JOY!  Do you have joy in your lives?  I recently watched a video of a precious friend who is taking care of her boyfriend that was in a terrible car wreck in October.  The family was told that he wouldn’t make it, would never have the trach removed, and would basically be a “vegetable” for the rest of his life. And guess what?  He’s making all of those doctors stand in awe,  doing exactly what they said he’d never do.  He’s eating, beginning to communicate some, and the trach was removed this week.  She said that she’s had a hard time finding JOY after so much sadness recently in her young life.  But that she constantly remembers the letters in JOY…(Jesus, others, and then yourself) each day, in that order.  We all have gone through hardships and pain but we must rejoice that we have a loving God.  And that should bring so much JOY each day to our lives.  Pray for her to stay strong as she’s caring for her boyfriend and for him to have a full recovery.  They are just so precious.  

Last week was our church’s first cancer support group.  It was originally planned for the beginning of February but with teaching 25 second graders and having a small child, I somehow got the flu.  SHOCKER!!!  I knew the minute my hair began hurting at school that I needed to get myself to the doctor to see if I had the dreaded virus.  And I did.  I remember getting it last year right after my mastectomy and being knocked down after trying to go and do a little too fast after surgery.  And the same thing happened this year.  So I took heed, slowed down, rested, and healed.  And rescheduled this night that I had so been looking forward to.  I’ve always worked with the children’s ministry at our church, with VBS, Sunday School, AWANA, etc. but I have felt a strong pull towards ministering to individuals who have cancer, have had cancer, and their caregivers and families.  So when asked if I would be interested in starting a group for our church/community, I gladly accepted and began planning.  JOY filled my heart as I began praying for Him to guide me as I prepared for this special time with others that have gone through cancer.  The Bible says that Jesus will MAKE us fishers of men or people.  He will use us to ”fish” for people and draw them in to HIS saving grace.  All we have to do is use the tools He’s given us to help others and then share HIS love.  And that’s exactly what has happened since July 12, the day I was diagnosed with cancer.  I remember vividly the morning of July 13, waking up to the slamming car door of an amazing cancer warrior that took the day off to love on me.  She spent hours reassuring me that I was going to be ok.  She showed me her scars, wrapped me in her arms, just like Jesus.  Her visit still brings me to tears when I think about seeing her at my door after being told the devastating news that NO ONE wants to hear.  And since that day, I felt that God’s purpose for me was to take this terrible situation, use it for HIS good, and minister to others, showing love and giving hope.  I’ve prayed so many times for Him to use me to spread the gospel and share the promise that HE’s made to us all.  The verse Deuteronomy 31:6  says “He will never leave us nor forsake us” and that rings in my ears daily, as I live each day knowing that cancer tried to take my life and draw near to His promise that He will never go back on it.  Someone once told me to seal that in my heart and wow…how I’ve done that many times when I walk in fear.  So on the morning of the support group, I woke up feeling great and ready to conquer the day.  I prayed that God would use me to love on the broken people that have been affected by cancer.  Cold and rainy weather came in, but not a single raindrop could keep me from smiling, knowing that we would praise Him that night. Chili and cornbread warmed our bellies and a precious testimony from my friend Sarah warmed our souls as she spoke about being a nurse navigator for many and then diagnosed with breast cancer herself last October.  Each time I saw her at the cancer center, she always had a smile on her face and a kind word to say.  She radiated positive energy even when she felt terrible.  And that’s what she shared with us that evening.  By having cancer herself, she can truly share real life experiences with cancer patients to help them get through their daily lives, focusing on God’s grace and love.  The men and women that came for the support group brought different stories, each with pain and sorrow.  I couldn’t help but think about how many days had been spent amongst us all feeling like our last days were near.  But then to see us all in one room, alive, after much suffering.  The tears welled in my eyes.  God is using all of us in unexpected ways.  When we turn to Him for comfort and love in our hard times, it also allows us to help others. And He never has told us to not deny our suffering, but take heart in His ability to use it for good.  So good is what came from our night.  Many relationships were formed and some were reconnected.  And I pray that many left with a full heart, knowing that they aren’t alone in this process.  He’s right there with us with each challenge that we’re given.  And having friends with similar challenges to run the race with, makes life a little easier too.  Our next meeting is on Thursday, May 16.  My best friend Erica will be speaking on the importance of having a friend to walk beside you through the cancer journey.  

