Unexpected Blessings from Cancer

Dare to Dream

Dreams are defined as a “cherished aspiration or ambition.” We love to dream about brighter days, adventurous times, and richer lives. Dreams motivate us to be a better person, strive for higher goals or work towards long-awaited desires. The dream may be to travel or participate in an activity of daring proportion. Perhaps the dream is to own property on the beach or to inherit a castle in a faraway land. Whatever the dream, it allows us to envision a future we think would be more exciting or more fulfilling. But have your dreams ever been squashed like a flattened grilled cheese sandwich? Mine have! Cancer did that to me. The fear of recurrence lingered in my mind clouding my future and causing me to be devoid of dreams. I had never realized the connection before – the connection between hope, time, and dreams. I unconsciously allowed cancer to kidnap my future. I believe now it was a coping tactic designed to help me focus on living in the moment. What I didn’t realize was that it stole part of who I was and/or who I wanted to be. How could I dare to dream about tomorrow when there might not be a tomorrow?

Well, let me answer that question with one word: hogwash! Yep, I said it. Hogwash! I can say that only because I’ve lived it and believe it to be a vice for the enemy. If we can’t visualize ourselves with a future, then it is difficult to fully live today. Learning to dream again is a huge step for a cancer survivor, I know. Dreaming is a step beyond learning how to find contentment because it demonstrates an act of will that life goes on. Life should be richly lived day by day, week by week in the presence of God’s guidance, grace, and strength. We forget that God is already in our tomorrows. He goes before us. Always has, always will. Those words bring comfort, hope, and encouragement to me. While I don’t know what tomorrow may bring, I trust in the God who holds my tomorrows, whatever they bring, giving me the security to live today and have the freedom to dream. I trust His plan for me; I desire for Him to use my tomorrows for His glory.

The stark realization of stifling my dreams never hit me harder than when I was driving listening to a CD my husband and I produced titled “The Comfort of His Holiness.” The CD is a compilation of music that soothed my soul with depth and understanding as I walked through my cancer journey. I realized the holiness of Christ and what He brings into my shattered world was the thing that gave me solace. The CD is not just a collection of songs to bring reassurance in a time of crisis, but the songs are arranged in such an order to depict a step-by-step path leading one into the fullness of His comfort. Each song is accompanied by a one-sentence description in the CD insert to identify a baby step towards the ultimate comfort of Christ. I found myself using it as a gauge at times to see where I was and where I needed to be. I mention the CD because there was one song that made me cringe every time I heard it. The song spoke of daring to dream. I cried when it played because I didn’t have the courage to dream. I just couldn’t and the song made me aware of my inability to do so.

Here are the words to the chorus of “Candle in the Rain” (used by permission of artists Tony Wood and Mark Harris):

I will dare to dream about tomorrow,
I will hold to hope through all of the pain.
I will never surrender to the sorrow.
No, I will be a candle in the rain.

What an extraordinary thought! A candle in the rain. Not just a candle with a burning flame of hope but a candle that burns a flame of hope in the rain. A candle that cannot be extinguished, like an eternal flame. What strength, what courage, what hope. The words inspire a sense of humble power.

My testimony is not about me; it’s about Him, His glory, His light, His hope. We can trust that life is more than what we see before us. Another chapter is to be added to our story. The question is: what is that chapter? Are we willing to dare to dream to find out? Are we willing to discover what God has planned for us?

I still cry when I hear that song but now I cry because I can dream about tomorrow and because new chapters continue to be written to my story. I am proud to say this blog is one of them! I strive to allow God to use my candlelight in both fair and rainy weather to help guide others and demonstrate the hope He has to offer. Are you a candle in the rain?

The CD “The Comfort of His Holiness” is a collection of 17 Christian songs and instrumental arrangements meant to provide reassurance in times of crisis (not just cancer). A copy may be mailed for a donation of $10 if interested. Leave your comments on this blog to request a copy or email me at Karen@confrontingcancerwithfaith.com.

4 Comments

  • J.D. Wininger

    Old ranchers are not supposed to cry Ms. Karen. Now look what you’ve went and done. Your story, although I’ve read it in the past, always takes me to my own wife’s battles with cancers (yes, two times). God did not see fit to have me come beside her yet in those days; but I know He sustained her through the battle just for me. I doubt seriously that I could be her dream, but I know for a fact that she is mine. In fact, just weeks after meeting her, I penned the poem God’s Gift, as I knew He had answered my prayers of long ago, in His time and in His way. Your words, “While I don’t know what tomorrow may bring, I trust in the God who holds my tomorrows,” bring tears to my eyes when I realized how much our faith has grown my friend. There was a time, not from cancer, but from turning my back to God, that I too could no longer dream of a tomorrow. How God restores us through our trials. Thank you for helping me, and I trust others, to relive an amazing time of blessing in our lives… when we could once again dream. God’s blessings ma’am.

    • Karen

      Your poignant words brought chill bumps with them. What a gracious God we serve. I was so focused on my plight with cancer that I had not thought about how personal trials causing us to turn away from God could result in a failure to dream again. I’m surprised I would overlook such a thing as I volunteer at a Rescue Mission of men who have been addicted and utterly at their last end. I’m sure they, too, have had to recapture lost dreams. I so appreciate your response. I won’t make you cry again. At least not for a while. Oh, and J.D., I am willing to bet that you are EXACTLY the answer to one of Diane’s most sweetest and endearing dreams.

  • Gordon Donahoe

    Karen,

    I read your blog on dreams and was reminded of how important they are if we truly desire to live purpose-driven lives. I am reminded of the verse from Joel 2:28 which says, And afterwards I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions. We never are too old to dream of the future. The day we cease to dream is the day we begin to die. Thanks again for such wonderful words that inspire and encourage others. Gordon Donahoe.

    • Karen

      Gordon,
      I love that verse from Joel. I am literally a dreamer almost every night! Perhaps God kept me dreaming unconsciously at night until I could dream again consciously in the day. Thank you for your comment. It’s amazing how dreams can propel us into the future. You would certainly know!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.