Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. - James 1:2-4, NIV
Billie Meadors was convinced God was about to redeem a difficult part of her past.
Having survived an extremely tough marriage and then long season of single motherhood, Billie had just wholeheartedly spent the entire summer recruiting team members, preparing to launch and lead an all new Single Moms Ministry, when a routine mammogram threatened all that. Her response this past year has alternatively humbled and amazed me.
Listen in to our conversation and you’ll hear why...
VICKEY: HELLO FRIEND. YOU’VE HAD QUITE THE YEAR! TELL US ABOUT YOUR DIAGNOSIS AND TREATMENT.
BILLIE: Triple Negative Breast Cancer. I never fully understood what “triple negative” meant although they tried to explain it at the time. Maybe because I was being bombarded with SO much in those beginning days, but I just couldn't grasp it. My doctor explained today that with “triple negative” they can't tell what caused the cancer so the chemo drugs used may or may not have an effect. Most often, if it shrinks at all it's minimally.
Chemo treatments began quickly after diagnosis, every 2 weeks for 16 weeks with a mastectomy soon following. One and a half hours after each treatment, the chemo set in. Best I can describe it is my body felt like a slab of cement. I had to hang on to things to walk through the house. But I wasn’t sick or in pain and was grateful! After about 5 days it would let up and I’d feel better just in time for another round. As for side effects like losing my hair, I remember thinking there’s going to be NO room for vanity in this so I asked God upfront to give me a peace about losing hair, eyebrows and eyelashes. I can’t explain it, but I know that’s what He did. For me the toughest part was the worry and fear on my family’s faces as they watched me go through what they perceived as suffering.
VICKEY: IT WAS YOUR SEEMINGLY UNSHAKABLE FAITH AND QUICKNESS TO SING GOD’S PRAISES THAT CONTINUALLY HUMBLED ME. WHILE OVER 80 CRBC WOMEN WERE READING AND COMMENTING ON THE SAME YOU VERSION BIBLE READING PLAN, YOU WERE THE ONLY ONE WHO COMMENTED EVERY DAY OF THE OVER 200 DAY PLAN...AND YOU WERE GOING THROUGH CHEMO! YOUR RESPONSES TO GOD’S WORD WERE SO FULL OF FAITH, GRATITUDE AND GENUINE JOY THAT THE OTHER READERS WOULD HAVE BEEN SHOCKED TO KNOW YOU WERE DEALING WITH CANCER. HOW HAVE YOU EXPERIENCED JOY IN SUCH TOUGH TIMES?
BILLIE: Joy is what I asked God to protect as I walked through this. One thing I did was to focus on each day. God ordained each day before I was ever born, so I made a concentrated effort not to rehearse the future; to keep my mind on each day; and to try to honor Him in that day. I think you have to watch for the good that He promises as you walk through anything.
Fellow CRBC breast cancer patient Kyla Pace sent me a John Piper article entitled Don't Waste Your Cancer, and in that he says "Don't spend your time studying about cancer, spend your time studying about God." That was one of the reasons I didn't Google “triple negative” and I'm glad I didn't...probably would have fallen into fear!
VICKEY: DO YOU HAVE A FAVORITE PASSAGE YOU HAVE CLUNG TO?
BILLIE: Definitely Lamentations 3:21-24, “Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. I say to myself, ‘The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for him.’” When my mind tries to tries to steer me toward fear, calling to my mind everything that is true about Him always springs new hope in my heart! It really comes down to this: He is simply true to His own word.
VICKEY: Speaking of words, I know you’ve heard some good ones recently from your doctor. Do share!
BILLIE: My last pathology report came back “Complete Response” which means the tumor is completely gone. My oncologist said that because my response to chemo was complete, my chance of recurrence is next to nil. I feel GREAT! I was told at the beginning and again at post-op not to expect to feel like myself until at least one year after diagnosis, but I feel like myself! August 28th will be one year and I've felt great since March!
VICKEY: THAT IS INCREDIBLE! WHAT ENCOURAGEMENT WOULD YOU GIVE TO THOSE EXPERIENCING THEIR OWN TOUGH TIMES?
BILLIE: Understand that God's holy hands are holding all things together. Nothing happens that He doesn't provide what is needed to endure. And I would say what I heard Brother Mark Hartman say once that I still call to mind: "Look to that better day because God promises it's out there."
VICKEY: YOU, MY FRIEND, ARE A GIFT. THANK YOU FOR YOUR EXAMPLE OF TACKLING THE TOUGH STUFF IN A WAY THAT POINTS US TO HIS UNCHANGING CHARACTER AND WORD. THANK YOU FOR REMINDING US THAT THERE IS REASON TO COUNT IT ALL AS JOY.
Billie has been an active member of CRBC for close to 30 years. She and Carl have been married 18 years. She has 3 children, two in-law children she considers her own, and 5 grandchildren. She has taught in Children's Sunday School, Youth and Single and Parenting. She is currently on the lead team for our new single moms ministry, Loving Single Moms. She loves encouraging others to study and know God's Word.
Meet the Author!
Bible teacher, author, inspirational speaker and disciple-maker, Vickey Banks is passionate about helping women connect the dots between God’s Word and their everyday lives. She loves serving as Women’s Ministry Director at Council Road, celebrating her people, playing with her puppy and getting lost in a good story.