December 27, 2011
On Eagle's Wings
My children ran up the steep path, unaware mom was left behind. Their shouts of "I'll beat you to the top!" filtered down. I sat on the large rock, my head on my arms, tears running down my face.
The park, rich with multi-colored azalea bushes and dignified shade trees, was our favorite place to picnic and explore. My children and I hadn't visited in a long time because chemotherapy, radiation and two surgeries filled my calendar.
Treatment had finally ended and I wanted nothing more than normal life again. Except I was exhausted. Things that once came easy seemed impossible. Like climbing the steep, rocky path to the top of the hill. I used to run up those rocks, laughing with my children. But now I could only walk part of the way up. My stamina dipped below zero.
As I sat on the rocks, I asked God: Will life ever be the same? Will I ever be the same?
This week I celebrate 20 years as a cancer survivor. It hardly seems possible! My young children are grown and I'm a grandma to three beautiful grandbabies!
Looking back, advanced-stage breast cancer had robbed me of much. Certainty of my future. My children's security. For a time, my health.
But it didn't rob me of my faith. When I picture that moment I don't see a young mom sitting alone on the rocks; I see God holding her tight.
There are times when our strength isn't enough, when our wings feel molten and heavy. Those are the times God reminds us to rely on Him. Maybe I couldn't walk up the steep path, but I could find renewed emotional strength as I trusted God.
God's promise through Isaiah in our verse above was that when we are weary, we'll soar like eagles. How is that even possible? The underlying promise is that our wings will be lifted and the wind will catch underneath. It's not our strength that causes us to soar, but He lifts you and me up and out of our weary places—in His might.
It took months before I recovered fully and could run up the trail. But the path I learned to follow most closely during that time was into the pages of His Word where encouragement filled this embattled mom with hope. After two major surgeries, chemotherapy, and radiation, I wasn't strong enough physically to do anything on my own, but I found spiritual strength in the pages of God's promises. I journaled my thoughts. I depended on God to give me energy when I felt weak. And I celebrated the smallest of victories even when they didn't seem like much.
When I look back on the pages of that journal, I don't see a young mom with cancer, but a woman of faith putting her trust in God during a difficult time.
Are you exhausted today? Do you feel faint? You aren't alone. You can trust Him to lift your wings, to give you new strength and power, as you depend on Him each day.
T. Suzanne Eller