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I’m not much of a writer or teller of stories, so this is my rough and raw
testimony of my fall from grace, and my redemption.
I was raised in a broken, non-Christian home, the eldest of five kids. My
mother allowed various sordid men to move through our temporary housing,
leaving behind their marks of alcoholic addiction, mental illness and just
plain ornery behavior. One creep was even a child predator. We moved at
least once every year, dodging creditors and bad choices. I tell you these
things, not for sympathy, but as a testimony of God’s grace and mercy. He
loves us, even when we don’t know or love him.
As a child there were times that I didn’t even have a coat for winter. And
there was never enough food in the house. I stopped eating regular meals so
that the younger kids could have more. I left home as soon as I could, at
age 17. I weighed in at 85 lbs, at 5’8. It took me another 12 years to
learn how to eat full meals again. I passed through my own bad choices of
men for a time, searching for a perfect, story-book relationship. It
doesn’t exist without Jesus. I eventually married a man that was just as
emotionally damaged as I was, and we set out to build the perfect life. We
both worked very hard at our jobs, progressing through 20 years of
promotions, new houses, new cars and fancy vacations. We didn’t have time
for Jesus. My husband and I never argued, loved the same music, food,
activities, etc. Yes, the perfect life. But Jesus loves me, and wouldn’t
let me fall away from him so easily. He started to put his plan of
redemption into action.
One day, out of the blue, my husband said that he was leaving me for a
beautiful, intelligent woman 15 years younger than me. And, he had been
stashing our funds away in another account for more than a year. I was
devastated. Crushed. Broken. And broke. My perfect relationship was
non-existent. I should have known that there is only one perfect
relationship in our lives – the one between us and Jesus.
So, I was adrift, and a long way from safe harbor. Years passed by, and I
tried my best to appear as if I was happy about my new situation. To
friends and family I put on a happy persona. My husband and I had two daughters, and I wanted to be an example to them, demonstrating that difficult events need
not break you, that you can recover quickly and move on, that women have a
unique ability to heal and create their own happiness, establish their own
families via loving and understanding friends…….but I kept leaving out the
ONE that really loved me. Jesus was always there, moving me toward a place
where he could reach me and teach me about what true love and perfection
Seven long years later, I began to pray. The Lord is so patient. Only
then, did I begin to heal. I started a daily prayer journal, meeting with
Jesus first thing every morning. He answered all prayers, most were yes,
some were no. I learned through his mercy with me, to forgive my husband,
my family, my past, myself. Eventually the Lord led me to a widowed man that
loves the Lord, and treats me like the sweetest rose in his garden. After
much prayer, we joined our lives to each other.
At 62 years of age, I retired from my job and we bought a small, 6-acre
ranch in Oregon. We got involved in the local church and have enjoyed
renovating our old farmhouse. Our home sits against the gentle slopes of the
Blue Mountains, and we have a beautiful view of the valley floor, below. The
Lord is so good to us.
In January of 2015, I was diagnosed with breast cancer, a particularly
tough kind called “Triple-negative Invasive Ductile Carcinoma”. Triple
negative means that my cancer has no receptors that will react to available
medicines such as Tamoxifin. I needed guidance from the Lord in this trial
– I lived in a very tiny community, and the fancy cancer centers were
expensive, and far away
So, after much prayer and listening for God’s voice in this, I decided to
utilize a hospital in the next town about 30 minutes away that had only one
surgeon, and only one oncologist. Both much younger than I, and the surgeon
had never performed a mastectomy before. But, the Lord kept reassuring me
that I was making the right decision. I scheduled a double mastectomy on
January 13th, 2015.
On the day of surgery I woke up early. I started praying even before I got
out of bed. I prayed for the Lord to guide my Surgeon’s hands, to provide
him the knowledge and confidence to make the right decisions. I prayed for
my husband, that he would be comforted and strengthened during my treatment.
Then I prayed for myself, that the Surgeon would find no cancer cells in my
lymph nodes and that after he removed both breasts, that there would be
clear margins in the surrounding area. I had not even finished that prayed
before I was struck by what I can only describe as a bolt of electricity. It
wasn’t painful, but it was startling. It passed through my right shoulder,
and out my left hip. (My main cancer mass was in my right side) At that
moment, I firmly believe that at that moment, the Lord cleared my lymph nodes and
restricted my mass to an encapsulated lump, rather than an invasive form it
had taken during diagnosis. After surgery that day, I had clear lymph nodes
and the cancer mass had been removed! The Lord had answered my prayers! I
had an easy recovery, and was ready for preventative chemo on Feb 30th. The
Oncologist recommended four treatments. Since my cancer was ”triple
negative” I had to have the strongest Chemo possible. I felt that the Lord
had ensured that I had no cancer left in my body, but, instead of listening
to God’s voice and trusting Him, I listened to the doctors. The first Chemo
treatment almost killed me. My bone marrow stopped making platelets, and I
developed a condition called thrombocytopenia, resulting in constant
nosebleeds and extreme weakness. I lost my hair within the first three
days. The chemo settled in my feet and burned the skin off the bottoms of
my feet. There were many more issues, but I got through it all. I had blood
and medicine infusions. During recovery I was so weak that my husband had to carry me to the bathroom and try to spoon feed me with broth. Again, in prayer I heard
God’s voice, telling me that the Chemo was not necessary. If I had followed
his guidance in the first place, I would not have had chemo. Needless to
say, that was my one and only chemo treatment. Once I resumed following
God’s voice, I recovered quickly.
So, here I am months later, immersed in God’s love and great plan for me. I
see his hand in my life every single day. I am blessed beyond my wildest
dreams, and hope that I can be of service to those around me. I hope that I
can be an example to others of the wonderful gift of God’s love. He has
given me so much. He has taught me so much. He has loved me so much.
That’s my little summary of how the Lord’s love for us never changes.