How a Bunch of Teenage Boys Unexpectedly Cured My Heartache

Photo by Kim Harms

(I need to preface this with a short note. Today, January 20, is the 2nd anniversary of my breast cancer diagnosis. Hard anniversaries bring heartache. And today I will remember the phone call that left me collapsed in Corey’s arms. I will remember the fear. I will remember the sleeplessness. But on the flip-side of that, I will remember the unimaginable peace that came to me at unexpected times. I will remember how my faith in and love for Jesus has deepened immensely because of this hard hard thing. And I hope this little story will encourage you in the hard things too.) 

I seldom fear cancer will come back.

I’ve read the stats, and I know that because I found my tumor early, my chances of another bout with it are very slim. And aside from the fact that I tend to write about cancerish things a lot, it’s a rare day that cancer thoughts overwhelm me.

But every once in a while I’m caught completely off guard by deep despairing sadness or unrelenting unsubstantiated fear.

A Monday not so long ago I had one of those days.

I found myself baking (what? I don’t  bake) and dripping tears in the cookie dough while Tim McGraw sang sweet songs to me via Spotify. (Hello name is Kim Harms, and I’m a country music fan.)

I don’t relish those days, but I know it’s okay to have them. Everyone is susceptible. Cancer is not a prerequisite for sadness and fear. Chronic Illness, job loss, watching your child go through a hard thing. . . the causes of sadness and fear come in many shapes and sizes. Cancer just happens to be the most common detonator attached to my bombs of emotion.

But what I know to be true on the hard days is that God loves me. He doesn’t cease to care for me on the days that the sadness clings to my side. So I endure the melancholy, and I pray through the fear, and I cry all the tears (often Corey cries them with me) because I know Jesus loves me, and I know the pain will eventually pass.

And it did pass that Monday.

At 6:00 that night, teenage boys started showing up at my door. They are regulars at our Monday evening dinner table. They fill my house with laughter, and they eat my sometimes-good-sometimes-not-so-good food. And they bless me every single time just by being here.

But this week I wasn’t sure I wanted them to come. I kind of wanted to just crawl in my bed and cry. But something happened as they crammed around our dining table and joked about cross country races and new driver’s licenses and went back to fill their plates with second helpings (Phew…this week’s meal was edible.)

The sadness lifted. And it was replaced with joy.

Those boys will likely never know it, but God used their laughter to bring me peace.

Cancer (and a whole lot of other things in life) are scary and sad. But God is good. And He is a giver of good things. Sometimes those good things come with deep man voices and size 12 shoes.

Life is a gift. My boys are a gift. Their friends are a gift. And my time on this earth is a gift. Every single sad second and every single joy-filled second is a gift.

I hope that on your next sad or fear-filled day God will show up with His love and give you His peace in a sweet unexpected way. (Maybe you just need to invite a bunch of teenagers over for supper 😉 )

Psalm 30:11 You turned my wailing into dancing; you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy.

Kim Harms

Kim Harms is a writer and speaker and was a regular contributor at the former Today's Christian Woman. She has a degree in English: Literary Studies from Iowa State University. Her work can be found in many publications including CT Women, Chicken Soup for the Soul, Guideposts, Creation Illustrated and a variety of devotionals. She underwent a bilateral mastectomy and reconstruction surgeries in 2016 after being diagnosed with breast cancer. She writes about her "Life Reconstructed" at kimharms.net. Central Iowa is home, and she lives there with her husband Corey and their 3 ever-growing man-children.

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6 comments

  1. Kim, this is wonderful. My favorite lines, “Cancer (and a whole lot of other things in life) are scary and sad. But God is good. And He is a giver of good things. Sometimes those good things come with deep man voices and size 12 shoes.” 🙂

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