For the next two weeks we will feature a different woman from #theFives as she shares her heart with us. In an attempt to break down walls and promote unity among women, we will uncover the real lives of those we haphazardly label and judge. Wanna grow in your own journey of loving without walls? Join #theFives HERE.
Here is the story of Amy Strathman, whose cancer scare came right in the middle of our last session of #theFives:
When Amy met Jen last summer, she had no idea how much that friendship would mean in the months ahead.
In the midst of chasing after toddlers while trying to have grown-up conversation, the two Texas transplants both realized they had recently relocated from Kansas and were now neighbors.
“Something about Jen just felt like home from the very beginning of our friendship,” Amy said. “We became fast friends, and immediately started helping each other with kids for appointments and other events.”
Amy also was inspired when Jen invited her to consider joining a group called #theFives.
“I wanted to make every excuse on why I couldn’t do this, like, ‘My baby still doesn’t sleep all night,’ but something told me I really needed to commit to this,” Amy said. “Oh my, did God ever know how much I would need this.”
On Nov. 3, 2016, Amy and her husband attended a doctor’s appointment anticipating she would need surgery to remove a mass on her leg — something that had happened four years prior — for a second time.
“The doctor went over my MRI and told me benign masses like I was diagnosed with four years prior did not typically reoccur,” she said. “And then came the words no person wants to hear. The doctor stated he had every reason to believe the mass is malignant and that I was most likely misdiagnosed four years ago.”
“I was healthy,” Amy thought. “I wasn’t sick, and yet my upcoming weeks were quickly filled with appointments for testing to include an MRI, bone scan, and biopsy.”
Up until this time, Amy said life had been easy — with a wonderful husband, two beautiful boys and supportive people all around.
“Life comes with its challenges, of course, but I have always had faith in God and his plan for my family,” Amy said. “Now that I look back, I feel like it was always easy to trust in God because His plan for my life looked a lot like the plan that I had for my own life.”
Instead, God began calling her deeper (cue up Hillsong United’s “Oceans”).
“I knew that God had never failed me and I wanted my faith to be without borders,” she said. “I prayed for my health, but I mostly prayed to God to take care of my husband and two boys. I was at peace with whatever news we received because I knew whatever the outcome God would take care of my family.”
The tumor was found to be malignant, but Amy praises God that it had not spread. She quickly began eight weeks of intense radiation, and was overwhelmed as God poured out love and grace through Jen and many other friends.
“They truly have been the hands and feet of Jesus,” she said. “Sometimes, as women, we let things get in our way by overthinking what others may think or how the help will be received, or at times we feel that we are too busy. Then in our minds we make an unnecessary list of the reasons not to support a friend or stranger. Don’t let those things get in your way of loving God and extending your loving arms to others the way he did.”
Have you found yourself in a similar situation? Share your story below.
We hope you can #findyourtribe here with us.
*All stories featured in the#FindYourTribe series were collected and written by Sarah Gooding. We love her so.
Kristi Brooks says
My sister, Dana Bourland, had participated in #thefives for the entire 2016 year and as we spent nine days together (we have always lived as adults in different cities) caring and watching as our mom took her final earthly breathes and took her first steps into her heavenly reward, Dana encouraged me to participate in the fives. Quite honestly, my reaction was, “why would I want to get up at 5am to pray?” But, after watching the changes in Dana and how close she had drawn to God, and given some of my own problems I was walking through, I decided to ‘try it’ in January.
I was added to a group of about 10 women from Oklahoma where I was the oldest of the group. It was an incredible experience! They taught me how to Bitmoji and we prayed for each other; rejoicing when babies slept through the night, empathizing when families got the flu and lifting each other up.
Our dad was diagnosed with colo-rectal cancer in November, having just lost our mom in March, this was very difficult so I was sure to share this with my group and ask them to pray for him during the session of #thefives. He had his surgery on March 1, and honestly neither Dana or I really considered that the result would be anything more than Stage 1 or even 2, neither of which would have required additional treatment. Much to our surprise, his scans came back as a Stage 3. The reaction for both of us was to immediately message our thefives groups and to ask for prayer. Although our session was over a few weeks prior, both of our groups immediately responded to us and began lifting us up in prayer.
As much of a shock as his diagnosis was to us, it was just wonderful to feel the community of our friends lift us up. Thank you to thefives for opening up this opportunity! I can’t wait to start our next session!
Erica Willis says
What a heartbreaking, yet encouraging, testimony. My love to you and your family for all you have walked through. God is faithfully drawing you in- thank you for sharing your story. Powerful.
Pamela Cruz says
Thanks for your story Amy. I know God provided you with courage through some tears. What a scary situation, but with a support network and answered prayers you made it through. With continued prayers He will take your worries and let you fully be a mom to your awesome family. I rather pray and connect with the One that loves us so much and will answer your prayers in His timing and in His way. I have come close to death on a few occasions and the only thing I regret is not continuing prayers. I do now though on a daily basis. I thank Him each morning and even write Him a note with gratitude and other requests. I am so happy for you and pray you will not have to endure that scare again. Pam
Erica Willis says
What a powerful testimony, Pam! Thanks for sharing!