"And I will bring [them] through the fire, refine them as silver is refined, and test them as gold is tested. They will call on My name, and I will answer them; I will say 'they are My people' and they will say 'the LORD is my God.'" Zechariah 13:9
As we celebrated New Year’s Eve last year, we had no idea we were ringing in the year I’d have to fight for my life. Breast cancer was something that happened to other people, and seemed to come from nowhere. I was busy being a wife, running a business and designing jewelry. Truth be told, I really wasn’t paying much attention. It was aggressive, and within 2 months of arriving (according to the doctors) was stage III c.
After my diagnosis in February, things started to happen quickly. My surgeon and oncologist knew there was no time to lose (at first it was thought to be inflammatory - later we learned that by the grace of God it was localized invasive). The following week my port was placed and I started chemotherapy. 16 rounds of chemo, a double mastectomy with reconstruction, 30 radiation treatments and 9 months later I’m happy to say I’m cancer free!
It sounds pretty simple, but it’s not. Refinement never is. It takes the messy to get to the beautiful, in both metal work and people work. It takes courage to walk through the fire - to see through the mess, knowing (and sometimes not recognizing) that what is dull will be polished into beauty. It takes courage to let the Heavenly Refiner do His work in you. It’s easier to watch Him work on someone else.
The Lord has used this cancer crucible of mine to bring more dross inside to the surface, impurities exposed and skimmed off through the power of prayer. He can see a little more of Himself in this silver that is me. It has made me a better wife, daughter, sister, friend. It has made me a better Believer - a better designer and metalsmith. For nothing inside is left untouched when you have the courage of an open heart - when you’re open and willing to feel.
How thankful I am for the people who saw me at my worst and loved me anyway. Exodus 17:8-13 tells of Moses and the Israelites’ battle against the Amalekites. As Moses stood on top of the hill, as long as he held up his hands the Israelites were winning. But when he lowered his hands, the Amalekites were winning. “When Moses' hands grew tired, they took a stone and put it under him and he sat on it. Aaron and Hur held his hands up - one on one side, one on the other - so that his hands remained steady till sunset. So Joshua overcame the Amalekite army with the sword.” How thankful I am for those who held up my hands (sometimes literally, often through prayer, cards, meals, and other acts of love) when I grew weary of the battle. You kept my hands steady till sunset. I can feel the colors - and they feel beautiful.