In Honor of Christ

Sunday, October 4, 2009

I was touched last week when some friends and family walked in my honor at the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure. Among them were my niece Kaiti and friend Cynthia and her daughter Emma who wore signs on their back, “In honor of Cathy Turner.” What a humbling tribute! Years ago my own race for life was almost cut short by breast cancer.

In June of 1995 my sister Lori, who worked for my doctor, asked if I would come in for a mammogram. They had some new equipment and wanted to “experiment” on me. I had had my last mammogram a year earlier and wasn’t due another one until the following year, but I agreed to go. A few days later, on June 30th, I received a call from my gynecologist’s office. My doctor was referring me to a surgeon for further testing due to a suspicious mammogram. One week later I sat in the examination room at Dr. Phillip Burns’s office and heard him say those dreaded words, “Cathy, I’m so sorry to have to tell you, but you have breast cancer.” The tears flowed.

I was an unlikely victim of cancer. I had been fanatical about taking care of myself with a good diet and had been diligent about exams. Having no cancer in my background, I quickly realized that cancer is no respecter of persons. Upon Dr. Burns’s advice, I underwent a mastectomy with reconstructive surgery. Fortunately, my cancer was caught early. Had I waited another year for a mammogram, my doctor confirmed that my type of cancer would have seen tremendous growth and the quality and length of my life would be vastly different. Lori’s phone call that summer was no coincidence. It was a God-incidence, a coincidence divinely arranged by God.

God goes before us and prepares us for the racecourse of our lives. He often uses people and circumstances to guide us in our race. And he runs with us. When we get weary, he even carries us. God was faithful to me during my bout with cancer. He used my family and my Christian family to minister to me during that time.

God has given each of us a race to run. He has a purpose for each of us.

Let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, keeping your eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith. Hebrews 12:1

The runners in “Race for the Cure” run with endurance to cross the finish line. They are sure of their purpose: for the cause and cure of cancer. They fix their eyes on the end of the race. Everyone who finishes is a winner. Christians are expected to run our spiritual race with endurance. We can be certain that God’s purpose for us is to have a personal relationship with him. He doesn’t promise that our race will be run without stumbles. He promises to be there when we fall or get tripped. When we keep our eyes fixed on Jesus as we run the race of life, we too will be winners.

Imagine, as we cross the finish line, a sign on our backs that reads, “In honor of Christ.”
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. I encourage all women to schedule a mammogram and practice self-examination. Early detection saved my life!


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