Sunday, October 17, 2010

WDW: Afflictions

Wednesday night was our Women Discipling Women meeting. I find these meetings so encouraging! The topic of this week was Comforting the Afflicted. We watched a video from the WDW conference by Dr. Laura Hendrickson (you can learn more about her by visiting her website or her blog). She is a fabulous speaker! I loved hearing what she had to say, and I am so glad that she is willing to speak about this subject!

The main core of our meetings is that in all situations the Gospel is most important. It can be applied to every aspect of life, in this case afflictions. Jesus suffered so many afflictions, and He endured it all for us, because of His love for us. Dr. Laura spoke of boasting in our afflictions, like Paul. We can thank God for our trials and afflictions. My personal testimony of praising God for my afflictions is one that I love to share. Some of you have already heard this I believe, but I will share it again:

When I was a baby my mom noticed there was something wrong with my right eye. She kept taking me to the doctors, just to have them tell her there was nothing wrong with me. She knew better, and I am so thankful that she didn't give up! When I was 2 years old I was diagnosed with Retinal Blastoma. I had tumors on the retina of my right eye, and it had to be removed so that they didn't spread down the optic nerve and into my brain. I use to hate this. I saw myself as damaged, an imperfect human. Everyone else's face was perfectly symmetrical, but not mine. I felt ugly because of it. I tried to be mad at God, but it never worked. He always reassured me that I was the person I am because of this. I don't judge others by what they look like. I am honestly thankful for that, but I still prayed that He would grant me healing and I would wake up one morning with two good eyes.

My parents were divorced when I was 2 also. I always blamed myself for this. It was even worse when I found out that they got divorced because of financial issues. I completely convinced myself that if I hadn't had cancer that they wouldn't have had so many bills. They both re-married. My Dad and his new wife had more children. His wife didn't really like having my sister and I around. She told my Dad that he couldn't see us unless he paid child support when she was spending all the money in other places. My new step-father sexually abused my sister and I, and I kept telling myself that if I hadn't had cancer, then my parents would still be married, we wouldn't have to endure so much. I have since learned that it is not my fault. I was 2, what could I have done? I am so thankful that that is no longer a burden that I must carry!

When I grew up, I graduated high school a year early only to be married at the end of the summer. I was ready, I had waited my whole life to have my own family that I could love and provide for. However, when I got pregnant my husbands feelings changed. He started running around with a much younger crowd and hitting on other girls. When our first child was born, he quit his job so that he could be at the hospital with me. This might sound sweet, but it was the last job he had for quite some time. Even though he was unemployed I still had to take our son to someone else to watch him while I was working. I eventually found out my husband was cheating on me and we separated. I didn't want a divorce, but I couldn't live with him while he was seeing another woman. He didn't see anything wrong with this and tried to justify it by saying the men in the Bible had multiple wives. At one point he told me that he had called it off with her, and wanted me back. So I returned home with his son, only to be chewed out the next morning by his girlfriends sister because I was in my house... He explained to her that they had broken up, and she said she knew but her sister still loved him. I held my tongue, but it wasn't easy. He chose me and I was thrilled! Only to have an extreme wake-up call when I announced that I was pregnant with our second child. His response: "What's my girlfriend going to say?" The girlfriend that he assured me he wasn't seeing anymore. He called me almost everyday while I was pregnant to see if I had had a miscarriage yet. During my pregnancy he also filed for divorce. However, I refused to sign the papers because he wouldn't include our baby in the divorce decree. Our divorce was finalized shortly after our second son was born.

When our second son was around a week old I noticed that his pupil of his right eye was yellow instead of black. I knew from what my mom had told me that this meant that he had Retinal Blastoma. I was extremely upset with a certain doctor, because when our first son was born I had him checked for it and they insisted that it wasn't genetic and there was incredibly rare odds that one of my children would get it. So I didn't have our second son's eyes checked. Only to find out that it is genetic, and he does have it. We spent months going in and out of the hospital he had his right eye removed at less than a month old, then had to return for multiple laser surgeries, chemotherapy, and radiation treatments to save his left eye. I spent the entire time praising God that I had already had retinal blastoma and that I knew some of what my baby would go through. I now see my own cancer experience as a blessing instead of a curse. During this time God filled me with an amazing peace about the whole situation. I am so thankful to him!

My ex-husband made life almost unbearable for me. He would call me at all hours of the night to cry about his girlfriend cheating on him or anything else that was going wrong. I eventually chose to move away. I left my boys with my mom, and went to college in another state. There I met my now husband, and I am so thankful that my ex-husband divorced me, and then made my life miserable! I am so happy with my new husband. We have our fair share of issues, but God has truly used all of my heartache to bring me a happiness that I would have never known.

So that's the my life story in a nutshell! God has used every heartache for His glory. Everything that has happened to me has turned out to be for a good reason. It's not always easy to see it when you are going through it, but looking back, God is soo good!

After all, Jesus' suffering on the cross could be seen as a bad situation, but through that, all of us have the opportunity to believe in Him and be saved from our sins. By His blood we are saved. God is sooo good!

And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. ~Romans 8:28


  1. Wow, Heather! What a powerful testimony!!! It's encouraging to see you crying out to God and giving Him all glory for everything and to see you staying strong in the Lord!!! This is a really moving story! Thanks for sharing!

  2. Wow, that is one powerful story! Thank you for sharing it, it makes what I am going through seem like it might have some real meaning someday. Does that sound wierd? LOL

  3. It doesn't sound weird at all! God knows what He is doing, even if we can't see it. I use to be ashamed of my life, but I have come to see that it is worth more to God if I share it! He is so amazing!