Everything happens for a reason. Lindsay made that statement in our interview and I absolutely agree.
Another thing we both agreed on was that we need hard times in our life to keep us grounded, to learn lessons that God needs us to go through. Those times teach us, and with cancer everyone around us, something significant.
My father was sick a lot when we were growing up. Through everything we went through as kids, he would always tell us two things.
1. God likes to work when nothing else will.
2. We might say often that "God is all we need." but we will only know the true value of that statement when He is all we have.
When you get a cancer diagnosis like Lindsay, or lose someone dear to you, or struggle with addiction or finances, sometimes the only and best thing to do is pray.
The helplessness that we feel when we try to fix the problem and fail is usually God's way of nudging us closer to Him.
While we may not understand why things happen, we can rest in knowing that His plans are always, always better than ours. God sees the end and has already prepared the way. He wants us to rest in His peace.
How do we know what to do? How do we know what God is trying to teach us?
The short answer is to pray. Ask for guidance. As for the lesson? That's up to each of us to figure out. The biggest part of that, in my experience, is that the lesson isn't always about us! Elise, one of our earlier OWELs said that one of her happy thoughts is that so many people have come closer to God as a result of praying for her. Our problems and struggles may simply be to help someone else.
Back in 2009, I had my own cancer diagnosis. Now, it was a blip on the screen of my life. I do NOT in anyway categorize myself with these amazing women who fight so hard to live. I was told I had thyroid cancer in February. After scans and a biopsy, we had surgery in May to remove a large tumor from my neck. Around 90% of that tumor was cancer free. Only a tiny portion, completely encapsulated, was actually cancer. No further treatment (minus daily meds).
What I've learned is this:
Having this experience has allowed me to relate to cancer patients. I know the pain of having to tell your family, of that slow walk to a biopsy and later surgery. It's helped me perhaps even be a better story teller, as the questions come easier when talking to the women I photograph. God has used that time my life to show me how help others now.
One of the biggest blessings that came of it was my friend, Wendy Calhoun. High school sweethearts and students of my mother's (They met in her class.) were getting married and asked me to do the photographs. I assured them that by the time of their wedding I would be fine. Sure enough I was tumor free, but still adjusting to meds and weak at times. Those of you that know me, know you'll usually find me climbing a ladder or balcony or whatever to get "the shot". This was definitely not the case at the Lynd wedding. I was taking a break at their reception when I was approached by a guest. She introduced herself and wanted to know if I might talk to her about starting a photography business. Now, this was the LAST thing I wanted to do. I was exhausted and hungry and really wanting to rest. However, I remembered what it was like to start out. She took the napkin from her plate, and wrote down four or five things I told her to begin with, then my name and number in case she had further questions.
Fast forward two years later. I'm at home in California and my phone rings.
"You probably don't remember this but, my name is Wendy. You helped me at the Lynd wedding."
The conversation continued, and I explained I did remember her.
"I realized today that I don't think I ever thanked you. You helped open a whole new chapter in my life....I did what you said.....I had prayed and asked God to find a way.....I was able to quit my job at the hospital and stay at home with my kids........I have that napkin framed in my studio." I stood there crying, humbled, knowing that it was part of God's purpose in what I went through.
Sometimes it's not about us at all.
We just have to trust that it's all for a reason.
There's a purpose for all of it.