Back in 2009, I was diagnosed with an ameloblastoma. An ameloblastoma is a local, aggressive tumor that the dentist found in my jaw while removing my wisdom teeth. My family and I saw three separate doctors (even a specialist at the Mayo Clinic in Florida) and they all said the same thing: I was going to have to get jaw resection surgery. They would have to remove half of my jaw, replace it with a steel bar, graft in bone from my hip, and I was to lose the feeling on the left side of my face for the rest of my life. I would spend about two years in and out of hospitals with multiple surgeries. Essentially, I was told that my whole life would be turned upside down. I was given this diagnosis shortly after my call to begin pursuing music/worship leading and naturally I was devastated. I couldn’t understand why I had to go through this… why me… why now? However, the Lord continually reassured me of His love. I am faithful. I am good.
Not too long before my diagnosis, I had heard the back-story to John Mark McMillan’s song, “How He Loves”, and I was wrecked (if you’re not familiar with it, look it up; you won’t regret it). I prayed to the Lord, declaring my love and desiring to be not just a musician, but to be a worship leader that was completely called after the heart of God and unfaltering in my love.
I asked God to give me the faith of John Mark McMillan, and then was told that I had an ameloblastoma. And while my world was rocked and my faith was tested, God proved Himself even more faithful. In every major event throughout my diagnosis- from the diagnosis itself to the visits with the doctors to the long, tearful nights spent researching surgery options- the song “How He Loves” followed me. I lead it at church the day before I got diagnosed. I was listening to it the day I received the phone call about the severity of the tumor. People would send my the lyrics, unknowing of my heartache. It was the Lord’s declaration of His love for me, His promise of a bright morning soon to come.
Nine days before my surgery at the Mayo Clinic, my parents scheduled a fourth consultation. I laughed at them and said that they were wasting our time and money, but I consented and went with them to Chapel Hill. After the nurses took x-rays and sat me in the doctor’s room to wait for what seemed like years, the head surgeon walked into my room, holding my x-rays. He said, “I can’t tell you, with a clean conscience, that you have to have surgery. There’s nothing there.”
Nothing there. Nothing? I was floored. Was he serious?
Indeed, he was. On the one year anniversary of my healing, I got the notes to “How He Loves” snaking up my back and over my shoulder. It’s yet another testimony to the faithfulness and love of Christ.