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jackie aviles 

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jackie aviles

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What are the odds?

I'm Jackie!

Through the years, It has been my joy to write words that have captured the essence of hope in suffering. That have encouraged countless people to boldly face their seasons of struggle.


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I raise my hands bow my head as I find more truth in the words written in RED

The prior weeks in recovery have been full of sacrifice as my husband became my primary caretaker. GOD I LOVE THIS MAN! From missing work, to forgetting to eat meals, and interrupted sleep, he has been there every step of the way. Every four hours, after giving me my pain dosages, he prays over me and he comes over to my recliner that has become my bed and tucks me in.

One of the most exasperating moments for both of us has been the hassle in changing my drains. Four to five times a day, Emilio would have to empty them of excess fluids and blood from surgery. Charting the amount from each drain was disgusting. Sometimes, the drains would spill over during the night onto my clothing, causing more work for Emilio and more agony for me. The process required me to be lifted up out of bed to be redressed.

Yet he did it, without any complaint! I swear sometimes I don’t know what I did to get such a man!

As the days continued, my drains would tug on cabinets doors or my kids would accidentally yank on them. I could simply be walking and suddenly feel the disturbing, gut wrenching feeling of tubes being pulled out of my body. The area was bloody and scabby from being constantly opened up. Even though the tubes were positioned deep within my body, the feeling left me paralyzed in pain for a couple seconds.
The agony and discomfort reached its peak as Emilio had to hold the drains as I bathed. This process was exhausting and took so much energy!

Fast forward to today: the last day of October, yet the first day of the week. It’s 7am and we have 10 minutes to leave the house before my kids are late for school.

It’s just one of those mornings, you know? When your kids decide to wake up and complain about why Mommy cut their waffle – which she did to prevent it from being scorching hot! I mean who does that, right? Not to mention Leo is still in his pajamas, not cooperating at all. Meanwhile, the clock is ticking and no one has brushed their teeth yet! UGH! Only to (finally!) get to school so that Eli can decide to be Peppa Pig and jump into a muddy puddle right before entering his class. I’m ready to scream and have at least 5 more wrinkles on my face!

Slouching in my driver’s seat trying to catch my breath and sanity, I look over to my dashboard to a pile of papers. I sighed in annoyance, thinking I had forgotten to give papers to one of the boys’ teachers, I grabbed them and began to read over them. To make matters worse for this morning, this is what I saw.


Let’s just say the odds were not in my favor. 

Not only did I look like a crazy mom who couldn’t get a grip on life, but on top of that, I should be dead right now. At least, statistically. Yup! You heard right. With stage 4 breast cancer spreading to my hip bones, I only had an 11% chance of living… I had literally been fighting for my life.
As my hands rested on the steering wheel, I felt a sense of defeat.
It’s been several weeks since my double mastectomy, and I was yearning for some good news. The day continued as usual, and my friend “DEE”, who also was going through cancer, gave me the news that her pathology reports came back “Negative”. This meant she had no cancer in her body.

Using a microscope, a pathologist checks the tissue removed during breast surgery. The pathologist determines whether cancer cells are still present in tissue. In rare cases after a mastectomy, the margin closest to the chest wall contains cancer cells. She was calling me to tell me this was not her case. She was cancer free! I congratulated her and celebrated the great news over the phone. FINALLY SOME GOOD NEWS!! I felt an instant sense of joy and happiness for her and continued on with my day.
It wasn’t until that night that I began to wonder if this would be my case as well. I had nothing to worry about, since I too was told I was cancer free. Both the PET scans and MRIs had determined that. Yet at that moment, something inside me freaked. My heart sank and I second guessed the report.
You see, I too had that test done. But for some reason, I hadn’t gotten my results back yet. Paying no attention to it, I figured, “No news is good news right?” And fell right to sleep…

ABANDONED

Emilio and I have waited several weeks now for my pathology results and today, November 13th, one day before our 7 year anniversary, we got them.

During my double mastectomy surgery, doctors found that 3 out of the 14 removed lymph nodes were cancerous. The scarier part was that a 5 ml tumor had also been found..

Wait a minute? Was the cancer never gone? Or had I been cancer free and this terrible deadly disease had come back? 

OUR ANSWER?

Doctors described that the tumor had been hiding behind my breast and that when they took it for testing, the pathology test showed cancer at a molecular level. They informed me that my cancer was incurable. And proceeded to let me know that right now doctors would provide me with more treatment and medication to prolong my life. I can have a long life, they said, but I’ll have to be on treatment for the rest of it.

