It was cancer…and that’s what got me thinking…


Blog quote - Psalm 139I recently lay on my side in a dermatologist’s office as she cut a football-shaped incision into the back of my shoulder and carved out all visible traces of surface skin cancer.

“Basal cell carcinoma — it’s the result of long-term sun exposure,” my doctor told me — and echoes of my husband’s warning for the past several years (“Cindi, cover your shoulders, you’re going to get burned!) rang through my ears once again.

Funny how that cancer didn’t develop overnight. Or from a one-time stint in the sun. It was from years of neglect. Years of thinking I was fine and ignoring the warnings of the dangers of sun exposure. Years of living care-free, thinking “But I like the sun, and I want to be tanned, and this No. 4 Dark Tanning Oil will be just fine.”

I wasn’t cautious even though I was told of the dangers of sun exposure. I never thought it would happen to me.

As my doctor continued to dig deep, clearing out everything harmful and cutting away a layer of normal-looking tissue just to give me a clean border, I began to think about how it’s possible to show the same neglect, the same complacency, the same foolish disregard for God’s warnings against what can poison my spiritual life. I started thinking about what might lurk in the corners of my heart that is causing a cancer to my spiritual life. What is in me that needs God’s scalpel and a good cutting away?

    • Deposits of resentment from unresolved wounds?
    • Layers of unforgiveness from petty — or more serious — offenses?
    • Spreading cells of cynicism?
    • An excess of secret pride?

As the doctor began tugging at my skin and sewing it back together, I silently prayed David’s heart-felt prayer in Psalm 139:23-24:

Search me, O God, and know my heart;

Try me, and know my anxieties;

And see if there is any wicked way in me,

And lead me in the way everlasting.

In my book, When a Woman Overcomes Life’s Hurts, I fleshed out that verse by looking at the original Hebrew language in which it was written, and added the definitions and meaning to help others understand it more clearly. And now, I look at it in perspective of my own life, and my own recent “cutting away”:

Intensely examine me, O God, and know my innermost thoughts, intentions, and understanding. Test my quality and endurance like you would test precious metal and know my thoughts. And see if there exists in me any painful, sorrowful, or idolatrous course of action and guide me in the course of my life continually.

Lord Jesus, the Great Physician, dig deep. Identify in me the cancerous substance of anything You find offensive and cut it away so I am rid of it for good. Cut out of me the critical thoughts that poison my mind and attitude. Clear out the layers of complacency and indifference that have become a cancer to my heart.  And may I heed the warnings in Your Word to guard my heart, protect my mind, and steer clear of anything harmful to my relationship with You.

This morning, two weeks after that surgery, I am not on my side having my shoulder cut open and cancer cleared out. I am, instead, on my knees praying for God’s healing touch on the rest of me….

What needs to be cut away from your life? Share it in the comment section below…I may need to pray about that in MY life, too.

Cindi
About me

Cindi McMenamin is an award-winning author and national speaker who helps women find strength for the soul. She has nearly 30 years experience ministering to women and inspiring them to let God meet their emotional needs, grow stronger through their alone times, and pursue their dreams with boldness.

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8 Comments

Brittany Reed
Reply October 21, 2014

Hi Cindi, thank you for sharing what you've went through. I think God you are ok. I believe I may have some pride still in me and I want it cut from my life. I want to be humble, but most importantly obedient. I can be so sweet, but sometimes so irritable, mean, and frustrated. I need those bad traits gone from me. And when I do feel those ways I need to learn how to handle my reaction. I need procrastination and lack of self control cut from my life. I just want to be obedient, submissive, and loving. Thank you for your blog, for sharing your heart, and thoughts. God bless you. P. S. I need offenses to be cut away from my heart, I want a forgiving heart always like our Father. And validation from man cut away too.

    StrengthSoul
    Reply October 21, 2014

    Thank you, Brittany, for your response. Praying you and I both have hearts that please our Father.

Marianela Perez
Reply October 22, 2014

Hi Cindi, I always received your posts and I have to say they are very encouraging. God always speaks to my heart when I read them.I never left comments before , but I think it is nice to share because sometimes I need a clear word from the Lord and He uses you for that. I am very thankful for you and your ministry. I need to get rid of pride and anger, I feel very bad when I react that way and sometimes I feel condemnation for my behavior. I read a lot about it in the word of God but I still struggle with it.Thank you for sharing. May Our Lord Bless you Abundantly. Marianela.

    StrengthSoul
    Reply October 22, 2014

    Marianela, thank you so much for leaving a comment. That's often the first step in gaining the accountability we need in our desire to be more Christlike. It is my prayer for both you and I that we would follow James' advice and be quick to hear, slow to speak, and slow to anger. Blessings, my friend.

Alena
Reply October 28, 2014

Amen to everything you said! Going through times like that does cause you to do deep, soul searching. It causes you to rid out everything that does not belong and opening up yourself to what God wants in those places. Although it can be hard to do, it is freeing.....sweet surrender. I'm so thankful that He is not finished with us yet. I feel at times I get rid of one thing, and then I find something else that has to go. The past few days I am dealing with anxiety along with nagging "what-ifs". In my devotions this morning God showed me that I am having an anxious heart. I haven't felt like this in quite some time. I'm thankful that He loves us so much and shows us who we really are. Without Him we are nothing. Thank you for sharing this. It is spot on. <3

    StrengthSoul
    Reply October 28, 2014

    Thank you, Alena, for your sweet response. It encouraged my heart this morning.

Chery
Reply November 7, 2014

Dearest Cindi,
I saw the title to your post but have been so overwhelmed with life and extended family that I've had to let e-mail in general, "sit there". Besides, it NEVER entered my mind you were taking about you....cancer would never happen to you...as you said. I am so sorry, just so sorry. Thank you for sharing your journey through it . I grow from your sharing. A lot. What needs to be cut away from my life? You name it. I feel my humanness rear it's ugly head daily as I call on my Heavenly Father for help, and say "keep thee behind me satan". Thank you for the reminder of how very vulnerable we are. I love Psalm 139: 23-24 as well. I am SO grateful that you are okay and am praying for your complete healing<3

    StrengthSoul
    Reply November 8, 2014

    Thank you for your sweet words, Chery. My basal cell carcinoma (the least serious of cancers, because it's surface) was nothing in the scope of what some people endure, so I am very grateful for that. The incision has healed nicely and I learned a lot through it. Prayerfully that will be the only type of cancer I ever have to endure in my lifetime, but my life is in His hands and there's tremendous peace in knowing that. Blessings on your weekend.

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