I want the story of my life to be…an encouragement.
As I think over the last seven months of my life, I remember the plans I had made, the things I wanted to do and how it all changed in an instant...a diagnosis. As I have taken this journey, I have also began thinking more and more about other people and the trials we all face as human beings on this earth. Whether it be a cancer diagnosis as it was for me, or some other trial that we must all go through at some point, the story of our lives is complex and can be very difficult. So, how do we cope? Can we do something that matters to help someone else even when we are suffering?
As I watched my daughter cope with my diagnosis through the desire to help others and launching 818 Ministries, I began to search my own heart and thoughts and began praying that God would show me how I could best see victory over my circumstance. The first thing He showed me was how to begin coping with my own trial by starting what I call my "thankful journal". I had been given a blank journal by a dear friend and I was going to use it to chronicle my long journey ahead. I decided instead to try and think of one thing every day to be thankful for and write it down in the journal. I soon found myself writing multiple things each day and it really helped!
At Christmas, my daughter had collected letters with verses and words of encouragement from family and friends and put them in a brand new Bible for me. That was the best gift ever and such an encouragement to me then and now. All through this time, I read so many verses from the Bible that had been given to me and some I found myself. I found the Word of God to be the best source of encouragement of all.
Some of my favorite examples:
Isaiah 41:10 - Fear thou not: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea I will help thee; yea I will uphold thee with the right hand of righteousness.
Isaiah 41:13 - For I The Lord thy God will hold thy right hand, saying unto thee, Fear not, I will help thee.
Jesus was also such an encouragement to others:
Matthew 14:27 - By straightway Jesus spake unto them, saying, Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid.
John 14:18 - I will not leave you comfortless : I will come to you.
God also gave me a special verse the morning I started chemotherapy and the peace it gave me I can't explain:
Romans 8:18 - For I reckon, the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.
I want the story of my life to be that of encouragement. Before I speak to anyone who is going through any sort of trial whether it be similar to mine or something totally different, I will ask myself, “Can I give them a word, a verse, something to encourage their spirit?”
If I can't, I don't need to speak and simply offer them what helped me the most - prayers.
I have this quote hanging on my wall and it sums up my thoughts today:
"I shall pass this way but once; therefore any good that I can do or any kindness that I can show...let me do it now for I shall not pass this way again."