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I had my last post-op visit with my surgeon on June 30. When you see someone so often, you start feeling a little bit like “family.” At least, that’s how it was on my part. He walked me through a huge crisis in my life. From the beginning, Steve & I both believed this doctor was helping me by God’s design, & his involvement in our lives wasn’t a random choice. I have come to see him as more than a surgeon. I see the man. Someone with an enormous amount of stress in his profession. Someone who has to remain steady, while delivering bad news as well as positive outcomes. Someone who slowly let his professional guard down, a little, as our family became increasingly transparent during our 3 month association with each other. We started to relax in appointments. We questioned him in detail. My daughter took notes because, most of the time, I was just trying to track with what he was saying in the newness of the situation.

Before we left the office that day, we stopped in to say “goodbye” to the surgical nurse/coordinator. This gal had been a key link in my experience. Warm, personal, funny, to-the-point, honest, & willing to share her own story. She commented how good my attitude had been through it all. I knew that she had seen the Lord in me/us. We had shared our faith on a couple of occasions. I don’t know if she caught the connect or not. But it was right after her comment that the words just poured out of my mouth. “I’ve learned that any woman with cancer needs to know 2 things. First, that she’s not alone. And second, that there’s HOPE, whether she lives or dies.” Then I asked if I could leave gifts of encouragement, in the doctor’s office, for gals who were diagnosed with cancer.

Let me back track a little at this point. About 4 years ago, a young gal in our church started making jewelry to help fund our ministry orphanage in Liberia. Now 15 years old, Malamie has contributed to some very significant projects through her “Beads of Hope” sales. She creates new pieces, as well as recycling beads from discarded jewelry items donated to her. So, soon after my diagnosis in May, I saw she’d made some anchor earrings. It was an “ah-ha!” moment for me. As my statement of faith, I could give anchor jewelry to women who have cancer, or who are cancer survivors. It would be a reminder, to them, that they are not alone. And that there truly is a “Living Hope.”(1 Peter 1:3)

Presently, we’ve started with 2 styles of anchors & enough pieces to make 50 pair of earrings and/or necklaces & bracelets. My goal is to give them away. I will cover the majority of the costs so Malamie can continue supporting the orphans. THE “Living Hope” (Jesus) is working through “Beads of Hope” to meet tangible needs of the 400 children at New Hope Orphanage. It is my prayer that He will also use the jewelry to meet the emotional & spiritual needs of gals affected by this life-altering trial. I’m enclosing an anchor card, with a mini-version of my story, in each gift bag. My motivation is fueled by recalling my own gamut of thoughts & feelings the past 3 months. And I’m not done, yet. Visual reminders help me focus on the Truth & they point me to a greater purpose outside of myself.

What women need in a cancer crisis isn’t really anything new. All of the unknowns simply push these issues to the forefront of your mind & emotions. These feelings are valid & they’re real. They can be overwhelming at times & make you feel panicky. Adults, children, men, women, young & old--- EVERYONE needs to know they aren’t alone. EVERYONE needs to have hope. But since we rarely control the situations that confront us in life, we certainly aren’t able to produce the hope needed to overcome them. Hope is bigger & more powerful than any problem we face. Hope is a person. TRUST HIM, moment by moment. I’m learning with you.


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