Sicks Pax

Update from Sara

Posted in Cancer,Coping with Cancer,Sara by sicks on February 15, 2008

I am enjoying days with zero responsibility at my parents’ house in Fredericksburg after surgery. What a weird experience compared to life at our house with 3 little kids. I am loving this opportunity to heal in peace and quiet. I am spending my days by reading and watching movies — how delightful!

At the same time, I sometimes feel like the character Much-Afraid in Hannah Hurnard’s “Hinds’ Feet on High Places.” On her journey to the heights, the Good Shepherd picks for her two companions: Sorrow and Suffering. She is bewildered by this and thinks he surely has made a mistake.

“I can’t go with them,” she gasped. “I can’t! I can’t! O my Lord Shepherd, why do you do this to me? How can I travel in their company? It is more than I can bear. You tell me that the mountain way itself is so steep and difficult that I cannot climb it alone. Then why, oh why, must you make Sorrow and Suffering my companions? Couldn’t you have given Joy and Peace to go with me, to strengthen me and encourage me on the difficult way? I never thought you would do this to me.”

I know some of you reading this believe that this cancer is not the will of God. That’s okay — we can disagree and still follow Christ together. I do not join you in that belief. I believe the Lord did allow this for a reason and I intend to learn from it. Through it all, he joins me in my grief, carries me and offers his presence and loving-kindness.

Staying with the theme from “Hinds’ Feet…”, I haven’t yet fully entered the suffering part of this journey with cancer, but I am now well-acquainted with sorrow. Like Much-Afraid, I also would prefer my companions Sorrow and Suffering to flee, yet I believe God has placed them by my side for a purpose. Thankfully, we are not alone. The great Jehovah, Almighty God, Creator of Heaven and Earth, Prince of Peace is with me. This fact makes all the difference. At the beginning of this journey a month ago, I was somewhat startled at verses that say, “Do not be afraid. I am with you.” I thought, “Don’t be afraid — are you kidding me?!” But I believe it is the second part of the verse that sheds light on the first part. The very God spoken of in Psalms 104 and at the end of the book of Job — it is he who walks alongside me and carries me.

Right now what God offers me is his presence. This is God’s A+++++++++++ gift and it is the absolute best that he could offer. I must admit that sometimes I look at that gift and say, “can you give me your presence AND the assurance of my healing?” I want them both at the same time. While I believe that he will very likely heal me using the incredible treatments available today, I long for his 100% assurance of healing as well. But the answer to that question will come later. Right now he offers his presence in the darkness.

Our pastor Tom Holliday recently preached that it is in the darkness that we see the face of God, rather than when we are in the palace. We think we can see him more in the palace. We’d much rather meet him there! But he is more visible to us when we are in darkness and need. Just yesterday, I was discouraged in the morning and asked if I could see God’s face. I received some surprise visitors, 3 very good friends who drove down to Fredericksburg to visit. After they left, my husband Chris surprised me with 3 dozen roses and a Valentine’s gift. I do believe that the Lord showed me his face yesterday in the faces of loved ones. I know he will continue to show me his face in a variety of ways.

Through this cancer ordeal, I have learned dependency on the Lord. I have never needed him like I do right now. I think of the song, “I Need Thee Every Hour,” and it rings true. This is a good place to be.

In Hurnard’s story, Much-Afraid eventually gets a new name. As for me, there are I feel my name is still Much-Afraid. But slowly, God is giving me a new name. Perhaps it is “God Confident” or “Christ is Sufficient” or “Follower of the King.” Whatever my name is to become, God is leading the way, one hour at a time, offering his most precious gift — his presence. For that, I am grateful.



18 Responses to 'Update from Sara'

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  1. Heidi Metcalf said,

    Sara, Barb forwarded this site to me, and I’m so glad to have it. I loved looking at the pics of your sweet kids. Your oldest looks so much like you and your mom to me!

    What a perfect quote to share. I think Much Afraid’s nickname is Alotta Courage. I’m praying for you as you live in the tension of those two names, claiming what we know of God to be true. Please continue to share what you can of what God’s teaching you. It is an encouragement to all who read, especially me.

    I love you friend–every time I think if you I hear you laugh–as joy and genuineness mark the seasons where our lives overlapped. I’m cheering you on, praying for healing, and still trying to find you that perfect gnome for your front yard. 🙂 Love-Heidi

  2. Joanne Redmond-Beckham said,

    Dearest Sara,
    Sorrow and Suffering are not your only companions. We, who love you dearly, are also walking this road with you . . . sharing tears, hugs and laughter with you along the way. I hope you feel our prayers, love and presence each moment of every day. We love you so much and are holding you close to our hearts.

    My our gracious Heavenly Father continue to show His face to you, and may it be His will to bring you complete and full healing.
    Much Love,
    Joanne and Lee

  3. Carolyn said,


    I got half way through this and thought, “…wow, Sara should be a writer.” So I think we can safely say I’m not the smartest girl in the room.