As for me, I’m still feeling great.  The medicine I’m on has had no side effects which I’m so thankful for.  Each morning when I pop that tiny white pill into my mouth, I thank Jesus for modern medicine to keep the cancer away, and for allowing me another day on this Earth with my people.  We’ve been super busy with Swanky Steer, the beginning stages of remodeling our house (YIPPEE), Jett taking riding lessons, beginning tee ball, church, jobs, and the daily life of a normal family.  My hair has been the topic of many conversations as I added some color on it last week to cover up those crazy grays. My sweet hairdresser straightened it for me to see how long it actually is but the consensus vote for most people is to keep my hair CURLY.  So that’s what I’ll do.  Throwing water and a little hair cream on it each morning is so convenient and not having to crank up the straightener each day, makes life a little easier. And I like easy.

So remember the word JOY.  As I walked into the cancer center yesterday so many people radiated JOY!  I’m serious!  I’ve never seen such happy people in such a place that can be so depressing.  Jesus’ presence was so felt throughout the whole building.  Be that joy to others.  Discover your joy.  Let joy be your compass. Serve the world with your joy.  Run straight for joy.  The root of joy is gratefulness.  And grateful is exactly what I am each day, finding joy in the journey!

“Yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior.”  Habakkuk 3:18



It’s been one year and a day since being told I was cancer free after the removal of all breast tissue and the remains of a tumor that tried to take my life.  

It seems like yesterday that we pulled up to the hospital on that cold, rainy morning for this major surgery that no woman ever wants to have.  

I’ll never forget waking up in recovery to the cutest nurse, Juan, who handed me chapstick and told me that my surgery went well.

I’ll never forget my doctor saying I was a rock star in the operating room.  

I’ll never forget Jeremy and my nurses helping me move even an inch because I was helpless.  

I’ll never forget thinking how I’d ever lift my arms over my head again.  

I’ll never forget the thought of having to wear button down shirts for the rest of my life.  

I’ll never forget one of the nurses covering Jeremy up in the hospital chair in the middle of the night.  

I’ll never forget seeing Jett’s sweet little eyes look at me and touch my legs so gently after being told that mommy couldn’t hold him for awhile.   

And I’ll never forget the peace I had that only Jesus could pour over someone.  

So as this one year celebration came closer, it was a day I was looking forward to.  This was the day we’d begin our new cancer support group at church.   We planned to start in January and then February 7 was the date and I couldn’t help but think of it as a God wink.  The anniversary of the day I was officially cancer free.  I was so looking forward to meeting many that we’ve prayed for and talked to about their diagnosis.  And I couldn’t wait to spend the evening sharing God’s love and stories of hope.  

But a not so wonderful celebration day happened when I began feeling super yucky at school and was diagnosed with the flu.  Doesn’t God have a funny way with his timing?  Sickness is everywhere, so a blessing we will consider it that I didn’t spread my flu germs and make those who are currently in the battle even more sick or compromise those with weak immunities. 

I remember vividly 10 days after my surgery last year getting the flu from the same precious one that I do believe gave it to me this year as well.  I mean who doesn’t want their momma when they feel terrible.  I do, still at 38.  And Jett made that clear too.  He wallowed and sneezed and coughed and snuggled me until I just knew I’d be sick eventually.  It’s so hard to not hold your baby when they feel their worst.  So let’s hope and pray that no one else gets these germs that we’ve gotten so good at spreading.

My devotion this morning was about leaning on God.  The song “Leaning, leaning, leaning on the everlasting arms” was mentioned and that’s just what I’ve had to do these past 19 months.  Some days I’ve leaned harder than others and there have been days where I’ve actually had to stop myself and ask...are you leaning enough??  It’s so easy to talk to Him through the difficult times when you need that comfort.  But oh how I’ve learned that by leaning on Him through EVERY situation, His goodness will prevail.  He works for our good.  And if we put Him first, over ourselves, we will see how hardships can bring joy.  That’s something to be grateful for!  


When you are scared

When you are lonely

When you are worried

When you are hurting

When you are celebrating

When you are the happiest you’ve ever been

Lean, lean, lean.  And thank Him for being there for you during all those different times.  

