*I wrote this post months ago and never published. I waited for the right time. It only seems fitting that now is the time… the anniversary of the death of a saint who has gone home to Heaven. Angela Faddis, you are not forgotten, you taught us so much about redemptive suffering and how to choose Jesus. Here is a brief insight into what she taught me*
Stepping outside of ourselves is often a difficult task. To consider that somebody else is experiencing suffering in a way that we can’t fathom for ourselves is often too painful to imagine. It isn’t until we are “in it” that we can see what others are experiencing in their suffering.
A few years ago we were going through some major transitions as a family. These changes brought forth a lot of uncertainty, fear of the unknown, and a total reliance on our faith in God. That He was going to bring us through it.
A Call to Conversion
As a “baby Christian,” having not been raised with faith at the center of my life, I’ve always struggled with praying. I am unsure of how to do it, what to pray for, am I saying the right things, the right way? Is God listening? How do I know He’s listening? What is He saying to me?
It was through my conversion that I fell in love with the song, “Word of God Speak,” by Mercy Me. Let me tell you…if you pray for Him to speak to you, He will. So be prepared.
I pray every day for Him to speak to me. I often sing this song over and over, daily. I have to tell you what he spoke to me one of those days during this journey in our life…
“Don’t worry about your future. I’ve got you.”
The second thing I felt Him speaking to me was, “Do something for somebody else in need.”
Now, I took that as giving of my time, talents and treasures. Well…I wasn’t sure how in the world I could give myself in that way due to the immense amount of stress we were experiencing at that time.
Something incredible happened…as soon as I said, “yes, Lord.” I began to see ways that I could give back.
Hearts are Stirred
Our family purged our home of the unnecessary things we didn’t use and donated them. We also had a garage sale and used a portion of the money to give to those in need. We volunteered with a great organization that invites volunteers to pack “manna bags” for the hungry. We also visited the sick and elderly.
Our family began to change in the most humbling ways. My children looked outside of themselves to see all the suffering in the world. They realized that it wasn’t all about them, the new toy, or new activity they wanted. They began to think of their own ways to help others.
I started feeling hopeful and joyful again. It was amazing how at a time in our lives when we felt we didn’t have anything to give, we actually had SO much to give.
I didn’t realize it at the time but God was preparing me for giving of myself and our family in a way that I couldn’t imagine…
A Deeper Calling
You see, at that time, friends of ours were experiencing something that NOBODY should ever have to endure…terminal, stage IV colon cancer. It was in their journey that I heard the Lord speaking to me and showing me a way that our family could serve their family.
Everybody who has been touched by terminal cancer says that there is NOTHING anybody can do or say to take it away. The inevitable, daunting fate has already been set into motion.
Yet again, in the midst of our own trials, I felt called to do something for these friends of ours. Word of God Speak played again in my heart and I prayed for a way to help.
The opportunity to start a “meal train” for the Faddis family was brought to me and I said, “yes.” I didn’t even blink. I hadn’t even spoken to my husband about it, the words “yes” came out and we were on this journey.
Our lives were completely changed on that meal train. 4 days a week we delivered meals to our friends as they spent their last days together with Angela.
We witnessed some very intimate moments that they shared together. We saw them love so deeply, trust with reckless abandon, and find joy in the storm.
How we found Joy in the Storm
I never intended for my own children to witness such heartache so early in life and to see first hand somebody’s life on this earth coming to a close. I never wanted for them to see 2 young children who, at any moment were going to lose their mommy and watch as a father become a widower.
You see, my children aren’t strangers to the term, “cancer.” Their grandpa was taken from them before they were born because of colon cancer. They have grown up knowing, “daddy’s dad is in Heaven.” So, they know what an ugly reality cancer is and to actually see somebody dying from it now took this reality to another level.
Our family was so blessed on that meal train. We were changed. We were humbled. We learned to love one another deeper. We trust our Lord more and we find joy in the storms of life.
Even though there were days when I was experiencing tremendous stress and uncertainty about the decisions our family had to make, I was challenged to think outside of myself and to do for others.
Storms are going to come. Trials are going to be had. Life will get complicated.
I’ve learned that there are so many blessings to pour forth in those times.
I’ve learned that there are always other people experiencing greater pain and suffering than we may be feeling in our own trials.
I’ve learned how giving of yourself to others is such a gift. Choose today to be a gift to others. Choose to love. God chose you.
Are you looking for more inspiration? Find out how God protected our son with severe food allergies on his 8th day of Kindergarten and how we had the courage to do the right thing HERE:
Have you experienced a time when God called you to do something that seemed impossible, or perhaps he’s challenged you to give up something that you hold very dear or maybe even something that you thought you couldn’t live without? Read our story of “letting go and falling into trust” and be encouraged HERE.