cancer God's faithfulness

Mindy's Journey: The Unexpected Refrains from Cancer -- Part 2 of 2

1:32 PMHeather

Eight minutes. For weeks, Mindy has spent 8 minutes every weekday having radiation treatments for her brain tumor. She recently blogged about this experience, explaining how those eight minutes of being still became a sacred time of prayer.  She would lie there, looking up at the image of a garden, and she would picture sitting on the grass with her Heavenly Father.  

This is fixing your eyes on Jesus.

This is an intentional shift in focus that we can all manage, turning our gaze from wherever we are to the One who holds us firmly in his faithful grip. For he is the God who shows up during scary brain cancer treatments to reveal his goodness and love. 

This time of deep reflection has allowed Mindy to see God more clearly, not just here and now, but in all the years that have brought her to this point. Here are more of the truest things of God that Mindy wants to share.

He loves us too much to leave us as we are.  I was surprised when Mindy expressed, both in writing and in a phone conversation, that she feels that one of her hardest times in her life was the spring of 2017, prior to the brain cancer. During that time, community became a painful experience. She is a life-long church girl and a pastor's wife who suddenly found herself questioning how she fit into the body of Christ. She felt angst with the call to live in community when it felt like a difficult source of wounds. 

In her searching for answers, she was broken with the reality that she says God graciously revealed to her: "You will stay in the church, for they are my people and I love them as you are to love them. They are not perfect and neither are you." 

Where Mindy had allowed bitterness to grow, she saw God disciplining her to consider her own ugliness. 

"This was the ugliest that I had ever known myself to be. I began to pray for God to take this ugliness, this judgmental attitude, this horizontal perspective rather than a vertical one, out of me... Little did I know that he would physically take the ugliness out of my brain. Not exactly what I meant, but God did answer my prayer." 

He commands us to live in community, even when it's hard. Mindy relied heavily on the Psalms during this time of pruning, considering how David himself faced the process of being confronted with his own sin, and how he learned to run to the truth of God in the wrecking. In the end, Mindy feels that she has landed on the absolute truth that we all must choose to love the broken Bride of Christ -- the body of Christ -- because we love the Bridegroom too much to do otherwise. We must wrestle with our own sinfulness before God, choosing to overlook the offenses of others. This process will unearth the beauty of a community centered solely on our commonality in Christ's redemptive work. 

He grows beautiful fruit from the painful places of pruning. If you know Mindy, you know that she is a deeply relational girl who is the first to line up to help, explaining why the greatest "Red Sea" that she has walked through was the bitterness and conflict in community that revealed her own sinful habits of hypocrisy, anger, and being judgmental. 

"I literally hated who I was and never want to go back to that again. It was harder and more painful than the brain tumor process [to realize the ugliness within me]. I wanted this out of me because it was keeping me from loving as God asks us to do."

Less than a year from that hard place of stumbling in community, Mindy finds herself humbled beyond words at the beauty of the body of Christ who has poured out their love in so many tangible ways. This is why her blog is called Arms Linking Arms. It's because God has taken out the bitter root within her and he has redeemed that painful place of pruning with the beautiful fruit of people holding up Mindy and her family. Who but God can take our broken places and make them the most awe inspiring places of redemption? 

He is the God who is ever revealing his care and provision for us.  Sometimes, we can only see the depths of God's care and provision when a great need arises. Mindy even sees God's hand in the October 2017 seizure that alerted her to the stage 2 Astrocytoma brain tumor that doctors speculate had been growing for two to five years. Mindy says, "I have felt God physically carrying me and learned so much more about how he loves when his children raise their hearts in one accord together. We will stumble and disappoint, but it's a blessing to have people alongside us to cheer and encourage us." Here, in this cancer journey, Mindy and Daniel have a front row seat to God moving mountains, such as insurance issues, doctor availability, treatment options, and every day life issues such as car repairs. Cancer has peeled back the layers of the unimportant and trivial, revealing clearly the hand of God in every day.

He transforms us through his Word. I can say this with certainty because I know them. Mindy's parents are two of the most faithful servants of God that I've ever known. They are students of the Word, ever teachable and continually leading others to follow suit. Mindy has learned by example the discipline of reading God's word, assembling with the body of Christ regularly, and cultivating a daily prayer life. While reading the Bible can feel difficult at times, the truth is that this daily and regular habit is a discipline that grows deep roots of faith within us, tethering us to truths that are transformative. 

From this lifelong habit of choosing to stay in God's word, Mindy can confidently say, while fighting brain cancer, "I do believe that God has me and will always be with me. I don't fear as I know I will be with him one day not matter what or how I get there. Don't get me wrong, I don't like the pain. But it is temporary and won't last forever. I have come to believe God's word and I live it. Making sure you spend time in God's word daily is important."

And so, these are the lyrics of Mindy Scott's journey through brain cancer.  She wants them to be heard as the story of a God who loves the unloveable and gives mercy after mercy. 

In Mindy's own words: "God is amazing and I want to be used by God to impact lives for him. I want to live out the freedom Romans 8:1-2 teaches us. 'For there is now NO condemnation for this who are in Christ Jesus. Because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death.' 

I no longer live under condemnation but am free because of Jesus Christ. I want to see women and men live this way and not be bound by fear, doubt, shame, and guilt. I want to see people with heads lifted high to Jesus as sons and daughters of the Most High King. I want to live these promises out." 

Amen and amen.

Author's Note:
While Mindy finished radiation last Friday, her chemo treatment will be ongoing. Next month, tests will reveal the status of her brain tumor, or what was left of it following her brain surgery last November. While she appreciates all the prayers and love and support, she is first to ask for prayers for other people fighting their own battles. You can continue to follow her journey through her blog, in the link listed in the first paragraph.

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