Learning to lean on Jesus

“The cords of death entangled me, the anguish of the grave came upon me; I was overcome by trouble and sorrow.  Then I called on the name of the Lord:  ‘O Lord, save me!'”                                        

                                                                  –Psalm 116:3-4

During the entirety of January I underwent test after test and consulted with doctors and specialists and reeled in the shock of the discovery of an insidious, ever multiplying  aggressive cancer within me.  One month ago I did not even have a clue.  I actually thought I was quite healthy but little did I know….  I can relate to the above Scripture.  At times  I feel like I am drowning and huge waves are crashing over my head, one after another and when I can come up for air and get a breath, I am hollering out to God to ”  H-E-L-P!   I am so afraid!   Please save me, Lord!” 

Since then I have struggled and anguished over the reality of my situation,  crying out to God like never in my life before, imploring Him for practical answers,  searching for some option that I can feel at peace about …some viable plan of attack to slay this beast or at least beat it down awhile and allow me some more good, happy times with the people I love.  The truth is I do not like one single option that I have, not one, not a single one.  I hate them all and wish I was not dealing with this and having to make all these hard choices. I want to embrace all God has for me but it sure aint easy when it comes wrapped up in such a terrible package.   The doctors want to take out every big gun they have to attack this: a mastectomy or perhaps two , various kinds of horrible lousy chemo, hormone blockers, radiation, other drugs. Survival is a goal of mine but so is genuine effectiveness and quality of life before going Home to be with the Lord.  I know there are  plenty of “success stories” using conventional therapy but the number of people that I know who had cancer and followed every single treatment their doctor ordered, and despite perfect compliance, things did not turn out well is remarkable . Perhaps as an RN, I have gotten to see and hear up close and personal  more about the suffering and dying connected to cancer than the average person.  I’ve given chemo to patients in the past, held the hands of lots of folks who were dying of cancer,  and having seen all that,  need to feel peace about the approach I choose in fighting this. 

 My bent over the last ten years has become  the natural approach: build up my immune system instead of tearing it down with toxic warfare to my whole body to fight this.  You can chop out cancer and blast away it along with good cells with chemo, radiation, etc, but unless you address what caused it in the first place, what stops it from keep on popping up, especially when you are treating it with highly toxic substances with lousy side effects known to cause cancer themselves?  I examined and researched the conventional approach and a whole bunch of alternatives too with the help of friends–a crash course in Cancer 101, enlisted “expert opinions” in both camps and sought to prayerfully and open mindedly consider the pros and cons of each, asking God for wisdom, pleading with Him to show me His answer.  My personal opinion is that not everything a doctor tells you to do is straight from the mouth of God. There are excellent doctors available who God gives skill to and I am open to choose them as God guides me. I am not a “cancer expert” and don’t pretend to be but I know Somebody Who is and that is Who I’ve been trying to consult with.  It says in the Bible if we lack wisdom, which is absolutely true of me, then just ask God and He’ll give it liberally. 

However, since He designed Paula Oliver personally, knit me together in my Mother’s womb 52 years ago and is my personal “Great Physician” as well as being my ABBA Father, my “loving Heavenly Daddy” He is the One who knows best and is my Ultimate Healer and He can use any tool He pleases.  Honestly, I can’t say I’ve had any specific, big revelations, writing in the sky, audible words from God , mostly a total lack of peace about going the conventional route yet at the same time feeling like every single alternative medicine route is rather like trying to put out a raging fire engulfing a house with a tiny squirtgun. 

I recognize that unless I start treatment soon, even  my lousy options will be gone so after one month since that horrible mammogram this is what I have decided:

1.   I have little confidence in ANY of my options, both conventional and non-conventional but I need to start somewhere and so I am choosing what seems best of all I’ve discovered even though I don’t like it either.  I will begin with the best “Plan A” alternative medicine I could find while my immune system is still intact and give it my all. My ultimate hope rests in GOD.  God id deserving of 100% of our confidence.  It is HE where my confidence lies, not in the tools I choose or don’t choose.

2. My surgeon and oncologist have agreed to monitor me periodically.  If there is not significant  progress with the alternative medicine in a reasonable length of time then I will figure that God is moving me to “Plan B”  those “big guns” the medical experts are offering me that right now I have no peace about.

3. I want to live!  I am not “giving up” by using alternative medicine.  I am trying this and if it doesn’t work, I’ll move to conventional medicine but right now I have no peace about making it my starting point.  I plan to fight cancer for all I am worth and would love to have all of you on my team too and yet I realize this:  You can’t fight with God.  He has allowed cancer in my life for some reason.  It is on purpose and for His glory and honor and my good (and maybe perhaps other people’s good too).  I can not fight against God nor extend my life even one single day beyond what he has ordained no matter what tool I try–chemo, nutrition, whatever.  It’s up to Him to use those things to heal me or they simply wont work despite best intentions and efforts, just like my best efforts to prevent cancer in the first place with an excellent diet and a healthy lifestyle.  Those things help and are wise but you can still get cancer–there are many, many factors and we don’t know them all.   Unless the Lord builds the house they labor in vain that build it, unless the Lord guards the city the watchmen stay awake in vain, unless it is God’s perfect will for me to be healed and He does some kind of miracle to achieve that using whatever tools He wants to use, then my “perfect healing” will be a new body in Heaven.

I choose right now to reject depression, despair, and a sense of hopelessness–all of which have been shouting my name loudly.

