Every retired person declares that they are going to travel, see the country, but few do. This summer, my husband and I fulfilled that desire and traveled across America. It had been a rough year with a major surgery for me in October but I felt I would be fine by May. I spent three months planning the trip. I still felt weak and couldn’t walk too much when we started out but I thought that the many hikes and walking tours we had scheduled would strengthen me and I would feel better when we got back.
What a joy to see historic cities, pristine beaches, National monuments and parks. Highlights included San Diego Zoo, Sequoia, Yosemite, and Yellowstone National Parks. My favorite was the Teton Mountains where traffic was stopped to allow a mother grizzly bear and her two babies to play in the street with the traffic cones. The picture above was my last view of the Teton Mountains with a ring of clouds around the base.
In the midst of all this, I was exhausted. I knew something wasn’t right in my body. It was similar to the pain and exhaustion I felt 6 years ago when I was diagnosed with ovarian cancer.
When I returned and finally saw the doctor, it was confirmed: cervical cancer. I couldn’t believe I would have to go through this again.
Psalm 23 became an anchor for me.
The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures and leads me beside still waters, He refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for his namesake. Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and staff they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely Your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
I have walked with Jesus for 37 years. In all that time He has provided for my needs physically, spiritually, emotionally, and financially. I have not wanted for anything. Using His rod, He has nudged me on the right road many times, sometimes even whacking my stubborn tail if I refused to choose rightly. His staff has pulled me out of the pit on more than one occasion.
This trip refreshed my soul and helped me be ready for the fight against cancer. I am about to walk through a dark valley but I am not afraid. I am furious at the enemy who thinks he can stop my prayers for the Nations. I await the banquet table the Lord is preparing where I will triumph over my foe cancer.
So far, I have had a 10-hour surgery to remove cancer which included 17 units of blood. I am scheduled for treatments of radiation and chemotherapy. I have thought about death many times. I will continue to live for my family and friends but, like Paul, I would much rather go home to be with Jesus. I am not depressed, just anxious to dwell in the house of the Lord.
If you are going through a dark valley, open His Word and find your anchor. In His Word you will find hope, peace, and strength to deal with whatever the enemy throws at you. Let the church know what valley you are going through so they can lift you up in prayer. The prayers of the saints have literally been life or death for me. Without their prayers, I doubt I would have made it through surgery. The prayers of you all have been a comfort to me and a reason for me to press on. Thank you.
~ Love you all! Dee Ouellette