This wasn’t the plan…
“I am glad you took this test after we found out your mothers cancer has returned. Megan, you tested positive for the BRCA 2 cancer gene…. There are options…. Cautionary measures we can take… major surgeries… you will have to decide…. As a 34 year old woman you are still in childbearing years… do you have a partner… do you want children?”
The words floated in and out.
The heavy feelings of grief around my mothers returned illness still lingered heavily in my heart while processing this new information.
In all the dreams I had for my future I never imagined having to make a decision, that would affect myself and my family, without them.
I was now facing the reality that there was this part of my genetic makeup that had a 75% chance of turning into cancer one day.
I never thought I would have to make such life altering decisions at this stage of the game. I was still so young. I had not found the love of my life yet, I have not had the children I always dreamed of and now I have to make decisions that their lives depend upon.
Each night I pray and journal for this family that has yet to appear in my life and all the dreams and aspirations I have had could now vanish with one choice that I had to make… alone.
This was not something I wanted to do.
I did not want to shoulder such intense responsibility.
How do you make these decisions on your own and hope and pray it is the decision your husband would want?
How do you take on the full responsibility of making decisions that will have great impact on your family?
What if I make the wrong decision?
What if the decision I make hinders me to have children naturally?
There is not a world that I envision where I am not a mom, and this is where the tears flow naturally these days. I do not even have to try as they are always at the surface willing and waiting to be released over this great pain I bear alone.
To be honest, I did not want to make this decision alone. I really did not want to shoulder this responsibility by myself.
I have had to shoulder so much alone already. Every day, every action, every errand, every dream and every vision I have had to execute by myself. I’ve had to think through every decision alone.
But in this pain and in these hard moments I realized that though I may feel physically and situationally alone, I’m not.
“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9 (NIV)
In this moment of feeling overwhelmed and solely responsible, I knew God was with me and did not want me to feel alone or that I needed to make these decisions by myself. He was with me. He promised He would always be with me.
“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10 (NIV)
After seeking God and praying for peace I felt God lay upon my heart a resolution and then nudged my heart to share my options and thoughts with trusted close friends.
He reminded me though I am alone in this process and in these decisions there were people close to me who wanted to help me in the ways they could; and that even when I was the only one who could make these decisions, there was a support network to encourage me and hold my hand when I needed it.
Support networks are a blessing, especially in seasons when you are walking out life’s tough moments alone. In these moments God never wants us to feel alone as He wants us to lean on Him and let Him give us the resources, encouragement, love or needs we long for in those tough instants.
It is incredibly overwhelming and painful to be trekking out some of life’s toughest moments alone but I know I can find comfort in God and know that even in the alone seasons He is molding me and strengthening me into the woman He needs me to be.
But what if you find yourself without that support network. What if you’re feeling like, “Ugh, but Megan I do not really have someone in my day to day to talk this out with…” may I suggest some practical actions steps to help you process through your tough moments?
Consider these statements and questions:
- Do you need to take some time to sleep on the decision and let your intense emotions settle so you can think clearer?
- Follow your peace- what decision brings you most peace?
- Develop a pros and cons list
- Dream out all the possibilities and see which one you resonate most with
- Is there a financial component to consider; is it wise to make this choice?
- Do any of these decisions compromise your values and morals?
- Do you need to ask a professional for advice?
Is it possible that sometimes we forget to give ourselves grace? I want to remind you that when you are faced with having to make a tough decision alone, know that you are more than capable of making great choices; and if it does not turn out the way you thought, please know that you are in great company with not being the only person who has made a decision that did not turn out the way they wanted it to.
Life is not linear, it does not always forge ahead in the ways we want but we can know that even in the moments where we feel most alone that is where God is waiting to walk us through.