Take Heart!

John 16: 33

I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.

Jesus promised that we would have troubles, but he also promised us peace. In 2012, I was diagnosed with bilateral brain tumors called schwannomas. Eventually, I was diagnosed with a genetic condition called neurofibromatosis Type 2, also known as NF2.

The good news was the brain tumors were benign—meaning non-cancerous.

The bad news was they weren’t benign—meaning not harmful.

My life was turned topsy-turvy in so many different ways, but God has been faithful. Jesus promises us peace in spite of the troubles of this life.  One moment life is good and the next it’s not, but God isn’t surprised by what happens to us.  

Just so you know I’m not exaggerating about difficult times, I’ll share some of the details of my brain tumors.

It started on April Fool’s Day 2012 when I developed Bell’s palsy. My family doctor insisted I have an MRI—just to make sure nothing serious was going on. I got a message that they found two little shadows on the MRI.

No big deal or so I thought.

But I was wrong. My family doctor was horrified when I told her I hadn’t done anything about the MRI. The next day, she called me (the doctor not the nurse) and told me I had an appointment the next day with a neurosurgeon!

That’s when I started to realize—oops this might be bad.

That neurosurgeon referred me to another neurosurgeon at the Cleveland Clinic. But he did tell me I had two tumors called schwannomas also known as acoustic neuromas. And because I had bilateral ANs, that mean I had a genetic condition known as Neurofibromatosis Type 2.

So in August, I had something called Gamma Knife Surgery on the right tumor—which isn’t surgery at all but a type of super duper radiation treatment. All was well…until it wasn’t. And then I started to really understand how serious my situation was.

After the treatment, it’s expected that the tumor would swell…and mine certainly did. I became completely deaf in the right ear. I also lost my balance on that side so it was difficult to get around. I was put on a really strong steroid to keep the swelling down.

I was so sick from the steroid. Couldn’t sleep. But I certainly could eat…and eat…and eat. Around May of 2013, they took me off the steroid. And then that’s when the pain kicked in. I couldn’t move without extreme pain throughout my body—from the neck down. Eventually that pain went away—just in time for my second treatment in October of that year.

The crazy thing (well maybe not so crazy if you’re a Christian), I had peace in spite of my circumstances. Jesus promises peace and I claimed that peace—every day.

 And just like the manna that God gave to the Hebrews, I had enough peace for that day and for that day only. It’s important not to get caught up in worrying about the future. Instead stay focused on God—his goodness and love.

Matthew 16 says, “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?”

We cannot add a single hour to our life by worrying, but we can lose the peace Jesus promised us. Next time, I’ll share some specific things, I do to stay in God’s supernatural peace.

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