Battle Wounds

From the day I was born I have had to battle life.  You see, I was born with a cleft lip.  This is simply a birth defect in which the lip does not form completely.  At birth, I could not suck a bottle.  So on day two of my life, I had my first surgery to repair this defect.  When I turned eight, I had my tonsils taken out.  So those were the two surgeries of my childhood.  Not bad, taking tonsils out is pretty typical and does not leave a scar.  On the other hand, the correction of the cleft lip did leave a scar.  And even though it had faded with time, it’s still there.  So every new friend I would meet I would have to explain why my lip was funny.  It kinda bothered me, but I was not about to let anyone know it. 

Now fast forward, it’s my 21st birthday and I am having a doctor tell me that I have cancer.  Melanoma skin cancer and it is very rare to find in a person that young.  Cancer?  This can’t be happening!  Well it happened and oh boy, how did it happen.  I began a series of surgeries to remove anything that looked the slight bit cancerous.  So every freckle and every oddly colored spot on my body they removed.  By the time they were done with me; let’s just say I looked like I had been in some kind of car crash.  I had scars from the top of my head, well you get it, to the bottom of my legs.

Thankfully the only cancerous part of my body was the original spot they found.  It just so happened to be on my chest, so after surgery I looked like I had been shot in the chest with all the dressings and bandages they had used to cover my eight inch incision.  Recovery from the surgery was not so bad and I only had to do radiation one time.  They had caught the cancer early enough that it had not even had time to spread to my lymph nodes; which in the medical world is a big deal.  My lifelong objective is now to stay out of the sun and any length of time in the sun I use sunscreen.  (And I don’t mean I use sunscreen I mean like I bathe in it.  My kids too!)  It is just normal to them, they have never known any different.  It is kind of like that generation where they didn’t have to use seat belts and then the laws changed and you were now required to wear a seat belt.  Well the kids born after the law passed kinda of look at you funny if you tell a story and mention something about not wearing a seat belt.  They will look at you like you are from a different planet.

Again fast forward, I have now survived cancer.  The enemy did not take any ground.  I am beginning to realize who God really is and how He has been with me every moment of my ugly past and will be there for me today and in the days to come.

No one will be able to stand against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you.
{Joshua 1:5}

Well, remember the cleft lip?  Your teeth and gums don’t form correctly from that either, or at least mine didn’t.  So I wanted braces.  I didn’t get them as a teenager; that is an entirely different story in and of itself.  So let’s just say I was able to get them now and save that for another time.  The orthodontist tells me in order for my braces to hold I have to have a bone graph.  So guess what?  Surgery time.  The doctor who did the surgery took bone from my hip and graphed into my gums to bridge a gap.  I remember him telling me the most painful part of the surgery would be the hip.  That my hip, where he got the bone from, would hurt and recovery from that would be the hardest part.  WRONG!  My face blew up like a blowfish and it hurt.  It hurt SO badly.  It was so painful, that they want me to have another surgery to fix my deviated septum, again from the cleft lip, but I would not then because of the pain I remember from the recovery of that surgery.  I have over the course of my life time had many other surgeries (5 others to be exact) and three children and still that bone graph has been the most painful of them all.  I would have the surgery now to fix my deviated septum.  I know it would be horrible pain, but also know it would help me SO much.  Like I have to hold my face a funny way to go to sleep and if I ever get a cold, well you get it-it just is bad.  Kinda of like, no pain no gain.  So I will have the surgery soon.  We have insurance, but even at that the cost of surgery is not cheap.  I know that when it is time God will totally provide the money to do the surgery.  And you know I am going to wait on God’s timing on this one, lol!!!

I didn’t want to even really write this post, but God laid it on my heart to do so.  I was like I don’t want to be known as the victim or broken girl.  But I am not any of those things!  God has healed me from all of my diseases! 

But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.
{Isaiah 53:5}

I am SO happy to report that I have not had a surgery in 5 years. (Insert happy dance here!!)  My Grandpa Catt has played a huge part in my life.  When I would get down about the scars on my body he would tell me to not be discouraged, but to take heart.  He said that the scars were merely a reflection of a victory won.  He would tell me that those are just my battle wounds.  That my scars have stories to tell and God would use them one day.  He would encourage me that what the devil meant for harm, God would turn into good.

You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.
{Genesis 50:20}

God uses me (my scars) to tell of His love and His healing.  I have a passion for seeing people healed and set free.  I proudly show off my battle wounds for Jesus.  Everything Grandpa told me was right.  Oh how right he was!  He passed this past May, but I know he is with Jesus.  No question about it.  My favorite song to remember him by is the Matt Redman “10,000 Reasons”.  I can just see Grandpa praising and worshipping God and tears of great fullness flowing down upon his face.  It gives me goose bumps (aka-known in Embrace Grace as God bumps) just thinking about it.  I can’t wait to join him one day to praise and worship the Father!  Oh what a day, what a day it will be!

http://youtu.be/9jYLTn4fKYQ

Do you have any stories from your battle wounds that God has used for His glory? 

Written by April Franks

3 thoughts on “Battle Wounds

  1. April, I am proud of you for sharing your battle stories so boldly. I agree with your Grandpa that these are your battle wounds. I have a major battle wound and I look forward to swapping battle stories with you! You are an awesome woman of God! You have so much depth, such an amazing heart for others. I love that you are in our Apples of Gold group this semester. You are a gem.

  2. April, I love you & your heart. This gave me goosebumps and you are so so brave to write it, to put your life out there for people to learn from and celebrate with you! You have overcome so much and God knew your strength when he put these obstacles in front of you! To be honest, I didn’t even know you had had surgery! I couldn’t tell! You are so precious and your scars make you beautiful, they make you unique. I am so glad to call you friend. xo

  3. Pingback: Battle Wounds | franks family

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