In August 2013 I was diagnosed with terminal breast cancer. Yes, those were the words the doctor used in the measured, clinical tone some doctors use in delivering bad news. Those words, in addition to “It’s not good, Monica,” and “A few people make it to five years.” I will be honest, I have experienced the goodness of God and I know the One who numbers my days, but this news of metastatic breast cancer was devastating. My husband and I have four kiddos and at the time they were 6, 4, and 3 years old, and our baby was 7 months old. My mother’s heart grieved, and I simply could not imagine not raising them.
So, my family started down a path that we continue to walk today, and many in the body of Christ bravely chose to walk with us. The Bible says that we are to bear one another’s burdens (Galatians 6:2), which, if we are honest, can be overwhelming. However, in God’s incredible grace, He surrounded us with people who were willing, by the power of His Spirit, to do the hard thing and bear this burden of cancer with us. How sweet our co-laborers have been.
First, people prayed. A woman I had never met came up to me almost a year after my diagnosis and said, “I have been wanting to meet you. I pray for you twice a day, that you will dance at your grandchildren’s weddings.” I receive that! She continues to pray for me, twice a day. When we do not know how to come alongside someone in their suffering we can always, always pray. I have friends who have called and prayed with me over the phone, laid hands on me in my sister’s living room, texted prayers, and I could go on and on. God has heard.
People gave. They gave of their time. My mom and dad still come almost every three weeks when I have treatments. It is a sacrifice of their time and their resources, but they continue to bear that burden with us. People gave and continue to give physical gifts: money to help with medical expenses, gifts to encourage my heart and my kids’ hearts, breast milk to feed my baby while I was receiving chemotherapy, and countless meals and gift cards, to help ease the tasks of everyday life in the midst of initial and continued treatment. God has faithfully met each and every need.
People believed. What balm to my soul to see faith personified in the body of Christ. Just last week, a friend sent me the following scripture: “So even to old age and gray hairs, O God, do not forsake me, until I proclaim Your might to another generation, Your power to all those to come” (Psalm 71:18). She is believing with me—especially in those moments of darkness when I do not believe myself—and for me: that in my old age, I will be proclaiming the name of Jesus to another generation. May it be so.
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Monica Patrick has loved Jesus for as long as she can remember. She is a stay-at-home wife and mother in Fort Worth, TX. She and her husband Charles are about to celebrate 11 years of marriage and have four children, Susanna, 10, Josiah, 8, Nathaniel, 6, and Seth, 4. She homeschools their children and together she and Charles serve as the 4th grade Sunday School teachers at their church. She is a gatherer and enjoys bringing women together to talk about Jesus and His faithfulness in marriage, parenting, friendship and life. She dreams of one day traveling the country with her family in a motorhome.