Stories that Shine on an Awesome God

Posts tagged ‘cancer’

Singer of Songs

My baby daughter is getting married. I want to sing her that song. I want to bless her with those words, but I’ll cry. I know I’ll cry.

Image of sunrise over ocean by Lyn Janssen

Lyn’s thoughts swirled in and out like the ocean’s tide that welcomed her every morning on her drive to work. This morning, the ocean’s beauty once again arrested her progress. She stopped the car and got out. Air, fresh with the new day’s coolness, was tinged with the smell of salt and damp sand. Clouds, brightened to glory by the rising sun, allowed for a glimpse of blue sky to come.

Music from thirteen years before lilted inside until her heart could no longer hide the joy or the wish that she wanted to share with her daughter, Sarah, on her wedding day. Her voice rose to the words, “I hope you still feel small when you stand beside the ocean . . . .”

Lee Ann Womack may have made it popular, but it was Sarah’s, song.

“Mom, will you sing, I Hope You Dance, for my graduation?” Lyn had met the depth in the eyes of her high school senior and never even noticed her smooth, naked scalp. Her baby was gorgeous. The fact that cancer’s cure had taken her hair, only proved how strong she was.Image of Sarah's Cancer Pic - resplendent and glowing in Prom dress

“You know, Mom, the part about never taking one single breath for granted? Wish you would sing it.”

Lyn, drove away from the ocean, its splendor saved on her iPhone.

I knew I couldn’t sing it then. I would have been an emotional basket case, and I’m afraid I can’t sing it now. But I want to surprise her at the reception. Lord, how can I sing for Sarah?

That night she conferred with Sarah’s brother. “Why don’t you make a recording, Mom, and then if you don’t think you can sing it, you can play the CD?”

Good idea, but who would do the recording? How much would it cost?

Lord, I want to rejoice over her with singing. It’s a miracle that I can sing at all, but that’s another story. Right now, how can I sing for Sarah? Will you give me this desire?

Days passed. Each one, with its ocean views, brought beauty but no answers.

Image of Sarah and Lyn

It was her day off, one that she had set aside for study and prayer. Instead, she found herself at the office helping to finish monthly reports. A co-worker came in. The two chatted about health classes and nutrition and joining a gym and how hard it was to find time to exercise, what with family and church activities.

“I’m busy enough already,” Lyn said, “but there’s talk at my church of starting a choir. I would join if they did.”

“Oh, I wish I could sing. My husband would love it if I could. He writes songs and he needs a female voice.”

“He writes songs?”

“Yes, indeed. We have a recording studio right in our home.”

Lyn felt sure her heart stopped, but after discussing the details of how her friend’s husband could help her record her song for Sarah, she left the office dancing and delighting herself in the Lord. The ocean, resplendent as ever, reflected the glory in her heart.

Image of Orange Ocean Sunset by Lyn Janssen

God, your timing is so absolutely perfect! You, and you alone, know how to give us the desires of our hearts.

On July 3, 2014, Lyn was able to fulfill her dream of singing for Sarah. When she shared her story she wrote:

“I wondered for quite a while how and when to fit this into the events surrounding the wedding. I enlisted the help of my sons. We decided that during the reception, when the floor opened up for toasts, mine would be the last one…and we would play the song. I managed to introduce it without telling the whole story (and without crying). And I got to spend a moment with the bride and groom, my beautiful daughter and new son, wishing them the very best and letting them know that I wanted everything good for them.

Click play below to listen to the recording that Lyn made for Sarah’s wedding.



Image of Lyn & Sarah at Mirror on Wedding day

The points of light that Lyn’s story shine on our awesome God are numerous:

His timing is perfect.

He loves to give us the desires of our hearts.

He identifies closely with parents who joy over their children and who, like himself, love to sing over them.

 When you think of the Father, know that he takes great delight in you. Let him quiet you with his love. Let him rejoice over you with singing.”

