” Trials: Will They Define or Refine You? ” by Rebecca Johnson.
One of the greatest challenges of my life came when I was only thirty-two years old. I’ll never forget the day the surgeon looked at me and said, “Mrs. Johnson, we found cancer.”
Those words took the breath out of me. My mind raced. Would I make it through this? Who was going to raise my kids? I didn’t want my husband to have to be alone. He tried his best to be strong, but I could see a look of shock in his eyes. The fear was so real.
The following weeks were a blur of doctor and hospital visits. I heard words I didn’t understand, got poked more times than I could count, and felt exhausted by it all. The fact that I had lost my mother to cancer many years prior made the fear even more difficult to face. It was easy to see myself as yet another casualty of the dreaded disease.
The word cancer can control your life. However, I decided that neither cancer nor fear were going to control me. I was going to live by faith. I knew my two young children were watching how I reacted to this trial, and I wanted to be an example they could follow. I decided to speak life into my situation. I started each day by playing worship music in my home and thanking God for another day to be alive. I quoted Scripture about God’s goodness and mercy as I dropped my kids off at school. I was determined to focus on thanksgiving instead of doom and gloom.
When we went to church, I sat on the second row with my children, and we worshipped together as a family. As we trusted God, our faith grew. I also learned that trust is one step further than faith. God was asking me to trust Him completely.
I endured eight separate surgeries and procedures during the course of a year. My body was exhausted by the stress of back-to-back operations. Although I would not wish my battle with cancer on anyone, it made me realize how blessed I really was, and it taught me to have complete confidence in God. The decision to trust Him during that season helped define who I am today.
If you are dealing with adversity, God will see you through. What God wants more than anything else is for you to put complete trust in Him. If you make the decision to trust Him, your trial will not define you, but rather refine you.
If you have children, they will learn to react to problems based on the way you react to yours. I wanted my kids to respond to tough situations by trusting God and staying faithful. Consequently, I was intentional about worshipping God and speaking words of life to my children. I repeatedly quoted Psalm 118:24 to them: “This is the day which the Lord hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.”
In the end, my cancer journey helped deepen my walk with God and taught me to lead with grace, even through adversity. My situation didn’t define me; rather, thanks to God’s strength and help, it refined me. And through it all, my children learned as much as I did.
Eleven years later, I am happy to report that I am cancer-free!
Rebecca Johnson serves in ministry with her husband, Matthew, at The Sanctuary in Columbus, Indiana. “Becca,” as she is usually known, is the proud mother of two children, Abriah and Jace. Two golden doodles, Ginger Lou and Opie Taylor, round out the Johnson household. Becca’s mottoes are “Be comfortable in your own skin” and “Use the gifts God has given you to bless the Kingdom!”
( Information from: UPCI Family Ministries Newsletter – firstname.lastname@example.org )