Dear Holly of July 2015, July 9th will be a day that you will never forget. Literally all of your worst fears will come true. You have always so carefully planned your life and laid out your dreams and expectations. You think you are going back to work tomorrow to tie up loose ends before you leave for vacation. You think you will go in to see Dr. Smith and get the all clear to leave for vacation the next day. You’re feeling almost back to normal. You still have to finish packing for the yearly dream week at the beach. The kids are excited, you and Cory are excited. Your good friends and family will all be there. What an amazing week this will be. But then it came… out of nowhere. But was it really? The morning of the 9th, something in you said “I don’t think you should go to work until after you see Dr. Smith. I think you should just work from home”. That something was the voice of the Holy Spirit. That would be the first of many times you will clearly hear His voice. Around 9:30am you will get “the call” that no one ever wants to get. You will get the news that no one ever wants to hear. You will hear the very words that all your life leading up to that moment you have always feared. “You have cancer”. Over the next few months, you will encounter the most difficult days of your life. There will be times that you feel you may not live another minute, or that dying would actually be better than living through what you are. But Jesus says, ‘I have overcome the world’. Through this cancer, you will see and experience Jesus in ways you never imagined. You are going to meet some of the most amazing people in your life. Your eyes are about to be opened up to a whole new world, one you never would’ve entered willingly. The first few weeks are going to be so hard. Every idol you have ever held above your relationship with the Lord will be brought to the forefront. Every single thing you hold dear to you and love more than the Lord will be revealed. There are going to be tears, lots of them. There are going to be moments that you feel like you can’t breathe. In those moments, in those tears, just rest. Rest in Him. Trust in Him. Everything you’ve ever said you believe about God will be put to the test. Every doubt you’ve ever had in the goodness of God will be proven wrong. Every lie Satan has every made you believe will be exposed and beat down. You are going to lose your hair. I know you are terrified of this. You have quantified your worth in your appearance your entire life. But your worth is not in your appearance. Your worth is in the Lord. The one who created you and made you in His image. The one who knitted you in your mother’s womb and knows how many hairs on your head that you will lose. Everything you’ve ever struggled with in your looks will be wiped away. You will see how your husband truly loves you for YOU and not for what you look like. You will see that your children don’t love you for your hair either. They won’t even care that you’re bald. In fact, they will not skip a beat. Your family and friends love your heart not your image. The Lord will deepen relationships you have with friends and he will bring new ones into your life. Your relationships with your family will be taken to a whole new level. You will have some of the sweetest times of your life and some of the most precious moments of worship. True, wholehearted worship with a heart fully surrendered. You see Holly, you will truly find your life when you lay it down. Just as you have read over and over again in scripture. True life is found when you lay down your own cross and follow Jesus. So follow Him and don't look back for a second. Your life has meaning. There is purpose in this pain. The Lord will not only carry you through the cancer journey and restore your health, but the Lord will restore your soul. He has been fighting for you all along. The biggest purpose in this journey will not only be to heal you of your cancer, but it will be for the Lord to break every chain in your life of fear, guilt, worry, anxiety, idol of appearance, fear of death, lack of trust in the Lord’s goodness. The Lord is about to wreck your life in more ways than one. Your body and spirit will be broken down to nothing, but the Lord will slowly build you back up and mold you into a new creation. He will put a new song in your mouth to sing. Your life will be on display for so many to see. Remember how several years ago, you clearly heard to Lord telling you that he wanted you to share your story. Well sister, this is it. This is your time. It is going to be ugly. It’s not going to be glamourous. But, by you sharing your story people are going to hear the name of Jesus. Over 16,000 times someone will read your words and hear the name of Jesus. Complete strangers will reach out to you and thank you for sharing your story. It's one thing to have faith and praise God when all is well, but true faith is on display when you can still trust and proclaim Jesus when times are at their worst. This is something you will learn over the upcoming months. The Lord will heal you, at least for now. The best news of all though is that the Lord will move in you to change the lives of others. The Lord will stir something up in your heart to minister to the heart of women just like you. Out of your season of suffering will come a new season of life. You will begin to devote your time and effort into reaching out to women who are walking similar journeys. You will meet women just like you. You will have the opportunity to pray for other women just like you. You will be able to share your story of redemption to women who are desperate to hear about the hope that they too can have in Jesus. You will be able to share tangible items with women, but you will also be able to give them something that not many others can give. Your words will come from a place in your heart that not many others are privileged to have. Your words will carry a weight that very few can relate to. Stay strong. The Lord is good. He does love you, not for what you’ve done for him but because He created you. You don’t have to do anything more. You have been “doing” all your life and it will never buy you salvation. The price has already been paid. Everything you think you have to work for is already available for you. You are going to get to live out for faith for your children. You will gain a whole new perspective on life and what actually has meaning. I mean really, who cares if you don’t get to clean your kitchen at night or if your son still poops his pants. It doesn’t matter. All those things will work themselves out eventually. But the months ahead, you will be closer to Jesus than you ever have in your life. You will have some of the sweetest moments with Jesus that you could ever imagine. There will be days you wish to go back to those times in your life because you will learn what it feels like to be safe in the arms of Jesus. Stay strong. Hold tight. The road ahead is going to be very bumpy. But it will be worth it. The Lord will move mountains in and through you. Just take a deep breath and take it all in. Every single tear, every single second of heartache will be worth it. You will be redeemed. Cancer will be your redemption story. Your very life will be an example to so many of what true surrender means. At first your hand will be forced but at the end, you will see the reward for surrendering it all at the foot of the cross. Cancer, you think you will have the last word, but Jesus proves your wrong once again. You have no power over our lives as long as we don't allow it. What you have intended for harm, the Lord will allow to happen to display His sovereignty and strength. Holly, Jesus is worth it. Every single second. All my love, The Holly of 2016 I could write for days on things that I have learned over the last year, but honestly my mind just can’t go there now. It has been an emotional day. So many things going on and so much heartache in this world. The anxiety leading up to today has been building, but I am holding on and clinging to my Jesus. I have so much to be thankful for. Say a prayer that the emotional waves won’t be that bad. I’ve already shed tears and I know there will be more. Please be in prayer with me for all the women out there still fighting for their lives in their battle with ovarian cancer. Please consider making a tax deductible donation to the Team Holly Foundation so that we can continue to impact the lives of women fighting ovarian cancer. One day at a time. That’s all we can do. All I can do is trust the Lord is continuing to work out his plan in my life and the lives of so many others. I can’ force anything to happen any sooner than the Lord will allow. In the end, that just causes more stress. Lord you are so good. Jesus, it’s all for you. Every single day. You are worth it.