“They overcame him [Satan] by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony (Rev 12:11).”
I am so glad that Jesus is victorious over Satan and that he has already overcome death. As Christians, we can rest confidently in the truths that death has no power over us and one day we will live eternally victorious with Christ in the new city of Jerusalem. This is the blessed hope that we look forward to, and yet we are still living in a fallen world where life sometimes disappoints, our bodies grow weak, and we become weary.
As we are confronted with the truths over our human frailty, we are forced to rely evermore on the promises of God and the strength of his mighty Holy Spirit at work within us. In these precious moments of weakness, we should share our stories. Through the truth of our testimonies of God goodness and his grace, Satan is overcome.
And so, in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, I share the testimony of a breast cancer survivor. Vivian Mabuni is a special lady. I heard her speak at a Synergy Conference a couple years ago. She shared about the challenges of learning what it means to be Asian and American, Christian and a woman, wife, mother, and minister of the gospel. I love the passion of Christ in her story and the integrity in which she shared her journey. Although we are many miles away, I wanted to sit down and listen to her share about God speaking through her breast cancer experience. This is what she shared over a cup of cyber coffee:
In two weeks it will be two years. Two years ago I finished the “marathon run” of battling breast cancer. In all I had three surgeries, six rounds of very aggressive chemotherapy, 33 radiation treatments and 32 physical therapy appointments for a condition called lymphadema (my arm swells up from having all my lymph nodes removed under my arm). Also included, but too numerous to count, was multiple trips to get blood work, ultrasounds, x-rays, MRI’s, a PET scan, a cigar box full of prescriptions bottles, and lots of waiting in waiting rooms. Lots. I learned to knit scarves. Lots of scarves.
It’s hard to encapsulate into a brief post what God has taught me through battling breast cancer. But looking back now, a few themes stand out:
- Community. I know this word gets thrown around a lot, but after an intentional decision to let people into my struggle and pain (very difficult because I like to be the “strong one” and don’t want to burden others or be needy), I found it made all the difference. God created us to live and exist in connection and as others helped bear the burden (Galatians 6:2) by bringing meals, helping with kid drop off and pickups, etc. it gave space for me to carry the load (Galatians 6:5) of what I alone had to do. Namely show up, not give up and finish the course. People really matter.
- Prayer: I used to roll my eyes on the inside when people shared prayer requests about physical pain and healing. I used to think it was just a way to not have to be authentic with the real issues of the heart (and it sometimes can still be that way), but I judged out of what I didn’t know. I had been healthy. But when the tables turned, I understood first hand. Those long nights crying out to God in pain asking Him to wake people to pray for me and actually having God do just that has altered my understanding of how God works through prayer. Prayer really matters.
- For me personally, I see myself through different lenses. Through battling cancer I am stronger than I know, but also more fragile than I thought. Life is precious. And even on my worst days as a wife, mom, friend, daughter, sister, aunt, being here makes a difference. It matters that we are here.
Vivian is a fellow Redbud writer. You can connect through her personal website: www.vivianmabuni.com or Twitter: @vivmabuni. She blogged about her cancer journey: www.caringbridge.org/visit/vivianmabuni
On Monday, Oct 24, 2011, she will be on Midday Connection radio program sharing about my cancer journey. Check it out: www.middayconnection.org
How’s your testimony? Has God spoken to you in a special way this week?