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TRUST JESUS TODAY
I plan to submit some articles on my family's experience with cancer to various men's, women's, and health magazines. Any helpful tips appreciated.
My husband, Matt, and I married eight months after meeting. And if that wasn't hasty enough, within the first six months we committed both of the first-year-of-marriage-no-no's: we both switched careers and then we moved. These weren't decisions made frivolously. We sought God's guidance and will, and He opened the necessary doors.
I left my job at a ski/golf resort and my husband ended a decade of self-employment. I didn't have another job lined up. Matt started working for a waste management company. With Matt's hour commute to work each way, we knew we needed to close the gap between work and home. We packed everything up and moved into a small house just minutes from his job. I eventually took a job in the same area. We were set. And though we'd heard it said that couples should never add the extra stress of a new job plus moving to the newly-wed lifestyle, God propelled us and things went very well.
At the start of our ninth month together, however, life became a little bumpier. I had initially felt an uncertainty about my new job, but, at the time, it made sense to take it. After just three months I was miserable. My husband and I prayed and decided I should quit and start substitute teaching in the fall. I hated leaving after just three months, but God's peace assured me it was the right decision. I gave my notice and began the process to start teaching. Meanwhile, Matt kept working and I became the housewife. We felt confident in God's direction.
Two weeks after I stopped working, my husband confessed that he'd been feeling tired and sore for a few weeks. Suspecting an infection, we took him to the Urgent Care clinic and received the shock of our lives.
Upon describing Matt's symptoms, the staff rushed him through a series of tests. We returned the next day. The doctor sat soberly across the room as he informed two complete strangers that Matt had a malignant tumor and would need immediate surgery. When the doctor left, my sense of reason collapsed.
Cancer. I'd spent 27 years waiting for my perfect mate and less than a year later the possibility of his death taunted me. The cold, white walls of the exam room echoed my despair. Matt lay on the table, staring at the ceiling, as he processed the news. I watched my husband as doubt washed over me.
We had no insurance. I'd just quit a secure job and Matt didn't have benefits yet. I was unemployed and Matt would need to take time off work for surgery. I tried to imagine the cost of chemotherapy when another thought struck: what if Matt died? I imagined myself as a widow, less than 30 years old, bankrupted by the financial burden of my sick, dead husband. Uncertainty clung to me. I cried.
But then Matt looked at me. With tears in his eyes, he reached for me and pulled me close. I leaned on him emotionally and spiritually. He prayed, thanking God for His goodness, even in the midst of the diagnosis. Matt also reaffirmed our devotion to God and to His direction in our lives. As we sat there I felt the arms of God wrap around us. He held us both. His comfort engulfed us.
When Matt released me, I sat peacefully. The worrisome thoughts that had just bombarded me seemed weak, less ominous. I did, however, offer to try to get my job back to help with finances while my husband recovered. Matt agreed that it would make sense, but he also reminded me of the reason behind our decision. God directed our steps and we believed the decision for me to stay home was in line with His will. The diagnosis of cancer didn't change that. We stuck with the plan.
Though many people around us didn't understand our decisions, we knew we were in God's will, so we pressed on. On September 1st Matt had his first surgery. Two months later I started teaching. Nineteen months, three rounds of chemotherapy and a second surgery later, all signs of cancer are gone. Matt is healthy. While his healing and recovery alone are testament to God's greatness, He awed us by the blessings He poured out during our time of obedience.
Though I only worked part-time, and only during the school year, and Matt took seven months off of work, we never fell behind on our financial obligations. God gave us exactly what we needed when we needed it. We discovered that Matt had qualified for health insurance just two weeks prior to his diagnosis, so every treatment was covered. Matt also received short-term disability and earned partial paychecks while recovering. Then we received federal tax refunds from previous years' tax returns. Family and friends sent cash gifts. A company in which Matt had invested sold and all stock holders received a cash buyout. For every financial need, God provided a way.
I'll probably never know why Matt developed cancer. I'll probably never be able to explain why it happened to us. What I do know, though, is that God guided us and we listened, even when it didn't make sense. We were in the right place at the right time to receive His continued financial provision. He knew what He was doing when He called Matt out of uninsured self-employment to work for less money at a waste management company. God knew what He was doing when He told me to work part-time in an environment that would allow me the flexibility to take time off to care for Matt. God knew how He would get us the money. All He needed was our obedience to Him.
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