I gave my life to the Lord just before my husband, Aaron, and I got married 19 years ago and haven’t looked back since. I grew up believing there was a God, but didn’t quite know what it meant to fully surrender my heart to Him. Thankfully, He grabbed hold of my heart, showed me who He was and only then did I fully accept Jesus as my Savior.
I will admit I had some rose-colored glasses on when I began my walk and did dream of a little easier journey, but boy have I been able to experience and witness the Lord’s blessings in so many ways. I truly believe that some of my biggest growing moments are the faith-tested times through which I have seen His blessings, and He has been such a faithful and loving God! I quickly learned that along with these beautiful blessings came trials, battles and sometimes tragedies to overcome in order for me to grow and for His glory to shine through me. Trials such as the divorce of my parents after 22 years of marriage. Battles such as our second child being born at 32 weeks premature. Tragedies such as miscarriage resulting from a pregnancy that had been anticipated for over a year prior. These were all just stepping stones in my faith, preparing me for the biggest of them yet…cancer.
I remember vividly the doctor saying to me “Yes, its cancer, but there’s HOPE.” Before that day, seeing and thinking of the word hope didn’t nearly have the impact on me that it does today. It was a cute little word that I’d see on home décor, journals and t-shirts. A nice little word that I used generically like, “I hope it doesn’t rain today” or “I hope they have my favorite ice cream." Hope, by definition, is a feeling of expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen, a feeling of trust. Oh, did hope’s definition have a whole new meaning, sound and look to me as I clinched to it ever so tightly in the doctor’s office that day. Hope in the medicine and doctors that were to heal me. Hope that I would share another anniversary with my husband. Hope that I would see my children’s next birthdays. Hope. Hope. Hope.
I realized that with a diagnosis like what I was given there was going to be a lot of eyes on me and how I was going to react to this. If you know me, you know that I don’t like a lot of eyes on me...never have. I don’t like a lot of attention pointed in my direction, like when everyone is listening to me talk in a big group. I like to be laughing with the life of the party, not the one telling the jokes. So all eyes on me and what was I going to do? Was I going to throw in the towel on the Lord, show Him that I was fed up with these hard trials in my life and run from Him? Or was I going to ready my heart’s posture, fight with the Lord on my side and display His glory? Matthew 19:26 says, “With God all things are possible." With this verse firmly planted in my heart, mind and spirit, and with my hubby (more like an angel than a man) and three little hearts (my babies, my kiddos, my trio) looking at me, I decided “Let’s fight, let’s hope!” I realized and knew there was no other way to face this than with Him.
Now faith can be a little complicated, because sometimes (ok, well a lot of times!) I would ask myself if the Lord decides not to heal me would I still have that faith and hope in Him. And, believe me, there were days of doubt, despair, and physical, mental, and spiritual struggles that tested every ounce of trust I had in Him. And, in those moments, I believed this is why the Lord gave me one of, if not the most, beautiful blessings I could have ever asked for: an incredible marriage. Through sickness and in the health, my husband, my angel, would hold me in his arms, look me in the eyes and remind me that the Lord would never leave me nor forsake me. He reminded me that He will give me the strength to make it through this. And he was right. Everyday through that struggle I would grow closer and closer to God, and the desire for His will in my life grew stronger and stronger. Through His Word He showed me and continues to show me daily that anything is possible and there is hope in Him through all that we endure. This was a great opportunity to accept the Lord’s will for my life and truly want it over mine. We pressed into the Lord, into His Word, into His hope. We grew closer in our marriage and closer as a family, and we witnessed healing over my body.
I thank the Lord for giving me a chance to fight. I thank Him for reaching another anniversary. I thank him for the birthdays I’ve been a part of since my diagnosis. I have shone His goodness through my heart by praising Him through all of this and showing that hope in Him is where I need to be.
Just as the worship song sings, "Yes, I will, lift You high in the lowest valley. Yes I will, bless Your name. Oh, yes I will, sing for joy when my heart is heavy. All my days. Oh yes I will." I chose to say "Yes I Will Lord" 19 years ago and I will continue to for all of my days! Even though my parents never reconciled, my son had to remain in the hospital for 8 weeks, we will have to wait until heaven to hold our fourth beautiful baby, and I had to endure many months of chemo, radiation and surgeries to get better the Lord has never left my side, never not once. Through these moments I have endured, stumbled, and grown closer to the Lord more than I would have had I not been given these circumstances. Hope took on a different look to me that day and is a word that holds strong in my heart, thoughts and life every single day.