Gift of Gab Life with Leukemia

Some Dirt for Pearls? Sure!

Exactly one year ago, today, I was sitting in my doctor’s office as she told me to phone my parents because she had to admit me to the hospital. I was dazed and in a state of utter confusion! I had just left work during my lunch break to come in for the results of some blood work. I, who have never been ill outside of a minor cold, could not possibly be going to the hospital. I just wanted to go home! I remember my doctor talking to me so gently letting me know that if I went home, I may not live to see another day. I remember being so frustrated sitting in the ER, getting poked and prodded, with doctor after doctor coming in with no solid diagnosis. I kept thinking, I’m fine. I just need to get some rest and I’ll be ok. Little did I know, two days later I would be diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia [ALL].

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I was faced with a situation that I had NEVER encountered before. It changed my entire life. I went from not even taking a simple advil to the strongest chemotherapy and radiation infiltrating every part of my body. Because ALL is cancer of the blood, they have to wipe out all of the old infected blood and hope that the new blood coming in will be cancer-free (remission). Unfortunately with ALL in my case, it didn’t matter how many times I reached remission, it was going to come back. So, then I underwent a Bone Marrow Transplant – my near death and rebirth. After that, I was faced with the daunting news that it would take me a year from the date of transplant to recover! For me, a year was like a lifetime because without my career, my community activities and church, what was I supposed to do? After the transplant, things just seemed to get bleaker because I now had to physically rehabilitate every part of my body. I was so weak and didn’t want to really fight anymore. I would ask God numerous times to just take all this away immediately!  But, instant healing was not His recipe for this miracle. He chose the process of healing and He is daily giving me the strength and patience to get through it. Let me tell you the story of the oyster and the pearl.

In order for an oyster to produce a pearl, it must first have a small irritant such as a piece of dirt introduced into its soft internal tissue. To ease this irritant, the oyster’s body takes defensive action and responds by emitting a smooth, hard crystalline substance, called “nacre”, around the irritant in order to protect itself. As long as the irritant remains within its body, the oyster will continue to secrete nacre around it, layer upon layer and eventually it produces a valuable pearl. Without the introduction of an uncomfortable situation and the process of trying to fight through it, the oyster would never be able to produce the lovely and lustrous gem called a pearl.

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I read a book in 2008 titled “Your Situation Is Not Your Destination” by J.C. Matthews. In it he said some profound things. I’ll just give you a few highlights.

  • We undergo a process of transformation similar to land under construction when He transitions us from our situation to our destination. You must remember God’s will for our lives is not frustrated by facts or circumstances. Preparation is not punishment. It may be uncomfortable and unpleasant, but it’s purposeful.
  • God never intends for our wilderness to become our permanent residence.
  • Fruitfulness is not an event, but a process and one of the greatest inhibitors of fruitfulness is impatience. So many people claw their way out of a bad situation only to spoil what should’ve blessed their lives because they were impatient and didn’t allow the process to complete itself.
  • The long way doesn’t mean it’s the wrong way.
  • Remember the pain is only temporary. Growth will take place. The pain has purpose. The knowledge of the purpose will enable you to withstand the temporary discomfort.

It’s so easy for us to get stuck in the process. We get discouraged, lose focus, waiver in our commitment, lose sight of our purpose, and the list goes on. As we embark on 2014, a year I decree and declare will be a year of greater, please remember that your situation is not your destination. You must go through in order to get through! Don’t just stop in the middle and throw your hands up in defeat. If you can just stay strong and get through the process, God promised that in due season you shall be rewarded if you don’t give up. [Gal. 6:9] Please don’t give up. Lord knows I’m not…I like pearls way too much. 😉 Happy New Year!

-Mel-Strong

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comment (16)

  1. Candy-Bandy

    08 Jan 2014 - 10:47 pm

    I love your girl!!!! You got this….Here’s to 2014!

  2. Judia Jackson

    08 Jan 2014 - 11:19 pm

    I decree and declare that 2014 will be your best year yet! May God continue to bless you in your Pearl making process!

  3. Manila McCluster

    08 Jan 2014 - 11:26 pm

    I absolutely LOVE you my pearl! I have prayed for your recovery more than you will ever know and it brings me to tears to see this post from you. God is SO faithful! I pray your strength daily.

