Same but Different

A lot has changed since my first blog back in May. What started as a therapeutic way for me to encourage my own faith in the midst of cancer, evolved into writing because I wanted to encourage others, and the therapeutic benefits of writing became the by-product instead of the motivation. I tweaked my “Welcome” page several times to reflect this metamorphism. I never imagined I would discover a whole community of amazing writers from all over the world who I now follow and look forward to regularly reading. You inspire me, challenge me, and encourage my soul. As I finish treatment it seems apt to close off the year with one final “cancer reflection” before I consider how Quietly Roaring may evolve from here.

It has been exactly nine months and five days since D-Day (cancer diagnosis day). The roller coaster has finally slowed, I am across the “active treatment” finish line and ready to embrace whatever the new normal looks like.

Well meaning friends say “you must be so glad it’s over!”

Actually, I am so glad I have survived!

They are unaware that “over” isn’t quite the best word. There is now a long term medication for my body to adjust to, and the lurking shadow survivors call fear of recurrence to be fought at each test, scan, and follow-up appointment for the next X amount of years. But God has seen me through to this point, and I trust Him to continue being right here with me.

I am physically different, mentally different, and emotionally different to nine months ago.

I am same but different.

And I am grateful for it.

That seems such an odd thing to say and nine months ago I would never have thought I could say that.

When bad things happen there is a tendency to want to blame God. But God is only the author of good things! “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.“(James 1:17 NKJV)

God did not send me cancer, but through it God has changed me.

And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. (Rom 8:28 NKJV)

I used to think this verse meant that God would somehow work out the circumstances for my highest good. Yes sometimes God does just that, and we can absolutely pray for that, but as much as I might wish that God works out circumstances for good all the time, I can’t ignore what God has recently shown me in the very next verse.

For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. (Rom 8:29 NKJV)

This verse says that God’s purpose is to make us more like His Son. To conform us to His image. When we bear someone’s image, we look like them! We act like them!

Therefore the “good” that God is working together is not necessarily in our circumstances

but is in us.

All things are working together for good for those who believe in order to make us more like Jesus. That is the good!

Jesus is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control…and God conforms His children to the image of His Son by growing these fruits of the Spirit in our lives…and most often during a trial. Has that been your experience too?

This year I have inwardly kicked and screamed (at times like a thrashing toddler) as God has lovingly exposed the dross in my life (and there is plenty!) But as the good Father He is, He has also shown me fresh facets of His character, new treasures in His Word, and life lessons which only hard trials can teach, and which I certainly hope I never forget.

I am same but different. And still changing. Still growing.

We spend our lifetime changing because we need a lifetime to experience the wonder

of God’s never-changing character.

Praise God He never changes!

His love never changes, despite our changing circumstances and emotions.

His mercy never changes despite our stubbornness and foolishness.

His faithfulness never changes despite our faithlessness and forgetfulness.

How are you same but different?

God is good. Always!

12 thoughts on “Same but Different

  1. I’m glad we’ve crossed paths as well, Jo. When I took my mom to cancer treatment I often thought, “These patients are the bravest people I’ve ever seen.”
    God doesn’t give people cancer. Agreed. As you said, every good and perfect gift is from above. May God continue to strengthen and encourage you in your life journey. Blessings!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. As I read your beautiful post Jo I found myself nodding in recognition of how life changes and we personally change through cancer (brain tumour in my case), it is never over but it begins a new episode of life. The fear of recurrence is a constant weapon of our enemy, which he slips into little moments now and again. But in all this we are never alone, our Father God is by our side. He knows our heart and our fears, knowing just the right time to send encouragement and lift us up out of the mud. I am so grateful to our Father for you and your testimony Jo, may He continue to guide you and use your writing skill to His Glory.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Dear Alan I was unaware cancer has been part of your journey too…you are an inspiration! Thank you so much for sharing your testimony and for your encouragement! Yes, a new episode of life and we are blessed indeed that as God’s children we are never alone, no matter what! May the Lord bless you richly Alan!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Jo, your testimony brings 1 Peter 1:7 to life. Your closing words “we spend our lifetime changing because we need a lifetime to experience the wonder of God’s never-changing character” have such a depth to them I’ve jotted them into my journal for further reflection. I look forward to reading more as the Lord directs the path of your writing.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much for your thoughts Beth. I also keep a journal/s and like to come back to quotes or phrases or thoughts that need more contemplation. Each Christmas my family know “new journal” is always on the wish-list! 🙂

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      1. As a relatively new reader, I look forward to reading more about your journey, Jo. I feel the same way about my blogging friends – brothers and sisters – and it seems strange that I’ve never met them face to face, although I know I will someday. I pray that your journey will take you closer to Jesus every day, and that His perfect love will cast out all fear as you continue to shine for Him. I look forward to meeting you – “here, there, or in the air,” as they say.
        Blessings,
        Annie

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Thanks for sharing your insights, Jo.
    Yes, in my case I spend a lifetime changing because it takes a lifetime for the Lord to take the block of marble that was my heart, breathe His life into it, and knock/chisel off all the sinful chunks and bits that fail to reflect His glory (ouch!!), LOL.
    Having grown up as an “A” student I was subconsciously conditioned to think that everything is about “what you know.” My biggest realization through the challenges I have faced thus far is that it’s not necessarily about me receiving intellectual instruction, or “learning” something from my trials (although that happens) as it is about character formation and training, that I might be fit for His service and bring Him glory. Unfortunately, this is necessarily a painful process, but the Lord in His wisdom measures our medicine very precisely that we should not receive even a shade more than is necessary to accomplishing His good purposes, and best of all He walks with us and ahead of us every step of the way.
    May the Lord bless you and your home this Christmas.
    Craig

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hello Craig, I am tonight retrieving comments out of spam that I never knew were there till now! I wish I’d seen this comment at the time it was posted so that I could also wish you and yours Merry Christmas! I love what you say, that the Lord in His wisdom measures our medicine very precisely…I’ve never been very good at taking medicine, but I sure hope I’m learning! Bless you!

      Liked by 1 person

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