Have you ever heard a message being delivered and you knew you were meant to hear it? Sometimes that message helps you make a decision. Other times, it was there to make you think or to ease your mind. I’ve had that moment happen a few times. Most recently, it happened at church the other day.
It’s interesting how often the pastor’s message strikes me. I have a hard time listening to the full sermon. It’s not for the lack of interest or trying, but I’ve realized over the years that my learning style relies more heavily on the visual than the auditory. Usually when my mind reminds me to focus is when the intended message comes through.
Just the other day our pastor was talking about suffering. She said that we were created to suffer deeply. We were also created to have abiding joy and to have great feelings. She continued by saying that suffering means to allow. We allow ourselves to go deep into our feelings. We allow our hearts to ache in pain.
With suffering comes what she called “Redeemed Suffering.” This is where the healing comes in. You see, suffering through a financial crisis, a divorce, a death of a loved one, or cancer creates a situation for our heart to hurt. We suffer for days, weeks, months, even years. However, with that suffering comes the sense of self, which opens our hearts allowing God to come through with confidence. We redeem ourselves – we start to become whole again.
The suffering we experience creates a new path for us. It helps us become the people we are. These are moments in our life that direct us in how to feel, how to act, how to love. We grow in our hearts and minds allowing us to become stronger because of them.
I never thought I would be put on the path that I am currently traveling. Cancer has always been a part of my life in some way, but since my diagnosis it’s become more prevalent. I suffered through my cancer and the downfall it created with the intentions of learning from it. I’ve learned a lot about how strong I truly am. I learned that I can be more vocal than my naturally shy self in hopes someone will hear the message they needed to hear. The suffering I experienced has put me on a path to help others. I wouldn’t be here writing this message if it wasn’t for my breast cancer. I wouldn’t be the needed emotional support to others that I have become. I wouldn’t have opened my heart to allow all of this in.
I know that if you’re reading this, you have experienced some kind of suffering. Think about those moments and what you have learned from it. How did it change you for the better? Take a brief second to acknowledge it. Thank it, if you want. Those moments help us become the person we are today; we can move on from them, but we shouldn’t forget them.
Angela Banker is a mother, a wife, a daughter, and a sister; she is also a young survivor, a caregiver, a supporter, and a fighter. She was diagnosed with breast cancer at age 33, and found herself empowered to share her story to raise awareness about breast cancer. Angela participates in Relay For Life, started the Sisters Beating Breast Cancer page to inspire others, and continues to "fight like a girl" with the hope that her daughter will never have to hear the dreaded words, "You have cancer."