Robin Anderson ~ Giving Thanks for His Plan, Not Mine {Story 22 of 30}

I met my husband twenty-six years ago. Within three weeks, I knew he was the man I would marry. We married 10 months later and began our life…our wonderful, normal life.

We bought a house and remodeled it. Our plan was to work and prepare for the time when we had children so I would have the opportunity to be a stay-at-home mom.

We had it all planned out…our wonderful, normal life.

After trying seven years to have a baby, I finally found out I was pregnant on New Year’s Eve. The house was finished, my husband had a good job, and I was able to quit my job and become a stay-at-home mom.

Again, we had it all planned out…our wonderful, normal life.

As we celebrated my son’s third birthday, my husband, Mark,  felt a pain in his right side. A few weeks later he went to his doctor. The doctor said he had a hernia and scheduled a CAT scan. We never gave it much thought, except my husband would miss a few days work for surgery. But, we were not prepared for what we heard that day.

It wasn’t in the plan.

The scan revealed a mass…a very large mass that had grown around my husband’s right kidney. It was cancer.  After many tests, we learned it was testicular cancer. The cancer had metastasized and spread to his lower right side.

That was the day my wonderful, normal life changed forever.

I called on my friends and family, and we began to pray. I called different churches, placing Mark on prayer chains across the country. That was our only hope. We needed a miracle.

After the original cancer was removed, Mark endured three months of high-dose chemotherapy.  The doctors said my husband was cancer free, but the cancer returned three months later. Although the doctors gave my husband a 97% cure rate, the cancer came back with a vengeance. This was not in the plan!

There was only one option left for Mark:  Seeking treatment at a hospital in Indianapolis that specializes in testicular cancer. My husband would have two bone marrow transplants. We left immediately.

Our family lived in Indianapolis for two months. Until this point, we had lived on our savings. But now we had no income and only had the financial support of family, friends, and our church. God was so faithful. Not one bill went unpaid and all the expenses were paid during the two months we lived in Indianapolis. We let go of our pride and accepted help from others – even people we didn’t know. This also was not in the plan.

Early one morning my son was with my parents at the apartment we rented next to the hospital, and I was going to sit with my husband who was in isolation, waiting for his white blood count to build after the second bone marrow transplant. Everything was going according to plan. The tumor in his stomach was softening and the treatment was working.

I stepped into the elevator on the first floor of the hospital. I was alone. That was very unusual for early in the morning. There was always a wait for the elevator, and yet I was the only one on it. The doors closed and I hit the button for the fourth floor. When I found an opportunity to pray, I would pray. So I began to pray and asked God to heal my husband. I remember praying for a complete healing, and then, suddenly, my prayer changed. I said out loud in the elevator…

God, I know you can heal Mark. I know you can give him a complete healing. I will give you all praise and glory no matter what the outcome. I give it all to you! You are in total control of my life. Take it and walk me through. I have always had a plan and tried to take control of my life, but please take it and have your way.

I let it all go. I gave it to him.

I felt as if a warm blanket was being wrapped around me. My whole body relaxed. I truly felt it was God wrapping his arms around me and holding me. Philippians 4 speaks of the peace God gives  – a peace the world cannot understand. I felt it that day. I knew no matter what happened God would take care of my family.  I stood in that elevator completely in awe of how much my Heavenly Father loves me.

He does not want us to hurt; however,  he will use circumstances in our lives to bring us closer to him.

After the two bone marrow transplants the cancer was gone. To this day, my husband’s doctor calls him the “Miracle Man.” He always tells us that my husband should not be here. We always tell him that God had other plans!

That was 16 years ago. There have been other scares along the way. Ten years ago, Mark had another tumor in his stomach. It was also cancer. The doctors were able to remove the cancer by surgery. Again, God was in control.

Our life has totally changed. My husband became a Mr. Mom and stayed at home to raise our son, and I went to back to work. Sometimes we think we have everything figured out. It is always good to make a plan, but as I found out, I needed to make sure it was God’s plan. It is so easy to become caught up in what the world thinks is the perfect life, or the normal life.

I wanted the perfect, normal life. I now have a new normal. A new, normal life that I  live one day at a time, giving each day to Him.

Enjoy the day and savor all God has given us. Not the material things that he provides but our families, our health, our freedom… fill this Thanksgiving Day with God’s goodness. Sure, I still have a long-term plan,  but I know it can change at any minute. God wants us to be prepared,  but make sure you surrender to him daily and let him show you His plan.

In Philippians, it says to be content in whatever state you find yourself. I am content in my new, normal, wonderful life. My life may not be what I thought it was going to be twenty-six years ago, but it is much better because God is in control. God is so faithful. Just remember to let him show you his plan for you life.

———————————————————————————————————————————-

From Robin:  I live in Mt. Morris, Pennsylvania with Mark and my son, Jerry. Mark is healthy and doing well. Jerry is 19 years old and attends West Virginia University (WVU). I work at WVU in the Office of Research. I am on the worship team and Mark and I work with the youth and young adults at our church.

———————————————————————————————————————————

Robin and I worked together at West Virginia University.  I know God placed me in that office in that season because he knew I’d need a friend and a mentor.  He sent me Robin.  I was newly married and soon-to-be a new mom.  I was unprepared for both.  Robin listened as I navigated my first year of marriage, my pregnancy, my first year of motherhood, my first house, and my faith.

As I reflect on all Robin walked me through, I am in awe of and thankful for how God worked through her.  When I met Robin, Mark had just been declared “cancer free” for the second time.  She was working so Mark could stay at home with sweet little Jerry.  Most days, I knew she missed Jerry and wanted to be at home.  But, her faithfulness to God’s plan for her life left an impression on me. She had a faith that I wanted.  Her daily life oozed Jesus. I know – without any doubt – Robin planted a field of seeds in me during the two years we worked (and shopped and laughed and cried) together.

Today (and every day) I am thankful for Robin – and people like her.  People who are a vessel, willing to be used by God for His glory.  People who sacrifice time, energy, and resources to mentor, disciple, and love others.  Those who live out their faith in a tangible way.

Thanks, Robin – for sharing…for who you were to me…and for who you are today.  I love you!

Comments

  1. What a beautiful story. I love the elevator moment. God is awesome. Thanks for sharing your story!!

  2. So beautiful!! I love how God shoes himself so strong when we’re at our lowest points. I can’t imagine going through all of that, but I’m so inspired by your faith through all of it. I’ll continue to pray for you and your family. Thank you for the blessing of reading your story!

  3. I have felt that warm blanket around me, and again when I read your account!

    God is good not to leave us in the nice, normal life we think is our dream, the one where we don’t need Him. I needed this reminder…again. I’m all about it when I’m in a calm season, but when the normal is truly turned upside down, I need someone to whisper it again to me. This post did.

Leave a Reply