Sunday, April 29, 2012

Lessons from a Lump

This song was playing today as I was nursing Willow, and it struck me in a new way. I thought, this perfectly sums up the past few days for me.

Praise You in the Storm

By Casting Crowns 

I was sure by now
God You would have reached down 
And wiped our tears away 
Stepped in and saved the day
But once again, I say "Amen", and it's still raining 

As the thunder rolls
I barely hear Your whisper through the rain 
I'm with you" 
And as Your mercy falls 
I raise my hands and praise the God who gives
And takes away 

And I'll praise You in this storm 
And I will lift my hands 
For You are who You are
No matter where I am 
And every tear I've cried
You hold in Your hand 
You never left my side
And though my heart is torn 
I will praise You in this storm 

I remember when I stumbled in the wind 
You heard my cry to you 
And you raised me up again 
My strength is almost gone 
How can I carry on 
If I can't find You

But as the thunder rolls
I barely hear You whisper through the rain
"I'm with you" 
And as Your mercy falls 
I raise my hands and praise the God who gives 
And takes away 


I lift my eyes unto the hills
Where does my help come from? 
My help comes from the Lord
The Maker of Heaven and Earth 

So, maybe it's a little melodramatic, but I've gone through a pretty dramatic range of emotions the past ten days. I wasn't really ready to blog about it until today because I was in the middle of a storm, and feeling very torn up inside. I think, it's mostly over now. 

It all started with a lump. A very suspicious lump in my right breast that was larger than a golf ball. To be honest, I had this memory of feeling this lump before when Willow was first born. But because of nursing, whatever I had felt before 'disappeared' behind all the milk production that was going on. Now, Willow is nursing less than she used to, and so I am producing a lot less milk. The lump, whether it was new or old, reappeared and it caused me to worry. I felt sick to my stomach when I felt it again--my heart literally stopped as it filled with dread. Whatever it was, I knew it couldn't be good. 

Adam demanded that I get a doctor's appointment for as soon as possible. It was a large lump, of course, and since it was close to the surface, I could see it's profile easily. The skin was starting to discolor around the mass. I could feel that it was large, round, and very solid/hard. But there was no pain associated with this lump, even when I touched it. It didn't seem to be affecting my nursing Willow either, so I didn't know what it could be. 

Whatever it was, it was preoccupying my thoughts. I started thinking about all the 'what ifs'. 

What if it's cancer.
What if I need surgery and treatments.
What if I have to stay in a Chinese hospital? 
What if we have to go back to America?
What if I miss the play?
What if we can't return to China?
What if we can't afford the bills (our insurance is terrible!). 
What if I miss watching Willow grow up?
What if it takes a long time to die? 

I started making plans in my head for all the 'what ifs', as morbid as this sounds. Thinking of things like leaving behind my email and facebook passwords, packing up our apartment and making sure special things got handed down to the right people. I was making my 'will', mentally. 

And then I stopped, and asked myself--'How does this make you feel?'


I had a couple good cries. A few hours of crying out to God, looking for something to cling onto for comfort. I prayed that I would be able to face whatever the future held. I knew that life isn't guaranteed--I don't know when I'll die--but the thought of dying kept coming back. I remember thinking, "Well, if I'm to die young, at least I've gotten to do 'so much' in the years I've been given". I got to go to college, get married, live overseas, teach, become a mother--those are pretty big events that I've already been blessed enough to experience. The other blessings that come to mind are too numerous to count. 

When I was little, I used to think that God had us on earth for one major act. Once we had accomplished that act, we would just expire--and life would end immediately. There was no more reason to be alive. I used to worry that I wouldn't know what my major act was and completely miss it, or that I might accomplish it too early. This is a bit laughable--but it's what I thought for a long time. Now I know that our purpose, our major act, is an ongoing thing. It's a daily surrender to God's will; it's a commitment to worshiping and obeying our Creator. It's not so much that we'll die once we've done our ONE major's more like, we should strive after a life doing the ONE thing we were created for: giving glory to God. 

OK. Saying God a lot today--something I usually avoid because of where I live, but am totally ignoring that precaution right now.

I was feeling a little nervous about my appointment. I had to wait a few days, but it was never far from my thoughts. I had it out with God over the weekend. I made a commitment to not stagger down the list of 'what ifs', but to trust Him instead. I believed that no matter what would happen, He would take care of Willow and Adam, and even me. I surrendered things that I really wanted. Things like, being at Willow's wedding, having more kids, living past my twenty-fifth birthday. And I asked for strength. 

To be continued.



  1. Praying for you, Julie. I read your blog with each new post and am always blessed by your thoughts. Please let us know the outcome of your tests when you find out.

    Julie Forslev

  2. I totally relate to those feelings and emotions, Julie. You are so right to trust God in the midst of this storm. He is in control and will take complete care of you!
    Praying for you!
    ~Mrs. Dunn

  3. Praying for you Julie and this storm you are going through! I will be praying for the doctors taht they will have wisdom as to what is going on and for you and Adam that He will give you peace and comfort you through all of this!! Love you guys!!