Going to church every Sunday, daily prayers and a loving Christian family made me into a stereotypical church girl. I never experienced great pain or heartache and was sure my life would never consist of such things. When my dad was diagnosed with esophageal cancer my fifth-grade world wasn’t perfect like I imagined. 

            Cancer didn’t make sense to me. Creating a small bump in my ideal world, I was sure it would quickly go away and life as I knew it would resume. 18 months of treatment left my dad cancer-free as I prophesied. However, 3 short months later a cancerous tumor was found in my father’s brain 

            The cancer bomb dropped on my dad’s head was downright frustrating. Despite my father’s unwavering faith in God, I struggled to make sense of God’s will. Pain and sorrow filled me, and I was lost. Where had God gone? 

            Surgeries, chemotherapy and radiation treatments, hair loss and extreme behaviors caused by the tumor were painful to watch. The constant physical battle ended on August 19th, 2011.

            Death is surreal. I still sit at home waiting for my dad to come through the door and play the piano. I watch baseball in my basement waiting for him to bring down a bowl of buttered popcorn, a smile and excitement to spend time with me. There won’t be a day that goes by that I don’t think of him.

            School started again for me one week after his death. Walking the halls I expected a motionless world. Everyone moved but I stood still as reality kicked-in; my life changed.

Fall turned to winter and I slowly recuperated. Thanksgiving arrived and family reunited as my mom told us she was battling breast-cancer alone since the weekend after my dad’s death. There is no explanation to the emotions in listening to my mom’s battle. Psalm 38 resonated with me when David talks about being feeble, utterly crushed, and having an anguished heart.

            My previous experience with cancer led me to believe my mom’s stage 1 cancer was fatal. Sleepless tear-filled nights concerned my mom. Depression tests revealed a score of 16, 6 points beyond a depression diagnoses. The confirmed test finally revealed who I was trying to hide.

            Prescribed sleeping pills and depression medication caused nausea. Frequent absences from school led to failing classes as I hit rock bottom in failing to be the real Kara. God was forgotten in the blur that had become my life.

            Miracle is the only word to describe how the story changes. In March of 2012 God picked me up and gave me a change of heart. He turned my life around and gave me peace.

God gave me a life message. He gave a choice in the Garden of Eden and we chose sin. As a result, every person deserves hell. Hell is real! We are destined to it, but God sent His perfect son to earth to take-on flesh and die our death on the cross. He has victoriously resurrected and as we choose to believe in Him we will live eternally in Heaven. Life is so freeing when we receive the gift of Jesus.

  Life doesn’t need to be smiles and giggles when bad things happen. Sadness is okay, but remember the joy found only in Christ. Let it shine everyday.

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