Inspiring Stories: Ingrid’s Story

healing

It’s my great privilege to have a dear friend share  her story of cancer survival.  This is Ingrid’s story:

My friend holds her daughter’s hand, whispering prayers as the daughter lay in the Intensive Care Unit. This young, single mother just barely survived an automobile crash. The man she hoped to build a life with did not.

Healing — of heart and body — will take many prayers. For my friend, for her daughter and for the family of that young man.

Two months ago, this same friend sat at my bedside, holding my hand, offering prayers as I awaited surgery to remove a cancerous lump from my breast. Physical healing began that day, as doctors used skill to carve out the fast-growing tumor, to dislodge a lymph node. With the news that the cancer had not spread, that nothing had been left behind, I whispered thanksgiving.

A plan was made for radiation, medication, therapy, lifestyle adjustments……and the healing continues.

I leaned heavily on my Lord and Savior in the days and weeks that followed, lean on Him still to understand and accept this new reality that has entered my life’s landscape.

Cancer.

As I lay on the hospital gurney receiving radiation, I felt blessed, because in the midst of my treatment and healing, I attended the funeral of woman who began her journey through cancer three years ago. She fought strong and hard, and today, she is a Survivor in eternity.

I cannot share my testimony of recovery and survival without thinking of all who bear wounds, who stand toe-to-toe with the trials of our earthly life and fight to survive, to recapture “normal”, or to accept that some things will never be the same.

Some of us receive a pink ribbon and a label — Survivor. And our bodies bear visible scars that mark the spot where MP900321107healing began.

Others suffer with wounds that are deep, too deep for a surgeon’s scalpel. Healing may begin, only for the scabs to be ripped open by new hurts, new reasons to ask “Why?”

It’s that way for my friend, bedside with her daughter. She has endured a husband’s betrayal, the loss of a ministry, the sudden death of a son-in-law, her own physical challenges, and now the trauma of her daughter’s injuries and dashed hopes.

And still my friend raises her hands in worship and I stand beside her, my own hands and heart lifted in praise to the Healer who walks with every wounded Survivor. We both bear scars, and we both smile through tears as we celebrate Our Father’s Goodness.

God does not promise a life free from pain, from loss. The truth is that nowhere in The Word does He say He “will not give us more than we can bear”. Often misquoted are these words from Paul:

“No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it.”    I Corinthians 10:13

On some days, He DOES give us more than we can bear. Who can learn that they have cancer and not grieve? Who can hold the hand of a heartbroken, wounded daughter and not cry out? Who can cradle a child who will never walk, sit unassisted, play basketball, drive a car because a virus invaded his body, and not plead for mercy?

And who can bury a 25-year-old son and not question the One who holds life in His hand?

He hears and grieves. And He bears it with us.

I will exalt you, Lord,

for you lifted me out of the depths

and did not let my enemies gloat over me.

Lord my God, I called to you for help,

and you healed me.

You, Lord, brought me up from the realm of the dead;

you spared me from going down to the pit.

Sing the praises of the Lord, you his faithful people;

praise his holy name.

For his anger lasts only a moment,

but his favor lasts a lifetime;

weeping may stay for the night,

but rejoicing comes in the morning.

When I felt secure, I said,

“I will never be shaken.”

Lord, when you favored me,

you made my royal mountainstand firm;

but when you hid your face,

I was dismayed.

To you, Lord, I called;

to the Lord I cried for mercy:

“What is gained if I am silenced,

if I go down to the pit?

Will the dust praise you?

Will it proclaim your faithfulness?

Hear, Lord, and be merciful to me;

Lord, be my help.”

You turned my wailing into dancing;

you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy,

that my heart may sing your praises and not be silent.

Lord my God, I will praise you forever.    Psalm 30

6e3ffef67cd2b76a1bda39656ca79794Ingrid Lochamire lives on a farm in a beautiful valley in northern Indiana. She is a partner in business and in life with her husband, Ken, and is Mom to four sons. Ingrid homeschooled the boys, graduating the youngest this year. A former newspaper reporter, she currently is a freelance writer and part-time staff at Elijah Haven Crisis Intervention Center, a domestic violence agency in her home community. A lover and following of Christ, Ingrid says she strives daily to reflect His glory in every aspect of life — on the mountaintops and in the mundane. Ingrid recently reflected on her journey through breast cancer at her blog “Reflections on the Journey”.

Why Today’s A Not-So-Big-Deal {But It Really Is}

She sat across from me, leaning in, with tears in her eyes.  She listened to the story.

Today (Monday) I’m having surgery.  A simple procedure.  I recently tore my ACL and meniscus playing basketball in a school-wide event.  The injury warrants arthroscopic surgery.  “A simple procedure,” I’m told.  I know better.

loisI bring a different perspective to this day.  My mother-in-law died from complications of the same surgery twelve years ago.  A blood clot from her leg traveled to her lungs and she died.  It happened quickly, before all of our close-knit farm family could make it to the hospital.  It rocked our world.  After that day, our life was never the same.

As my friend listened to the story of why this day brings immense pain, her eyes welled with tears.

She got it.

I’m not afraid of the surgery.

I’m not afraid of dying.

I’m reliving the pain of a day that changes your life forever.    The moment when everything you know around you is not the same anymore, the moment when God seems to be everything you never thought He would be.   The moment when your heart shatters into a million pieces.

I’m reliving the memory of a someone who loved with a pristine love.  A love I’ve never experienced before or since.  A love that was so good that when it is ripped away the pain infiltrates every part of your body.

As my friend sat there, listening to me ramble, she got it.  She got the depth of the love, the depth of the loss, and the depth of the moment.  

Through her tears, though she knew nothing of the situation, she understood the depth certain moments bring to our lives and the depth of love that is so dear.  She understood this is not just another day, just another surgery, just another death in the family.

She understood how deeply this life moment impacts me.MP900289480

She didn’t pass it off, or let me know others have it worse than I do.

She listened.  She heard.  She cared.

She was a glimpse of the woman I miss so deeply, a woman who loved well in moments others may overlook.

Our eyes met.   The tears rolled.  And deep called to deep.

And we cried.

Lord, Jesus, thank you for people in our lives who are your eyes and ears.  Thank you for people in our lives who understand us, who take time to listen, who love others well.  Thank you that behind every emotion, you know the reasons why.  Thank you for each of us with a story behind the story, you know and you care. Amen.

I’d love to hear who, in your life, has loved you well?