In my prayer time early one morning soon after I had been given a breast cancer diagnosis, I sat quietly in my oversized orange chair by my window. I had feared that God had forsaken me. Instead of communion with the Spirit, all that I could see and hear were accusations and flashbacks from my past.
Shame had come to visit me.
Shame was taking me through my entire life and telling me how this cancer in my body was because of all the things I had done wrong. I had been born as a “bastard” to a teen mom with no father to be found. I had tried too hard to be perfect as a child. I had been too wild as a teen, smoked too much in my 20’s, worked too hard and stressed too much in my 30’s. Shame was pointing a heavy finger at me this morning.
I began to cry and cry out.
I found myself, using my redeemed imagination, standing before a judge as these charges were brought against me. And they were all true. I had done all these things, been all these things. And now it was time for my punishment, my consequences. I was almost ready to accept all the shame, when I saw my friend, Jesus. He walked toward me. I fell to the ground, sitting and hugging my knees, too shame-filled to even look at Him.
My sins had found me out.
I felt so embarrassed to have breast cancer. This sickness had brought up lots of judgements I had deep inside. Having cancer in my body meant I had failed. Obviously there’s something I didn’t do right. I had always seen myself as healthy and strong and protected. Now, it all felt like facade. Like a part I had been playing and now the performance was over.
My sins had found me out. But these sins weren’t my negative behaviors and things from my past. The things that the Spirit was revealing to me as sin were my judgmental attitude, self-righteousness, and a spirit of perfectionism.
I felt like such a loser. A phony. Cursed. Unblessable.
But none of this kept my Friend from coming to me.
As I pulled my knees to my chest, Jesus leaned over me, His body over mine. He was crying too. As He covered me, it was like a veil dropped. What was happening in the spiritual realm was being revealed to me. I could hear the sound of leather hitting His back. He was being beaten. I could see the whip coming down and tearing through His skin.
I knew the stripes were meant for me. Shame had been thrashing me. Now, Jesus was taking it all. As He was being hit, I lifted my face to His. He looked at me. His face was dirty. His eyes full of tears and pain.
I saw an open wound on his side from the hits. He told me to place my hand under it as His blood dripped out. I cupped my hand and caught the blood. He said “Now, drink it.”
And I did.
I drank His blood.
I could hear in my spirit “This is the blood that YOU drink – just for you. This is the blood that was shed for YOU. This is my blood that will fill your veins, run through your body. This is Me in you. This is my blood for you.”
I will never forget this moment! I think this is what ecstasy feels like. I might have even levitated!
I knew by drinking this blood, I was saying yes to Jesus dealing with Shame. And ever since this experience, anytime Shame begins to whisper in my ear, I see a heavy hand swat it away.
But there was more to be gained from this experience than just freedom from Shame.
He lives in the places that I judged.
Immediately after the vision, I was caught in this weird place of literal and spiritual. I remember thinking I just drank blood, not grape juice. I just drank Jesus’s blood, like a vampire or devil worshipper! I drank blood. And the Spirit said “Yea, you did! Now let Me explain.”
God began to show me that He lived in the places that I judged. I thought of drinking blood as evil. I thought of sickness as embarrassing and punishment. Scars should be hidden. Unhealthy is unholy. Addiction is weak. Overweight is unmotivated. I didn’t know all this, but somewhere deep inside I had remnants of prejudice and judgement, not only for myself, but for others too. He was showing me that a perfect life doesn’t mean a blessed life and that difficulties or walking through a valley doesn’t mean you’re being punished.
The Spirit taught me that even in this cancer I could find the holy. In this sickness that I had judged as punishment and death, I could find Him.
And I did.
Even in your cancer, you will find Me there.
I have found this sacred space as I have walked through cancer. A place where peace and purpose live. A place where suffering brings gifts. A place where pain opens doors. A place where radiation acts as a refining fire.
God was teaching me to see in the physical and the spiritual. And just as the spiritual affects the physical, how I saw the physical world and judged it, affected how I saw the spiritual world too. Even in the ugliest of situations, the most grotesque places, the most cruel people, He is always there. He can always be found. The sacred can be found and is in all things that have been created – because He created them. He said to me “Even in your cancer, you will find Me there.”
Judgement from my physical world was hindering me from spiritual growth. The way I saw being fat, drinking blood, being rich, all as negatives or sin. It sounds so odd, but being fat in the spirit is exactly what I want. I needed to learn how to live beyond the judgement. Now, having cancer is definitely not what I wanted, but when I could move beyond my judgement of it, I could see differently. When I got beyond trying to figure out why this was happening to me, I could see what cancer had for me. I could have stopped with shame. I could have lived there and probably died from the weight of it.
But cancer came bearing gifts.
Instead of fighting this cancer, how could I learn from it? Instead of forcing it to leave because I feared it would kill me, what if I met with it? Could I walk through it like a forest? What would I find there? Would there be lessons that I could only learn in this place? Stories I would only be told here. Songs only to be sung here. Tears I might never cry again. Friendships meant for a time such as this. Instead of asking questions about why cancer was here, instead of looking back, I could choose to live in the present. I could choose to meet Cancer and explore this new land.
And so I have.
When I got beyond trying to figure out why this was happening to me, I could see what cancer had for me.
What about you? Is your judgement of things as ugly, dirty, sinful, keeping you from experiencing God in deeper way? Would you drink His blood?
Thanks for walking with me. I look forward to hearing about your experiences with Father, Son, and Spirit.
To God be the Glory. — Miranda
All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. – John 1:3
He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him.- John 6:56