By Randy Alcorn,
Eternal Perspectives Ministry
Oregon based ministry
My wife Nanci was featured in a column by Chuck Norris, our friend and brother in Christ. Chuck writes, “I know Nanci, and I know she’s not happy with me placing this much focus on her, right Nanci?” He’s right. Both of us feel a bit awkward with the high praise for the two of us, but I’m nonetheless touched and grateful for Chuck sharing about Nanci’s cancer journey, and we deeply appreciate all the prayers on her behalf. Thanks, Chuck and Gena, for your friendship, love, and support. And thanks to everyone who has written words of encouragement to us and prayed for us! —Randy Alcorn
She’s a female Chuck Norris
By Chuck Norris
Like with many of you, the Thanksgiving and Christmas season is our favorite time of year. It’s a special time when we all get together with family and friends. It is a time of celebration, but it can also be a time of trial, especially if you’re enduring hardships, like some close friends of ours – one of whom I’m calling “a female Chuck Norris.”
I admire many of the amazing women and heroines who were a part of history, especially the American Revolution, some known and some not-so-known: those like Martha Washington, Abigail Adams, Lucy (“Lady”) Knox, Sybil Ludington, Catherin Barry, Esther Reed, Margaret Corbin and Nancy Hart. All these women were incredible patriots and warriors.
My wife, Gena, and I also have many modern women we admire, too: like former first ladies Barbara and Laura Bush,Texas first ladies Anita Perry and Cecilia Abbott, Dr. Alveda King, Lili Baehr, Elizabeth Ridenour, Tania Beck, to name a few. In addition to these, we also know and respect many great women who have served our military and local law enforcement and first responder agencies. We also are grateful and blessed to know many women of charitable influence, those that serve as instructors and managers in our KickStart Kids Foundation and the many great women in our families. We love and respect them all for the different and giving qualities they embody and shine to us and others.
Gena and I have many special friends around the country and world. Among them are those who have had a great spiritual impact and influence on us. A couple at the top of that heap are Randy and Nanci Alcorn.
You undoubtedly have heard of Randy as he is one of the top-10 Christian authors in the U.S. and world. He is a New York Times best-selling author, who has written 58 books, including “Courageous,” “Heaven,” “Happiness,” “The Treasure Principle,” the Gold Medallion winner “Safely Home” and his most recent, “Giving is the Good Life.” His books have been translated into over 70 languages and have sold over 11 million copies. He is also the founder of Eternal Perspectives Ministries (epm.org).
But behind all of Randy’s success and service is his best friend and faithful wife for decades. If it’s true that behind every great man is a great woman – and I believe it is – Nanci is that great female behind Randy. From their youth, she has stood by her man. I can say with certainty, when it comes to wives, Randy and I definitely “married up”! Right, Randy? [Note from Randy: “Definitely right!”]
Randy, Nanci and their beloved dog Maggie.
Randy and Nanci with their daughters, Angela and Karina, when they together wrote “The Ishbane Conspiracy.”
The Alcorns, Gena and I having a little fun together.
The Alcorns have been good friends of ours for roughly two decades, and we’ve spent some choice times together from Texas to California. They’ve both been gigantic encouragers and Christian models and mentors to us. We love and thank them for their friendship, devotion and even patience with our often-ultra-busy lives.
In the beginning of 2018, it was difficult for us to hear when Nanci was diagnosed with colon cancer. We joined countless others in praying for her, Randy and the rest of their family, who are all precious souls, too. Nanci’s healing would be found through a long year of surgery with a combination of radiation and chemotherapy treatments. And through it all, of course, they kept their faith in God, though they struggled as we all would.
Randy, who also wrote the must-read book, “If God is Good: Faith in the Midst of Suffering and Evil,” shared some insights on his blog about how they made it through 2018:
Even in the midst of doctor visits and rounds of chemo, Nanci and I have been delighting in God through delighting in His Word, and have been discussing His faithfulness and aspects of His character. This has been an anchor for us. Jesus is the object of our faith and the source of our eternal perspective and present comfort.
One of the books Nanci has been reading is “The Joy of Fearing God,” by Jerry Bridges. Jerry writes, “We cannot separate trust in God from the fear of God. We will trust Him only to the extent that we genuinely stand in awe of Him.”
Nanci has also loved reading “Knowing God” by J. I. Packer and “Trusting God” by Jerry Bridges, along with A. W. Tozer’s “The Knowledge of the Holy.” Both of us highly recommend these books, because they center us on the person of God, which is where we all need to set our minds, whether we’re facing cancer or anything else. Our hearts have been lifted in praise as we contemplate His holiness, grace, justice, mercy, and every facet of His being revealed to us in Scripture.
