In 31 Days of Pink/ Cancer

31 Days of Pink: Being Bald

“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon me and go and pray to me, and I will listen to you. And you will seek me and find me, when you search for me with all your heart. I will be found by you, says the Lord, I will bring you back from captivity.”
 Jeremiah 29:11-14 
Being bald for a girl is just not normal, unless you are a newborn. I struggled with it after chemo until I finally realized what bothered me.  Every time I looked at myself in the mirror, it was a reminder that I was sick. It was also a reminder to all my friends and family and I think in the beginning it affected Luke more than anyone.  As I finally accepted it and  then really embraced the simplicity of not having the high maintenance “doo” I have kept up for years, it began to grow back. Like little peach fuzz.  I was getting tired of wearing hats and scarves. I want to share one of my favorite journal entries from Caringbridge about how the Lord helped me to do what I couldn’t do for myself. And He gets the Glory for it. Also, I recently found pictures Jeff  had taken of Luke and I in the water, and  it gives you more of visual, after you read the story.   

June 20, 2009

It’s late morning because we all slept late. We didn’t get to the condo until after midnight so there is little time for me to have an elaborate coffee and quiet time with the Lord.  After reading some verses in Isaiah and time in prayer, I could no longer prolong the excitement of “suiting up” and hitting the beach. I decided to wear my black and white paisley “tankini” (as Abby always says) because it would go with my favorite, floppy beach hat. My trusted pearl earrings, white ruffled dress cover-up and black heeled flip-flops all helped to make me feel a little more comfortable with my little secret. It’s not a secret to us, only the people on the beach.However, before Jeff left I boldly announced “ I think today’s the day, I am going to swim and take my hat off.” At the time, it seemed to be a big step and it helped that we don’t know anyone here ( Jeff is taking necessary classes for his CPA requirements). Jeff had to go and office the officially check us in, get some groceries but all after getting us, and all our stuff down to the beach. 
 
Abby and Luke were at full capacity, nets in their hands with determination to catch their bait for fishing later (poor little fish). I couldn’t see them as well as I wanted to from where our umbrella and chairs were, so I pulled my chair onto the shore. I noticed the couple next to us, quietly under their umbrella and that the lady had on a swimsuit identical to mine. Now, the next scene happened so quickly I will do my best to keep you in the moment as I was. 
Luke asked if I would get into the water with him. As I walked passed the other couple to the umbrella…the Lord held me to my courageous statement. My hat blew off, I gasped for air and I felt as if I were completely naked standing on the beach (only for a moment). It was heart wrenching. I grabbed my hat and looked over at the lady and said jokingly, yet in sure desperation “I guess I will let it all hang out today.” Abby and Luke are oblivious, “Mommy are you coming?” I said a quick “yes”, trying to fight back the tears that were seconds away from flooding my eyes. The second I stepped into the water, with my back turned to them, I felt safe to let it go. I began to sob from the very core, not cry, weep. 
 
In that moment, I hurt for my loss, for my exposure, for my covering or lack of, for all the emotions and pains that chemo impose, while it is clearing out the bad cells. I was quickly reminded of God’s love and how His ways are not our ways. He remains in complete control of our coming and going, even to the point of giving us a nudge if He thinks we need it. In retrospect, that was the best way for me to get over my fear, because that’s what it was, and know that He blew the wind at just the right moment, He picked that hat to be my favorite, He had it all planned, at the perfect time.

 Luke and I held hands and went under the water together, I felt free. 

 
That part of letting go had been done. I went back and sat down, noticing that the couple had now gone into the water. On their way back to their seats, she said “I meant to tell you that you have great taste in swimsuits!” I was now back to a normal composure and making small talk. Then she said what I believe God had sent her to say “By the way, you are beautiful on the inside and out” a tear slipped down her cheek from behind her sunglasses, “ give yourself some time to grieve, I know you need it, my mother and sister both had breast cancer.” All I could do was thank her and smile. Her last words were “Enjoy your family and the rest of your vacation.” I think it truly began at that time. This whole episode lasted maybe twenty minutes or so. I never saw them again after that first day.
 
I hope you take away from this, that no matter what fear, obstacle, hurt, whatever…God will provide a way! You have to trust Him enough to set you free, from your captivity of fear, to trust him with your future just like it says in Jeremiah. He is mighty to save. Thank you Lord Jesus for loving me enough to set me free and giving me the courage to live each day in expectation of your faithfulness. I pray that for each who reads today, give them what they need to be more like you. Give them a “hats off” moment in the light of your presence. My joy comes from you. Thank you for your redemption, to your name I give all Glory, honor and PRAISE! Blessings, Suzanne
 

 

Playing in the water

 

No more hat..free

The most interesting part of the story was that the couple’s chairs stayed in place on the beach the rest of the week, but we never saw them again. Also, I never told her I had breast cancer. 

Writing down the story
I had the opportunity to go back to Gulf Shores  this year and I couldn’t help but reminisce about this spiritual marker five years ago. The Lord is doing much conditioning and stretching with me right now and I am enjoying so many new and different things. More on that soon. And with the new opportunities comes, good old-fashioned, hard work and obedience. To me, that is living life abundantly so I can share with others!!
 
“Count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience.” James 1:2-3

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