Sovereign Over Us by Rica Salam

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Rica Salam has been attending Calvary Baptist Church since October 2013 and resides in Arlington, TX with her husband and kids.  Rica not only lends her vocal talents to the Calvary choir, but also volunteers in the Park area of Kid City as well as the Member Care ministry.  In her spare time, Rica enjoys playing video and board games with her family, gardening, home improvement projects, trying new recipes, and playing with her grandchildren.

Sovereign Over Us

My former pastor taught me to pray “Lord, help me to want only what you want!” I’d been praying this way for some time and it has brought me closer to God. Praying this way changed my life. My tendency to control everything and everyone was almost non-existent. I found relief in knowing that I didn’t have to have the answer to everything. Pastor Loveless teaches us to “seek His face!” This is so very powerful and necessary to get and remain in alignment with God.

About three years ago, I was diagnosed with cancer. Multiple Myeloma is a cancer where abnormal plasma cells accumulate in the bone marrow interfering with normal blood cells. The abnormal cells multiply so fast, they pile up onto the bones causing legions or tumors that thin the bones. My doctor told me my remission could be achieved quickly through chemotherapy. I didn’t ask God; I made the decision immediately! I want this gone now! There were other methods that were mentioned that would have taken up to 10-12 months before remission. Nope. Give me the fast stuff. I would sit for two hours twice a week with the IV drip hooked to my chest during my lunch break, then head back to work. I felt reasonably well, no nausea, no hair loss.

Just as the doctor said, I went into remission within six weeks, but the treatments left me with severe neuropathy. Sometimes in the middle of a conversation I would scream out in agonizing pain. I was taking 12 (7.5 mg) hydrocodone pills a day; two at a time. I was eating them like Skittles. I guess my pain was so severe, the medication didn’t have the normal narcotic-like effect on me. I was taking eight pills during my eight hour work day without any problem. No one knew I was even taking them.

I’d read everything I could get my hands on about Multiple Myeloma and neuropathy. I’d sit at the computer and cry, not cry, and cry again. They say Multiple Myeloma is incurable, but treatable. After three years I’m getting along much better. Now, I can wear some of the shoes I like, I can run and jump and play volleyball (somewhat). I look in the mirror now and see “me” again.

One day I was having chest pain while at work. I knew it probably was nothing, but to satisfy my co-workers, I let them take me to the ER. After hours of testing and waiting, the ER doctor came into the room where my husband and I were waiting. He said “Mrs. Salam, good news is there is nothing wrong with your heart. No signs of stress or scaring that we can find. The MRI technician said “but hey guys, come and look at her bones!!” WHAT’S WRONG WITH MY BONES?? WHAT?!! My oncologist never mentioned a problem with my bones, but the MRI Tech was fascinated with my bones for some reason.  He didn’t even know about the Multiple Myeloma.  I told my oncologist about the incident.  He suggested doing a bone scan, however, I opted not to do it.  I don’t want to know.  That’s God’s business.

As my husband and I walked to my car, we didn’t talk. I got into my car and watched as my husband walked to his car. Satan right then showed me how I would look having to get around using a walker, then in a wheelchair, then my funeral. I couldn’t fix this. I am a fixer! I just wanted to get home. I was alone; extreme anxiety overwhelmed me. My vision became blurry, my eyes were filling with tears.

I remember my right hand was in my purse searching for my phone. I knew I needed to put it on the charger. When I pulled it out, the screen was white and the text was black. It read “I AM THE LORD THY GOD. I WILL TAKE YOU BY YOUR RIGHT HAND AND SAY TO YOU, DO NOT FEAR, I WILL HELP YOU." (Isaiah 41:13).

Anxiety?? What anxiety?? It was as though none of this ever happened. I felt absolute calm, peace, love, and power. I KNEW HE WAS WITH ME! HE WAITED UNTIL I WAS ALONE BEFORE HE LET ME KNOW HE WAS THERE FOR ME! HE’D ALWAYS BEEN THERE! He always IS there… closer than the air we breathe.

I am speaking about the very same God who was with Noah, Moses, David, and Job. He said I am the Lord thy God. He started out by telling me who was He was! He told me not to be afraid, Satan is a liar! He didn’t say He would heal my body, He said I WILL HELP YOU! My God is sovereign!! All things work for His purpose.

God knows all things past, present, and future. There is no limit to His knowledge, for God knows everything completely before it even happens (Rom 11:33). “In all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose." (Rom 8:28). Because He is sovereign and He loves me, nothing will ever come into my life that He doesn’t declare or allow. No matter what we face, we can take comfort in the fact that God knows and is in control.

I never believed you had to attend a church to serve God. I’ve loved the Lord and have worshiped Him most of my life without going to church, but God led me to Calvary. I sincerely know I have a loving family here. People that care about me, and I them. Cancer is not my burden; it’s my gift. I wanted the instant solution, the quick fix, but some things cannot be disposed of so swiftly; they can only be accepted. And not accepted with resignation, but with gratitude!

Our mission is simple: Become whole-hearted followers of Jesus Christ. The people of Calvary Baptist Church in Grand Prairie, TX seek to fulfill our mission by accomplishing these four actions: See God - To experience God in fresh ways every week. Share Life - To enjoy biblical community with our church family. Serve Others - To manifest God’s love in tangible acts of service. Stay Connected - To remain in supporting fellowship during the pains of life.