“For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us…if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with perseverance.” – Romans 8:18, 25
For half my adult life, I was a cancer nurse. In those years, when the question came up, “So what do you do?”, my profession was sometimes a bit of a conversation-stopper. Talking about working with patients and families in such great crisis does not lend itself to casual conversation. As I write today, I hope you will lean in to what you might struggle with at first – the reality of beautiful young women dealing with cancer and dying. If you pause to hear a bit of their stories, you will not be the same after. It was that way for me.
I didn’t meet these women in a cancer center. They came to me via Facebook of all places. In fact, I never met them face-to-face. Yet, they are as real to me as sisters, or nieces. I will only introduce them to you. Read more of their stories as they tell them themselves. Two are already with the Lord. They lived passionate, faithful lives and gloriously passed into the presence of God. One is still living, though dying. I ask you to read and learn from her…and pray for her. All three you will love to know.
[You men, if you’re still reading, will also be glad to know them. Their husbands, fathers, friends, and brothers could use men of understanding in their lives. Let their journey with God and these precious women guide you how to be such men.]
Abby Smith – so much joy and love and faith in this one. She died in December, 2013, at 24 years of age. I thank GOD for her. Watch the two videos of her below. Stunning. Her love for Jesus and the joy she had in Him, even in suffering gives me so much hope.
Here is a bit of her testimony: “If I could go back and tell myself what the hardest struggle was, it wouldn’t be cancer. It would be myself because I almost made it out to be even worse than it was. I was constantly having to deal with feelings of anxiety, fear, and all these things. If I would have only taken it one day at a time, only one minute at a time, one hour and put my complete trust in Christ. That is what I have learned to do and am learning to do each day.
Sometimes deadlines are great reminders of how short our time here on earth is anyway. However, I firmly believe that God is all about postponing “deadlines” too! As long as He gives me breath, I want to be shining brightly for Him and helping those who are hurting to experience the love He has for them. Going through this has made me realize more about who I am. This is the one life I get to live. The only thing that matters more than anything else is how I live it to glorify my Creator, Savior and King, Jesus Christ.”
Kelsey Kennedy – such great faith and fight in this one. She taught me so much about keeping the door open for God to work His miracles. As He chose. When Kelsey got too sick to write, her husband Chris kept writing. So thankful to him for that. Kelsey is whole in Heaven now, but she still ministers to my heart and the many who knew and loved and prayed for her.
“I have said more than once along this journey there are times I haven’t “felt” the Lord’s presence. I know the passage in Hebrews 13:5-6 (and so many others) promises He is with us – always – but it sure doesn’t always feel like it.
And yet, it is often when I feel most alone, a dear friend (or quite honestly a person I don’t even know) will encourage me with a timely scripture, a hand-written note or a simple text letting me know I am not forgotten. It is then I realize Christ’s presence is often “felt” most strongly through His body of believers. It’s as if He’s whispering to me, “You see, daughter, I do love you. I know you don’t think so, but I’m pouring out my extravagant love on you through others. They know and I know what is going on. We ache with you. You are not alone.”
Although, I continually ask the Lord to remove this painful thorn from my life, I am grateful for the ways He manifests His presence to me (through you) in the midst of great darkness. I know I never would have experienced His presence in this way otherwise. Truly, truly – we are never alone.” Pray for Chris, and their little girl, in these days…God keep them near to Him.
Kara Tippetts – living for God, even with cancer, as hard as she can go. Kara is a young mom with a husband and 4 children in this life and battle with her. Along with a ton of friends and family. I just met her (through Facebook) a few days ago. So enthralled with how she lives with joy and perseverance and hope. She is not afraid to talk about dying, and yet she is living to the full every moment she is. Just wow!
No quotes from Kara here – go to her blog. Like her page on Facebook. Pray for her with every prompting from God. Every day is precious. Thank you, Kara, for living and loving and writing about it.
Thank you, Sisters. Thank GOD for you.
“And now, dear brothers and sisters, we want you to know what will happen to the believers who have died so you will not grieve like people who have no hope. For since we believe that Jesus died and was raised to life again, we also believe that when Jesus returns, God will bring back with him the believers who have died. We tell you this directly from the Lord: We who are still living when the Lord returns will not meet him ahead of those who have died. For the Lord himself will come down from heaven with a commanding shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet call of God. First, the Christians who have died will rise from their graves. Then, together with them, we who are still alive and remain on the earth will be caught up in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. Then we will be with the Lord forever. So encourage each other with these words.” – 1 Thessalonians 4:13–5:11