In this week’s post, you’ll meet Barbara Britton, an author friend I’ve only met online. When I read her story of cancer survival, I reached out to her and asked permission to share, and she graciously agreed. May her faith in our Lord strengthen you and instill hope as you face the storms in your life.
For many years, I taught chapel at an elementary school. What a blessing to lead worship and sing with energetic students.
One of my favorite songs referred to Matthew 7:24-27.
The kids and I would stand tall with our peaked-hand homes built on the rock, and then fall to the ground when the song referred to the house built on the sand. The kids knew Jesus was the “Rock” and the best and firmest foundation to build a life upon.
I knew this too. But I looked at the scripture a bit closer when I went through the storm of breast cancer.
Breast cancer rocked my world (no pun intended). Long story short, I had two surgeries to remove cancer, and I live as a breast-free woman in today’s world.
I discovered I carried a genetic mutation called the BRCA-1. Essentially, I have an open door in my genetic code that ushers in several cancers. When I had my breasts removed, they also removed my ovaries. Nothing like instant menopause.
Because Jesus is my Savior, and I have an amazing family and church family, I weathered this storm. My house stood firm on the Rock.
But, after life got back to post-surgery normal, I realized the storm of cancer left some residual storm damage. I had to wear prosthetics, which led to wardrobe issues. My body temperature was out of whack due to menopause, so I didn’t sleep at night. My energy level lagged after radiation.
It was then I looked at Matthew 7 differently.
The winds that blew and beat against the house built on sand and leveled it, were the same winds that beat against the house on the rock. The home built on Jesus stood, but that didn’t mean it didn’t have minor storm damage–a possible shattered window or crumpled siding.
Through my cancer treatments, an awareness grew that people facing the traumas of life sometimes carry storm damage with them after the strongest winds have died down. The chaos in my life came from cancer, but others deal with chronic illness, the loss of loved ones, mental illness, or divorce. The list carries on. We all face our unique “storm” damage.
Philippians 4:13 states: “I can do everything through him (Christ) who gives me strength.”
God will give us the strength to keep on living after a major storm, but Christians can help repair some of the damage. What can we do as the body of Christ?
~Pray for someone who is going through a storm. Send them a card (or call) to let them know you are praying for them
~Bring them a meal, or take them out to lunch (takethemameal.com works well)
~Listen with understanding. Some storm damage may linger a long time, or may not be made whole until Heaven
~Accept someone’s new limitations. Ask how they are doing
~Be aware of storm damage (I went to a 4th of July party at a lake house and no one insisted I put on a swimsuit.)
~Praise the Lord if you don’t have any storm damage!
What did I do on my own during my cancer journey?
I prayed a lot and was placed on several prayer chains.
Listened to Christian music, especially driving to treatments. The music pulled from Scripture ministered to my heart.
Attended a weekly Bible Study during my radiation treatments and went to church services. How comforting it was to have the support of fellow believers.
Hebrews 10:25 tells us to “encourage one another.” I was blessed to know how many people were petitioning God for me.
I am truly grateful God brought me through my cancer. I have had family members that were not blessed with a cure, but they have the hope of eternal life with Jesus.
I thank God He has given me His strength, and a sense of humor, to deal with my “storm damage.” With my cancer, I gained a renewed awareness that every day is a gift from God. I am praising him for four years of cancer-free doctor visits.
Join the conversation. What has helped you weather the storms of life? Let’s add to Barbara’s list on how we can help others with storm damage find hope.
Barbara M. Britton lives in Wisconsin and writes Christian Fiction for teens and adults. She has a nutrition degree from Baylor University but loves to dip healthy strawberries in chocolate. Barb brings little known Bible characters to light in her Tribes of Israel series. You can find out about Barb’s books on her website, or follow her on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.
Book blurb for Barb’s latest Biblical Fiction on the daughters of Zelophehad—“Lioness: Mahlah’s Journey.”
While the Israelites struggle to occupy the Promised Land of God, Mahlah bat Zelophehad is orphaned and left to care for her four sisters. But daughters of the dead are unable to inherit land, and it will take a miracle for Mahlah to obtain the means to care for her sisters and uphold the vow she made to her dying mother.
Mahlah must seek Moses, the leader of her people, and request something extraordinary—the right for a daughter to inherit her deceased father’s land. A right that will upset the ox-cart of male inheritance and cast her in the role of a rebel.
But, God is the protector of the orphan and the widow, and five orphaned daughters need His help. With God, anything is possible. Even changing man’s tradition.
Find “Lioness,” and more of Barbara’s books, on Amazon.