(The story of Marcia Stauffer by Mary Alysse Dodds)
“It’s cancer,” the doctor called at the end of February 2015.
I couldn’t breathe. I pretty much knew, but then it was real. I could die. I knew I would go be with Jesus, but my kids might not have a mom. My husband might be alone. The doctors recited statistics on my chances of living or dying, and my mind just wandered. I was scared, scared of everything.
We had to tell our five kids. They cried. They asked what it meant, what I would have to go through, if I was going to die.
Before I was diagnosed God spoke so clearly through the song, “His eye is on the sparrow, and I know he watches me.”
“Okay, God, whatever’s wrong with me, whatever I have to go through, I know you’re watching over me.” The fear was overwhelming, but God’s presence and peace overtook it.
Through the year of radiation, chemotherapy, and surgeries, God felt so close to me in a very real way. Immersion in the word of God was the only thing that comforted me and soothed my mind.
When they found the nodule in my lung, we were back at the beginning. What does this mean? Am I going to leave my loved ones alone? Then the nodule disappeared after chemo, and they never knew what it was. Sometimes God takes away the thing that causes fear, and sometimes God just calms me even when the things don’t go away.
Faith, trust, and fear were so intertwined with each new test result. As my husband would say, we’d get so rock bottom worldly and so pumped up spiritually that the fear was compressed by just being in God. Our levels of faith and trust just kept growing and overcoming the new levels of fear.
When I look back and see God’s hand of faithfulness, I am in awe of how he brought us through. I stayed healthy through chemo; I never had to miss a treatment. Each friend who drove me to appointments was the perfect encouragement for that day.
I never had to worry, even when I didn’t have the mental capacity to think about everyday needs. My family, friends, and church stepped up to the plate and took care of everything. We were given so many gifts it covered our insurance deductible. I’ve never felt so loved in my life. I don’t know how people survive something like that without a church.
I have a lot dreams and desires of just feeling normal. I envisioned celebrating when all this was over, but sometimes I’m just weary. I envision myself having powerful prayer times and helping people walk through similar journeys, but sometimes the fear still creeps back in.
Some days I wonder if having the ileoscopy reversed was worth it. My life revolves around my diet and going to the bathroom. It’s exhausting and painful. It’s hard to relax. Sometimes I can’t eat or drink with friends because I’d have to go to the bathroom.
I wouldn’t trade the closeness with God or the phenomenal love that I felt. It’s encouraging looking back and seeing all the little things God did. How he said my internal healing was just as important to him as my physical healing. How my husband was an unflappable foundation, an anchor through everything. God even made me rest in the hospital when he knew I would have pushed myself too much at home.
It’s nice when I feel Jesus near. But faith is not a feeling. Faith is choosing to cling to the words of Jesus, to cling to what you know is the truth. It doesn’t really matter what I feel like.
Marcia Stauffer is a wife and homeschool mother of five. She takes time to have fun with her family, and remember the special moments with her kids. She’s fun, sweet, and a little bit spunky. Even when she’s sick, she cheers people with her laugh. She prays and worships passionately in times of joy, and trusts Jesus’ words even when she can’t feel him.