    THANK YOU for your faithfulness to God, His faithfulness to you, and your willingness to tell us all about it. I’m worshiping as I read and growing in my knowledge and faith.

    As always I’m wishing I could be closer to be part of the *doing* but realize that I’m meant instead to just pray, pray, pray. So I will.

    Love, C

  4. Michelle Knott said,

    I was glad about two things when I read your post. First, that you are able to rest in peace and quiet and have time to relax. I obviously wish the circumstances of your rest were very different, but I’m grateful that you can be with your wonderful parents, getting some TLC and having time to read, sleep and be with the Lord. I’m sure it’s a huge change from everyday life at the Sicks’ household!

    The second thing that made me glad was that you were reading Hinds’ Feet. That book is so transformational, and it seems like the perfect thing to read and meditate on right now. I loved your observations on Much Afraid. I once listened to that book on tape, and everytime Much Afraid would call the Shepherd, she would cry out very loudly, often for fear of her life, “SHEPHERD!” His voice was always immediate, calm, and very close by: “Yes, Much Afraid. I am here.”

    Your testimony that God is, indeed, there with you, is amazing. It’s true always, but to hear you say it is such a powerful encouragement to me. May His presence continue to be real and palpable to you each minute of each day. I pray that His peace will envelope you and His words will lift your spirits. As you have brought a smile (and doubled-over laughter until I’m crying) to my face so many times, may He bring a smile to yours today, Babe. He is mighty to save.

    We love you and are praying for you constantly,
    Michelle and Kerry and the crazy gang

  5. Rachel said,

    Wow, Sara, your words brought chills down my back. My faith is really strengthened by your honesty and vulnerability in sharing from the deepest corners of your heart. I appreciate such raw emotions exposed, all the while challenging those around you to seek the face of Christ, our ultimate Companion, along the path of suffering. I count it a privilege to walk beside you and your family during this time and to have my faith strengthened in the process. Thank you for allowing those around you to see glimpses into your heart, for being so real, while also holding to the truth of the gospel.

    Your sister in Christ,


  6. Rachel said,

    Hey Sara,

    An additional thought…I have been thinking a lot about why God chooses the ones He loves to walk through suffering. Your blog entry really hit a chord with me when you said that this cancer is God’s will, and that he did allow it for a reason. I attached the note below that I sent to Curt in hopes that you can see from my vantage point just a sliver of how God has used it already to teach us about how we can walk through times of suffering with you as our example. Another part of the context for the note I wrote to Curt and which I am sharing with you is that Curt and I were just talking last night about how to balance sharing difficult emotions (which I can do to an extreme) with remaining hopeful, positive, and humorous (which Curt can do to an extreme) 😉 So, with that in mind and in response to your blog entry I wrote this to Curt:

    Talk about someone who has a great balance between being real with her emotions while holding to the truth of the Word of God and having hope….I really aspire to be more like her…I also hope that we can incorporate their sense of humor (i.e. Chris’ reference to “smart bomb” like treatment) AND honesty about hard things when we walk through the fire in our lives. In many ways I feel that one of the reasons why God chose Sara is because she (and Chris) are people who are so authentic, who don’t hide behind their suffering and isolate themselves, but rather they are some of the few people who actually allow others to see God glorified in their lives. (Many people, and I’d be one of them, would rather curl up inside and not want to interact with anyone or tell people what we’re really going through)….God can use the Sickses more powerfully because they are so open with their faith, emotions, and their lives.

    Sara, you are a jewel that God wants to use to sparkle into the lives of people around you….that sparkle reflects the image of God to us and the sparkle only gets brighter and brighter the more you see Christ’s face in the midst of suffering.

    Thanks for “flashing the diamond” (as Tom Holliday says) to us as you walk through the fire,


  7. Meghan said,

    Sara- You and your family continue to be in our prayers and thoughts every day. Reading your blog is such an inspiration to me- thank you for sharing so much of what’s going on in your head and heart as you travel down this road. The Lord has used this situation in your life to bring glory to Himself in a great way already.


  8. Kate (S) formally B said,

    Hello my beautiful wonderful old friend. (Can I say old? Does seven years count?)

    Thanks for including me on the updates and this part of your life. This post made me think about the Lost Dogs song “Blessing in Disguise,” especially the last verse. This is the second time in the last year where a friend (both Saras!) have been diagnosed with cancer and it has floored me how both have and will continue to give huge amounts of spritual blessing and encouragement to others. This post of yours is a great example. What a paradox.

