Nearly all the best things that came to me in life
have been unexpected, unplanned by me.
– Carl Sandburg
When I found out I was pregnant with Emma Grace, I will admit I was not the most excited person in our house. My son was only 5 months old at the time, my body was still recouping from surgery and my stomach was very much looking forward to a break, as was every other part of my body.
It was Thanksgiving, and my parents were visiting us in Jacksonville for the holiday—I didn’t want to tell them—I didn’t want to tell anyone. I had no idea how I was going to manage two in diapers…and we cloth-diapered our kids, which dulled my excitement even more.
Don’t get me wrong—I was excited about the life I was carrying, I just had other plans for my future, and they didn’t include being pregnant again so soon.
I look back at that time in my life, and often smile. Because it proves to me again how God is so in control of my life, and my future. He knew that this little girl with special needs would teach me things that I needed to learn—and He put her in my life at just the exact right time to teach me.
Flash forward to the last two years. The worst and best two years of my life. For those of you who do not know, I have brain cancer.
I found out in 2007 at the age of 32 that I had an aggressive and fatal tumor growing inside of my head. This was not how I wanted to live my life. I had it all planned out, and those plans did not include a full year of Chemotherapy and six weeks of brain radiation
My plans included watching my children graduate and marry. I longed to hold my grandchildren. I longed to live. It has been one of the most trying times of my life, yet one of the most rewarding.
Again, I bargained with God. I asked “Why?”. Actually I screamed, “Why?”.
And he gently whispered to me “You’ll See.”
I only see the here and now. I don’t see the spiritual fight that Christ battles on a daily basis for me—He promises He is fighting for me, and I am so renewed knowing that.
There is a lesson in all of this…actually, there are many. I continue to place my face at the foot of the cross and seek His heart in my life, and in the life of my family.
How could I comfort a grieving soul if I never grieved myself? How could I relate to those are sin-sick, if I never found myself begging God for His mercy, grace and forgiveness?
I may not have chosen the road that we are on, but He did. He chose us to walk this path, and He promises to hold our hands through it.
My emotions are up and down on a daily basis. There will be days that I feel completely defeated, and there will be days that I feel completely empowered. Today I feel His hand on my head, gently telling me He is here.
It is those unplanned and unexpected areas of our lives that teach us so much, and bless us so deeply— even amidst the pain and fear. I am clinging to those blessings right now.Leave a Comment
Kristen - Moms Sharpening Moms says
What a beautifully moving story of faith in action. I’m quite certain our Father is beaming with pride over you in heaven saying, “Well done, good and faithful servant.” Oh, also an, “ATTA, GIRL!!” too. You are in my prayers, Heather.
Heather, it seems that I keep “running into” you, sharing your story. Each time it has been from a different perspective, but all with great hope and encouragement.
Thank you, Heather, for being the tangible evidence of a woman of faith, one who trusts in our God and who knows that her life and it’s challenges are not about her, but for the encouragement of others!
You are a beautiful person with a beautiful message! Keep telling it!
Kristine McGuire says
Thank you Heather, for the reminder that we don’t always understand why God allows us to go through things but that He is with us. We can lean into His strength.
emily wierenga says
i’m praying for you, heather… my mum’s tumor has shrunk 25 % over the past year… (she’s been battling cancer for 6)… believing on your behalf. emily.
As always Heather.Your message reminds me to lean into His great strength.
Blessing to you and yours.
deb @talk at the table says
I’ve read bits of your story , but never knew “how” to comment, what to say.
But you say it for us…. serenity of faith. I wish it for all of us, for you and your beautiful family. I may not be able to manipulate my life, but I can receive it with grace.
Ashleigh (Heart and Home) says
Beautifully true, Heather. Sometimes I read your posts and think back to the week your cancer was discovered… my heart bled for you, aching while I prayed with a catch in my throat. But the grace and peace and hope that has come through the fire is even more breathtaking… the beauty of it. Jesus could be seen in you before the cancer. Now? He is ALL I see.
Especially Heather says
Thank you so much ladies for your sweet comments. I know who holds my future, and I trust him to take care of it for me. Although sometimes it is hard to give up that “complete trust”…
I pray for each and every commenter here, even if I don’t reply to each and every one.
Love you girls!
Wow, our stories are similar, but mine is leukemia & a bone marrow transplant with organ failure & a coma that God miraculously brought me out of! I’m in recovery now and doing quite well for all I went through last Winter/Spring. I blog about these things too and sounds like you and I are kindred spirits. Take care…
Thank You Heather for reminding me how lucky I am. A 4 year cancer free woman I tend to stuggle with emotions and small illnesses you are one we should all learn from Thank You again I’ll continue to pray
Amanda (The Healthy Frugal Home) says
You are an inspiration. Thank you for reminding that there are other people in this world that need prayers and support, that others suffer in numerous different ways and that always, regardless of ourselves He is with us. My life has taken me in unexpected directions over the past few years and now I’m in a place I never thought or wished to be; dismissed from my teaching job because being diabetic I cannot guarantee never to be off sick again. I have found such strength from reaffirming my relationship with Our Father and allowing him to guide me through and to lead me along new paths that I had never allowed myself to hope that I could traverse.
I shall hold you and your family in my prayers and my thoughts. Thank you for sharing your story.
I had cancer 31 years ago at the age of 14 and hope never to have to face that particular burden again.
you are beautiful.
May God continue to show Himself to you, be your strength, and LAVISH HIS GREAT BIG BETTER THAN LIFE LOVE on you and your family in Christ Jesus.
Such a beautiful story…such a beautiful person. I have a disorder…though not life-threatening, I daily let it threaten my life…a life of living abundantly…a life of living with faith and with joy. Your story only amplifies how much I have been giving up…how much I have not been fighting for. “Thank you” just doesn’t seem enough.
Heather, I first saw the picture of your beautiful Emma and the tears sprang to life. I read your words and I cannot help but shed tears for you. Tears of joy and tears of sadness. You are an extremely loving, strong and graceful woman who exudes much of what God is teaching and molding within you. How I pray that should the Lord EVER call me to bear such pain in this life that I have as much faith as you do. May I always, even during the best of times place myself at the feet of our Father. Thank you for sharing your heart today with us.
Heather, thank you for this glimpse into the battle raging. We all wage this battle at different times and on different scales. It boils down to recognizing and trusting His sovereignty. It’s one of the most difficult things we will ever attempt to do. Blessings and prayers for you and your household!
Thank you for sharing this today. It is exactly what I needed to hear.
This also reminds me of when I found out I was pregnant with my son Christian. Unexpected and unplanned– but man, what a blessing he was!
Terri Conrad says
You have a beautiful spirit, Heather, reflecting thru your eyes to a world that needs you. You keep fighting and we will keep praying.
blessing to you
Holley Gerth says
Thanks for being brave, and beautiful, and blessing us not just with your words but also your life. I’d hug you good if we were together today!
melissa @ the inspired room says
Thank you for sharing your heart and life, you are an inspiration!!
Thank you for sharing your heart. We are so blessed to be able to witness your faith!
Many, many, many blessings to you and your family~
Heather…you are a true inspiration and gift to me. I follow your story and absolutely love your heart, your honesty, and your love of Christ through it all.
Praying for you tonight!
So much love,
Thank you for sharing your heart. It’s so good to know what goes on in people’s hearts during seasons like this. I am so glad to hear the serenity in your voice!
Wow, this is beautiful. I have a very similar photo of my youngest daughter when she was in the NICU. More often than not, I am so humbled that God thought I/we could handle all that came with her challenges.
You are stunning! So beautiful. Thank you so much for sharing your heart.