When I was 31 weeks pregnant with my son, Gibson, I noticed a significantly large lump on the left side of my neck. Upon this discovery, I immediately made an appointment with my primary care doctor. It was quite alarming. After the next several weeks of being poked and prodded, I found myself sitting in my endocrinologist’s office waiting to hear my diagnosis. Dr. Hassan looked me straight in the eyes and said, “There is no easy way to say this - you have follicular thyroid cancer.” Everything he said after that sounded like white noise. My brain was stuck, trying to process this news. Naturally, fear and a million questions began to creep to the surface of my reality. A common link nearly always exists between our needs and God’s answers - a thread woven into the fabric of our relationship with the Father that, if overlooked, can cost us the most intimate and majestic experience with Him possible on this side of eternity. How easily I pointed to my lack. How specifically I highlighted my deficiency. How quickly I became consumed with the glaring evidence of all that was working against me, the hardships that were pressing me into such desperate straits. But little did I know that a glint of sunshine was passing through ominous clouds on a dreary day, hope pierced through the darkness in that office. Sometimes we wait impatiently on God when He is patiently waiting on us, waiting for us to recognize what He’s already given as part of the answer to our problem. The foundation for a miracle was right under my nose.
We decided the best course of action to take would be to surgically remove the lump, post gestation, then begin radiation treatments. And again - our plan, was interrupted. Gibson came early. It was 1 in the morning on October 17, 2010. At this point I was 34 weeks pregnant - being stuck in the arm with a needle by one nurse, while another nurse was frantically flipping pages of paper and asking me to sign them. “You are going to have a baby in less than 10 minutes if his heart rate doesn’t come up. The anesthesiologist is on deck, ready to give you an epidural”, she said. Everything happened so fast. In my hazy state, I caught a glimpse of Gibson passing by my side, being rushed to the NICU. In a moment of despair, the Holy Spirit began to sing this song into my heart, “when peace like a river attendeth my way..whatever my lot, thou hast taught me to say, it is well with my soul”.
Looking and seeing are two different things. One is merely the physical, almost involuntary action of a functioning human body, while the other action requires the willing cooperation of the heart. Bringing Gibson, a happy and healthy miracle, home allowed me to see that this is God’s way - crafting supernatural downpours behind the tiniest, most innocuous cloud cover. It’s what shifted my doubt and worry to stability and faith. It’s what enabled me to trust that the Father is able to come through at the perfect moment, no matter how far removed the possibility seemed from my vantage point. But, God wasn’t done transforming my focus, shifting my perspective, compelling me to action, and purifying my inner motivations. Waiting underneath the revealing spotlight of God’s Spirit until the very aspect of my frailty was exposed, He preformed yet another miracle. The pathologist declared the nodule removed from my thyroid gland to be benign. Upon hearing this news, I broke down in tears of joy. The peace of God flowed freely around, under and over the seemingly impossible obstacle in my life. God doesn’t exist only in the stratosphere of extravagant need. His ability comes all the way down to the ground, to the places we live on a regular weekday. Nothing escapes His attention. Nothing is too small to avoid His notice. He cares about it all.
Every year that passes delivers a real, tangible reminder of the effects of time. It highlights the slow but steady decline that everyone on Earth is subject to experiencing. Time reveals the temporal. My jobs have become deleted. Prices have gone up. Gibson takes new interests and grows into different paths. Particular foods I once enjoyed without a second thought now keep me up at night with heartburn. Things I counted on to be there when I reached a certain age have failed to come together as I’d planned. Even certain people I admired and loved have proven to be unfaithful and fractured. Life just refuses to stay put. And yet God stays the same. His purpose for my life has remained steady and the space where I am most free has always been where I am creating. My tumultuous journey lead me to the campus of Houston Baptist University last year. Under recommendation of a new friend, who is a graduate student at HBU, I decided to take a tour and explore the possibility of participating in the graduate art program. As soon as I stepped foot into the building of the School of Fine Arts and saw Michael Collin’s name on the wall outside of his office I began to cry. As clear as a bell ringing I heard the Spirit of God whisper in my ear, “Even here, I can do miraculous things in you, and through you, and all for My glory.” He has aligned timing and placement with His sovereign and pre-planned purposes. He stunned me in hindsight that day when I discovered the careful orchestration of events in my life and in the lives of others. What He intends to accomplish - the things that most bear the fingerprints of His Spirit - cannot be thwarted.