Fearfully and Wonderfully Made

It wasn’t the news I was expecting to hear.

After reviewing my family history, the genetic counselor seemed fairly certain that I probably carry some type of genetic cancer risk, but she was also pretty sure that it wasn’t a BRCA mutation. Sure, I had two grandmas that had ovarian cancer, and a great aunt as well. But there isn’t any breast cancer anywhere in my history–and BRCA mutations almost always result in incidences of breast cancer.

But there it was. BRCA-2. Positive. In this case, a positive is a negative. I failed the test.

Fearfully and Wonderfully Made - The Joyful Journey

The news kind of threw me for a loop. Not just because of the heightened risk that I now know I carry, but also because of the rest of my family–my children, my siblings and their children, my cousins and their children. And their children. And their children. After explaining my test results to my parents, my dad asked, “Where does it end?” And that’s just the point. It doesn’t end. If one parent carries a BRCA mutation, there’s a 50/50 chance his or her children will carry the mutation too, along with its accompanying risks. The potential ramifications are somewhat unsettling.

And unsettled is what I was. Until someone I’ve never met shared something amazing with me.

Betty is a friend of my aunt and uncle. She has left many encouraging messages in my CaringBridge guestbook over the last 9 months. Betty understands what I’m going through better than most. In 1995, she was diagnosed with breast cancer. And since 2003, she has had ovarian cancer–four times. In 2006 Betty “failed” her genetic test and learned that she is BRCA positive. But in her most recent message to me, she shared something that amazed me.

“Okay–here’s the rest of the story.  I am BLESSED to learn that I am positive–it proves to me that I belonged to my God & Savior from conception!!!!  What a blessing–no more questioning if I belong to HIM!!

He proved that to me when I was 56 yrs. old!!!”

On the surface, her words seem unbelievable. But in the days since Betty shared this with me I have been thinking A LOT about her words and the truth behind them. Psalm 139:13b-16 keeps coming to mind.

“For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place,
when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my unformed body;
all the days ordained for me were written in your book
before one of them came to be.” (NIV)

The news I received a few weeks ago made me feel so out of control. But this passage puts it all right back into perspective. It’s true. I am NOT in control–but my Creator is.

He created the most intricate parts of my body–yes, right down to that chromosome.

HIS hands put me together in my mother’s womb.

His eyes saw me before there was a me.

All the days planned for me were recorded by Him even before I came to be.

And here’s the amazing and wonderful truth.


Genetic mutation and all.


10 responses

  1. If Psalm 139 and especially the verses you quoted aren’t all about God’s grace. He’s the God who, in His grace, rescued Shad, Mesh, and Tobedwego from a blast oven, and Daniel from the lions, because He is omnipotent and omniscient and knows all about us for He formed us. Amazing grace, how sweet the word!

  2. Last week, a homeschooling friend of mine told me that her son passed all of his tests. The results? It was confirmed that he is dyslexic. I couldn’t help myself. I was thrilled. It showed on my face. “Please forgive me,” I said. “But this is a praise God moment.” Her face lit up. Finally, someone saw this news the way that she did. “Oh, I know!” she exclaimed. “I’ll say it. Thank you, Jesus!” After years of trying to teach her son to read, to write, to comprehend basic subject matter, and experiencing failure after failure, she learned the reason why. Suddenly, all of her guilt was lifted. With the diagnosis came the knowledge that there were things that she could do to help successfully teach her son.

    I cannot help but look at this post the same way. Certainly, I wish that you never had to experience the last year. Definitely, I pray that your children, and your children’s children, and their children’s children, never face cancer. BUT, once they learn that the potential is there, they and their doctors will now know what to be aware of, what to look for, and hopefully, catch any symptoms early, when the chance for a full recovery is highest. We have a similar situation in Melissa’s family, with her sister’s children.

    Thank you God, for blessing us with dedicated doctors, nurses, and medical scientists, who study and work to help us live healthy lives.

  3. Yes Linda. That exact passage has been my go-to for the past few weeks…such a comfort when all else seems like uncertain circumstances; God knitted each part of us just the way He wanted us…and therefore He created us perfect as we were made (although still sinful!). At our 20 wk ultrasound, we found out that our new one had a soft genetic marker for Downs…not the type of news you’re ever prepared to hear, let alone hear it at a time when you’re only expecting happy news. We decided to get the genetic testing done…Maternal 21…to see if I tested positive for “defective” chromosomes for Downs, Trisomy, and one other I can’t remember at this point. The test was a 10 day waiting period. I can’t tell you how often I recited, prayed, and read that passage. We tested negative…which is a positive thing. Baby Kate continues to grow and be formed by her Creator with no “markers” at this time.
    I don’t know exactly what you are going through each day, but I have a new appreciation and perspective for a “sickness” that is in your genetic makeup. Your testimony continues to inspire and encourage those of us watching you walk through this. Thank you for sharing and for your transparency. You are an amazing woman and I am blessed to call you my friend!

    • Oh, Debra! I can certainly relate to the waiting and wondering. And praying and claiming scripture! We have a sweet great niece who has an as yet unnamed syndrome. She has multiple issues and concerns. Her mom has claimed these verses AGAIN and AGAIN since they first discovered there were potential problems during her pregnancy. I was thinking of little Kayla as I wrote this post!

      I will be praying for you and Rohn and little Kate. (love that name!) I am blessed to call you my friend!

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