About this blog

I was diagnosed with breast cancer on June 11, 2010. As a result of my treatment, I have lymphedema in my left arm. I draw my strength from the Lord, as well as my family's Scots-Irish heritage. Our Graham's were a tough and scrappy bunch of fighters on the Scottish/English border. They came to America and continued to fight when necessary: in the American Revolution; the Civil War; and my brother is a Captain in the U.S. Army. My ancestors settled this country against all odds. My great-grandmothers on both sides of the family were pioneer women who settled the West. Along with that heritage, and the full armor of God, I am walking the walk and fighting the good fight.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Battle Lines

As the title of my blog indicates, I view this journey with breast cancer as a battle.

I woke up yesterday morning at 4 a.m. and couldn't get back to sleep. I lay there pondering the idea of battles, God, and how He comforts and strengthens His people who are in a fight. A few weeks ago, Pastor Miles mentioned a verse from the book of Joshua: "Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go." (Joshua 1:9) I wrote it down because it spoke to me so directly.

I started thinking about Joshua and the battles that he fought to secure the Israelites place in the promised land. He had this promise from God from the beginning-that God would be with him. And God did show Himself mighty on Joshua's behalf. Being outnumbered, weaker in terms of weaponry, as long as Joshua and the Israelites remembered God as the most important factor in the battle, they won. However, when they tried to go into battle without direction from God first and fight in their own strength, they lost miserably.

I feel a bit like Joshua myself. I am clinging to the command and promise from Joshua 1:9. The Lord my God is with me wherever I go. He's with me in the sleepless hours of the night. He's with me in the doctor's office. He will be with me during surgery next week. If God is with me, then who or what can be against me? The battle belongs to Him, I am merely a foot soldier.

I looked up the word "battle" in Blue Letter Bible and found this:
  • "When you go out to battle against your enemies, and see horses and chariots and people more numerous than you, do not be afraid of them; for the LORD your God is with you, who brought you up from the land of Egypt. So it shall be, when you are on the verge of battle, that the priest shall approach and speak to the people. And he shall say to them, 'Hear, O Israel: Today you are on the verge of battle with your enemies. Do not let your heart faint, do not be afraid, and do not tremble or be terrified because of them; Deuteronomy 20:1-3 It is very similar to what God told Joshua, and it speaks directly to me. Cancer is scary. It can make the heart grow faint. Kind of like what it would feel like as a soldier going into battle and seeing the enemy for the first time. An enemy that is notorious, strong, and vicious. But God has brought me out of the land of Egypt. He has saved me from the eternal consequences of my own sin. Here I am, on the verge of battle with my enemy, cancer. I am not afraid. The Lord my God is with me.
  • And they were helped against them, and the Hagrites were delivered into their hand, and all who [were] with them, for they cried out to God in the battle. He heeded their prayer, because they put their trust in Him. 1 Chronicles 5:20 I must put my trust in God. It's easy to say on a sunny day. But when facing something big and scary, it can be hard to walk the walk. I must continually cry out to God in this battle. He will hear my prayers. He will deliver me from this.

I've been mulling this whole topic over for the past 24 hours and have decided to do a couple things. First, I want to re-read the book of Joshua before my surgery. Secondly, I want to study this more in depth in the next few months. In addition to Joshua, I can think of several warriors and battles from the Bible (Gideon, David, Jehoshaphat, just to name a few). I want to study how God was involved in the battles they faced. Then I want to see how that speaks to me and relates to my upcoming battle.

My prayer requests:
  • That I be able to follow God's command to not be fearful in the face of my enemy, cancer. The mental and spiritual battle is almost as bad, if not worse, than the physical one at this point. I need help walking the walk here. I know God's commands are also His enablements. He does not command us to do anything He wont' help us to do. The thought of this surgery is scary. It's a mutilation. I will have battle scars. I'm looking forward to it because it will mean the known tumors are gone. But I still will come out of it physically changed. I don't want to be afraid of what I will look like. Not in a vain kind of way. But seriously, when I look at it in the mirror, I don't want to puke. I know it can all be "fixed" on the outside. I don't want to be afraid of this and I need God's help.
  • That I be able to be "present" for Eric. He is going through so much too. It is hard for him to watch me struggle with all of this. He would like my company from time to time. My body may be in the room, but my mind is often elsewhere. It's hard to even have a conversation because I'm always thinking about something related to cancer. I need to be able to be a partner to him right now, even while gearing up for battle.
  • That the kids would not be fearful. I'm doing my best not to show fear to them. I'm trying to have fun with them each day so at least their minds aren't focused on cancer. I want them to have a fun summer and have their lives as normal as possible. I want them to trust God in this situation. I want them to see how God is at work, is on the throne, and is in charge of everything. Let this situation teach them this for life.
Thank you all for your prayers. God bless you.


  1. Tonya, you are one brave warrior! I am continuing to pray for you and your family as you deal with this.

  2. When Joshua was fighting the Amalek's, Moses went up on the mountaintop with Aaron and Hur. When Moses held his hands up (in a posture of prayer) the Israelites would be prevailing in the battle, but when his arms went down, the battle would shift to the Amalek's.

    Aaron and Hur came alongside Moses and held his arms up, coming alongside in prayer. Picture your loved ones, family,friends, and prayer warriors standing on the hill, interceding on your behalf!

    The battle belongs to the Lord!

    We all love you and are standing on that mountaintop in an attitude of prayer and supplication to the Lord on your behalf.