Tuesday, February 18, 2020

DNA, Jeremiah, and a big challenge

Perhaps it was middle school science when I first mastered the ten syllables for which the letters DNA stoodDeoxyribonucleic acid. Puffed and proud of my accomplishment, I had no clue as to what secrets my own DNA contained which might prove one of the greatest challenges I would face.

After years of being encouraged by medical professionals to pursue DNA testing, I finally relented a little over two weeks ago. My own medical history as well as serious concerns about family history presented tough medical questions. I needed answers in order to make important health decisions. The answers to these questions would not only affect me, but my children, my grandchildren, and beyond.  It was not an easy decision, because though I needed this information, if I tested positive for genetic disorders, particularly in the area of breast or ovarian cancer, my children, and I would be immediately faced with the possibility of multiple surgeries. For me it would be in addition to the many I have already had.


We all like to quote 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.’” But, unless we’ve read the first twenty-eight chapters of Jeremiah, we can’t possibly understand the power of those words. Those first chapters are replete with prophecies of doom and gloom.

Disaster, disaster, disaster.

When we finally reach Jeremiah 29:11, the words fall on us like water in a desert, because by that time our spirits are crying out for good news.

My genetic counseling reports based on my history and my family’s history were loaded with predictions of disaster as well. Page after page of doom and gloom. There was every reason to believe I would have positive results. I wanted to come home and stick my head in the sand.  But I kept reminding myself God knows the plans he has for me. We are not a statistic. When God deals with us, he does not consult a chart or check a graph. He deals with us individually. He deals with us as His children.

 When I first began this process of testing, I had a dream in which someone had stolen my car, and I was weeping with no way to get home and no way to reach my family. I went into a store and asked the people there if they knew my dad, which they did. Then I said, “I am his daughter. May I wait here to be rescued?” You see, God was reminding me, that no matter what seemed to have been taken from me, I am still his daughter. He has plans for me. I needed to wait on Him.

I woke up the morning of the test with this verse from Isaiah 54:27, “No weapon formed against you will prevail.” God also placed Jeremiah 29:11 in my devotional reading that day. I had to decide that whatever the results, God still had plans for me. It would be okay.

A few days ago, a number flashed on my cell phone and I knew it was THE call. I answered and after pleasantries, the nurse practitioner said, “I have results for you.”

I held my breath.

“No genetic disorders (for hereditary cancers) were found.”

I screamed so loud and Jerry, who overheard, began shouting, “Hallelujah and Praise Jesus” at the top of his lungs. Cause I’m telling you folks, it’s as if my head and my family’s was in a guillotine for two weeks.  We are celebrating not only for us, but also for generations of our family who will not have to deal with this.

“Best Valentine’s Day present ever,” I said crying.

The woman on the other end was laughing and rejoicing with us.

Disaster, disaster, disaster. But God.

If the results had been positive, would God still have had plans for me? Yes, He would. Those plans would have included difficult decisions, but God would not have abandoned us.

Someone reading this may have just received positive results, and the good news is God always has a way through. Always. It may not look like what we thought and we may have to make decisions we really don’t want to make, but God is faithful. Suffering is not anything we want to sign up for, but if it presents itself and we know Jesus, we will always have a companion in it.

This May, I am a twenty-year cancer survivor. I plan on celebrating and praising God often for His extraordinary grace and blessings.


Laurie Wood said...

Praising the Lord with you, Beverly! What wonderful news as you hit your twenty year anniversary. Thank you for sharing your story.

Beverly Varnado said...

Thank you for rejoicing with me, Laurie.

CatMom said...

Thank you for sharing this, Beverly.
I'm SO thankful you received wonderful news---Praise the Lord!

Blessings, Patti Jo

Beverly Varnado said...

Thank you so much , Patti Jo. Praise the Lord, indeed!! Blessings, Bev

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