January begins with the feast of Mary, Mother of God. Often in my prayer at this time of the year I am drawn to a quote from the Dominican mystic, Meister Eckhart: "We are all meant to be mothers of God . . . for God is always needing to be born." But during this stage of my inter-mission with cancer, God has turned the image inside out for me.
Awaiting the last two cycles of chemotherapy in the first month 2016, I find myself in a place that seems to be the womb of God. I am held there in darkness, carried by the One who "knew me when I was being formed in secret, who knit me together in my mother's womb." (Psalm 139) It is dark and silent and I hold myself very still, waiting and wondering what God's hand is doing in me now.
By this time in treatment, the effects of chemo are always with me and it is easy to lose sight of the goal. Some days it feels like a demolition project is underway. Numb fingertips and toes, fatigue, loss of normal taste, hoarse voice . . . I have to adjust my expectations at every turn. I wonder what will be left when the wreckage is cleared away. I wonder if God ever says, "Oops! I got a little carried away with the sledgehammer there. . . ."
Hope moves me forward through those moments and I start to imagine what God is remodeling in me. Maybe there are some upgrades in progress, like my hair that grew back grey and curly after my treatment in 2008. If I allow God the Creator to remodel me through this experience of cancer treatment, what might be the new possibilities for my life, my ministry, my community?