The topic of the very first A Stitch in Time newsletter I wrote was hope, hope of a great love. Reggie and I were 43-year-old newlyweds. I mention that we were 43 because we didn’t come by our love early in life. We stumbled first, each in our own way, before finding each other. I wrote about hope because I wanted to encourage other people who had stumbled, not just once, but multiple times like me, to not give up. There was hope. Reggie and I were living breathing proof.
My dream of a great marriage came true. In fact, God gave me exceedingly abundantly above what I asked or thought. I had an extraordinary love. Buoyed by the hope of that love, we began to build an extraordinary life. Nine months into our marriage, we founded our ministry, A Cord of Blue. A year into our marriage, we began trying to conceive. We wanted to add an addition to our happy family.
This is a guest post by a mentee of mine, M.C.P., who is a breast cancer survivor. She lives outside of Washington, DC.
In August 2012, at the age of 32, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. Many feelings overwhelmed me as I went through this major “disruption” to my life.
I thought to myself, “I’ve been seeking and serving you Lord, not perfectly, but with a heart intended to please you…did I do something wrong? Am I being punished? It feels like a punishment. I’m not married, nor do I have any children yet. You know these are some of the things I desire most. Now, my body is disfigured. Will any man want me? Will I be able to have children? What about the future? Do you love me?”
After several months of chemotherapy, a mastectomy and radiation, I decided to see a Christian counselor to help me deal with the emotional issues that developed as I went through this experience.
“I lost myself,” stated a former student of mine. That is easy to do following a life-altering event. We focus so much on the doing that the being gets lost. At least, that is what happened to me.
The night Reggie died, not wanting me to be alone, my sister asked me to spend the night at her home. I appreciated the gesture, but declined. I needed a minute to myself. I had not been by myself since arriving at the hospital early that afternoon. The outpouring of love from family and friends was comforting, but also a little overwhelming.
I told my sister, “I need to have a conversation with God in the morning” and this wouldn’t be a brief, “pretty” prayer, like the one I had at the hospital with the chaplains, where I was calm and composed. No, I expected this to be one of those “ugly” prayers, where I cried my heart out to God. It also wasn’t going to be quick. I needed some answers and didn’t plan to do anything else until I got them. So, my plan was to get some rest. Then, talk to God.
When I was little, I learned how to walk out my faith mainly through experience and observation. For instance, one day, while driving across the country to visit my sister in California. (We lived in Maryland), my brother had a nosebleed. We were in the Allegheny Mountains—my mother, my preteen brother and sister, and I (three years old).
Back then, the road was a plateau without guardrails. There were just two lanes—one going each way—wrapping around the side of a mountain. If you were in the outer lane, as we were at the time, and looked out the window on that side of the car, all you saw was a ravine. Needless to say, there was nowhere to pull over.
This is part five of our six-part series for anyone waiting for his/her next big thing. Part one of the series explains why getting ready is so important. Part two switches gears to what we can do to improve our relationship skills, part three continues with what we can do to improve our emotional health, and part four shares what we can do to improve our physical health. In today’s post, we move to what we can do to get ready in regards to our finances.
Truth be told, being in another relationship when Reggie came along is not the only time I wasn’t ready and almost missed my blessing. About a year before I met Reggie, I sensed God prompting me to earn my master’s degree in what I understood to be “my religion,” Christianity. However, I was over $15,000 in debt and Pastor Jenkins, senior pastor of my home church First Baptist Church of Glenarden, began a series on financial freedom. Moved by the sermons, I purposed to use any extra money in my budget to pay down my debt.
A few months later, Pastor Jenkins announced that Bethel Seminary would be teaching satellite classes at our church. I felt in my spirit this was for me, but I was torn. I was still in debt, so I prayed. I also attended the Bethel Open House a few weeks later. I still felt that this was my season to attend seminary. So, armed with the cost of the classes, I prayed even more fervently. How was I going to pay for seminary when I still had to pay off all this debt?