    ♥ Malika

  4. Danijel Yeakey

    08 Jan 2014 - 11:58 pm

    Powerful and so profound Melanie! Your message just spoke life to me, “your situation is not your destination” . May God’s healing virtue continue to perform an awesome work in you. I stand in agreement 2014 our year of greater!!! Thank you for sharing your journey and your willingness to minister others. Your strength and resilience…there are no words! #mel-strong #inspired

  5. Leonard Scott

    09 Jan 2014 - 12:04 am

    Your situation is like that of the caterpillar who struggles to be released from the cocoon. Without the struggle her wings would not develop the strength to fly and display the awesome beauty of the butterfly. God is allowing you to develop strong wings to soar into places that will require the fortitude you are building. Count it “ALL” joy. The Savior is in control.

  6. Terry Whitt Bailey

    09 Jan 2014 - 12:36 am

    Happy New Year. Melanie!! I can still remember coming to your Open House after you graduated from Ball State University and thinking, “This young lady is going to make an impact on the world.” God is giving you a platform to share HIS love, HIS healing power, and HIS promises to HIS people. Thank you for being God’s Pearl!!

  7. Lavonna Garrett

    09 Jan 2014 - 12:49 am

    Thank you for sharing , it is what I need to keep me focused on God and not the process. Continued blessings and success.

  8. Jackie Robinson

    09 Jan 2014 - 1:26 am

    Inspirational story Melanie! It seemed like ages ago we met in Orlando but I do remember you from your smile and what a blessing to continue smiling through it all. Prayers for your continued healing.

  9. Scarlett Duncan

    09 Jan 2014 - 1:47 am

    Wow you make me stronger than ever…..I am a Breast Cancer Survivor it’s been a year for me to and you are my HERO!!!!! I thought my journey was bad and painful, but listing to your testimony there is always someone else worse then you…..You really blessed me talking about the pearl I am a pearl too…..I really appreciate you and your testimony I love you Mel-strong……..I have knowing you since u were a little girl through your Aunt Barbara God bless you and stay Strong!!!!!!!

  10. Wendi

    09 Jan 2014 - 7:08 am

    Good Morning and Happy New Years to u. I look forward to reading your post not to read about your near death experience but how you overcame it. Our God is so awesome. I thank God for you because I get encouraged and a new outlook every time I read your post. May God continue to bless and heal your body. Take care and I will continue to keep u in pray. Wendi from the cold Detroit, Mi. 🙂

  11. STEPHEN

    09 Jan 2014 - 9:45 am

    One of the STRONGEST women I know! So THANKFUL that God put YOU in all of our lives…You are a TRUE Inspiration.
    BLESSINGS!

  12. Corretta Benton

    09 Jan 2014 - 12:14 pm

    So proud of you Mel!!! Keep pushing and fighting. We’re all praying for you. Your OWOC family.

  13. TERRY & NITA JOHNSON

    09 Jan 2014 - 2:10 pm

    Hi Melanie Happy New Year! This is your year for total restoration. We thank God that you are blessed far more than you could even ask or imagine! We rejoice with you for your upcoming marriage.Your latter will truly be greater than your past! The Johnson family loves you very much! God bless and keep you always!

  14. Iris Towers

    09 Jan 2014 - 2:13 pm

    I am reading this blog sitting in my bed crying, because you have reminded me, God has not forgotten me. I will not give up. My situation has a purpose and I will complete the process to the end. I thank you for renewing my strength. I pray God continues to empower you to encourage yourself and others. You are Blessed!!!!

  15. Mia

    09 Jan 2014 - 4:46 pm

    Just to see you smile like this again….*sigh* takes my breath away…

    There’s something to be said about hindsight’s perspective. Because when one is IN “through” the thoughts you had are natural– they’re to be expected. But once one is on the other side of “through”, the new-found strength, beauty, and insight is the wonderful fruit of the transformation that “through” stimulates. And it looks good on you, sis!

    xo
    Mia

  16. Delilah Tyson

    20 Mar 2015 - 10:47 pm

    Hello Melanie
    I’m married to your cousin Nathaniel “Pedro”
    I rejoice with what God has done and doing in your life. Aunt Caroline just forwarded your blog.
    Continue to stand firm in your faith as you encourage others – You are a valued “Pearl” for God’s Glory
    Love
    Delilah from the South

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