Warrior in Pink: A Cancer Story-Guest Post by Vivian Mabuni
My friend Vivian Mabuni has a new book out—the story of her journey with cancer. You will love Warrior in Pink: A Story of Cancer, Community and the God Who Comforts. Viv’s honest, authentic story invites us to live in community with others and with God in life's difficult journeys. She shares the introduction to her book on Kindling today.
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)
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 relationships 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, that story, that prayer, that moment, that decision. It made all the difference.
Vivian Mabuni says about herself: I am an Asian-American Christian woman, wife, mom, and cancer survivor. My different worlds influence who I am, how I lead, and the way I connect with God and others. She writes at A Place of Abundance. You find her on Twitter (@vivmabuni) and Facebook. And click over to order Warrior in Pink.