“Even when I go through the darkest valley, I fear no danger, for you are with me; your rod and your staff-they comfort me.”  Psalm 23:4 



From here to there

My “here”.  
Today, Tuesday, January 22.  
A devotional from Christine Caine mentions how we are always talking about getting from “here” to “there”.  On August 9, 2017, I began my journey with chemotherapy working towards my “there”.  And I made it.  My “there” place is being a survivor, cancer free, and feeling amazingly well! This “there” is a time that I often wondered if it would ever come.  And slowly it did.  I remember laying in the bed wondering if my hair would ever grow back.  (It is growing like crazy and the red is slowly starting to trickle in.)  After losing all of my toenails and some finger nails, I was sad at the thought that I may not ever get a pedicure again.  (I currently have all of my fingernails and toenails and paint them weekly as they are growing as well.)  And I often thought if I’d ever hear the words “you are finished”, or “you’re done”, or “that’s all”.  (Just a few weeks ago, my doctor pretty much told me that with a smile.)  And so other than being on a pill for five years that is a hormone replacement to help keep the cancer away from my body, I am finished with all treatments and surgery.  And that’s wonderful but yet kind of scary.  Scary?  Yes.  When you go from seeing a doctor or nurse VERY regularly, having people lay their eyes on you to check on you VERY often, having routine blood work done and read, etc., and then go to seeing them every few months!  It’s hard to get used to.  It’s like you’ve lost your best friend or an apron string being cut.  Faith takes on a whole new meaning.  I now have to trust that my body is well and I have ultimate faith that my body is whole again.  And so this allows me to live each day to the fullest, never taking for granted the feeling of feeling good.  So that’s my new “here”.   I am standing in this “here” place that just 18 months ago was a “there” that I longed for.  Hallelujah!  Praise the Lord.  God is so good.  I can truly say to others that are just beginning this battle, that there is hope.  Their “there” will come and one day they’ll be able to reflect on the steps they have taken, the hard, miserable times where they’ve wanted to give up, and realize what got them “there”. God.  His faithfulness during the troubled times.  
A day doesn’t go by that I don’t thank Him for His grace, His unconditional love through my journey, and for allowing me another day to be a mommy, a wife, a daughter, and a friend.  My new favorite song is Michael W. Smith’s “Surrounded by You”.  If you’ve heard it, you know how repetitive it is and oh so powerful.  Whenever I’m feeling down or having a pity party for myself, I sing the words of that song.  “For the spirit of heaviness, put on the garment of praise.  This is how we fight our battles.  This is how I fight my battle.  This is how I fight my battle.  It may look like I’m surrounded but I’m surrounded by you.”   I can face the day and obstacles that come with strength and courage because of His promise.  So if I’m not singing this, I’m praying and let me say that my prayer life has changed a lot.  I find myself in prayer many times throughout the day, and in tears a lot with gratefulness. 
This week I started physical therapy for some pain that I’m having at my surgery site.  My therapist was so nice and we just clicked the moment I met her. Clemson fans, same age, both moms, and more…  Honestly, I was somewhat dreading going in on such a cold morning when I could’ve stayed at home since it was a holiday.  My pain isn’t terrible and it isn’t really keeping me from doing much but I want to stay on top of it before it does get super uncomfortable.  After talking and laughing about lots of things, she told me that she was glad that I was her patient.  Yesterday was 21 years ago since her daddy died.  As she shared her story, you could see the sadness in her eyes as she misses him terribly.   And so on a sad day, she thanked me for helping bring some sunshine into the facility.  Y’all!  That should be our goal daily.  Smile, say a kind word, and help others.  We just never know what people are going through or the day they may be having.  Going into any hospital never gives me a “feel good” feeling but leaving there yesterday, I thanked Him for giving me just that.   I felt good.  I felt like I had made a new best friend and I truly know that God placed her in my path, and I in hers.  
My year mark is approaching for my surgery date.  I often think back on what was going through my mind this time last year as I was still living with cancer.  I worked so hard making plans for my students so that they wouldn’t miss a beat while I was gone.  I remember the fear that took over many days.  And now as the one year anniversary of the mastectomy is around the corner, I can smile, knowing that I am healed.  Just in the last few weeks, I have been in contact or heard about many ladies that have just been diagnosed and are in the stage of total fear and disbelief.  My heart breaks for them as I vividly remember being in their shoes.  It truly is the worst day of your life to be told that you have cancer.  And it’s the hardest thing to tell your family and friends too.  
So if you know of anyone that would benefit from a cancer support group, please let them know about our upcoming event on Thursday, February 7th at Fountain Inn First Baptist.  And guess what that day is?  The anniversary of my surgery.  God winked when that happened, I’m sure.  
Psalm 37:23 says “The Lord makes firm the steps of the one who delights in Him.” That’s just what we’ll do each Thursday when we meet. Delight in Him, worship Him, pray to Him, all while making strides towards ultimate healing.   We hope to provide opportunities for sharing, give resources/assistance information, and encouraging prayer partnerships for those with similar situations.  
Once again, I’m thankful that God brought me from where I was to where I am now.  My here that was my there.  Healthy, thriving, and sharing Hope through our Savior.

“My heart trusted in Him, and I am helped.”  Psalm 28:7


Back to Top