I Will Have No Fear
How the cofounder of Believe Big conquered the fear of stage IV cancer.
The fear gripped me and threatened to overtake me.
I had spent my life trying to avoid it, and yet here I was facing the same cancer that had taken my father’s life, my grandmother’s life and half of her siblings.
Something is wrong
I was a 37-year-old mom of four, homeschooling my kids during the day and running a business at night.
During the spring of 2008, I grew so fatigued that I began taking three-hour naps in the middle of the day.
For a while, I thought I was just burning the candle at both ends. When summer came and I still felt exhausted, I knew that something was seriously wrong.
Because of my family history, I knew that it was a possibility for me. But I had been diligent about getting colonoscopies, I knew the signs to look for and I was not getting any of them.
Yet my ongoing fatigue prompted me to get further testing.
When I woke up at the surgery center, the doctor walked in with a serious look on his face. Instantly I knew something was wrong.
“We found cancer,” he said. Technically, I had stage 3 colon cancer.
I couldn’t stop crying. I was filled with fear at the thought of not seeing my four kids grow up or growing old with my husband.
I flashed back to when I was 13 years old and lost my father to stage IV colon cancer. Now here I was, seemingly on the exact same path: diagnosis at age 37, dead at 39.
I remember washing my face one evening and thinking: Why are you bothering to put on that cream? You’re not going to survive this year. You are not going to see your kids graduate or your daughter get married.
Your dad didn’t make it, so who’s to say that you will?
I don’t know what you believe about God or the Devil, but I believe I was getting spiritually attacked. And it was scary.
Both my husband and I had to dig deep into what we believed to be true about God.
How I found hope, strength and peace
My relationship with God has been important to me since I was young, so it was natural to turn to him in my distress.
My husband also helped me find hope. After getting bad news and more bad news, he always had a positive and faith-filled outlook.
After that fearful night, we started making a list of our favorite Bible verses against fear, like 2 Timothy 1:7:
“For God did not give me a spirit of fear, but a spirit of power, of love, and of self-control.”
Also Psalm 91:5:
“I will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day.
We made a prayer using this collection of verses called our, “I will have no fear prayer.”
I posted it in our house and whenever I felt afraid, I pulled it out. Reading it and praying, I felt peace and hope against fear.
How I came to faith
It was actually my dad who motivated me to connect with God in the first place.
He only attended church on Christmas and Easter, but when he got cancer, he started exploring all faiths and denominations. He said the only place he found peace was through the Christian faith.
I saw his body wither away, but I saw his spirit come alive. And even though my dad didn’t survive cancer, the hope he found through God left a big impression on me.
I started asking questions about Jesus, and soon I also surrendered my life to him. Later my whole family came to know God in a personal way because of my dad.
This faith gave me courage so I could say, “I will have no fear.”
I’m typically a glass is half full kind of person but it was hard to believe that God had a different future for me than my dad.
The turning point came through a conversation with my husband, Jimmy.
“We could do everything right and you could die,” Jimmy said. “We could do everything wrong and you could live. Ultimately, your life is in God’s hands. Do we trust him, no matter how this turns out?”
We made the decision to trust God with my future. We would certainly need help with the decisions that lay ahead.
From bad to worse
I had a colon resection shortly after my diagnosis in September of 2008. Doctors were optimistic they had removed the cancer. But then a follow up scan revealed three lesions on my liver.
I now had stage IV cancer and only an eight percent chance of survival.
I had surgery to remove 20 percent of my liver, and three months later my scan showed no evidence of disease. They have continued to show clear over the months and years. It’s now been nearly 14 years and counting.
Besides surgery, I also saw an integrated physician and started a plant-based diet along with mistletoe therapy. I believe these along with focusing on my emotional health have also been helpful for staying cancer free.
I will live and not die
My third son graduated from college last year. I always tear up, because every graduation drives another stake in the ground for what God has done.
I tell my kids, “Now I’m waiting for your weddings—and to see grandkids.”
I believe that God spared my life so that I could bring hope to those who are feeling hopeless. I want to be like the people who encouraged me during the darkest times.
In 2010, my husband and I started Believe Big, a non profit that helps bridge the gap between conventional and complementary medicine. We help people fight cancer not just physically, but also emotionally and spiritually.
Advice for others
When someone gets cancer, they go through this great overwhelm. Know that with most types of cancer, you have time. Before you step into treatment that could have permanent side effects, you need to evaluate your options carefully and prayerfully.
Even if the choices seem daunting, know that God wants to guide you and give you what you need. Not everyone will be healed physically in this life, but we can all be healed spiritually.
When I faced overwhelming fear, I had to remember who God is and that he was with me and for me. That hope sustained me during the darkest days.
He can sustain you, too. You don’t need to be afraid. Tell yourself, I will have no fear.
For help with fear, check out Fighting the Fear of Cancer.
To discover how prayer can help you on your journey, read Asking God for Help.
For more about finding spiritual hope, read Knowing God Personally.