Man, do I love this woman. When my Aunt Beth asked me if I would capture her journey I felt honored. To share her story from the past year – what Jesus has been speaking to her, and the strength and courage He has given her and her family throughout this time is a blessing for me.
We only spent about 30 minutes shooting before a relaxing day by the water with family, but the time that we had together was truly powerful. It was filled with the presence of Jesus, with worship, with tears of joy, with prayer, and with rest. Words cannot do it justice.
A little from Aunt Beth:
“What a difference a year makes! Jessa took this head shot of me last fall (2014). About the time it was taken I found a lump in my breast.
January (2015) the diagnosis came-cancer. In February I had a lumpectomy but when my labs came back cancer cells were still detected. March brought another surgery to remove more breast tissue. Still cancer cells were detected. April brought the first of 16 chemotherapy treatments. Ten days later I stared in disbelief at a brush full of my hair, for four days I watched more and more fall out. How long can this go on? May 5th I made the decision to shave what was left of my hair off. I already had a wig waiting.
I had kept my journey private all these months, just close family and friends shared it with me. I needed to hear the Lord’s voice above all else. I was frustrated about the wig. People would be able to tell. I was not ready to share my journey. The wig lasted about six weeks. Late June brought such oppressive heat that it was impossible for me to keep it on. Another layer of privacy removed. It was very difficult to let people see the real me. I didn’t want to answer questions and I didn’t want to be treated like a sick person.
Through the hair loss and the steroid induced weight gain, I have struggled with my view of “me”. The Lord has so sweetly through the love and encouragement of family, friends, and even total strangers, begun to teach me about true beauty!”
“When You don’t move the mountains I’m needing you to move, when you don’t part the waters I wish I could walk through, when you don’t give the answers as I cry out to You, I will trust, I will trust, I will trust in You!”
“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.”
-Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV)
When Mindy asked what a warrior was to me, I immediately got the picture of Moses with Aaron and Hur holding his arms up. The story is found in Exodus 17. The Amalekites came and attacked the children of God, the Israelites. Moses told Joshua to go fight the Amalekites the next day. As Joshua and his men fought Moses, Aaron, and Hur went to the top of the hill. Moses held up the staff of God and as long as he held it up the Israelites were successful. When his arms got tired Aaron and Hur sat Moses on a rock and they each held up an arm. His arms remained steady until sunset and Joshua overcame the enemy.
Moses knew full well who the battle belonged to and raised his hands to heaven. He also needed his friends to help him. This is totally how I picture the battle with the enemy cancer. It’s not my fight, I raise my hands in surrender, and I need family and friends to help me when I get tired. My prayer warriors kept my hands held high, my needs met, and my spirits up.
I have been through a lumpectomy, a follow up surgery to remove more tissue, port placement, 16 rounds of chemo, 33 radiation treatments, and will continue to take Herceptin for the next several months. 2015 was a rough year but through it all The Lord has been faithful. I found out I am stronger than I ever imagined, I am loved way more than I deserve, and people are wonderfully kind and generous.
My niece was sweet enough to help me chronicle my journey during one of the most difficult stages. I still cry when I look at these pictures but I’m thankful we took them. I’m reminded of a phrase The Lord dropped in my spirit early in my journey, “Big C little c what do you see? Christ or cancer?” I choose to see Christ!
Photography – Jessa Rose Photography