Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Cancer-Free Christmas Miracle

I haven't forgotten about you, I swear. I've been busy. Busy learning to pull a shirt over my head. Busy standing on my tippy toes to reach the top shelf. Busy watching my hair grow in a magnifying mirror. Busy nursing torn stitches, migraines, and menopausal madness. Just a little busy.

Cancer is over. It's really over. I've spent the last two weeks trying to convince the kids -- and myself -- that this is true. And it is true. I'm cancer free! So unless God decides to allow a recurrence, I AM SO OVER YOU, CANCER. DONE. GONE. GOOD-BYE. Thank you, Jesus!

I apologize if your card never made it out. I did as many as I could!

So what do you do when the hardest thing you've ever done is actually done?

If you're me, you cry... a lot. You thank God over and over. You sit in silence and try to process it all. You sleep and wake up and ask yourself if it all really happened. You wonder: why me and not my friends? You watch the tension lift from around your son's anxious eyes. You squeeze your daughter when she cheers, "This is the best day of my life. My mom is cancer free!" You look at your husband with a new tenderness... because he's gotten down on one knee way more than once now -- one time to propose marriage and all the others to tie your shoes. You move slower. You schedule less. Everything looks and feels different now. Better now. And you have a reverence for your new lease on life and a profound reverence for the God who healed you.

So what about this miracle? How can we be sure? I watched my surgeon compare my pathology reports side by side. We counted almost a dozen separate areas of invasive and non-invasive ductal carcinoma from my pathology report in May. After my double mastectomy in November, the pathology report showed ZERO ductal carcinoma of any variety. "It's incredulous when you compare these reports side by side," he bellowed. "Okay then... it's a miracle!" He went on to say how wonderful this must be for my husband and kids, especially right before Christmas. I started to cry. "And for my parents, too," I said, "They've already lost two children." "Well, tell them they're not losing you..." And with that the tears made tracks all over my face and fell from my chin.

Let me ask you something. Why is it so hard to trust God for a miracle? Have we become so hardened by our human experience that we believe God's just not listening anymore? Trust me, friends. He hears those prayers for your struggling child. He hears those prayers for your marriage. He hears those prayers for your finances and your career and your health and your future. Keep praying. And give God your complete trust for the outcome that He sees fit. That's the key to knowing peace.

So to the AMAZING people of 12Stone Church, and my prayer warriors from Hebron, Lighthouse, Woods Grove, and so many other churches, I thank you. To my dear Catholic and Jewish friends, I thank you. To the teachers and counselors of Harbins Elementary and McConnell Middle who prayed in empty classrooms and elevators with my scared children, I thank you. To the 17 men in a New York drug rehab Bible study who spontaneously gathered themselves to pray for me the night before my surgery -- WOW -- I really thank you. To the little girls' basketball team who prayed for me after every practice,  I thank you. To my co-workers, my friends, my family, my blog readers -- many of whom I've never met -- I thank you. You brought me straight to the throne of God on days I could barely lift my weary head.

And to my wonderful friends who sent positive thoughts and healing energy, I thank you, too.  And I offer you Living Hope. Because as much as your words and kindness were a comfort, it was the prayers that healed me. It was Jesus! I know you have your doubts. I know you've been hurt. And I get it. But give Him another chance this Christmas! Seek a relationship -- not a religion or a certain denomination -- and ask ALL your hard questions. If you're in my area, 12Stone Church has 24 services on Christmas Eve at 9 different campuses. Go to for details. If you're not local, ask a friend you can trust for a church recommendation. There's no greater gift I can give you to show my appreciation for your kindness. And there's no greater gift that God ever gave the world than the gift of His one and only Son. 

Cancer is over. I have another six months of reconstruction and 10 years of oral chemo to prevent recurrence... but I am fully claiming this Christmas miracle. I hope you're as delighted as I am that I've decided to continue blogging. Join me as I seek to encourage you through grace, love, kindness, and the occasional chaos that is my life.

God is not done so neither am I.

Happy Dance!

"The Lord your God in your midst, The Mighty One, will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing.” - Zephaniah 3:17 (This was the verse I clung to during my illness. I have it embroidered on a pillow and engraved on my 12Stone sword. I am certainly feeling Him rejoicing over me today. Thank you, Jehovah Rapha. I pray I make you proud.)

This post is dedicated to Lisa Goodwin, the friend and colleague who repeatedly prayed the cancer would just disappear with no medical explanation. Every time she prayed that prayer with her hands gripping mine, I quietly thought I'd never see it come to pass. Lisa, your very specific, very audacious prayer was answered. Thank you for your boldness on my behalf. I love you!


  1. This is the best Christmas present I will receive this year Emily. Not only am I crying tears of joy standing in the same spot I cried tears of fear that the cancer might win, but I am wiping away any and all doubts that God doesn't heal the ones I love. Thank you Jesus for healing my friend Emily, and thank you for my friend Lisa who faithfully prayed and never doubted that Jesus would heal. Merry Christmas to you and your family Emily, and thank you Jesus for this Christmas miracle.

  2. I love you so much Em, and I thank you for continuing to open my eyes where I was blind. To all the Christmas wishes that came true by hearing this news - a Merry Christmas indeed!

  3. I am so happy for you and your family! I know Leah and Landon must be so happy to know their mom won't be suffering anymore and they get to keep her! I am so sorry you had to go through all of this. Though I did not post on your blogs, I have kept up and prayed for you. Big hugs to you and your family! Merry Christmas!!!

  4. He is awesome, you are awesome! EMMANUEL!! What a Merry Christmas just to read this!

  5. Dearest Emily, praising God for answered prayers and thanking Him for allowing me to know you and your heart. Such an enormous gift this Christmas! Love you and your sweet family!

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  7. I needed to read this today more than ever. Praying for you as you courageously charged through the building gave me strength. My mother was in the Battle of her life and she too was pronounced cancer free on January 26th 2016. Thanking God and praising him with you for continued health and renewed strength. Proclaiming 2016 to the year of restoration mind body and spirit. What an amazing God we serve. And what a wonderful friend we share in Lisa Goodwin. But I hear you are just as wonderful. Hope to meet you in person... Love you you and your family.