Has a difficult diagnosis left you feeling as if your health is shaken? We are honored to share Katie’s brave words about the cancer journey that has left her feeling shaken and stirred.
When Your Health is Shaken and Stirred
by Katie Hawkins
I love how James Bond, Ian Fleming’s creation of the cool, sophisticated British Secret Service Agent describes how he likes his martinis….. shaken not stirred. I’m probably making this up but I’m thinking it’s a metaphor for how he handles danger. The circumstances the writer creates in the novels and movies shake Bond but he is so confident and ingenious that he never gets stirred up. He never seems flustered.
I wanted to title my story of being diagnosed with cancer ‘shaken NOT stirred.’ I envisioned myself being so cool under the pressure of a scary diagnosis. I pictured myself suffering well and gladly because of my rock-solid faith in Jesus Christ. I wanted to be wise and collected and face the danger with aplomb like 007.
However, I am both shaken AND stirred.
The literal shaking started in my hands while I was attending a conference in Atlanta Georgia. 32 of us from my home church, Mount Ararat Baptist in Stafford Virginia, were attending the “Drive Conference” being held at Northpoint Church for three days. I’d had a biopsy the week before and was told to expect the results during that time frame. My husband begged me not to go as he was afraid I’d miss the call but I was eager and promised him I’d pay attention to my phone. Unfortunately, his fears proved accurate and the morning the doctor called I was so swept up in the worship, the messages, the fellowship of other believers, the great conversations happening about ministry that I missed the call from the doctor. As I exited a session right before lunch I checked my phone and realized it. I headed outside to get alone and listen but couldn’t clearly hear the message he left. I tried calling him back but all I could get were receptionists that couldn’t locate him.
Then my phone went dead.
The next couple hours my hands shook so hard I couldn’t even operate the phone charger a sweet Northpoint person found for me nor hold my phone. Thankfully, friends surrounded me, prayed over me, told me jokes, distracted me until the doctor finally called me back.
Once the doctor explained the diagnosis (Triple Negative, stage 3, Breast Cancer) and I notified my family, the physical shaking stopped and I really was strangely calm. I was buoyed by all the phone calls and texts and the 31 brothers and sisters of my home church loving on me.
Little did I know that the spiritual stirring and shaking was just beginning.
I thought I was the James Bond of the Spiritual world and that I’d sail through this glorifying God by ‘considering it all joy’ that I had encountered this particular trial. After all, some of my real heroes I aspire to be like had certainly suffered much worse than a temporary bout of cancer and they didn’t flinch!
Jesus was crucified for crying out loud. The Apostle Paul lists a whole string of horrible things that happened to him to include floggings, beatings, shipwrecks, being left for dead. I’ve read Foxes Book of Martyrs…..being burned alive is no piece of cake and yet saints of old faced it squarely. Corrie Ten Boom, surviving the horrors of a Nazi Concentration Camp and yet being known for her joy in the Lord and an incredible peace. A contemporary of mine, Andrea Holmes, suffering through her husband’s cancer diagnosis and death and yet always standing firm on what Scripture teaches about trials and her faith was not stirred. So many more.
I was going to be strong and courageous like my hero’s and make Jesus proud!
It’s my turn now, I thought, to really suffer and exercise the muscle of faith.
Faith isn’t faith till it’s tested and here’s my big test, right?
I was determined to pass it with flying colors.
This blog series is an attempt to put in writing all He’s shown me from those early days of diagnosis. I had no idea then how completely my life would change. How all the activity and travel and ministry I was involved in would suddenly stop completely and I’d have nothing to do but be ill. I couldn’t have guessed how completely shattered the chemotherapy would leave me feeling on the inside, and how my reduced life would leave me frustrated and fidgety and feeling useless. I’m two months into treatment now and it’s time to try and capture some of the thoughts, feelings, Spirit-promptings in words.
I’d be greatly honored if you’d consider walking through this cancer valley with me by reading along.
Join us on Wednesday for the rest.
Katie Hawkins is the wife of a former Marine and mother of three sons all in the military. (One in the Army, one in the Air Force, and one in the Marine Corps. She also has a daughter she urged to go in the Coast Guard so they’d have all the services covered but she refused.) Katie loves to teach Bible Studies, lead retreats and events where women can connect with God and each other, and co-hosts of a weekly podcast called “She Speaks Stories.”
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