Life Can Sucker Punch Ya


January 1, 2011. We had just celebrated Christmas and were enjoying the last few days of vacation before getting back to our normal routine. We were optimistic about the New Year. And we were clueless about what was right around the corner: life’s sucker punch.

Three days later, my doctor discovered a lump in my breast. Thirteen days after that, the cancer diagnosis was confirmed. Breast cancer was not on our list of resolutions for the New Year, but it defined the new year. We did our best to fit life into the regiment of doctor appointments and cancer treatments.

I crossed off days on the calendar to mark the time when I could smile again. But God was giving me reasons to smile for the todays. The cancer was caught early. My younger son and I spent his Spring Break in Washington D.C. We celebrated his high school graduation. The good things of life were still happening.

I had anticipated better days in the future, but God reminded me that this day in God’s presence is really good too. And the most important lesson I learned: life’s sucker punch doesn’t have to be a knock-out.

Note: This year, I am celebrating three years of being cancer-free! For the month of October and Breast Cancer Awareness Month, I will be posting stories about my personal experiences with breast cancer.

Lamentations 3:22-23

 Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.

Psalm 90:14

Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love, that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days.  

Like a Rolling Stone

Upper Peninsula of Michigan (July 1998)

Upper Peninsula of Michigan (July 1998)

I remember one of our favorite family vacations to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. We stopped near Munising and the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. We waded into Lake Superior and jumped the waves. As we walked along the lakeshore (and dodged the blackflies), we picked up rocks as our take-home souvenir. My oldest son exclaimed that the pebbles looked like, “Pulled-off lollipops.” They truly did. The edges were worn smooth through constant tumbling in the waves and the water made the rocks shiny with color.

Like that pebble, God intends the storms and the waves of our lives to soften our rough edges. In the tumbler of life, God shows us that by submitting to him, he can use our struggles for his purpose. The result is a refined beauty that is genuine and not only eye-catching, but heart-catching. Do we continue to resist? Or do we allow all of God to wash over us in anticipation of who we will become in him?


James 1:2-4

Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.


James 5:11

As you know, we consider blessed those who have persevered.  You have heard of Job’s perseverance and have seen what the Lord finally brought about.  The Lord is full of compassion and mercy.