By: Karen O. Allen
My prayer was simple: Lord, I want my life to bear more fruit. I had just completed a study at church on Bruce Wilkinson’s book Secret’s of the Vine. A study of John 15 unpacks four level’s of “fruit-bearing.” Basket 1 – no fruit, Basket 2 – fruit, Basket 3 – more fruit, and Basket 4 – much fruit. I knew I was at least Basket level 2, but I wanted to be in Basket 3 or 4. I needed more faith, a deeper faith, to bear more fruit.
A few months later my prayer was answered. I knew it just as I knew the sun would come up tomorrow. The answer came under the guise of cancer. Life got harder and faster. The whirlwind of cancer sucked me into physical searches, appointments, treatment considerations, schedule adjustments, and a plethora of emotions. In the blink of an eye, priorities changed and I was forced to succumb to the whims of people I didn’t know. My world was spinning out of control. I opened my Bible to the book of Job. I figured he knew a thing or two about the loss of control. I was encouraged reading how God controls the movement of the stars, the birth of wild goats, and the boundaries of each wave. Surely God would have control over my cancer.
The fear of hospitalization and surgery was overwhelming, the necessity for aggressive chemotherapy followed by extensive radiation was unbearable, and the thought of losing my hair was more than I could fathom. But God was there through each dreaded moment. He turned my darkness into light-filled glory. I found comfort, encouragement, and peace through my despair, hopelessness, and fear. God spoke to me through music, His word, visions, the touch of others, revelations, and personal consolation. So many incredible moments transpired that I felt compelled to record them in a journal. There was the dance with God, a tornado vision, the tree trance, the chicken liver story, our pre-planned Alaskan cruise, and turning my hair loss into a sacrifice of praise. Story after story emerged. My cancer journey became a faith journey.
Soon after my diagnosis, I began sending emails to friends to update them as to my status. I learned that my emails were becoming a source of inspiration and were being forwarded all over the world. A sweet friend took notice and asked me if I had considered writing a book about my experience. Write a book? That’s crazy! Hmmm…I’ve always wanted to write. Another cancer book seemed boring so I determined that a Bible study wold be more advantageous. Plus I wanted something that had a spiritual depth. But I knew nothing about writing or publishing! I prayed. God gave me four words: “I will bless it.” In other words, it was up to me to decided.
I began writing my first lessons. Then a major setback occurred when my journal along with other important documents, including passports, was stolen in an airport. Everything could be replaced except for the journal that chronicled my cancer experience. I grieved the loss. The journal was to have been my primary source from which to write my Bible study. How could I remember all of the events and details of God’s perfect intervention? I was on the verge of giving up but God assured me He would bring it all back to my memory if I chose to proceed. How could I refuse? The promise for blessing await.
Direction and clarity came as I wrote each lesson. Incredible details resurfaced. Five years with setback after setback, but I trudged forward. Everywhere I went I took a pen and pad to scribble down a few more sentences – in the car, at the doctor’s office, in the waiting room, on vacation.
I debated writing about a vision thinking it might be a bit weird but the significance of it was undeniable. Beside, lots of biblical characters had visions, right? As I began to put the supernatural experience into words, I gasped at the realization of the bigger picture from the initial interpretation. I had always wondered about the odd ending to the vision but God opened my eyes to see what was to unfold. I knew the vision was intended to affirm y healing but as I wrote, I saw it was more than that. The end of the vision was a prelude as to how my book would bring encouragement, comfort, and hope to many others. I burst into tears. Oh, thank you, God. Thank you for deepening my faith, for extending my outreach as I had prayed.
Confronting Cancer with Faith was finally published. I can laugh now but I am grateful I didn’t know then what I do now about publishing, editing, marketing, social media, and publicity. I ignorantly entered the world of writing and publishing from the wrong direction yet God granted me his favor. I began speaking, singing, and promoting my book. In thinking long term, I created Ewe R Blessed Ministries to incorporate not only my book but other ministry activities. The “ewe” stems from a sheep analogy that developed during my cancer treatment.
A two-year hiatus occurred when my publisher unofficially and abruptly went bankrupt and stole my royalties. The books was republished and now all is well. I have ventured into other areas of non-fiction Christian writing but God continues to bless Comforting Cancer with Faith. There are a Burmese translation and a Slovakian published version; a Spanish translation is in the works. I’ve had people from all over the world contact me to say how the book has impacted their lives and faith.
Although I use my own experiences, the book is more about the reader’s experience. Short exercises and lots of scripture are sprinkled throughout the lessons with a meditative thought at the end. Confronting Cancer with Faith, is designed for small groups, cancer survivors, caregivers, supporters, or individuals. A lavender-colored ribbon is used on the cover to solicit all cancer types, not just breast cancer. In truth, Confronting Cancer with Faith is applicable for any type of chronic illness as well.
Face cancer with faith, not fear. This award-winning Bible study written by Karen O. Allen, a cancer survivor, will guide you into a deeper faith. For Christians, non-Christians, patients, caregivers, and loved ones, its interactive format, relatable stories, and spiritual insights will encourage and guide you through each step of the cancer journey. This study is useful for cancer support groups, small church groups, or for individual study. Check out the About the Book page for more detailed information or contact Karen at firstname.lastname@example.org.