Dear Daughter:

(I realize I only know .0000000000001% of the thoughts on God's mind....but as I see His hand work all things together, I decided to remind myself of His goodness this past year.)

Dear Loved Daughter of Mine,

It's the beginning of 2015 and I have great plans for you this year.

You're going to be getting a new car! This seems like just a fun blessing- and it is, but really I am making sure you have a reliable car and very very low maintenance bills for the next two years. Your focus and finances will be other places.

Your best friend Bekah is moving to Houston! You've been praying for this for years and I've decided now is the time. She'll be a cancer nurse at MD Anderson. She'll walk with you through a really unexpected and difficult season which she is uniquely trained and gifted to do. She will bless you immensely and make you laugh (when the doctor is out of the room) during a pretty heavy doctor's appointment and hold your hand while you have some tests done. That's Me reminding you how much I love you.

You'll reach a new level of friendship with all of your Young Life senior girls! The first big bonding will come at a Hunter Hayes concert in March, and then next at Young Life camp in July. You will love these girls to the point of tears. You'll need a lot of energy to get through camp, but by the end, your faith in Me will have grown immensely. I can't wait to meet with you and your girls at camp. These girls are each hand-chosen to be encouragers to you as you walk through a tough season this fall. You're used to texting them to ask how they are doing, but they will begin texting you to ask how you're doing. Almost daily. You will feel so incredibly loved by them. That's Me reminding you how much I love you.

 Just a handful of the amazing girls blessing my life this year!

Just a handful of the amazing girls blessing my life this year!

The Gala you'll be putting on at work in April has far more future importance that you may originally think. You'll work directly with the emcee throughout the entire evening, and you'll become friends. Because he's a Pediatric ENT, he will later introduce you to a very important doctor that you'll need as a second opinion, and he'll walk with you through each step of the process. That's Me reminding you how much I love you.

Your friend Austin will ask you to lead worship with him in May and he'll ask you to learn a new song called "Good, Good Father." You've never heard it, so you'll have to listen to it on repeat for at least a week to memorize the words and the melody. I'll use this song later in your life this year. Keep singing it.

Your roommate Meredith will have some incredibly helpful knowledge all about the thyroid. She's studied it and she knows some amazing resources that will help you. That's Me reminding you how much I love you.

You'll get to see Taylor Swift in concert! You'll get a really heavy call from your doctor the very next day on September 10, so I am sending you to sing your heart out with sweet friends as the best distraction. Oh and speaking of distractions, you'll have the very best Labor Day weekend in the country with friends: stargazing, floating a river, two-stepping and singing praises. This will come at the very best possible weekend to encourage and bless you. That's Me reminding you how much I love you.

You'll be overwhelmed by the love of the dear people I've surrounded you with. The cards and calls and texts and verses - sent exactly when you need them. That's Me reminding you how much I love you. 

Romans 8:28 - We know that all things work together for the good of those who love God: those who are called according to His purpose.

Love,

Your Heavenly Father

Dear Cancer:

Dear Cancer,

When my friend Laura's dad passed away in April because of you, I was angry. When my friend Bekah took a job at MD Anderson to take care of people walking through cancer, I was beaming proud. When I sat at the August American Marketing Association Luncheon and heard the MD Anderson Marketing Team talk about their mission of "Making Cancer History," I applauded them.

All of those times, you were an enemy. But distant and far away. If I was the North Pole, you were the South Pole. I'd heard about you, but really really liked my distance.

And then, just three weeks after that AMA Luncheon, I was told you had been inside of me for 2-4 YEARS. WHAT!!! You were supposed to be at the South Pole. And I was supposed to be safe and sound at the North Pole, young and 26 and worrying about my grandparents getting cancer - NOT worrying about myself!

In addition to being angry at you, I'm feeling very betrayed by my thyroid for giving you a home all this time. I should not be surprised by you. Because that is what you do - you take over, you devour, you steal nutrients and energy. You've been enjoying all these delicious meals I've been having all these years without me ever knowing! 

They said you've been growing slowly. Thanks for that.

There's a verse that makes me think of you:

 "The thief comes to steal, kill, and destroy, but I have come that they may have life and have it more abundantly." John 10:10

You've come to steal my joy, kill my thyroid, and destroy my life. But my Jesus has come to give me LIFE and give it to me abundantly. No matter the number of my days, or when Jesus chooses to heal me, HE has remained faithful to His promise and given me that abundant life. (More on that in the next post.)

I have bad news for you: your days are numbered. You'll be leaving your comfortable thyroid home on October 20. And sweet lil thyroid will be leaving with you.

You've taught me a lot. You've made me cling to Jesus. You've tried to shake me, but my Jesus says "I will never be shaken" so there's that. (Psalm 62:1-2). You've brought far more doctor appointments to 2015 than I kind of ever wanted my whole life put together. You've got this direct line to all my friends or something - I've felt so incredibly loved and cherished by each of them. You've tried to insert fear into my life, but somehow it's all been knocked down by an overwhelming peace from Jesus. 

So, I'm ready for you to go. And we are never ever getting back together.

Mary Grace

 

Dear Mary Grace:

Dear Me,

It's a regular Wednesday. Wednesday, September 23, 2015. And I am writing this letter for you to read in about a month, when you're laying on your bed recovering from your thyroidectomy, possibly a little discouraged, in some pain, feeling like you'll never get better, and wondering what life looks like after recovery. And then for you to read a few weeks later as you're getting better but also preparing for the iodine treatment. And then for you to read months later as you're on the other side. And then to read years and years later to simply look back and just give thanks and glory to Jesus for all the mountains He moved and for His Great Healing.

I'm writing to remind you of God's Great Love for you. I'm writing to remind you how you walked into your doctor's office on September 3 convinced you didn't have cancer, and how you left knowing you did - with an unexplainable peace. And how Jesus carried you every minute in that office. And how when the doctor leaned you back in that chair for the Fine Needle Biopsy and told you to look up to the ceiling and "go to your happy place," the only thought running through your mind was "He's a Good, Good Father." My anthem lately, the song of my heart.

YOU'RE A GOOD, GOOD FATHER

IT'S WHO YOU ARE, IT'S WHO YOU ARE

IT'S WHO YOU ARE AND I'M LOVED BY YOU

IT'S WHO I AM, IT'S WHO I AM

I'm also writing to remind you that this season won't last forever. The resting and the recovery are just part of your story. Hosea 6:1 says, “Come, let us return to the LORD; for He has torn us, that He may heal us; He has struck us down, and He will bind us up."

I'm here to remind you what has become your favorite part of life and favorite thing in the whole world recently: simply the presence of Jesus. He's with you right now and He was with you in that Operating Room. He's what you're living for and He's who you're living for. His presence is the Great Peace that has overtaken your life lately, drowning out the small fears and anxieties of these past few years. You've felt His Presence more this past year than ever before. He's been the Lifter of the Heaviness and He will lift the heaviness in your spirit as you move forward in recovery. He lifted the heaviness on July 20 at Sharptop Cove, Georgia, when your Young Life girls shared of divorce, deaths, sadness, abuse, depression and more sorrows than your soul thought it could ever bear in one setting. Not only did He lift the heaviness in that room, He lifted their heaviness - individually - by calling 16 of them to give their lives to Him just days later.

That was just over two months ago. His presence has only grown deeper, richer, wider, and more life-giving ever since. 

"I Will Exalt" by Bethel Music has these lyrics that have been my prayer:

Your presence is
All I need
All I want
All I see
And without it there's no meaning

I have a lot more to say. But I will write another day.

HE is good, Mary Grace.

 

Love,

Mary Grace