Who Holds Tomorrow / by Shannon Heick

Z I know who holds tomorrow. Do you know who holds tomorrow?

Let me tell you a story about a bunch of slightly scary tomorrows.

This last winter, my momma was diagnosed with 2 types of skin cancer. Thank God, it wasn't melanoma. It was basal and squamous. But still. Pant. Pant. Gasp. Breathe. FREAK.ME.OUT.

Here is my spunky and funny mom with my dad.  This photo was taken a few years back at their 40th wedding anniversary. These two are just too dang cute!

 

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Here is our whole big happy (most of the time)  family! We have only added one more little one to the group since this photo was taken! This means we are due for an update real soon! Not a baby. A picture. :)

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The obligatory "watch your parents kiss" pose is apparently still popular when all the kids become adults!

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Anyway, back to the story. So I call my mom the day of her dermatology appointment to find out what needs to be done.  She says, "Shannon, they removed the two spots in the office and the Dr. thinks she got it all. They will have to send to the lab to confirm that they got it all." So, I say, "Wonderful, they got it all. We are going to just pray and believe that the test results agree with what they think." In my head, I'm thinking let's pray pretty darn hard that the test results confirm this. Just for good measure. 

{Insert a bunch of praying} I know who holds tomorrow.

Fast-foward a week. Mom is expecting the call on a Monday. I call her about 3 times that day before she got the call to see if she got the call. Sometimes when I'm trying to get ahold of her and she doesn't answer, I do this:

IMG_5532Hahahahahaha!!!!!! I love being a her daughter!

So, she didn'tget the call until the end of the day. It turns out, it's not good. They didn't get it all and she has not one but two types of skin cancer. They will need to go in and do a Moh's procedure, removing layer by layer until they get to the a clear skin layer. Hopefully it's not down to the bone and in the bone. Shit. I know who holds tomorrow.

Procedure is in 3 weeks when a specialist flies in. Procedure is usually an all day process. Bring a sack lunch, they tell her.

I am crapping my pants at this point. However, because I am wiser now, instead of revealing that information, I gather my composure and I say, "Okay mother, this is going to be fine. I will assemble my prayer team in Fargo. You will be fine. We will be fine. I will get everyone praying. God moves when we pray. !" I love these words from Mark Batterson's book, "The Circle Maker." We are going for bold here. No cancer.

 

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Isn't that phenomenal?! God wants our biggest, hardest, and most impossible prayers. Anything else is insulting.  Although, let me say that I don't think this is implying that asking for smaller or less important things is somehow less important or insulting to God.  He is a good, good father. He cares about the things we truly and purely care about, big and small. But I think, perhaps it means when we fail to ask for the big, most important things to us because we think we don't deserve them, or we are being too humble and playing small.... that is insulting to God. We serve the God of the impossible. Impossible is right where God likes to start.  And you know what,  we do deserve our biggest dreams and hopes to come to life.  The resources we have in the living God of Jacob are beyond our wildest dreams. We can't even dream dreams that big. And we so often forget or just flat out don't even know that we have the maker of the galaxies awaiting our requests. This is not to say that God is some genie in a bottle. That we need to just click our heels,  rub his belly on a cross necklace and get a new car. This power and this knowing are much more phenomenal than what the tangible world can grasp. We have at our beckoning call things like: grace, mercy, healing, overcoming, strength of heart, will, courage, inspiration, hope, mindset, focus. None of these things are really measurable and tangible.  When you get into agreement with the fullness of the resources you have in God, it suddenly doesn't matter what you have and what you don't have.   It's a bold living, out of God's unlimited resources, that triumphs over the situation itself and becomes the victory no matter what the FINAL score is. That's right. I said that. As in, it doesn't matter whether you win or lose. It's how you play the game. When we play the game of life in God's economy, winning is realize that you already won when you asked Jesus into your heart and got a reserved seat at the right hand of The Father.

{Insert more prayer and believing} I know who holds tomorrow.

So, a few days later I talk to mom and she is not having a good day. The initial procedure they did has left her skin very painful and oozing and red. She thinks it's infected. So I say, "mother, have you put Melaleuca oil on it?". "No", she says.  So, clearly, I chew her out and tell her to get it doused in Melaleuca oil. What the heck? My mother has been telling people about Melaleuca (the company with the amazing safe products, all founded on nature's powerhouse antiseptic, Melaleuca Alternafolia Oil) for 2o some odd years!   We put Melaleuca Oil on everything and I mean EVERY.THING! It is amazing what it does!  Clearly, mother was so stressed, she forgot. Lucky for her, she has me to keep her straightened out! And just in case you need help pronouncing the word, Melaleuca, here is a hilarious video of my oldest son trying to teach my younger son how to say the word with correct pronunciation. And I mean correct. This is from about circa 2011.

 

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Okay, this video puts me on the floor. I am simply not able to deal with how cute these boys are! But, my oldest rule follower on the left, is in fact correct on his pronunciation. "Mel-la-lu-ka" is how it sounds.

So back to mom. I said, "Mom, put Melaleuca oil on the infected skin and the freakin' skin cancer itself. I swear I have read somewhere that it has some pretty powerful properties to deal with those nasty cells. At the very least, we know it's an antibacterial powerhouse. Okay, Mom? Just do what I say, okay?" I usually do pretty well at bossing her around like that.

