Cancer Journey/ HEALTH/ Spiritual

Fighting The Fear Of Death While Facing Death

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I have been reaching, grasping, holding firmly to the Anchor of my soul lately.  Life brings the swirling waters and I reach, knowing it is there, this steadfast Anchor whom I call Lord.  I held fast and firm the last few days as we said goodbye to my sweet Grandpa.  He was brought safely to shore, an arrival to a home he longed for and a God whom he served faithfully all his life.
Just a couple days before watching Grandpa peacefully meet his maker, I spoke at a women’s conference.  My session title was called Fighting The Fear Of Death While Facing Death. I spoke of my cancer journey.  I didn’t know 2 days later our family would be witnesses to this raging, terrible storm called death, and asked to let go of one we love so dearly.  I did know, however, that no matter what life would bring, our Anchor holds.
An excerpt from my conference session:
How does one do this?
How does one fight fear of death, while facing death?
How do I open my clenched fists and allow “no’s” to become open hands that say “come what may?”  
How do I find the trust it takes, to let go of the boat I’m nestled in with my sweet family, stand up, face the waves, know that if I do unclench my fists, I will fall, and not just fall, but fall seemingly into scary, stormy, overwhelming knew the minute I was diagnosed that this is what I must do.  That this is a storm that would bring some very scary waters, and that I would have to jump in. Sometimes God tells us to just stay put and stay in the boat.  This has been my message from Him my whole life…”just stay with me, Amy, just stay in the boat.” But sometimes, the storms that come force one right into the black waves. I also knew that in the dark unknown there was an anchor for my soul, that in order to fully grasp onto it, I would have to be stripped of all that I was clinging to.
The stripping started right away.
Cancer has stripped me, it has emptied me.
It has taken:
And so much more.
It has brought and is bringing me to the end of myself.
Less of me. More of Him.
It seems to give no choice.
At times it feels forced, this opening, this unclenching of hands.
I want to scream , NO!
I want to grip tight, closed and hard.
My will not Yours
To clumsily and stupidly grasp for a control that does not really exist.
In His faithfulness, the false securities are being removed.
What are some of those false securities? I wonder if any of you can relate to them…
~My ducks in a row
Before cancer,
God, my therapist and I
We were working on these false securities.
These lies that whisper false fulfillment.
These cravings that produce only a pretend sense of self.
An artificial me.
My therapist and I –We worked hard on trading the artificial for the real.
I can hear him asking over and over
“Amy, What is real here?” “Who does God say you are?” “What are you believing?”
“What is true?”
Remember…whatever is true, think on these things! {Philippians 4:8}
Finding what was true and real was crushing the false fulfillment’s that I had.  It was hard but necessary work. 
The year before diagnosis came, I purposefully bowed out of all ministry, cleared my calendar as much as possible, and focused on simplifying, creating margins in life, slowing down, and getting into His Word.  It was so hard for me to find and use the word “no” but I know if I had not, I would not have been prepared for what was to come. God was starting to change the desires of my heart.
In that year, I longed and asked for less of me and more of Him.  I begged Him for wisdom.  I asks that He would use me–an introvert–to bring others into His Kingdom, and that He would show me how to live fully.
God was being so faithful.  He knew as He answered these requests that my life boat would be taken on an unexpected course. He knew what was in store for me.  He knew the waters that I would tread, for when diagnosis came, so did these words-loud and clear-
“For THIS He has prepared me.”  
God does not bring us to the storms in life and leave us there.  He gives us everything we could possibly need and even starts preparing us long before it comes.  He sees the wind and waves, and knows exactly what we as His children are going to face.  He promises to work all things out for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purposes. {Romans 8:28}
Hold fast my dear family.  Our Anchor holds, and one day, we too, will be allowed to go ashore and see our sweet Earl Rice Jr. once again.  What a day that will be!  Oh Glory!!  Face to face.

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  • Sandra Davidson
    June 7, 2014 at 9:33 pm

    How beautiful are the words that you put on this blog. I have been following your blog since you your cancer journey began. I had just been through Breast Cancer but I am 71 much older, I had a double mastectomy but 10 years a survivor . Your faith really helped me and I am shocked at all the young women that are getting Breast Cancer. Blessings to you and your sweet family.

  • Kris
    June 7, 2014 at 12:43 pm

    this was simply beautiful. Thank you.

  • Aunt Linda
    June 7, 2014 at 12:14 pm

    Beautiful, Amy. Simply and profoundly beautiful.

  • Roxie M.
    June 6, 2014 at 3:29 pm

    That is beautiful. Thanks for sharing it. May God bless you all and keep you safe.

  • Laura Lane
    April 1, 2014 at 5:15 pm

    May God bring comfort to you Amy.

  • Marian Hertzog
    March 30, 2014 at 4:45 pm

    Thank you for letting go and for sharing your faith. Blessings and prayers for you and your famity.

  • Steve
    March 30, 2014 at 8:02 am

    Thank you. Love u and will see u Ina few short hours. We’ll cry together, hug each other and grieve…but not like those who have no hope. 🙂 we will also remember, celebrate and be at peace in the midst of the storm

  • Karen Gerstenberger
    March 29, 2014 at 3:33 am

    God bless you and your family, sweet Amy.

  • loveolympiajune
    March 29, 2014 at 2:24 am

    Wow…this was beautifully stated! Thank you amy!!


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