Awareness Hits Home

October is Breast Cancer Awareness month, as I’m sure you all know.  Pink has infiltrated my school, Gracie’s daycare, social media, TV, and even the NFL.  We’re pink up to our eyeballs around here, and I love it.  We all support breast cancer awareness in October.

breast-cancer-awareness

But I don’t think I really got it until THIS October.  Because in this October, it has literally hit close to home.  As in, like, across the street from me.  Two married ministers from our church live in the house across the street from us, and I was heartbroken to find out a few weeks ago that she had been diagnosed with breast cancer.  She has three elementary-aged kids at home and her family’s life is lived in faith and service to God.  Why her?

And then, just yesterday, I was on Facebook and saw a message from another of our ministers at our church.  She had been diagnosed, merely weeks after my neighbor.  She is a lead minister at our church, has a sweet family with kids in high school, and lives her life to bring others to God.  Why her?

I have been in prayer for each of them and their families the past two weeks, asking God to bring them peace and health and faith and hope.  I’ve also been in prayer about trials in general.  How does God decide who will face what trial?  Why do some people face things and others don’t?  It just doesn’t seem fair.

I went through this same line of questioning after my dad died.  I think most people dealing with grief have these thoughts periodically.  Why him?  Why ME?

And then God answered me.

  • I went to a parent/teacher conference last week for a student who is failing all of her classes.  She is disengaged in class, never turns her work in, and comes late to school almost every single day.  The reason?  Both her grandparents are in Hospice care and her single-parent mother is having to take care of everyone by herself.  That’s the home life this sweet girl has to go home to every day.  Who knew?
  • I had a conversation last week with an acquaintance who I often come in contact with, but I’ve never really gotten to know.  She is happy, upbeat, positive, and just a great person to be around.  Turns out, she’s been trying to have a baby for four years.  FOUR YEARS she has carried that weight around, while she functions on the outside like a normal, successful person.
  • Another student came into my first period class last Monday with his head hung low.  A normally loudmouthed kid, this quiet was very uncharacteristic.  I stopped him outside the classroom before the bell rang and checked in with him.  His dad left their family the night before.  Just packed a bag and walked out.  And this kid had to show up at school the next day and learn about descriptive imagery in literature.

The fact is that everyone faces trials.  Every single one of us.  And while I don’t know how or why certain trials are given to certain people at certain times, I do know this:  My God walks beside us through them all.  Even when we don’t know he is there.  Even when we don’t want him there.  Even when we are mad at him.  Even when we don’t believe in him.  Even when we are unworthy of him.

He walks beside us through them all.

But he also calls each of us to walk beside others, too.  To wrap them in prayer and to encourage them on their journey.  To bring dinners, to write cards, to give hugs, to send flowers, to sit beside, to laugh with, to clean up after, to take care of.  Because God knows that his presence is powerful, but his presence through others is unstoppable.

In October, we become even more aware of those whose lives have been impacted by breast cancer, like my neighbor, my minister, and even my own grandmother, but let’s not stop there.  Let’s become more aware of those whose lives have been impacted.  Period.

Everyone carries a burden.  But, perhaps, with the help of the One who first carried the cross, we can help bear their cross with them.

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18 thoughts on “Awareness Hits Home

  1. Teresa

    Amen! Last night in my Bible study, we talked about how we need to speak up for those who can’t. We need to pay attention to others and reach out.

  2. Allison P.

    Thank you for sharing this! It brought me to tears. I feel as though I am carrying a heavy burden right now, and it reminds me to look to others and the burdens they are carrying as well so I can encourage and pray for them. I’m glad you took the time to find out what was happening with each of those people, and I am sure it was a huge encouragement. Way to be a vessel of God’s love!

  3. Julia

    Katie, I am not a Christian, though I am very religious and this post had me in tears. You are absolutely right, and I firmly believe if you reach out to just a few people every day, we could make this world a little brighter. You are awesome, your family is awesome, and I look forward to every single post. This one hit it out of the park, though. Thank you so much for sharing!

  4. jess

    You wrote a very moving post. It reminds me of this touching video by Cleaveland Clinic…
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cDDWvj_q-o8&sns=em

  5. Beth

    Thank you for being willing to write and share what God puts on your heart. I have no doubt that I am one of the people that needed to read these words tonight, the reminder about how awesome our God is even when we can’t see through the storm.

  6. Amber

    I’m not sure I could add anything that hasn’t already been said, so simply, thank you.

  7. Beanie, Gracie and Tillman's Nana

    One day I hope you can have the same incredible experience of watching Christ work as beautifully through Gracie and I have been blessed to see it working through you, Kitten. Your deep and abiding faith is truly one of this Mama’s greatest joys.

  8. You are wise beyond your years! You always, always amaze me with what you have figured out. Hang in there “kid” you are doing fine.

  9. wow,loved this powerful post! had tears in my eyes because it is so true!! thank you for reminding me to remember this important fact.

  10. Stefania Campbell

    October is also Pregnancy and Infant Loss awareness month. This is the same kind of weight that a lot of people walk around with and don’t talk about until this month comes along. The fact that it is also Breast Cancer Awareness month makes it a little less visible.
    3 years ago I lost my sweet daughter at 8 1/2 months pregnant. It was a hard time for me and although I have been able to recover and have since been blessed with another beautiful baby girl the grief is still a weight that I carry along with me and will for always.
    It is important to remember that everyone is carrying something.

  11. Beautiful! One of my favorite passages is Psalm 77…verses 16-20 talk about God’s mighty presence in the lives of the Israelites, and verse 19 says this:

    “Your path led through the sea,
    your way through the mighty waters,
    though your footprints were not seen.”

    Sometimes we can’t see his footprints–but they are THERE. And sometimes we need others to help point them out. Thank you for sharing, Katie!

  12. Kristin

    It isn’t God that causes our trials. Satan is the one that wants us to be in pain and hurting. But God IS there with us to help us through the trial. The Bible says that “He works all things together for good (Rom. 8:28).” When we lean on Him through the trials, we see how he uses what was meant for evil by the Evil One and turn it to good (Genesis 50:20). Prayers for your friends and neighbors as they endure their trials.

  13. Kristin

    Thanks for sharing. I needed this.

  14. Jenna

    Reminds me of a favorite quote: “be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.” Thank you, Katie.

  15. Best of luck with whatever difficulties you are all facing.

  16. Lauren G

    Thanks so much for the reminder. True words.

  17. Megan

    Katie, Thank you for this post. I have a three year old and an almost 2 month old at home. My husband passed away from pancreatic cancer when she was 3 weeks old. He was diagnosed about 2 months after I found out I was pregnant. I already believe what you have written here. God does walk each step with us. I appreciate the reminder which you presented so eloquently. Keep being salt and light 🙂

  18. […] few months ago, I blogged about two ministers in my church who were diagnosed with breast cancer almost two weeks apart from each other.  This past weekend, […]

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