How Cancer Creates Bravery

Some time around the beginning of November, I began thinking about my “one word” for 2015 – a word that might inspire me forward, convict me in an area where I need to grow, and be a focus for the next 12 months. My word for 2014 was intention, and it resonated throughout the entire year, cropping up in all sorts of unexpected places.

One word kept coming to my mind, but I wasn’t sure about it.


I didn’t know what I needed to be brave about. Maybe I needed to take more risks in my writing, submit to more sources for publication, maybe even consider writing a book. Maybe I had just watched Thomas and Friends Tale of the Brave one too many times.

Since it was still the beginning of November, I decided to think about it a while, see if that word was going to stick or if something else would come to mind.

What I could not know was that only a couple of weeks later I would find something that would send me to the doctor, that would set off a series of tests, and then I would hear another word that would change the course of 2015.


My mother passed away in February 2012 from breast cancer. Hearing that diagnosis hit very, very close to home for us.

But I believe that God placed the word “brave” in my heart and mind before the doctor could deliver that ugly news because I do not believe that cancer is going to define my life.

God is asking me to be brave this year, but not in the ways that I imagined. Our little family has a long and difficult journey ahead of us, but I am determined that it is not going to be the only story that we will tell from the year 2015. I believe that God has great and wonderful things planned for us in the midst of this hard time.

Right around the time I first found the lump, my friend Jessica at Grace for Moms used Psalm 16 in something that she wrote. I wrote it on an index card to keep with me. This is what I am praying for myself each day, and I would invite you to pray with me throughout this journey.

Keep me safe, my God, for in you I take refuge. I say to the Lord, “You are my Lord; apart from you I have no good thing” … Lord, you alone are my portion and my cup; you make my lot secure. The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance. I will sing praise to the Lord, who counsels me; even at night my heart instructs me. I keep my eyes always on the Lord. With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken. Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices, my body also will rest secure … you make known to me the path of life; you fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand. – Psalm 16

What has brought out bravery in you?
What hard place has God called you into?

Published January 19, 2015