I choose instead to embrace God and snuggle up in His love, peace, and hope.  I choose to trust Him through this storm and keep my eyes fast on Him and stick to Him like Super Glue.  🙂

Please pray for me and our whole family.  Sometimes I am so overwhelmed I hardly know what to do and so I just try “to do the next thing”.   We are really hurting inside and I would so appreciate folks coming alongside of us.  I would most especially be grateful for folks reaching out and encouraging  my children and walking with us through this storm.

In Christ, my everything–


24 thoughts on “Learning to lean on Jesus

  1. Dearest Paula,
    Thank you for your openness and honesty in what you are going through and how you are choosing to fight the cancer. I know this has not been an easy month for you, but now you are ready to make your next move as the Lord opens the doors. My prayer is that HE will be your strength each and every day and that HE will make the way clear to you. That’s ok, if it isn’t clear to anyone else 🙂 as long as you see where HE is leading YOU.
    I praise the Lord you have John to be there to encourage you along the way, and that your children are an encouragement too. Always remember that the Lord loves THEM too and has their best interest at heart too during all of this that you face. He will never leave you nor forsake you and He won’t leave them either!!!
    I’m ready to jump in and do my part in helping in whatever way I can. I know there are plans being made for the best way that we can help you so I will wait to hear what works best for all concerned. I am here for YOU!!! I will be praying for all the needs that you have believing that HE will meet each and every one.
    I’m bookmarking your blog so that I can keep up with how things are going – this is a wonderful way for you to share without having to talk to ALL of us individually. Praise the Lord for the internet 🙂
    I LOVE YOU!!!!


  2. Paula, I am praying a pray of healing, comfort and peace. I know from life, and since God is not a respector of person, that God specializes in taking impossibilites and making miracles. I will continue to check on you and Wednesday is my fasting for Paula day. That is the least I can do, as you have walked with me for so long through all of my ‘stuff’. Bless You!


  3. Paula,

    Thank you thank you thank you for being will to sharing your journey and thoughts with us. My love and prayers are, and will continuet to be, with you and your family.



  4. Paula – Thank you for sharing so openly and honestly from your heart as you go through this incredibly painful journey. I will keep praying for you, John and the children.


  5. Paula and John, so thankful to hear you have a course to follow and begin. Praying for God’s best for you and your family, and for each of you to rest in His great love for you.
    Continuing to hold you before the throne!


  6. Paula~
    Your blog is beautiful! Thank you for sharing your heart with all of us. You are in our prayers as you walk this path. I am praying for God’s unspeakable peace during this time and in the days ahead!
    God Bless


  7. Thanks for sharing your thought and heart process. Your conclusions about conventional therapy are very similar to my own, after traveling this road with others dear to me.

    I will be praying for you, Paula, and your family. Love ❤


  8. Paula– “Save me” is a wonderful prayer and one I have learned the value of this past year. May God bless you for your honesty and sharing your decisions and heart. I’m on board with you and your plan and your family in prayer.


  9. Dear Paula, You are constantly in my thoughts and prayers. I wish I lived closer to help but I will pray God will meet those needs with those that can. I just want to hear a good report soon. Lots of love & the biggest hug I can send, Denise


  10. Dear Paul,
    I am praying for you. I realize that the Christian will not lose, no matter what happens!!
    I am interested in that alternative treatment you are about to start. I know it will require dedication to see it through, but worth it if it works.
    We all love you very much.


    Nancy Louise


  11. Dear Paula,
    I am thankful for the choice you made to do “Plan A”. After watching the Gerson movie I can understand why. And I am thankful for your choice to trust God and depend on Him for healing. I want you to know that I am standing beside you and will continue to pray for you, praying that His grace will sustain you…praying that you will remember his promise in Hebrews 13:5: “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” I love you and I am praying for you and your family. Sonia


  12. Dear Paula,
    Much love to you and the family. You are in our thoughts and prayers constantly.
    No, He will never leave you nor forsake you. And yes, we will walk the journey alongside of you. Love, :Bets


  13. Dear Paula, John and family,
    We are praying for you daily – that you will have peace about whatever plan you choose now or in the future and that God will keep you and guide you. Blessings always


  14. Paula,

    I need you to know that I am praying for you. In the past week, I have personally witnessed miracle after miracle in a friend’s life. I am confident our BIG God can make miracles happen for you as well.
    He says in His Word: “Do not fear (Paula) for I am with you. Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you (Paula), surely I will help you, surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.
    Isaiah 41:10
    You can count on my prayers! Sending love and support from SC- Kayce


  15. Paula, those of us who have never faced what you are facing are left speechless and at a loss for words. What can we say that will lighten your burden and not add to it? What can we say to strengthen you rather than drain you as you lean on the Lord to face this challenge ? You have been such a blessing to so many of us. May God enable you to see past our fumbling words to our hearts of friendship. We lift you up in our prayers and will walk with you, John and your children as you go through the challenges ahead. Love, Nita


  16. I’m praying for you all through this trial. I can understand how you feel about both therapies being difficult. I think each of us wonders what route we would take in the same circumstances. I pray this nutritional route kills that cancer. I wish I were living near you so I could help you out with your physical needs. In all of this, you have sought Him and in the end, you are healed as you say! Thank you, Jesus!


  17. Woke up this morning and prayed for you all. You are thought of so often these days, sweet Paula, and lifted up to our Heavenly Father.
    Wish I was closer to be of more practical help, may God fill those needs today.
    Pray believing His will is being accomplished.


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