As much as we appreciate the physicians and the advances of medical science, we are reminded that our ultimate hope is not in them but in God. Trust in our sovereign and gracious and happy God, who alone is sufficient to bear the weight of our trust, allows Nanci and me to laugh and talk and pray together each night with an underlying foundation of happiness.
We are secure in God’s love and fully trust Him to do what He determines is best for His glory and for Nanci’s good. Scripture tells us, “Our God is in the heavens; he does all that he pleases” (Psalm 115:3).
At the end of 2018, when all was medically said and done, the Alcorns received great news as scans showed “no detectable cancer”! They celebrated – we all celebrated, and they spent the last year regrouping and resting. They deserved it. They needed it.
Unfortunately, in the last few months of 2019, through her routine checkups, the Alcorns received the disheartening news that Nanci’s cancer was clear from its original area but had sometime previously spread to her lungs.
Last week, just two days before Thanksgiving, Nanci underwent another surgery to remove the cancerous nodules from her lungs.
Their daughter Angela described the good-news-bad-news outcome on Nanci’s CaringBridge page:
Her surgeon was able to remove 2 of the suspicious nodules WITHOUT removing an entire lobe of her lung! [That’s great news!]. For those of you who are medically inclined – he did a wedge resection not a lobectomy. This means that her recovery (that was expected to be 6-8 weeks) is now potentially only going to be 3-4 weeks instead.
Unfortunately, the surgeon said that he is 95% certain these nodules are malignant. We were definitely aware this was likely the case, but the biopsy results will tell us for certain in about 7 days.
Most likely chemo will be the next course of action after she fully recovers from surgery, but we’ll have to wait to hear from her oncologist and the surgeon managing her original colon cancer.
We deeply appreciate all your prayers. We’ll continue to update you as she recovers.
We encourage you to pray for our friends, Nanci and Randy, and their family. We’d even encourage you to join her CaringBridge page to read the latest in her progress. And please join Randy’s Facebook page for further updates on Nanci as well as his spiritual encouragements to help you if you, too, are enduring tough times this holiday season.
Now, I know Nanci, and I know she’s not happy with me placing this much focus on her, right Nanci? Or that I might share with millions of people from sea to shining sea that her birthday was on Saturday. And that one of the best ways people can bless her (and Randy) is to purchase a copy of her super-helpful book for women that would also make a great Christmas gift: “Help for Women under Stress: Preserving Your Sanity.”
So, let me lift my personal concern for the Alcorns to add an encouragement that we also pray this Christmas for the cancer patients we know – especially the children, the medical teams who treat them, and that medical science continues to make advances and breakthroughs to overcome this dreaded disease. You might even consider making one of your Christmas donations to the American Cancer Society, which helps in myriad ways.
Alcorns, dear friends, we are so sorry for what you are enduring again, but we are honored to stand in the gap and help raise up God’s great army across this country and around the world to pray and believe for Nanci’s healing, too, and all of the Alcorn family’s Christmas peace and joy, which is true “Happiness,” as Randy teaches.
If you struggle knowing how to pray, then join Nanci in her passionate and empowering prayer this Christmas season, especially if you’re facing your own hardships. Nanci gave us a glimpse into her faithful heart through a prayer she wrote based upon the inspiring and timeless words in Psalm 23. It’s titled, “A Prayer to the Shepherd of My Life”:
Please, Shepherd of my life,
- Cause me to want nothing more – not even good health – than to have you as my Shepherd.
- Reveal to me that the pastures and waters to which you lead me are green and still – because you are there!
- Engage my heart to receive the restoration of my soul by your Holy Spirit.
- Renew my conviction that, for your name’s sake, righteousness is the direction of each path you have for me.
- May your Holy Spirit – the Comforter – banish all my fears of evil (being out of control, letting pride inflate me, weakness, pain, loss of plans) as I walk through this valley – because you are with me!
- Open my eyes and my ears to the protection and comfort of your rod and staff. Don’t let me miss those things and people which you have provided me for this purpose.
- Help me experience the table you have prepared for me in the presence of this cancer.
- Don’t let me overlook – or fail to ask for – your every healing drop of oil on my head.
- Keep my perspective on my daily overflowing cup of your goodness and mercy.
- Direct my longing toward my place in your house, forever!
Now, do you see why I call Nanci “a female Chuck Norris”?