Submitted by Reece Thome
As an introduction to our granddaughter’s “Dear God” letter we’re asking for indulgence in describing the events leading up to the point of her writing it. First, she is a relatively new believer In Jesus. It’s been less than 2 years since she discovered the truth of the gospel. However, when she learned that truth Gilly became obsessed with learning more and more and practicing her newfound faith.
Skipping forward to June, 2019 Gilly was diagnosed with a malfunctioning gall bladder and doctors recommended taking it out to solve symptoms she was encountering. Surgery was done to resolve the problem, but it didn’t result in erasing the symptoms. A visit to her gynecologist and more tests showed a sizeable cyst in the abdominal area. Surgery was done to remove the cyst only to discover that it was more than a cyst. The dreaded ovarian cancer words were uttered by the gynecological surgeon and a cancer specialist who observed Gilly’s internal conditions.
After the surgeon consulted numerous approaches with leading ovarian cancer treatment specialists around the country, it was decided to do 3 sessions of chemo treatments on a recurring 3 week schedule in hopes of reducing the size of the primary cancerous cyst while still allowing her the possibility of children after entering remission. This in spite of the information that Gilly’s type hadn’t been receptive to chemo treatments.
The 1st treatment went well with positive results in terms of blood markers. 3rd treatment blood tests revealed increased blood markers – not such good news. The prescribed procedures called for a CT scan after the 3rd chemo and that result did not come back favorable. It showed that although the cyst had shrunk it was not as much as hoped. Additionally, there seemed to be more cancerous activity across her insides and there appeared to be a tumor on her other ovary. Not much of a birthday present when Gilly turned 18 on 11/7/19.
After 3rd chemo, surgery was scheduled for 12/4. Throughout this whole process, Gilly kept coming back to the strength and peace found in Jesus. She had several down days but seemed to always come out of those rapidly and with hope. She probably had thousands of people praying for healing and faith throughout the ordeal. We thank all of them profusely.
The surgeon told the family to expect a 4 to 6 hour procedure. He wanted to check out every organ he could get to for any sign of cancer invasion. After about 1.5 hours, he emerged and called family to a conference room.
From the previous cyst removal surgery that lasted far less than predicted the apprehension of bad news was palpable in the room. The question was asked if this was going to be hard to hear and the doctor said no, this was great news. They took out the cyst/tumor, an ovary and the corresponding fallopian tube but could not find “the” tumor on the other ovary so he left it in place. Gilly now has a chance to fulfill her dream of being a mother. Furthermore, the suspected cancer throughout her abdominal area turned out to be dead tissue. Surgeon theorized the chemo must have worked well – even though he had told us her type of cancer was not receptive. We believe it was God’s miracle gift not only to us but to all those Gilly will be able to disciple through her experience.
In the days following her surgery, she began to write a letter to God. It took her a few days to finish but in my wife’s and my minds, it is well worth reading and an inspiration for anyone that chooses to do so. I took the letter to a men’s group I am a part of and read it aloud to them. Once I finished, they burst into applause and there was hardly a dry eye in the room. The following week, a few of the brothers expressed their appreciation for sharing the letter. When I told them that I had shared the applause with Gilly and her pleased reaction to it, they said their response was the only time in the over 15 years of meeting that anyone had ever applauded. God at work touching hearts?
So, my hope and prayer is that her letter can bring you not only hope but comfort and peace in your own trying times. None of us are immune from problems and trouble on this earth, but we can look forward to a heavenly reward by following the leadership and sacrifice of Jesus.
Gilly’s GOD Letter
I can’t begin to thank you enough. Your endless love for me and strength you give me continues to push me forward. I thank you for having me today and all days. Thank you for standing before me and giving me the chance to fight this with that cyst. Thank you for standing behind me during my time of surgery in case I fell. Thank you for still allowing me to get this cancer and not completely allowing me bypass this life changing opportunity. God, the things you have allowed me to learn and see during this time have not only amazed me but allowed me to be a better Christian and woman of faith.
You have given me the chance to see love in many forms. My school loving me as a student and sending me a care package. My family making me shirts and gathering around to cheer me on. My parents coming together to give me the best care I can have. My grandparents being there for me and my needs with no hesitation. My friends supporting me and not turning their backs to me. My boyfriend loving me more and more and showing me his promise to never leave.
