I was alone in the house when the phone rang. It was my doctor. She had the results of my recent biopsy.
“I can’t believe it, Ann, but cancer cells were detected.”
I shook my head as if to clear my thoughts. No, that couldn’t be right. She kept talking.
“I’m shocked too,” she said. “You’ve been so faithful with your mammograms and they’ve always been fine. But this one was different.”
My head was spinning.
She gave me more information before we hung up, and then I just sat. Stunned.
Ron was gone for the day at a golf tournament… almost 2 hours away.
Should I call him?
Should I wait until he gets home… in approximately 10 hours? Should I give him one last day to be normal… before his life changes forever?
Finally, I decided to call him, just to see how he was doing. I would decide what to do from there.
“Hi Honey! I think I may have just won the putting competition,” Ron answered with a laugh in his voice.
My heart sank. I was so tempted not to tell him. To let him enjoy his day. But then I wondered what he would want… and I had my answer.
Marriage was made for times like this… for better and for worse. And I was sensing the beginning of what was bound to get worse. But we had weathered storms before and with God’s unifying power, we had come through them closer and stronger. It is God’s design. It’s about ONE-ness and being truly there for each other in every season.
And so, after asking Ron if he could slip away somewhere private where we could talk, I broke the news to him. He immediately said he was coming home and that he would call me from the car.
During his first hour of driving we talked and cried and prayed and cried some more. Him stuck in traffic and me alone at home.
At one point I said to Ron that I felt God wanted me to journal my journey, to write down what my heart is processing through the lens of God’s grace. I couldn’t explain it. I just knew I had to.
With the strength and support I needed in that moment, Ron said to me, “I’ll be home in about 45 minutes. Let’s hang up and you take this time to write your first journal entry.” And so I did.
By the time Ron got home, I had my first entry written. It was raw and real, and I’d like to share it with you…
Discerning the Holy Spirit’s call to action, Crystal and Bev felt compelled to help.
With government permission, and in two separate, fully-loaded cars Bev and Crystal set off on a four-hour road trip to Chippewas of Nawash Unceded First Nation, located in the Georgian Bay region of Ontario, Canada.
With all roads into the community closed except one, in order to stop the spread of COVID-19, the sight of two cars approaching the checkpoint was met with hesitancy. However, when our FPV ambassadors explained they were delivering food, and extra items for kids, including toys, journals, and colouring books to the food bank, hesitancy turned into hope, and they were welcomed into the community.
While pausing to pray after unloading the items, Cheryl saw a picture of a bullseye and said, “You hit the mark.”
JUNE 10, 2019
“What do I do, Lord? I DON’T KNOW WHAT TO DO!” Those were the sobs I heard coming from my own lips. Panicked. Tearful. Fearful. The words just kept coming. Repeating. Assaulting
“I DON’T KNOW WHAT TO DO! I DON’T KNOW WHAT TO DO!”
It was like my senses were in a freefall, my arms flailing in mid-air. All alone I began pacing through the house. Crying. Praying. Pleading.
This was frightening, unknown territory and, well, I just needed an answer.
And that’s when I saw it. It was on the wall near our front door… artwork that contains four words. Four short words. And I was drawn to them like a magnet.
Ann holds up six fingers for her sixth round of chemotherapy.
Ron Mainse stands ready with a bouquet of flowers behind him as Ann sounds the victory gong.
BE STILL AND KNOW.
Oh, those four comforting words from Psalm 46… a calming reminder to be still and know that HE is God. And a calming reminder was exactly what I needed.
“You have breast cancer.” Those were the words my doctor just told me over the phone. Four more words. Now at this point it might seem like I’m kind of burying the lead. I mean, isn’t that the headline? I guess on the surface you might think so. But, to be honest, I’m not feeling very “surface” right now. Because as devastating and scary and threatening as those four words are, they ultimately drove me to those other four words. And believe it or not, they ARE “the lead.”
Be still and know… that HE is in control. Be still and know… that HE will never leave me. Be still and know… that He cares intimately. Be still and know… that He is God.
And while I have SO MANY questions about so many things… today… for now… at the very beginning of this unexpected journey… I CHOOSE to focus on what I do know. On what I can do. Be still and KNOW that He is God. Over the course of the next several months after that first journal entry, I often felt the need to write. Usually over a morning cup of coffee, I would sense God’s compassionate Spirit guide my jumbled thoughts. After sharing a couple of my journal entries with close friends, I felt I needed to share them more broadly. Maybe they could help others, I thought. And so it began.
Every morning I would post on Facebook a Scripture that God had used in my heart that day and a devotional thought to go with it. And before I knew it, thousands began tracking with me, many encouraging me to put these posts into a book. The result of that encouragement? …the book, “COFFEE WITH HIM: Mornings with God on an Unexpected Journey.”
In this 31-day devotional, I include many of my Facebook posts, as well as some devotionals that felt too personal to share on a public forum. I have also included a treasury of Scriptures that have meant a lot to me during this unexpected journey.
It’s amazing how, if we let Him, God can use times of stress in our lives to realign our focus to His faithfulness. To remind us that when our world feels like it’s falling apart, He is still there… strong, steady and true, lovingly whispering, “Be still and KNOW Me.”
It is my prayer that no matter where you find yourself today, whether on a breath-stealing, terrifying journey, or simply navigating the twists and turns of everyday life, that you will find hope and healing in Jesus… the One Who loves you most.
And that you will truly know what it is to… be still and know that He is God.
Ann Mainse shared an update on her cancer journey with 100 Huntley Street on May 27, 2020. Visit 100huntley.com for more information.
Ron and Ann Mainse are hosts of A Better Us – a weekly broadcast that provides couples with HOPE through Bible-based insights, honest & fun discussions, and practical tools for everyday life. The TV show is produced by Heart to Heart Marriage & Family Ministries in partnership with Crossroads Christian Communications Inc.