Stilled to a Humbling Awakening 

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by Daryl Sousa

January 2015 marked my 5th year of being cancer-free. In 2010, I wrote this prayer: “Lord, as You know, my 30 radiation treatments ended yesterday. Thank You for Your peace as You held me through the valley, and for the remarkable support of family and friends. (Allow me, dear reader, to take you on this journey.)

An analogy takes form between Your Word and the radiation process. Your Word, like a two-edged sword, gets into the marrow (like radiation), judging thoughts and attitudes of the heart. First one is still for the mammogram, then the biopsy. I’m placed on a table and told to “be still” as a fine needle extracts cell samples and a tiny metal piece is implanted to target the area for surgery, should surgery be necessary. In a few weeks I’m prepped for surgery, a 3″ mass is removed, along with lymph nodes around the biopsy site for further testing. “Will that be enough? Surely that will be enough, right!? What, now doctors mention 30 treatments, of what, radiation….every day, to be vulnerably burned and blistered to rawness? Wait! Didn’t the doctors say the microscopic cancer cells were contained? Surely there must be a mistake, some miscalculation. Why all the vigilance if the cells are contained? Thank You Lord for the whisper of: “Be still and know that I am God…”

“I get it, Lord; it’s a humbling reminder to be vigilant when insidious sin/spiritual cancer enters my soul, whether its jealousy, bitterness, wasting my gifts, or pleasing people over pleasing You. Such vigilance in surgery with microscopic cancer cells; why not equally so with sin? Sin along with cancer cells hide, and there is something else that hides. You tell us to hide Your Word in our heart, where it’s protected; no radiation can kill the memorized Word, the pondered Word, the pure and Holy Word, which when known by our hearts, we could dare call it “a total know so.”

With radiation, one is first tattooed for exact positioning in remaining still until released from treatment. When I became Your child, I was adopted, tattooed so to speak, into Your family. Mammograms detect early breast cancer, and Psalm139 detects cancer-eating sin: “Teach me to be still while You search me, O God; see if there is any wicked way in me, and position me to hear, to confess, till released.”

Five years later, May 16th 2015, my niece invited me to a Survivor brunch at a Relay-for-Life in my hometown. The day was spectacularly filled with meticulous, beautiful sentiments. After brunch, survivors walked around the high school track as spectators cheered. Later that night, another walk around showcased 500 decorated luminary bags in honor of the survivors and the departed, including my brother Steve age 38, my dad 62, and my son’s friend age 40. Both walks were an honoring tribute and served as a powerfully, yet humbling awakening to how I have grown unmindful in taking my life, my gifts, and blessings for granted.

Upon arriving home, I placed the luminary bags from the Relay by my computer and by my simple little crumpled mission statement that reads: “To use my gifts to help others” While Linda encouraged me to write something for the Summer Sampler, this humble awakening brought it to fruition.

I still walk with You, Lord, and have support of family and friends, and I thank You that through the years You have taught me to “be still” especially in knowing that no matter what happens to my body, all is well with my soul.
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Daryl Sousa graduated from R. I. College and works at Naval Undersea Warfare Center in Newport, R.I. She grew up with 8 siblings, has two grown children and considers motherhood one of her highest callings. Interests include photography, kayaking, golf, reading, writing, baking, sunsets and being with friends and family.

She’s passionate about teaching, evangelizing and encouraging others. She serves through Vacation Bible School, women’s ministries, Bible studies, Stephens Ministry, inner city outreach and challenging an elementary class at her church to memorize Scripture. She is working on a pamphlet about freedom from emotional oppression. It has helped many on a one-to-one basis, and she boldly asks for your prayers that it would be published someday to help bring freedom to countless others. You may contact Daryl at darylsousa@gmail.com.