I’ve experienced overwhelming amounts of joy. Living for your son Jesus has given me this sense of security, safety and protection. I feel surrounded by you and God, there’s nothing more joyful to me in my heart. I’ve prayed every night for continued joy as I praise you every day and you’ve given me nothing less. I’ve not only been blessed by you with this joy, but have gotten to spread this joy to others. I feel honored with being so far ahead of cancer now that I’ll be able to continue to spread this holy joy longer and longer.
Peace wasn’t something that came easy to me as you know. I cried out to you on many occasions clueless of what I should do. I cried out to you over every fear of mine. You reminded me you’ve got me time and time again. You’ve allowed me the blessing of peace.
I’ve seen the greatest patience In people since my time of diagnosis, but have also prayed endlessly for you to help guide me into learning even greater patience. I’ve learned how to be patient through my chemo and this whole cancer journey. It’s all about your timing. And with your hands at the wheel and your foot on the gas, I wouldn’t rush anything, but rather trust In the free ride.
I’ve found that kindness is very impactful in simplistic forms. From “I’m so glad you’re here today” to opening doors. Asking how I’m doing and asking to help. Purchasing me winter hats and helping me get into college. Saying “you look beautiful” and also treating me like I’m not sick. God, I thank you for everyone who’s been praying for me big time. This the biggest act of kindless.
I’ve found goodness in community. People from work coming together to accommodate me and my needs. God, I thank you for where you have put me occupationally. I thank you for where you have put my father and mother occupationally. Thank you for their understanding bosses and accommodating ones. Thank you financially making sure we pull through. My dad is no doctor and momma is no lawyer, but medically my bills are all covered. There’s always food when I’m up to eating, clothing for each seasonal change and now medically related physical change and a little extra for enjoyment. Thank you God.
I’ve found gentleness starting with my boyfriend. To the extreme length of care he’s willing to go to simply the light touches and soft spoken words. I pray God a blessing for him as I am so blessed to have him. I appreciate him every day and am beyond grateful for you crossing our paths again. I’m so thankful you’ve put a man into my life that is exactly what my grandfather used to describe as being “Papa Approved”. God , please tell Papa thank you for me as he taught me what was acceptable from a man and to never settle for less. Now here I am, even before I was sure, with the man he told me I would be good with. God, Brandon is such a light in the darkness for me. Saying we’ll get through this together instead of you’ll get through. God, please keep pouring into him as I hope he keeps tapping into you.
I’ve found self-control in learning what I need. As you know, I’m not too good at that. I’ve prayed for strength, confidence and courage. I’ve learned to stand up for what I need and learn it’s ok to do that. It’s ok to cater to others and take care of other’s feelings, but that your own feelings must be catered to equally or more so. How does one pour into another if they’re empty? How does one light up another’s world if they’re burnt out? I’ve learned to take time for me and find my limits. I’ve learned to push myself to do more before I reach my limits. God, thank you for answering my prayers.
My faithfulness is growing every day so I can be the best servant to your kingdom as possible. Between financially being supported out of nowhere to chemo working more than it should have. I thought my life was over and I prayed to you to either heal me here or heal me home. I asked for my family to be prepared and taken care of. I prayed for my dream to still be able to come true. I asked for a miracle. A MIRACLE. I said to you, “I know there’s other people out there that need saving more than I do God, but God you know I’d lay my life down to save a random child of any age because that’s who I am. Kids are who I am. Being a great Momma one day is who I wanna be. Please God. You see the overall picture and if having biological children isn’t it then please please let this be as painless as possible because that would be painful enough.”
When I was little, I’d squeeze my dad’s hand when I got scared. I pictured standing next to Jesus and just squeezing his hand. I also could hear a voice in my head say “I’ve got you”. After hearing this I would state aloud, “He’s got me to bring me comfort”.
I used to look at faith the way I looked at my cancer…yes, I now it’s real, other people have it. But I can’t see it. I haven’t experienced it like them. Well, here’s the thing about faith … you see it in the things around you. You feel it within. You know it’s there. Everyone’s Godly relationship and experience is different per person. Don’t go comparing yours to others.
Yesterday I smiled as my boyfriend kissed me on my forehead after I told him I’m officially ahead of cancer. He told me “I’m more than ahead”. I said, “I’m gonna be cancer free”. He said, “we’re almost there”.
This post was submitted by Reece Thome