    How often do we spot the angels?
    Or feel the unseen hand?
    Most times are tough, the going rough
    Like there never was a master plan
    Those steadfast doors won’t open
    And you pray…but you don’t understand

    Hold fast the hope that’s in you
    Don’t always trust your eyes
    Sometimes it takes a long time to see it as
    A Blessing in Disguise

    We live upon this dark surface
    And God, He moves upon the deep
    What is concealed will be revealed
    There is no promise He won’t keep
    Still, we’re confused by the shadows
    We’re awake, but we’re half asleep

    And after you’ve been broken
    You may not realize
    That you are grace to the broken hearted
    And a Blessing in Disguise


    I love you!

  9. Debbie Rees said,

    Sara — Thank you so much for publishing this blog. Jason told me about it. We are in a time warp here—as I remember you as a little girl growing up. How sweet and innocent you were! And here you are as a grown woman and mother, pondering the most astonishing facts with unmeasurable grace. When I have thought and prayed for you over the past weeks, I have asked God to preserve your life and allow you to finish the work that he has for you in raising children and, like your Mom and Dad, be able to influnce so many others for the Lord in future days.

    So know that Jim and I have joined as prayer partners to raise the “Sara Song” to the Lord. You are a precious, precious girl.

    One more thing— about 2 weeks ago, I came across a note I made in a journal on January 15, 1993. It said—“Sara wrote me a special sweet letter—communicating love from that family. In it she quoted a verse, Proverbs 3:9. “In his heart a man plots his course, but the Lord directs his steps.” Thank you Sara. It meant so much in that hour of need. Now I give it back to you. Love, Debbie

  10. Dawn DV said,


    Thank you for such an incredible testimony. You, Chris and the kids are in our thoughts and prayers.

    – Dawn, Steve & Brin

  11. Brian Weitz said,

    Your entries give me strength as I pray for you own, Sara. So ingrained is it to pray for you that I wake up at night and pray as I go back to sleep. I thank the Lord for this but it also makes me need to take a nap during the day. (Such a small a price to pay.)

    Last night I dreamt of you. We were hanging out in your kitchen. If you felt yourself getting a big hug last night, good chance it was from me.

    Hugs and prayers

  12. Kenneth Ernest said,

    Hi Sara, Chris & Kids!!

    Greetings from Costa Rica!!

    Sara, it’s so good to hear that your doing better and with this great way to see all this situation I really admire your attitude and feel encouraged with your thoughts!!

    Here we’re really praying for you to get better everyday and for Chris and your family!! We were sad to hear that you had to postpone your trip to Costa Rica but we know that we will see you guys soon around here!!! 😀

    Hope to hear more from you soon,

    Blessings & Best regards from Costa Rica,

    – Kenneth Ernest & Family

  13. Frankie B said,

    Annika told me about your web page. Here we all are hoping to offer comfort and encouragement to you, but you are teaching and encouraging US so much more. What a beautiful gift to give to so many — courage and faith and hope and the peace that passes all understanding.

    We’re just one exit away (from Fredericksburg) in Stafford. How may we help?

    You are in our prayers. May God continue to bless you and Chris, and may your children be comforted and strengthened in their faith by your example.

    Frankie & Chris

  14. Curt Portzel said,

    Hi Sara. I want you to know you are all in our prayers. I am glad to see that you have a link to Piper’s “Don’t Waste Your Cancer.” His words have helped me in times of pain and I hope they provide you with some small amount of encouragement. Thank you for your hope and faith in such an uncertain time. You’ll get through this. Peace to you – Curt

  15. Gretchen Slease Davis said,

    Sarah – Grandma Marcia, Jeff, Cole and I thank you for sharing this powerful testimony with us. We are encouraged by your words and it spurs us on to pray even more that the Lord would heal you completely. We love you, and have for MANY years! Hope to see you soon! Love, Gretchen

  16. Geneva said,

    Dear Sara,
    So happy you are getting time to rest and recuperate! You are an amazing encouragement and witness of resting within Christ no matter what the outcome. We are praying for your complete healing, and strength for your family as well.
    Much love and prayers,

    “No guilt in life, no fear in death; this is the power of Christ in me. From life’s first cry to final breath, Jesus commands my destiny.” IN CHRIST ALONE

  17. Jenise Vaccaro said,

    Sara and Chris,

    I just got off the phone with Noreen…she shared the news and gave me the link to your blog. Wow, Sara, your words and your thought processes are such a testimony to the depth of your faith. May that depth of faith sustain you and comfort you. I know that you guys are beloved in your community…what solace that must be.

    I’m having a vision of being part of the crew that sets up a big reception hall for yours and Chris’ 50th Wedding Anniversary…Chris cooking, Gary teaching Kelly, Noreen and I how to fold napkins professionally again as he did at your wedding, the rain pouring down…you get the picture. My prayer is that God allows you to see all the wonders of life that you long to see…our love and prayers are with you.

  18. Aunt Melissa said,

    You go girl!!!!! You are right!!! You are getting a new name and it is Sara the Strong in Faith!!! You are my hero!! I am praying for this Thursday!!! It rang so true when you said that God is giving you a new ministry! He is!!! How exciting!!! Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord. Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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