So, I take off my invisible Dr. jacket and head to  "the google" to do some research. The infected skin and skin cancer got me thinking about  Melaleuca Alternifolia Oil. Could I have really read somewhere that Melaleuca Oil is possibly a skin cancer fighter? Something rings a bell there.

It doesn't take more than one google search and  then I found this article citing a study out of Australia. And this article. And this article under clinical findings.

So I emailed mom the studies and I directed her to put it on 3-4 times per day. Because I'm a pretend Dr. and just why the heck not?

{Insert more prayer} I know who holds tomorrow.

So, some of you skeptics are over there saying,  "Okay Shannon, you are over here talking about prayer and then you are over here talking about Melaleuca Oil....which is it....hmmmm?"

In the book I quoted above, The Circle Maker, Mark Batterson says,

"Work like it depends on you, pray like it depends on God."

I love that concept right there. We can't just lay flat on the floor, pray and then do nothing and expect miracles. Maybe God hears our prayer and then is like, "Okay, thank you for your request....now, open your eyes, rub your belly, click your heels three times and look down. Do you see what's attached to the bottom of your legs? Child, those are your feet that I fashioned to the bottom of your ankles.  Now, go use them." He might even giggle at himself when he says that. I would, if I were him.

The more I prayed and requested prayer, from my people of prayer in our community and nationwide, the more I gained confidence in the outcome. Yes, I am a positive self-help freak. I am a christian-based, solution-focused, positive mindset style counselor for pete's sake! The science tell us our thoughts highly impact our outcomes. The bible also eludes to this.

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This is one of my favorite concepts taught in the bible. Whatever is lovely....think on those things. And I know who holds tomorrow.

I also believe in miraculous healing. I have had such a healing myself. Many moons back. It's found on my old blog, here. Wow, I am glad that is over. But I am also glad that I had that gift of feeling such a deep need that only God could respond to. And oh how he did. What a glory!

 

Back to our story with Mom. This was more than just a positive mindset. I had this deeper confidence. A faith-soaked confidence. The more I read and re-read the studies and the more I prayed the prayers and reminded my people of prayer to keep praying...the stronger it got. I know who holds tomorrow.

I would talk to mom and say, "Mom, I know what is going to happen. You are going to go in there for the procedure. And I know they told you to prepare to be there for the entire day. Because removal of layer after layer of skin takes some time. And the waiting on the lab results and studying of the skin cells takes time. But, you will not be there very long. I don't think they will find one cell of cancer to examine.  Not even in the first mini layer they take off." Bold.

{More praying. More waiting. More believing.} I know who holds tomorrow.

The day of her procedure was pretty nerve wracking. How many layers? What would they find? Also a holy confidence rested deep in my soul. Speaking of layers. I also had a layer of fear, a layer of doubt, a layer of hope, a layer of trust, and a bunch more layers. At the bottom of those layers, as I said, was a good helping of confidence. Someone from the Nehemiah Project calls it "Godfindence". I'm down with that. I like it. I really do. Godfidence!  I think I had me some Godfidence that day.

I called Mom on the way to the clinic. I called Dad once they got into the clinic. Mom was heading back. So I sent her a bunch of motivational, inspirational texts. If you haven't noticed, I like motivation and inspirational anything.  When they wheeled her in, I sent her this text photo. I know who holds tomorrow. IMG_7974

About an hour or so after our communication had ceased, I got a call from Dad from the waiting room. "Shannon, we get to go home. They didn't find anything. There was no cancer even on the first layer! Your mom is getting dressed now. ". Me: Are you serious? Praise the Lord! Wait, what? You mean? No cancer? But the tests......said.....what? No cancer!!! Praise the Lord!

Do you remember what I boldly proclaimed to my mother weeks earlier, over and over again? Let me just repeat it. It bears repeating.

"Mom, I know what is going to happen. You are going to go in there for the procedure. And I know they told you to prepare to be there for the entire day. Because removal of layer after layer of skin takes some time. And the waiting on the lab results and studying of the skin cells takes time. But, you will not be there very long. I don't think they will find one cell of cancer to examine.  Not even in the first mini layer they take off." I know who holds tomorrow.

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I sent then texted my mom this photo above. All she said on text was, "that is awesome, Shannon." After I got the news from Dad, I called her in her surgical suite and later while they were driving home.  She said, the surgeon and the nurses were really surprised. They said that it's pretty rare for this to happen. She is lucky. She told them that she had a little secret to share with them of what may have caused this. She  told them that she had been using Melaleuca oil on the spots and that there is some clinical evidence of it's efficacy on skin cancer. The Dr. had never heard of it. He wrote it down on his little white tablet, having mom help him spell it out, and tucked it away in his little white jacket pocket. The nurses were really intrigued and impressed. Before she told them all that, she told them that she had a huge team of prayer warriors sending up requests to the One who holds it all. I imagine they smiled. I hope the medical team wrote that one down on the tablet of their hearts. I hope they know who holds tomorrow.

THANK YOU, JESUS. For healing. For prayer friends. For believers. For Melaleuca Oil. For hope. For nurses. For surgeons. For Dads who drive Moms to surgery.  For Godfidence. For my Mom. For all her tomorrows. For all the tomorrows.  And mostly, that I know....who holds tomorrow.