Trusting God in the “I Don’t Want To’s”

Photo by Kim Harms

When I discovered a lump in my breast on January 9, 2016 (there are some dates you don’t forget), I opened a new Word document on my computer and started typing. The title of the doc? When You Think You Might Have Cancer. By the time I stopped adding to that document months later, it was 55 typed pages long. Add to that all the journaling I did with my handy ink pen and I have close to 80 pages of my cancer experience on paper. Yowzers.

This week will mark the 2nd anniversary of my bilateral mastectomy, and I’ve been reading and remembering and at times riding the wave of emotion. The following is an excerpt from my journal days before surgery. Reading it was a reminder to me that God often makes us walk through “I don’t want to” moments. The big “I don’t want to” was obviously the cancer, but along with that big thing were a million little things I didn’t want to do.

Trusting God doesn’t necessarily mean liking the things I have no choice but to endure. In fact, I don’t have to like it at all. But God’s presence becomes palpable when my trust comes in the “I don’t want to’s.”

February 16, 2016 – I have come to the point of feeling like I have to hurdle a hump of depression every morning. Once I get past it I’m okay, but it’s hard to get out of bed.

I don’t want to do cancer anymore.

I don’t want any more people to tell me about the people in their lives who died from cancer. I don’t want to run into acquaintances at the store who look at me with those “I feel sorry for you eyes” and remind me of this hard thing I’m going through when all I want to do is buy my milk and eggs and go home. I don’t want to live in this never-ending game of waiting and wondering if it has spread. I don’t want to look at any more boobs. I don’t want to show anyone else my boobs. I don’t want my boobs cut off. I don’t want fake boobs that I can’t feel. I don’t want to have to console people who think they are consoling me. I don’t want so many things.

I want to curl up in a ball and cry and sleep and wake up when it’s all over.

I did curl up in a ball and cry on multiple occasions, but God didn’t allow me to fall asleep and wake up when it was all over. He did, however, go before me and with me into every “I don’t want to.” And because of that experience with Him, when I come face-to-face with an “I don’t want to,” it’s easier for me to stay the course and look to the One who worthy of my trust.


By KimHarms

Kim Harms is an author, speaker, and part-time library assistant with two decades of freelance writing experience. She has a degree in English from Iowa State University. She and her husband Corey have three super-awesome sons and one crazy dog. A two-time breast cancer survivor, her first book, Life Reconstructed: Navigating the World of Mastectomies and Breast Reconstruction (Familius), is a guide for women walking the breast cancer road. She is currently working on her second book, a devotional for women going through breast cancer.

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