In 1997, at the age of 25, my sister was diagnosed with breast cancer. She endured chemotherapy, radiation, and multiple surgeries. She was cancer-free for about six years. During this time, she started classes to receive her nurse’s degree. However, cancer came back in her bones and lungs. For the next three years, she fought and endured chemotherapy again. She worked as a CNA on the mother and baby floor. She loved her job! However, she was slowly losing mobility in her left arm and hand due to radiation of the lymph nodes, so she had to quit her job. In May 2006, she was told that chemotherapy was no longer an option. Her body just had enough.
Faith JourneyGod has made it my mission to share my faith with YOU. These are the moments in my life that I have learned to fin the joy, truth, grace, and failures that can be redeemed in my everyday life. And sometimes, I invite my friends to share their stories too. This is the backbone of my ministry.
And like an animal, I was willing to mangle myself as long as I could ensure my own survival. As if I could fight my way out of hell and climb high enough to ascend into heaven. What else could I do? God had abandoned me, and so I could either rot, or save myself. God did not find me valuable enough to waste the effort himself. If he did, why would he allow me to be subject to such crushing pain and agony? I must have lost his love and favor. I could not rely on him to take care of me. There would be no presents under the tree from him.
Can I trust God? I’d be lying if I said I hadn’t asked myself that question over a million times. Walking by faith and not by sight is no easy task, and even though I grew up in a Christian home, it’s something I still struggle with. I’ve always believed that “God will carry you through the storm” (Isaiah 43:2) and I’ve heard countless testimonies that confirm that He will make good on His promises, but I lacked that one-on-one experience with God, which made it so hard to trust His word, to trust Him.
I struggle to adequately explain this feeling- it goes beyond words, beyond my understanding. It was then Jesus reassured me, “You never have to go there again.” I suffered that night, after giving birth. I carried the pain and trauma of bringing that one little life to the world.
Blood, sweat, tears, surrender, new life. With the recent celebration of Easter fresh in our hearts, these words make us think of our sweet Savior and what he has accomplished for us! His labor of love, his perfect life, his willing sacrifice, his ultimate victory and living presence with us! I deeply believe that God designed an analogous process for mothers. This labor can ultimately give mothers a rich appreciation of the cost and reward of heaven.
Cherry Snow. It was the color of the new nail polish I applied that morning. I had a slice of toast and listened to my Steven Curtis Chapman album. It was cloudy and a bit cool for the end of April, so I slipped on a jacket. Two surprise pink tulips greeted me in my front flower garden as I left the house.
I had dealt with occasional depression since childhood, and am still prone to it- and the sense of utter isolation I felt there threw me into the longest period of darkness I’ve experienced. My present was so dismal that I coped by seeking refuge in my past- my fantasy world- pining for the magical, happy days where I had felt loved, wanted, hopeful. In reality, I was cheerless and disinterested in every aspect of life.
There is still hidden pain in the day to day struggle, but finally I have my answer as to why I am so different than everyone else. I am gifted with a treasure that only empathy from God can see. I am blessed with some of the most amazing minds in my family. I am cursed with trials that I fight invisibly daily in quite. Blessedly, I am rewarded with growth and wonders that only the gift if neuro diversity like spectrum and sensory processing can offer.
We’ve been doing #Testimony Tuesday for a few months now but I know that some of you are still asking “But Why?”
“What are testimonies really? Why do we share them? Why is it important to our faith? Does it really matter anyways?
Today, I want to answer those questions and I’d also like to invite you to share YOUR testimony.
The world is weird. No way around it. And sometimes, okay – a lot of times – we start to feel a little bit salty about the cards were being dealt. We feel like God is doing this TO US. And IT HURTS. And it is HARD. Any time our routine is all messed up we feel anxiety and stress that can send us on this insane emotional rollercoaster.
On our wedding day, we vowed to accept children lovingly from God and bring them up in the Catholic Church, and we wholeheartedly meant it. We assumed we would have to drive an E350 with the amount of kids we were planning on having, and we had lists of baby names that we playfully fought about, as we couldn’t agree on any of them. We started trying to get pregnant right away with hormonal supplementation.
God sees hard places and broken people and He moves toward them, not away from them. God comes to us in our brokenness and He feels broken so that we don’t have to anymore.
I’ve struggled with self-esteem issues for as long as I can remember. I‘ve struggled through abuse, food addiction, eating disorders, and low self worth among other things. When I became a Christian thirteen years ago, I learned that I was “fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psalm 139:14) and I learned “even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not therefore: ye are of more value than many sparrows.” (Luke 12:7) I learned that I was forgiven and loved and cared for deeply by my Heavenly Father. I learned that He valued me. I knew all this in my head but didn’t believe it and allowed lies into my heart and my life. Lies that I was worthless and unlovable.
Or maybe you think, “gee, it’d be nice if God would just speak to us like that today!” Which sends you on a whole mental rabbit trail about the struggle of discerning how to live as a Christ follower, how to determine what to do and when to do it. Maybe you wish life didn’t feel so much like shooting an arrow in the dark and praying like crazy that it comes somewhere close to hitting its intended mark. Take courage, dear friend. Life is not a shot in the dark and God certainly does still speak.
One thing I learned from our miscarriage is just how fragile life is. In my pride, I sometimes take it for granted. We weren’t even through our first trimester before we were telling everyone we were pregnant “again” and laughing about it. Now looking back, I’m embarrassed at how invincible we thought we were. How flippant we were with such a special gift.
Friend, I know it’s hard to give God control. But it is so worth it. The overwhelming feeling of peace that comes afterward is life-breathing. It no longer feels like I’m drowning and being strangled at the same time.
Everyone knows the struggles of raising livestock and how it can drive people to anger and saying things that they don’t necessarily mean. And also that boys growing up will do anything to make themselves seem tough and manly. Well from my experience, I received the negative end from both of these.
On January 2nd, my husband, two-year-old toddler tornado, and I got on a plane bound for the People’s Republic of China. The answer to my second longest-standing prayer had been answered.