Yesterday morning, I received an email notifying me that a sizable donation had been made to our family YouCaring site and that the established fundraising goal had been exceeded.
I was completely overcome with emotions. The numbers jumping out at me from the screen felt incredible and crazy. I sat in utter disbelief and wept tears of deep gratitude. How can we be this BLESSED?? I couldn’t believe that someone had been so generous. Then I read the anonymous comment on the page:
“Tiffany, because you are bold, courageous and graceful, take care of yourself and enjoy time with your beautiful family and go tell others that this donation was God’s answer to your prayers. Love you.”
I’ll never be able to find the words that adequately express the thankfulness reverberating in my heart. This space. This feeling is so holy, so profoundly rich in love and meaning. My brain cannot conceive that people would do something so big, so generous, and so loving for my family. The best way I can describe what I am feeling is captured in the lyrics of the song “Amazing Grace”:
“Twas grace that taught my heart to fear,
And grace my fears relieved;
How precious did that grace appear
The hour I first believed.”
I just don’t feel worthy of this large scale kindness by so many generous friends and family members. Yet, I know that God answers prayers and offers us peace despite the messiness in our lives. Friends from all seasons of our lives—childhood friends, high school friends, college buddies, former coworkers, Andre’s coworkers, new and old neighbors, fitness friends, and complete strangers—were coming along side of us and saying “You matter. We are with you.” Every thoughtful comment encouraged us and reminded us of the gift of community. I see very clearly the hand of God in our story in both big and small ways. I feel a stirring to share the backstory as well because it gives context to the blessings that continue to unfold.
Last year, I downloaded an app in order to dig deeper into my spirituality on a daily basis. I wanted to be more intentional about developing a relationship with God. I didn’t want to just show up to church on Sundays. I craved to know His spirit and to seek Him more in my every day life. In April (and well before the return of my cancer), I completed a guided series about overcoming fear. At that time, I was prompted to identify my three biggest fears. No surprise, but one of the three things I identified as an area I feel anxious is health. Here’s what I wrote:
Fast forward a few months to July and right about the time I was waiting for my biopsy reports to come back. Reading back through what I wrote, I recognized a constant theme of uncertainty about my diagnosis and relentless worry about the associated medical bills.
Even while I was processing a cancer diagnosis and figuring out how I would get through the physical and mental challenges, I was also apprehensive about burdening my family.
I share these very vulnerable thoughts with you because I believe they really illustrate the grip of fear but more than that, the power of God.
Letting Go of Fear & Finding Courage to Trust
One warm September morning at the bus stop, a friend approached me about creating a crowdfunding site where people could donate to my family. I couldn’t believe it. How could she have known how much the financial piece of our situation weighed heavily on my mind? God was showing up and sending people in to help. Yet, I felt sort of strange about it. I saw so much need in the world and didn’t feel like our situation warranted that kind of assistance. Surely, others needed more. Nonetheless, she stressed that she wanted to do something to help and knew others wanted a way to contribute to our family as we weathered the cancer storm. So, despite the concern that we might appear too needy and the embarrassing idea of showing we were facing hardships, we considered the long road ahead. I talked it over with another friend who also said, “let people help you.” Hence we did. I prayed for clarity and strength and set aside my pride. For someone who enjoys giving, it was especially hard to humble ourselves to receive.
How do I ever fully thank so many generous human beings? I don’t fully understand how it all worked out but God provided. I surrendered and I’ve been astounded over and over again. I continue to learn that I am not in control but that I have a Father who is rooting for me. My faith brings me through every hard day. I pray He continues to shine His light through my journey so that others may witness His faithfulness.
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, ” ~Galatians 5