When I was 36, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. My husband and I had been in college ministry with Campus Outreach for a decade when this very difficult time hit in our lives. We also had two young sons. I had spent many years walking with God and studying his Word, but this painful challenge came as a shock to our lives and our faith.
I wrestled with God through surgeries, chemotherapy, and radiation. There was plenty of suffering, but we stood on the truths we had learned and taught others. After several harrowing years, I was blessed to be able to step back into full-time ministry, cancer free.
Fast forward a decade later, and our sons are now teenagers. Last year, I started to feel shortness of breath and thought I should be checked out. I sat in the Mayo Clinic thinking I had asthma, only to learn that I was in heart failure due to the chemotherapy for the breast cancer.
After numerous appointments and tests, the doctors concluded a heart transplant was my only option. I spent over 100 days in the hospital, waiting for someone else to lose his or her life for me to receive a new heart. After this long wait, the perfect match was found, and I underwent a heart transplant. I was blessed once again, and am now fully back to work and engaged in my life and ministry.
Through these major health crises, I’ve had many hard questions for God. I wasn’t supposed to get sick. I was young, athletic, and took care of my body. While I can’t fully understand why these things happened, I go back to God’s Word for His truths. I must stand there for He is so good and so trustworthy, especially in the midst of deeply painful and confusing times.
Since having the heart transplant, I approach the young women I am discipling with much less judgment. I know that I cannot meet their needs and they cannot meet mine. Only Jesus can. It makes it easier for me to point them to Him instead of to myself. I pray to be used by God to love and minister to others, especially in our college ministry and with my fellow heart transplant survivors.