“Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’” 2 Corinthians 12:9
I used to wonder how I would handle any crises that came along in my life. Growing up, my life was pretty normal and rather boring. Tragic things happened to friends in high school, but not to me. The worst thing I endured was a break up with a serious boyfriend. And that turned out to be a great blessing in disguise.
I put myself through college as a non-traditional student while working full-time. I met my future husband who became my best friend, confidant, cheerleader and the person with whom I most loved spending time. Tom and I enjoyed so many of the same things—traveling, cooking, fishing, golfing, spending time with family and entertaining friends, but the thing we liked best was just hanging out together.
Because of the difference in our ages (16 years), neither of us ever took for granted the time or blessings we had been given in our relationship. We both knew that we weren’t guaranteed “golden years” together like the typical married couple, so we treasured and made the most of every day we had.
We began spending more time in the winter in the Florida Keys. We would rent a house on a canal and a boat and spend many hours fishing either Florida Bay on the Gulf of Mexico or, on calm, sunny days, the reef in the Atlantic several miles off shore.
That was where we were in March 2012 when our happy “normal” life was turned upside down. Tom’s eyes had become somewhat jaundice so we decided we’d go to the ER the next day to find out what was going on. I was sitting on Tom’s lap outside on the patio of our rented house looking out at the beautiful, calm ocean with tears of fear streaming down my cheeks. He hugged me and said, “Don’t worry. We know it’s not cancer.”
It was such a shock to us both. Cancer burst into our lives, uninvited and camped out. Our personal, loving lives had been invaded. My best friend and soulmate who was so healthy and athletic had been touched by this insidious disease.
Thus began our journey of surgeries, doctors’ appointments, chemo, radiation, tears, love, hope, growing faith, immeasurable blessings and grace, and, eventually, a whole new perspective on heaven and on life here on earth.
Tom went home to be with Jesus in October of 2016. I thank God every day for the blessings He gave us during our marriage and for carrying us both through with good times and relatively few side effects to be able to enjoy four and a half wonderful years after the initial diagnosis.
Most of all, I thank God that He restored Tom’s faith completely and brought Him into His arms for eternity. This trust and God’s grace that Paul speaks about have carried me through every minute of every day since that day in March 2012 and even every day since the day I was born and before because the Lord says, “Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you, before you were born I set you apart.” (Jeremiah 1:5).
One of the best ways I gain comfort these days is by helping others. I hope my writing will encourage others who may be going through life’s challenges, whether in their health, their faith, their family, or just life. We have an awesome and amazing God.
I know, because He has been with me every step of my life.
You are invited to join me as I share our story, God’s grace in our lives, and my life now as I look forward to life in Heaven forever.
Heavenly Father—I pray that your Spirit will fill me and guide my writing so that You will be glorified. Through my life and story, plant seeds that You will grow into faith and salvation for others and draw us all closer in relationship with You. Give me humility, Lord, to always remember that this is all about You. In Jesus holy name I pray. Amen.