Theresa works for The Message and has been responsible for launching our London Hub for the last three years, here is her story.
There’s a moment when everything changes.
My moment came in March 2019 after returning from a lovely holiday with friends. I’d found a lump high up on my chest and after some tests I was diagnosed with Grade 3, HER2 Positive Breast Cancer. It’s not the news you expect. What do the words and abbreviations even mean?
You don’t know how you’ll react when you hear the ‘C’ word for the first time. We all know someone who has been affected by Cancer and we know that Cancer doesn’t discriminate. The wave of love kicks in. Friends and family cherished me like never before. The chocolate and flowers poured in and were gratefully received. Anything to bring light and life and colour.
Even when you have a faith you’re never quite sure how you’ll respond when dark circumstances come. My story is one of peace, trusting in ancient promises that feel so alive, so relevant and so real. Of fixing my eyes, not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. What I am seeing is temporary, but what I am looking ahead to, though unseen, is eternal.(1) Feeling overwhelmed but in full assurance that the Sustainer of all things breathes Perfect Peace over us, over me.
The road ahead is long. I’ve never run a marathon but I’m told the first few miles are the easiest – full of energy and adrenaline. The cheers from the roadside are a great spur, you are fresh and sore muscles feel like an age away. Then runners talk about the quiet stretches of road when the cheering quietens, and the mundane miles in the middle when the end seems so far away. I’ve heard the trick is to simply put one foot in front of the other. Trusting that you’re braver than you think and stronger than you feel. Hopeful that when the lone miles come you make it through, all the way to the last mile, through the finish line and to all that waits for you beyond the race.
Thankfully for me the wave of love I’m experiencing is peaceful and hopeful. I’m choosing to trust through the storm that this is the type of love that sustains and does not wither, that continues through all hardship. As Marcus Mumford describes it, ‘Love with your, dare I say forever. Do it for your, dare I say forever.’(2)
The glass I have isn’t half full. I’m not at ease because it’s still true that lemonade comes from lemons. We in the Church commonly describe ‘Peace that passes all understanding.’(3) It’s a mantra I’ve said many times, and I feel like I’m experiencing it blossoming.
There we have it. My short introduction to being diagnosed with Breast Cancer. Ask me how it’s all going in 6 months and my perspective may have changed, but I know that Love won’t have. For now, today is the day the Lord has made and I will rejoice and be glad in it.
I took notice of some advice I was given to take control of the whole hair/no-hair situation pre-chemotherapy. Ahead of starting my treatment, I decided to do something positive and cut my hair short and donate it to The Little Princess Trust who provide real hair wigs to children and young people with hair loss. I captured the moment for you to see.
The charity also relies on financial donations, so I decided to turn this experience into a fundraiser with the hope of raising lots of money for them and two other charities who do incredible work:
• Maggie’s – since my diagnosis I have spent time in my local Maggie’s. They give provide free practical and emotional support for people living with cancer and have been so supportive, offering me tea, cake and a listening ear whenever I need it.
• The Message Trust – through this I’m trusting wholeheartedly in a God who brings perfect peace and hope. This is a hope I’ve been involved in helping to share with across London.
If you would like to support me as I face this journey you can find my Just Giving page at https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/theresawilliams
(1) 2 Corinthians 4:18, The Bible
(2) Forever, Mumford and Sons
(3) Philippians 4:7, The Bible
Natalie Williams – Mercy Bringers Next Post:
Message Bus: Churches uniting to see mission happen