I was that rare case.

At the moment Jesus wasn’t the first person I thought of, Satan was…and all I could see was him laughing at us. When Emilio and I received the news, we felt fooled and confused but mostly betrayed and abandoned. How could we have been lead on to celebrate a cancer free life, when all the more God knew I was still sick… Was this all in vain?

You see, Satan is sneaky and cunning. He is like a hidden cancerous tumor; if not exposed more damage is sure to happen. He hides behind his lies! And the more we believe them the less the truth is revealed. We have to learn to dispel these lies and expose them with truth! I was conducting my own life. Hiding behind the fact that God had betrayed me. But betrayal assumes broken terms. And the enemy just wanted to steal the joy of that celebrated cancer free moment! All the while God groaned with me in that hospital room, “This is not how it’s supposed to be.”

I made the promise to myself when I found out I was cancer free, that “this would end”, without realizing that my feelings painted an unhealthy illustration of my walk with Jesus.

As Tim Keller once said, the notion that God will certainly end your suffering in this life is not only misinformed and incorrect, but an insult to the billions for whom God does not end many multiple forms of suffering.

Here’s the deal. 

At the cross, God felt more abandoned by God than you or I ever will. But he never leaves. He doesn’t go. He hasn’t failed. “What father among you, if his son asks for a fish, will instead of a fish give him a serpent?” (Luke 11:11) Jesus never abandons us. “And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:20). 

The news is hard to take.  I hate all of these loose ends and question marks, but that is all just a part of this I suppose. Truthfully, I’m fortunate enough that my cancer is tamed for the time being. Though it is very frustrating, I still choose to believe the red words in my bible. Some of which are found in John 11.

 “This illness does not lead to death. It is for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified through it.”

Jesus later in this chapter tells Lazarus to come forth! When Jesus resurrected Lazarus who had been dead for four days,the odds were not in his favor.

When Jesus healed the impotent man at the pool of Bethesda in John 5; loosed the shackles of the demon-possessed man in Mark 5; opened the eyes of the man who was blind from birth in John 9; and restored life to Jairus’ daughter in Luke 8, the odds were not in any way in their favor!! Absolutely not! When God opened Sarah’s womb when she was well past the age of child-bearing, were the odds in her favor? Nope.

Yet He still works miracles, opens doors and gives victory over obstacles many say are impossible to overcome. So what if the odds are stacked against you. Friend, you and I serve an odds-defying Savior that is always with us until the end of the age!!!

Jesus hung on Calvary’s cross with doubters mocking Him, knowing full well the odds didn’t quite seem to be in His favor to rise again?  Nevertheless, He offered Himself up as the atonement for our iniquities, was resurrected on the third day, just as He promised, with all power in His hands.

Numbers 23:19

19 God is not man, that he should lie,

    or a son of man, that he should change his mind.

Has he said, and will he not do it?

    Or has he spoken, and will he not fulfill it?
The good news is, the same power that raised Jesus from the dead, dwells in me.

So then, there is never any situation too far gone for God to turn around. He will resurrect what appears to be dead. He will renew what others say there is no hope for anymore.

God is not limited by the challenges that exist in the world, nor is He intimidated by trying circumstances. He is sovereign and reigns over all, including that messed up situation you may be confronting right now.

Whatever you need God to do, He is able. And He will do it according to His perfect will.

 Jeremiah 31:27 NIV 

I am the LORD, the God of all mankind. Is anything too hard for me?”

God has throughout history and continues today to defy the expectations of medical doctors, business analysts, statisticians, naysayers and doubters, haters, to show just how sovereign He is.

Right now, recondition your thinking. Instead of preparing for defeat like I did!  prepare for God to disprove some negative “facts” in your life and demonstrate that He is the final authority

Good things are on the way. So expect the unexpected.

God began to remind me to Take every burden, care, concern, issue, ailment, struggle and difficulty and leave it at his feet, knowing that, by His power, I will overcome it.

Even when the odds are against you, when God is for you, everything works out in the end, Because if God is for us, who in Hell can ever be against us!
You see, just as Jesus said to Lazarus “Come forth” at his resurrection, I believe He is also saying this to me! Lazarus was just answering the call that Jesus gave him!
Radiation therapy will begin soon due to this diagnosis. Does it suck? Yes. Am I sad? At times. But what overpowers ALL of those feelings and thoughts is the power of Jesus saying come forth in my life. I await as I go forth, answering the call Jesus has over me knowing full well that no weapon formed against me shall prosper!

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