Seeds of Faith: Amber's Story
My mom planted the seeds of faith the minute I was born.
I grew up going to church every Sunday and Wednesday night. When I was in third grade, I had an emotional talk with my mom after a Wednesday night service. That evening, I accepted God in my heart.
When I became a teenager, we moved and started attending a different church, and I did NOT like it. I did not know anyone and was not getting anything out of the very small youth group. After much fussing and fighting, my mom agreed I could make my own choice whether to attend or not. And I rarely went at all.
So, I became the Christian who attended church maybe four times a year. I always believed in God but did nothing to deepen my walk with him. As I grew up, I turned into the stereotypical party girl.
I continued this lifestyle into my early 30’s. I am a nurse, and I have always felt in my heart that my calling is to be there for people in their time of need. I prayed before every shift in my car that I would be of comfort to my patients and to let God’s love shine through me. But after work I would go back to my selfish lifestyle, always worrying about what I wanted to do and not caring about anyone else.
I eventually met and married my husband, and we started a family. It was then I realized I needed to get myself back into church and plant the seeds of faith in my own daughter. We tried out different churches, but none felt like home. So we went back to our occasional attendance.
An Unexpected Diagnosis
In February 2020, when my second daughter was 2 months old, I started experiencing horrific headaches. They did not last long—maybe 15 seconds—but they were strong enough to knock you off your feet! I thought it was postpartum hormones. In March they became so severe that I knew I needed to see a doctor… but we all know what happened in March 2020. So I tried to hang on. I called to make an appointment with the doctor; they asked if it was an emergency and I had to say “no.” I wasn’t willing to risk catching COVID in an ER waiting room with a 4-year-old and 4-month-old child at home.
By April 2020, the day after Easter, I basically stopped functioning. The headaches were so bad I couldn’t get out of bed. I was vomiting, and I couldn’t walk. My husband had to carry me into the ER.
I have no recollection of someone telling me that I had a brain tumor. I had an emergent procedure to release pressure from my brain and ended up in the ICU for a week.
While I was in the hospital, I talked to my sister-in-law on the phone, and she said, "So, what's it like to have 2 million people pray for you? Amber, you are on every prayer chain I know of."
What? Multiple people were praying for ME? I remember how that entire week in the hospital I felt a peace that made no sense, a peace that surpasses all understanding. I should have been an anxiety-ridden mess, but I wasn’t.
I won’t get into my brain cancer story, but just know there have been hills and valleys. We started attending Chase Oaks and I feel like we found a home. I signed up for the MOMS group, and last year my MOMS group leader decided to get baptized with her son. I remember feeling a pull on my heart that I needed to do this.
Then, last summer, I had a recurrence and had to go have daily radiation at MD Anderson. It was absolutely the hardest time of my life, to be away from my family for 6 weeks and to come back a different person on the outside (no hair) and the inside (no energy).
A Firmer Foundation
Yet God has consistently made a way when I did not think there was one. He has proven time and time again that He is faithful, He is good, and He is in control. I can’t imagine my life if I wasn’t leaning on him. I have MRI’s every two months to check my brain for further recurrence, and without God I would be anxiously curled up in the fetal position before every scan.
I chose to get baptized this spring—and my mom, who is also battling cancer, performed my baptism. Over the past year I have listened to the song “Firm Foundation” by Cody Carnes daily, as the song speaks volumes about my life. And guess what? That was the song the worship team performed the day of my baptism.
Read more about responding to life's trials and challenges in faith, here.