t. elizabeth renich

author of historical fiction

Family Journal

Family Journal (Kearney, MO & Greater Kansas City) – February/March 2008 – page 18

dscn5224LORD, You’re in Control!

by Tammy Renich (with Kim Simmons)

After an article about my battle with cancer was printed in the Richmond Times-Dispatch, Fran Minner of the National Ovarian Cancer Coalition contacted me.  Fran invited me to be a guest speaker at the “Tea for Teal.”  (Teal is the color of ribbons for ovarian cancer.)  I was honored but when she said the event was on Sept. 16, a Sunday during football season, I doubted I’d be able to participate.  We agreed to wait until the schedule came out in April.  If the Redskins had a home game that weekend, I wouldn’t be able to accept.  But if we had an away game, then maybe.

I prayed:  “LORD, if this is something You want me to do, can You please fix the NFL schedule so my team has an away game on September 16?  You’re in control.”

I left it at that.

When the schedule was released, I scanned the dates — no September 16th game.  I had to chuckle as I looked closer:  Eagles @ Philadelphia on Monday Night Football, Sept. 17.  I took that as my sign that the LORD was leading.  I asked Coach Williams if I could go and he made sure everything would work out.  When Fran called, I confirmed with her that I’d be there — by the grace of God.

May, June, July, August…From time to time I’d get ideas that I thought might be interesting for my talk…but I was having a hard time stringing them together coherently.  September…Still nothing on paper…Saturday, Sept. 15…James Thrash, one of our receivers, caught me staring at my computer screen.  He asked what was wrong.

“When you don’t see me sitting here at my desk tomorrow, pray for me,” I said.  “I’m doing a speaking engagement tomorrow and I don’t have the words to say.”  James smiled encouragingly, “Look up Matthew 10:20.”  I did and it was exactly what I needed:  “for it is not you who speak, the Spirit of your Father who speaks in you.”  The words started coming, almost faster than I could type.  God is good.

At 10:30 pm, I finished.  I called my mom, read it to her, and reckoned it would fit the 15-minute alloted time slot.  Thanksgiving preceded my begging the LORD to help me not blubber my way through it.

The next morning I left with enough time to make it to Richmond.  Ten miles from home, I got stuck at an accident and the detour added 40 minutes to my drive.  I sighed, “LORD, You know what time I have to be there.  You set this all in motion.”  I arrived without getting lost with 10 minutes to spare.  I met Fran as the program was to start.

I was scared spitless.  I was praying like crazy.  The butterflies were still with me as Fran introduced me.  When I got to the podium, I asked them to bear with me.  I explained this was my first “public appearance” since the book signing I did three weeks before my cancer was diagnosed.  I confessed that sometimes I still have the lingering effects of chemo-brain.  Everyone in that room understood what I meant.  That in itself made me feel better.

This crowd was a rather unique one:  the majority of the women were ovarian cancer survivors.  Some were presently undergoing treatment.  Others were friends or relatives of women who hadn’t survived.  Their smiling applause welcomed me.  I calmed down as I began to speak.  They laughed when they should have, which was encouraging.  I came to where I’d inevitably get choked up.  When I paused to ask for their patience again, I looked up to find many of them wiping at tears, too — which made me lose it, albeit momentarily.  These survivors looked so “normal” — like they’ve never had anything wrong with them.  And then there was a lady with her scarf and baseball cap covering her poor bald head.  Those days aren’t so distant to me, though they are indeed behind me.

When I finished, they gave a standing ovation.  Glory to God.  They liked what they heard because my words were indeed God-given.

Later, I met a 28-year survivor.  LORD willing, if He chooses, I will be where she is one day.  The lady with the ball cap hopes to be where I am one day.  It’s all about perspective.

Fran was pleased.  “Bless your heart, you spoke from your heart!”

The next day, I headed into DC to visit the Library of Congress.  I met three vacationers who had never taken the Metro before.  I helped them puchase passes and they followed me to the platform.  We got on the train together and one lady shared my seat.  She asked questions that had me describing how I’m an ovarian cancer survivor.  She wanted to ask me some personal questions.  As she listened, it seemed her worry increased.  She confessed that she was suffering similar symptoms that I’d described and I encouraged her to go see her doctor when she got home.

She bought one of my books, Word of Honor.  I signed it as we pulled into the Smithsonian station.  She said, “God put you on this train specifically to tell me that.  I know He did.”  I nodded, “I know He did, too.  I’ve no doubt.”

To cap off my adventures, we beat the Eagles on Monday night!  I am blessed indeed.

Tammy Renich is Administrative Assistant for Defense and Special Teams for the Washington Redskins.  She works closely with Coach Gregg Williams, Assistant Head Coach-Defense, who graduated from Excelsior Springs High School.  Renich is also author of the Shadowcreek Chronicles — a series of four historical novels including:  Word of Honor, Matter of Trust, Not Without Courage, and Strength and Glory.  n

(Excerpt from Tammy Renich’s acknowledgments in her book, Word of Honor):  “Most importantly, my desire is to give the praise and glory to Jesus Christ, my Lord and Savior.  I thank Him for giving me ‘a way with words’ and for being my constant source of inspiration.”

Picture was taken at Oatlands, which is an old plantation just south of Leesburg, VA.

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