Celebrating My Five Year Marker!

Celebrating My Five Year Marker collage w frame

July 31, 2015.

Five years since the dreaded diagnosis of breast cancer returned.

Five years of my social calendar marked with visits to my oncologist who, along with my husband, was my faithful companion for nine long years. The past five, and the four before that when I didn’t make it to my five year marker the first time.

Five years of more life than I could have imagined when I started into that pain-filled dark tunnel.

If there is beauty to be found in pain (and there is, my friends, there is…), one piece is the beauty of retrospect:

The act of looking behind you, seeing just how far you’ve come
and how worthwhile the journey has turned out to be.

It has been five years since another marker was set in the ground – when I inquired of the Lord if this second time around with cancer was unto death. (You can read about it here). He answered with life.

However, when I was given the promise of life, it came in the form of an invitation to exchange my life for His life in greater, fuller experiential measure. It meant that I would indeed be going through a dying process – of death to my old self, but death would not ultimately prevail. Life would and will and does.

I accepted His invitation, sitting in my living room chair. It became my Galatians 2:20 experience:

“I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me;
and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God,

who loved me and gave Himself up for me.”

Back to July 2015. He’s been doing a lot of living in me. I swear more life has occurred in the span of these past five years than in the bulk of my life leading up to breast cancer, second verse!

Was cancer a life-changing experience? Indeed it was. Though I didn’t choose it, I wouldn’t trade it.

During these five years I left my long-time career and began doing what I am doing now as Nancy Bentz, Life Coach through Shammah Ministries. My original blog begun five+ years ago, Wellspring of Life, continues out of Christ’s life-flow within. And my heart has been expanded over these five years with deeper compassion and wisdom for others.

As long as the Lord suffuses me with His life and His message to write and speak, coach and teach, I will gladly do so. It is my gift back to Him – a gift He gave me in the first place. It is one of life’s delightful and deeply meaningful exchanges – giving Him back what He first gave. After all, “We love Him, because He first loved us.” (I John 4:19)Pen of a skillful writer

When a gift is given back to Him, it bears even more fruit.

We cannot out-give God. In love or any of the precious and unique gifts He has given to each of His own.

July 31, 2015.

Friday afternoon and my six-month / five year checkup with my oncologist and beloved spouse (who went to every single oncology appointment with me all those years, several years of which were every three months). Thank you, Wayne, from the top of my once-bald head and the bottom of my finally-drained ‘grenades’!

At appointment’s end I was a woman set free, with no ‘next appointment date’ scheduled. Though my heart knows I was really set free five years earlier.

My husband and I walked out of that cancer suite holding hands, both of us sensing a door being shut behind us by the Holy Spirit. A new season has begun.

We celebrated by dining at a favorite Asian restaurant. When the server brought the check, he also brought three fortune cookies. We don’t do life by fortune cookie wisdom, and the first two we each opened were lame anyway. Playing along however, I selected the third one, peeled off the cellophane wrapper and told my husband (insert drum roll), “Ok, this third one is for the two of us!”

Why, yes it was.

It’s featured in the center photo of this post’s picture collage above. That little slip of paper above my final payment to the Rockwood Cancer Treatment Center. The one that says …

The best years of your life are ahead of you.

We’ll take that 🙂

~ Nancy / Gracefully Free

Journal & coffee photo: Courtesy of Unsplash and Luis Llerna

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  1. A great post, Nanc! Congratulations! What a wonderful place to be, with the Big C officially behind you and life ahead! You are right, you can’t out give God. Praise His Name!
    I love that 3rd fortune cookie. Do I dare say it? “Third time’s a charm?” Hahaha!

    You and Wayne are wonderful testimonies to God’s goodness.

    Love you both.

    • You know well what the celebration means having been there, done that twice before too! Your love and care for us means a lot, LJo.
      We loved that 3rd fortune cookie, too. Yep & hahaha! Love to you as well. ~ Nanc

  2. Arlene Hawkinson :

    Congrats, Nanc. What a milestone. God is good! A

  3. Not just for a day but a Life’s Season of rejoicing for Abba ‘s gift to us your family! Love you Sis…and your beloved spouse, Wayne. I am reminded of Ecclesiastes 7:8…The conclusion of the matter is better than it’s beginning. Praise God!

  4. Nanc,
    Sitting here with tears rolling down my cheeks. Love you so much, am so thrilled and love our Abba beyond words!
    If I knew how to spell the Jewish words for TO LIFE, I would. I’m shouting it in my mind!!
    XO, Jan

    • Here’s a hanky, sweet sis of mine. Love you too and am beyond blessed by all the prayers and care and midnight emails of encouragement during the heart of the journey.
      TO LIFE! Yes!! Shouting it back at you with JOY and mutual love for our Abba! ~ Nanc / Gracefully FREE

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