a narrowing that takes place. It feels a bit like the lights in distant rooms are turning off or, rather, flickering. They were rooms that you were just assuming would be there for you to pass through in future years. The space starts to feel more constricted, narrowed… The ‘narrowing’ can be a place where we prioritize what is most important. But even as we do so, it can still feel like a small, diminishing place that we occupy.

I do not understand why God is choosing to answer, “No,” to our pleas. I feel the thick fog of uncertainty choking me. I wail in the ache to be free of this monster. And I beg Him for a heart submissive to His will, for a life that is certain of my security in Him no matter what happens. My faith shudders and quakes, and I cry out, “Lord, help my unbelief.”

“In light of all this, it is important to remember… that through God’s victory, our feet have been planted in a ‘spacious place.’ Ultimately, to be and dwell in Christ is to dwell in the most ‘spacious place’ imaginable… What could be more wide and capacious than this–to dwell in Christ, the Alpha and the Omega, the one through whom all things were made in whom all things hold together?”

This is what I must cling to, even in the confusion, the lament, the grief. He is the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, and I dwell secure.

Friends, would you pray for us? Would you pray for me to believe that I am secure in Him? For hope? For wholeness of spirit, mind and body? For Brian and the children? For healing?

You have prayed so faithfully and for so long for us, and your encouragement humbles me.

We move forward, looking to Him. There is nowhere else to go.

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8 Comments

  1. maretta
    Sep 1, 2015

    Oh Father, You are good. I know You are good, even when I don’t always believe it. I know we live in a Genesis 3 world where everything, even our very bodies, are living in and with the Curse, the Fall. You have also provided a Comforter and Father, I ask that You would send Him to Angie, Brian, Asher, Micah, Audrey and their family now. That You would give faith to believe that they are secure in You. Bring hope. God, You are their only hope, our only hope. We can only have what you give us, so I ask that you would give hope and comfort and faith and trust. You’ve already shown Your glory through them in their faith in and love of You. I beg with them, oh Creator and Sustainer of life, that You would choose to show Your glory through such a miracle as the ridding of cancer from Angie’s body. In the meantime, be their Peace. We do love You. May we love You more. Because of Jesus Christ and in the power of His name, Amen.

  2. Elizabeth Kramer
    Sep 1, 2015

    Praying for you all.

  3. Monika
    Sep 1, 2015

    So heart breaking…. on Christ The Solid Rock you stand!! I will be praying for you. My 40 year old neighbor was just diagnosed with metastatic cancer as well. She has 3 kids. Just want to scream to God: “WHY?????” It makes no sense, but no matter what we have to trust Him. He loves YOU and will be there for you and my neighbor, who is seeking treatment in Arizona – http://www.sunridgemedical.com/ Stay strong, you have a lot of people praying. You are an amazing lady!

  4. Maxine Arey
    Sep 2, 2015

    Sweet Angie: This morning during my quiet time your name and family came to mind…I prayed. Then a co-worker and mutual friend stopped by my desk and asked if I had seen your blog. I had not. Our great God placed you and your family on my heart and mind this morning in the early hours. I will continue to lift you and your family before the throne. You are an inspiration to me!
    Love, Maxine Arey

  5. melissa moslow
    Sep 2, 2015

    Dear Friend,
    Now I understand why I have had you more on my mind then ever and why, this morning on the floor on my Promise Rug for prayer I was led to lift up Brian in specific ways…… Reading your report now, I SEE….
    Sigh!
    May I sit beside you in silence, please?
    May I simply love you and pray the wordless, hand-holding prayers of presence together?
    There is so much on my mind and heart, but wordless things.
    YOU have given the words. They sink like an anchor and hold my thoughts to a reality that HURTS you. And therefore us. It hurts us when you and yours hurt. It truly does.
    Thank you, thank you, thank you for mustering the courage to share and to defy the liar who would tell you to suffer alone or “spare” us. We do not want to be spared. We want to JOIN you and love you and plead with you to God.
    God, help us all.
    We love you.
    I love you.
    Praying!!!

  6. melissa moslow
    Sep 2, 2015

    Just to be clear, the “us” I refer to in my first comment reply is all of us who read your blog. The “audience” of friends and strangers whom you write to. The “public” who watch and wait for the reports of your health and journey of faith. WE do this together. Loving and praying.
    Sometimes I like to imagine our first meeting as a congregation of people. The confession of Jesus as Personal Savior insures our final destination is heaven. We will ONE DAY ALL be together to review and rejoice over what He was pleased to do for us and through us during lifetime on earth. I think we will recall these things. And from the view there and then, we will see together, at last, what we need to see to KNOW He is good.

  7. Judie Young
    Sep 2, 2015

    My precious Angie,

    Thanks be to God that the life we now live is by faith in the Son of God, no longer is it us but Christ in us the hope of glory. What a treasure we have in this earthen vessel, one that gives us hope and this hope does not disappoint because the love of God is poured in our heart through the holy spirit.

    May this love that believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things be yours in fullest measure. May He fill you to the fullest with Himself.

    Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly to what we could ever expect or imagine be honor, glory and power.

    In His love my precious one,
    Judie

  8. Emma
    Sep 5, 2015

    My dear sweet Angie. My heart aches for what you are going through at this time. Praying to our God for you and your family for grace, mercy and healing. I love you! Emma

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