“The Lord your God is with you. He is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you (rejoice over you with joy) He will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing.”  Zephaniah 2:17

Delight yourself in the Lord, and He shall give you the desires of your heart.” Psalms 37:4

If you have a story that has helped you see God in closer light, please share it on our Share Your God Story by clicking here.

Story contributed by Lyn Janssen and Written by Merita Atherly Engen.  Ocean pictures taken by Lyn Janssen.

Respecter of Choice

“People aren’t stamped with an expiration date.” The oncologist’s kind eyes and graying temples coaxed me into belief.

“Prognosis for Stage Four Pancreatic Cancer: Three to four months.” My previous web search contradicted. I kept the contradiction to myself and squeezed my husband’s hand.

The man I loved straightened his shoulders. “What do you recommend, Doctor?” His question fell clear and strong like the ring of an ax.

The doctor’s long legs swiveled his stool. He faced my husband square on. He laid out our options, answered all our questions, then shook our hands and took his leave.

“I’m going ahead with the workshop. I’ve always wanted a workshop. I’m not stopping now.” My husband declared on our drive home.

“Are you sure you won’t over do? What about our son? He’s only six.” My mind reeled.

“I’m positive. His tree house is going up along with my workshop. There will be a swing and a slide underneath and a climbing net inside. I’m not just going to lie down and die. And I’m getting a second opinion.”

Yes, yes. Stand like a tree. Don’t give in. Stay in control.

Six months later: The workshop and tree house were finished. The second opinion had confirmed the first. Our son was seven.

My husband bent over a notebook, tabulated and cross referenced. His strong, neat handwriting listed and located every tool and piece of equipment, every type of oil and service schedule for tractor, boat, and cars, and every name and number of his favorite service men.

“It’s for you, my Love. You can do this. You can get people to help, and I’ve taught you how to drive the tractor.”

Yes, yes. The ax is sharp, but I can do this. He believes in me. Stay in control.

Six more months: All funeral plans had been made. All financial details had been finalized. All titles had been put in order. Our son and I had started home school.

At the dinner table my husband took a bite and started to gag. The chemo and the cancer were taking their toll. Our son, knowing what was coming, bolted out of his chair. Before his dad could heave out the bile, he was behind his bedroom door seeking his own control.

“Come, Sweetie. You can come back and eat now. Daddy is getting sicker isn’t he? But, come, you must eat.”

Be like a sapling, my son. Bend, bend with the wind.

Yet another six months: Chemo trips were a weekly routine. The oncologist hadn’t aged, but his patient had. Cheek bones protruded. Eyes recessed. Our eight year old son sat silent in the back seat on the drive home from the clinic. My husband was still at the wheel.

“I’m not doing any more chemo.” He reached across the console for my hand. “And I’m not taking any more natural remedies. We have no evidence that they are helping.”

I caressed the paper thin skin on the top of his hand while his words sank in. “You have the right to this decision, you know. You have to choose your own way. It’s your life. It’s your death. It’s your choice.”

No, no. I’m not in control. I’m not in control at all! What a relief! What will be, will be. God knows the when. God knows the how. But I am NOT in control. And that is a very good place to be.


The ax was slow at its work, but steady on. Six months later, in the middle of the night, the tree groaned heavy and long. It groaned and heaved and groaned again, forever into the night, consciously aware of the biting blade. It shuddered. It gave. It sank. Deep, deep into its bosom earth. Forever out of control.

* * * * *

Is God really in control? Or is He a God that allows our choices to control things here in this world? Jesus taught us to pray “Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” This suggests that God’s will is not always done on earth.

Perhaps our God is not the controlling God that is often portrayed. He guides. He woos. He pleads. But perhaps, just perhaps, He truly respects our choice.

For more Biblical insight into this concept, please take the time and listen to

If God is So Good

* * * * *

Have you ever felt out of control and found God there? Please share your story and help us find God there as well.

Perhaps you are or have been a caregiver to the sick or dying and have felt inadequate or imperfect.  I have a friend and fellow writer whose blog, The Imperfect Caregiver, is dedicated to encourage caregivers like yourself.  Click here to link to Bobbi Carducci’s blog.

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