Defined by Grace

I am thankful for all of you who have followed details of my battle with cancer over the past months on the CaringBridge web page.  If you read the last post on that site, you know that Deb has been writing the updates throughout our journey and is going to discontinue the updates on that site.

I concur that we are now in a different stage of our story and although we would love to hear from you via other means, the Caring Bridge page has served its purpose.

Although there are still appointments and consultations with physicians ahead, from this point on it will be a matter of monitoring my progress and staying optimistic that better times are ahead.  I’ve shared with some of you occasionally about the experience but I’ve tried not to let cancer define my life.  That’s not an easy task.   I don’t mind your asking how I’m doing and I don’t mind sharing this information.

Throughout this entire process, I have tried not to let cancer define me and yet I’ve sought not to live in denial about the realities of my situation.  It would do me no good to minimize the seriousness of my condition.  I choose to keep the enemy cancer in full view and fight it with eyes locked on to my opponent.

I put on an orange rubber bracelet every morning.  This little ritual reminds me that I am still in a fight.   The last four weeks of radiation therapy reminded me daily that the enemy may be silent but it takes strong medicine to defeat it.

As I said, I have sought not to be defined by cancer.

Thanks to the faithful, imaginative and creative Caring Bridge posts of my wife Deb, you have been allowed to travel this medical mystery tour alongside us.  I am moved by her gift as a writer/story-teller.  Reading her posts often helps me to see the big picture even though I’ve just lived out the very things she is writing about.  I thank God for her.  I am not worthy.   It is truly by God’s grace that I have been given a wife who loves me with such faithfulness.

By writing the Caring Bridge page, Deb drew the interest of many of our friends from across the years.  The words of encouragement left on the guestbook leave me with the inescapable realization of what it means to receive grace.

Your love, your prayers, your faithfulness have sustained my soul and nourished my tired spirit.  I cannot thank all of you enough.   As I have read the statements you left on the guestbook, I have been reminded of the goodness of God, the faithfulness of his people and the healing power of compassionate heartfelt words.

This all brings me to this:  It is Grace that is defining my life.  Not cancer, not disease, not the frailty of the human body.  It is grace.  I do not deserve nor am I worthy of your kindnesses and your faithful prayers.

I am sustained by grace and I fully intend that grace will define the rest of my days.  From this point on, everything is a gift.

(It’s really been that way all along but I have only now come to embrace it like never before.)

About Gary Cleveland

An old chunk of coal waiting to become a diamond some day. I spend the bulk of my time focused on spiritual development. I teach, preach and stand by the hurting and wounded. I believe our heavenly Father offers us daily opportunities to discover who we are and what we can yet become. I serve as a bringer of good news in and around the city of Oshkosh, Wisconsin.
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Defined by Grace

  1. Theresa Jackson says:

    Gary – you still are the most humble person I know! I totally agree with you! Every moment is a gift called GRACE! Thank you for being an example for us all.
    In Christ, Terre

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s