God is bigger than our circumstances! He is even bigger than cancer!
Just like you, I have had ups and downs. My husband and I have moved cross-country six times, experienced job losses, losses of loved ones, miscarriages, and more.
The journey that we most recently experienced is one of the toughest ones we have faced and it is a story about God truly working all things for good. It also shows how God can transform us and make our faith much bigger than any fear we have. In December of 2017, I stubbed my toe. I genuinely thought I had broken it. We had just moved to Colorado, and this mom had not found herself a doctor. As women, we are sometimes so focused on caring for others we neglect to take care of ourselves. God knows that, and made sure to get my attention with this tiny toe.
I made an appointment to get it checked out and get a physical. While I was there, my physician found a lump in my breast. She didn’t seem overly concerned, so neither was I. It didn’t run in my family, and I was young and relatively healthy. This finding set a series of tests into motion. The day of my first test, while I was getting ready and praying and asking for peace, God gave me a verse. It was John 16:33 ESV, “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world, you will have trials. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” I brushed it off, because, frankly, I didn’t want any verse that referred to me having a trial. I didn’t have time for a trial. Who does?
The testing continued, and on February 23, 2018, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. When trials come our way, we have a choice. We can press into God’s peace or crumble with fear.
The Bible talks a lot about trials. James 1:2-3 says “Dear sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow…” Ladies, joy wasn’t my first and most natural reaction—it was fear! My middle son was nine at the time and asked me if I was going to die. That conversation was probably the toughest one I had to have. I said, “Yes, someday, everyone does, but not from this!”
I would wake up in the middle of the night gripped by fear. I would even wake up crying. In these moments, if I was quiet enough, God would remind me of John 16:33, that we will have trials but that our God is an overcomer! Or Psalm 46:10 to just be still and know that He is God. Or Exodus 14:14, “The Lord himself will fight for you. Just stay calm.”
I had faith in God and who He is, but my fear was sometimes so much greater than my faith. My prayer became to have God help me have faith bigger than my fear. I invited God into this journey and asked him to help me use this trial to honor and glorify Him. I was determined to allow God to use this for His glory. It wasn’t about me anymore.
I started to use my doctors appointments as opportunities to listen to and pray for people I encountered. I heard so many stories of courage, survival, and heartbreak. I started to see the beauty all around me in and through God’s children. It was becoming harder to be gripped by fear. My faith was growing as my fear was shrinking. I was actually starting to sense joy in this journey.
As the first surgery date grew closer, we watched as God continually provided for us. We had only lived in Colorado for a year and our family was over 1,000 miles away. God raised up support from all around us, from people I didn’t even know. We had help with transportation, childcare, meals, prayers, and so much more. His light was beaming through so many people. I had days that the fear was just so overwhelming. But more days than not, God was faithful to remind me of His promise that He would go before me, and He would never leave me.
In a short amount of time, I had five surgeries and spent countless hours at doctors appointments. I am so very thankful for all of the people who surrounded us during that time. The real hero is my God! My God who knew this would be a part of my story before I was born! My God, who knew I would be fearful, but who loves me enough to help calm my fears and give me the gift of His peace, His peace that surpasses all understanding. It doesn’t make much sense to others to have peace in the midst of a cancer journey, but it does make sense when you remember whose you are. You are chosen, you are holy, you are righteous, you are a daughter of the King, and you are so very loved by God.
Going back to John 16:33—the verse that God gave me at the beginning. With the cards and text messages rolling in, the most common verse that was shared with me was John 16:33. No one even knew that was the verse God gave me. By the fifth, sixth, seventh time I received this verse, I finally understood. I embraced this verse and it gave me comfort.
We are not promised an easy life. So, it is not if, but when we face our next storm we can confidently stand up tall and face it head on. We can rest assured knowing that our God is victorious over all! He will never leave us or forsake us. God is bigger than our circumstances! He is even bigger than cancer!
Each one of us is given a unique story to share. Your stories are gifts that God gives you and are used to encourage or inspire one another. Be bold, be brave, and share your stories with each other. Cheer each other on as they are brave enough to share theirs. Thank you for allowing me to share mine with you. If you see me and want to share your story, I would love to listen and be inspired by you!
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Jenny Curtiss, Journey Groups Pastor
Jenny, a midwest girl at heart, is from Indiana, and currently lives in Highlands Ranch with her husband and 3 boys. After staying home for a decade with her boys, she currently is serving as the Women’s Pastor at Journey, and is passionate about building women up and helping them discover their God given gifts to serve others. She believes that each one of us has a story that God gave us to inspire and point others to Jesus.