When the doctor came in with my husband’s diagnosis, my seemingly perfect life began to crumble. I believed in a God of miracles, but would that be enough?
I met my husband, Rob while attending BYU. As much as I didn’t want to be that typical BYU couple, we were. We got married, and soon our first child was on the way. I did manage to graduate from BYU at the same time as my husband, and left Provo with a degree and 18 month old son. It was always important for us that I be a stay at home mom, even though money was tight. I remember my husband working his full time job and then delivering pizzas at night so we would have money for Christmas presents.
Fast forward 13 years, we had a wonderful family with five kids! I was involved with my children’s classrooms, teaching aerobics, and my husband and I played indoor soccer together. I thought I had the perfect life: a loving, supportive husband, five healthy, beautiful children and a nice home in a small town surrounded by a close-knit community. I’d always wanted a stable family and I had it — through hard work, good choices and holding on to my strong Christian faith.
Then, all of a sudden, my husband was diagnosed with cancer and suddenly my perfect life began to crack.
One morning in the middle of December he got sick. We thought it was just the stomach flu, but found ourselves in the hospital. He ended up having stage 4 Melanoma cancer and passed away 11 weeks later. I was just a normal person who found herself a widow at 32 with 5 kids, the youngest 16 month old twin boys. The Lord made me a better person. I grew to know my Savior as he helped me through my husband’s sickness and death.
We will all have times in our life where we’ll think, “this is not what I signed up for!” or you might think, “I am not strong enough to handle this.” I know these feelings. I still have them at times. Please know, that with Christ, you are stronger! To anyone who feels overwhelmed with life, no matter the situation, please know Christ is there for you! My real life example is of how Christ could take someone as unworthy as me and get me through the darkest days of my life. And please know, if He will do it for me, He will most certainly do it for you!
I decided to write a book about my testimony of Christ’s help during my husband’s sickness with cancer. I try not to doubt and I do trust in the Lord, with all my heart. Also I know I never could have gotten through those days without looking to Christ. Please turn to the Lord and look to Him and He will help you, as He helped me. The title of my book, “Wherefore Didst Thou Doubt?”, comes from Matthew 14:31. The story starts with the fourth watch of the night (Matthew 14:25), which is the last — the very last moment. The disciples see Christ walking on the water and He says to them, “Be of good cheer. It is I, be not afraid.” (Matthew 14:27)
Peter asks if he could come out and walk with Christ on the water. He joins Him, but when Peter saw the winds and when he saw that he was actually walking on the water, he began to sink and he cried out, “Lord save me!” (Matthew 14:30)
“And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?” (Matthew 14:31)
When, out of fear, Peter took his eyes off the Savior, he started to sink. I love how the scriptures say immediately Jesus stretched forth His hand to help Peter. Many times during my life, I’ve felt myself sinking and I’ve felt as if I could not carry on. When I found myself doubting, if I looked to the Lord, I would find him with an outstretched hand and He would say to me, “Patti, thou with little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?”
After I moved to Houston, I got involved with a cancer survivorship center called Canopy which offers a variety of programs and services that bless families impacted by cancer. How I would have loved a place like Canopy when my family was going through the trial of cancer. It has classes to help children, the caregiver, the patient, all those in your family affected by the disease. Canopy functions through volunteers and is funded through donations. Whether it is wig fitting, a yoga class, a cooking class or Bible study, Canopy is there to give light to help cancer-struck families navigate their darkest hours.
Please don’t doubt that you can do hard things. Know that as you turn to Christ in prayer and in the scriptures, He is always waiting there with His hand outstretched to help you through.