My husband’s doctor appointment was lasting much longer than I expected which gave rise to fear in me. Michael had discovered a lump on his neck. The doctor told him it was probably something minor, but he would biopsy it just the same. Three hours after he’d left for the doctor, I saw him pull in the driveway. I ran out to meet him and as we embraced, he whispered in my ear, “It’s cancer". I wanted to know all the details, but our four children, ages 5 to 13 were waiting inside. As we broke the news to them, we used the technical term, telling them their dad had squamous cell carcinoma, hoping their young minds wouldn’t equate the term with cancer. Because of our solemn demeanors Aubrie, our oldest, connected the dots and asked if it was, indeed, cancer. I punted and said, “Ask your dad.” I will spare you the details, but suffice it to say my husband had stage 4 cancer on the base of the tongue. He was given a 25% chance of survival. It was a complete shock to me and yet, I knew this was no emergency to God. He had been aware of it 17 years earlier when we married. And I knew if He had known all along this would happen, He would completely control it—all of it. One thing that became clear was that I would have to be very careful of how I handled my husband’s illness. I had four sets of eyes watching me. I came to appreciate so much that God had placed them in my life to be a governor on how I would deal with this crisis. That kept me in line many times when I wanted to fall apart. God’s grace was sufficient and my precious children helped me keep on track.
As has been my practice throughout my life, I continued to awaken early to spend time in the Word and prayer. It not only strengthened me, but I believe it gave our children security to know I was spending time with God daily. We prayed together for their dad’s healing and talked openly about their fears. When well-meaning folks would say they knew Michael would be healed, I would remind myself that faith didn’t mean God would answer my prayers as I wanted, but rather, that He promised to walk with us regardless of the outcome of this battle. This crisis didn’t teach us new things about God; it just reinforced those things we’d already learned.
It’s been almost 10 years since my husband’s cancer diagnosis and I am so thankful to God he is alive and doing well. Life is a gift. But if there is one thing I would like to share with you moms it is that our children are God’s little governors on our lives. They are always listening and watching us, weighing everything to see if we live what we profess. They are our in-house accountability partners. While that can be a daunting thought, it is also a blessing.