This year has flown by. It seems like just yesterday I was sitting at home on New Years Eve wondering what 2021 would bring and hoping it was better than 2020. Wow, 2021 was not what I expected at all. Looking back on 2021, many would say that 2021 was an awful year. If I reflect on my own personal life, I suppose I could say the same. But I can’t do that. If I’m being honest, 2021 was a year full of opportunity, growth and revelation. To me that sounds pretty awesome. Let’s dig in and see the good that came from this past year.
Going into the year, I was not in the best of health. According to the doctors at the time, it was nothing too serious and actually somewhat normal for people my age. I’m not one to go to the doctor at the earliest onset of any type of symptoms, so I went for my normal checkups and just kept living and working the best I could.
My work was still all remote, so that made it easy to continue to work at a high level and it enabled me to work through my troubles where I might not have been able to otherwise. If I’m being honest with myself, I was getting worse, but I was denying it and playing “tough” and just kept moving forward.
Fast forward to May and my daughter’s wedding was fast approaching. What a beautiful day that was. The wedding was awesome, my daughter was beautiful and it was a moment in time that I’ll never forget. But it was a struggle for me physically. Again, I powered through it as I didn’t want to take away from my baby girls special day.
My yearly checkup followed just a few days after the wedding and while I got a relatively good bill of health, I didn’t feel any better. My blood work came back that I was anemic which triggered a whole set of appointments and tests that eventually led to where I’m at today.
Sprinkled in amongst all the doctor visits and whatnot, the summer brought a septic tank issue that forced us from our house for a bit while it was getting fixed. So let’s just say that the summer was a whirlwind of one bad thing after another.
Then the end of August hit and it all came to a head and I was diagnosed with colon cancer. At this point my year could have gone from bad to worse, and I don’t think anyone would have been surprised if I felt that way. However, this is when I view the year changed drastically for the better.
Why the better? Many could have taken this as the icing on top of an already bad year. Trust me, it wasn’t the way I wanted it all to turn out. However, we know that God will take the bad and use it for his glory.
And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.Romans 8:28
Immediately after my diagnosis, a Godly peace came over me and the fear disappeared. I did ask God, “Why me?” I heard him tell me, “It’s not about you.”
So that’s how I lived the rest of 2021. In a spirit of obedience, no fear and with eyes wide open looking for those opportunities that I know God puts in front of me every day.
People have commented on my positivity and how that has encouraged them in their troubles. I don’t know any other way to live through this and indeed it is not my own doing that has giving me this attitude, but it has been a gift from God. And while of course I have my moments when I do fear, I am instantly reminded that the fear makes it about myself again and God has already told me that it’s not about me.
So 2022 is here now. Here is just a few things that I feel will make it an even better year that 2021.
- Opportunities Galore. God has provided and will continue to provide so many opportunities daily to tell my story and tell of the glory of God and how he is working through me. I see my disease as a positive thing. Without it, I was ignoring those opportunities. I was just living life, focused on me. Before the diagnosis, it was about me…. now it’s not.
- Spread joy everywhere. My goal when I’m with others, is to make them smile. To garner a laugh from someone that may be having a bad day. To give a smile to some that may be feeling down. To lend and ear to someone that needs to talk. Every time I’m at the hospital for treatment, I try to get the nurses to laugh. Laughter is contagious and I believe that it can bring healing to the body and to the mind. I try to talk to people that may be sitting beside me in the waiting room or perhaps we share a treatment room. I’ve had the opportunity to pray for people and to just give them escape from their troubles.
- Glorify God in my healing. Sure this makes it a bit about myself, but let me quickly turn it back around. Up to this point in my treatment, it has been working wonderfully. Tumors are shrinking and I’m feeling a 100% better. I’ve been blessed to have very few side effects from the treatment. I believe this is only possible because it brings glory to our savior.
- People must know. People must know of the good news of Jesus Christ. Through this blog, through my opportunities and in fact just from living my life, I have been given a platform to share the news of Christ. I’m not here to convert anyone, in fact I can’t do that. That is not my job. Only Christ can do that. My job is just to share. To make sure people know.
- To love on people. The Bible tells us that the world will know us by how we love people. We become more like Christ when we love people. When we love the least of those around us. Those that are sick and hurting desperately need the love that we can give them. The homeless and the destitute have need of our love just to get through each day.
I could go on and on about the things that will make this world a better place in 2022. My challenge to anyone that has read this far, make 2022 your best year yet. Make it the year that you grow your own faith, that you put your full trust in God. Make it the year that you show love to people, even those that are difficult to love.
Let joy flow through you and let it spread to those around you. Joy is contagious and it is healing, don’t keep it in, let it flow out from you.