I’m grateful to have Vivian Mabuni with us today, sharing her very real struggle through breast cancer. I pray this chapter from her book Warrior in Pink blesses you. If you have a friend struggling with this painful diagnosis (or if you are), please pass it on, or take encouragement.
And Vivian has agreed to give one of you peeps a FREE BOOK! Simply comment below to be entered.
“And the LORD is the one who goes ahead of you; He will be with you. He will not fail you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.” Deuteronomy 31:8 (NASB)
She had it all—described as an “Asian Martha Stewart.” Her home, the food she cooked, the clothes she wore, the clothes her children wore—all flawless. But then doctors diagnosed her with breast cancer. My friend tried to reach out to her, others around her tried to help, but she refused them and shut down emotionally.
On Wednesday morning six of us met in the food court at the Irvine Spectrum mall halfway between our homes. Located between Los Angeles and San Diego, Irvine, California boasted being the safest city in the nation. Our wicker chairs circled around a large, round metal table surrounded by potted flowers and towering palm trees. The setting described well the nature of our group and our self-appointed name: The Oasis.
Week after week we unpacked our bags and filled the table with notebooks, four color clicky pens, Bibles, coffee and water bottles. And week after week trust grew steadily like the palm trees around us. We began to unpack the deeper places in our souls as we shared our struggles and secrets.
Our choice to take time from our busy weeks to invest in building our relationship with God and each other yielded the blessing of a true oasis. Our group became a refuge and a place to refuel. Conversation came easily and we welcomed questions about the Bible. We laughed often, sometimes shed tears, and inevitably would go off on rabbit trails that eventually took us back to what we had learned in the Bible. What most groups covered in one week, we spilled over to a month.
This particular Wednesday morning Elaine shared about the Asian Martha Stewart. I leaned in to hear more. Her voice grew quiet as she struggled to share the last part.
“She couldn’t handle how her body changed. She couldn’t hold her perfect world together. She ended up committing suicide and left behind her husband and two kids.”
The story gripped me. I had never met the Asian Martha Stewart but could relate to her desire of wanting everything together, of being the strong one, of going inside when challenged with emotional pain, of not wanting to be a burden to others. I could see myself closing off from people as she did.
The conversation probably continued around me. But in that moment I sat still. I heard the background voices and sounds of the food court, the trays and ice machines, chairs being pushed into tables, paper wrappers being crumpled. Right then, I chose to pray. “God, if anything like that ever happens to me, I purpose right here, right now, I will let others in.”
I prayed this in October, two months before my life careened from the doctor call no one wants:
“You have cancer.”
And looking back,
It made all the difference.
Vivian Mabuni, 25 year staff member with Cru (Campus Crusade for Christ), has served on the Berkeley and UCLA campuses and on the Epic National Executive Team (Epic is the Asian American ministry of Cru). She currently serves on the Epic National Field Ministry Team. Vivian enjoys teaching and training college students and conferences and retreat and speaking at women’s events. She is part of the Speaker Bureau for Susan G. Komen, Orange County. Her first book, “Warrior In Pink: A Story of Cancer, Community and the God Who Comforts” (Discovery House Publishers) released in April. Married 23 years to her husband, Darrin, and mom to three wonderful kids, Jonathan (20), Michael (17) and Julia (12). They live in Mission Viejo, CA along with their German Shepherd, Koa. Connect with Vivian at her website: www.vivianmabuni.com , www.facebook.com/VivianMabuniWriter or on Twitter/Instagram: @vivmabuni