A Blessing and A Hearbreak

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Last week, I was grumbling about filling out a long form for a local author’s group. I really don’t like forms and had procrastinated until the night before the due date. I decided to go to Amazon for ISBN numbers and descriptions, and there it was—I couldn’t believe it—Dear God, They Say It’s Cancer: A Companion Guide for Women on the Breast Cancer Journey was in the top 100 Best Sellers for breast cancer books —#28 in Books > Health, Fitness & Dieting > Diseases & Physical Ailments > Cancer > Breast Cancer!

I seldom look at my Amazon sales numbers, which change daily. If I let those numbers influence me, I might never write again. So I have no idea how long this book has been on Amazon’s bestseller list—every author’s dream—or how long it will stay there. Let me clarify that my book was not in the top 100 of all books on Amazon, but it was in the top 100 in its category. The number fluctuates from day to day, but it’s stayed in the top 100 for awhile.

In shock, I clicked on the link to the page displaying the top 100 books; and yes, there it was #28! A joyous “Yahoo!” quickly turned into a heartbreaking moan . . . this could only mean that more and more women are being diagnosed with breast cancer. In the span of a few moments, my feelings transgressed through shock, joy, gratefulness, praise, sadness, and finally humbleness that God would use me to comfort and encourage so many breast cancer sisters.

Reaching Out

Recently, I learned on Facebook that two author friends have breast cancer. One I have known for years, and the other I’ve only recently met on Facebook. I’ve left occasional comments and “likes” on their timelines, but I felt the Holy Spirit persistently nudging me to engage with these breast cancer sisters on a more personal level.

I knew what I was to do—I messaged each one and simply said: I’m a three-time breast cancer survivor and I’ve written a book that might bring you comfort. I’m praying for you and want you to know that I’m here for you if you have questions or just want to chat or cry. Immediately, both responded back thanking me and had so many questions that only someone who has been through this heartbreak could answer. One wrote: Thank you for reaching out to me. I’ve asked the Lord to bring me together with women who have experienced this and that can encourage me. You are one of them.

Sharing Life’s Experiences and God’s Faithfulness

People all around us are praying that the Lord will bring someone experienced in what they’re going through. God has allowed me challenging experiences like having a prodigal, infertility, breast cancer, divorce, being a single parent, my father murdered, blending a family, and chronic back pain to name a few. In dealing with life’s hard times, I have two choices—as  do you—1) wallow in self-pity that spirals into depression and a victim personality, 2) trust God and turn hurts and pains over to Him and let Him use them to His glory.

It’s A Choice

I will rejoice that God has used my breast cancer to help me pen Dear God, They Say It’s Cancer to comfort, encourage, and walk beside other women who are dealing with this devastating disease. And I will rejoice that for now, it is an Amazon Best Seller because hopefully the publisher will keep it in print longer to bless other women. That has been a long-time prayer because publishers need to see books selling in order to keep investing in them.

I am humbled that God has gifted me with the ability and desire to share my life experiences with others to offer hope in God alone. It’s hard to believe He thinks I am worthy of such a calling, but as long as we are on this earth, there is going to be pain and suffering, and if He thinks I can help comfort the afflicted then I am blessed, even if it’s heartbreaking.

 

What experience do you think God is asking you to share with someone who is hurting right now?

 How can you reach out and let them know that God is there for them and so are you?

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Comments

  1. You are reaping blessings from your scar…

    • Janet Thompson says:

      Yes Mary Ann, from my scars since I’ve had three surgeries, but I knew after the first one that my purpose in having breast cancer was to encourage and mentor other of my breast cancer sisters. Dear God, They Say It’s Cancer was the book I wished I had going through it…then after I wrote it…I did use it myself for two recurrences and it was everything I hoped it would be. I’m just so sad so many women need it…

  2. Janet–your book was given to me when shortly after I was diagnosed…and I referred to it often through my cancer journey. I see that you will be in Sioux Falls in a few weeks at the YOU Lead conference–I signed up and so hope that we will have a chance to meet and connect. Thank you for allowing God to use your journey to offer hope and encouragement to others. Blessings!

    • Janet Thompson says:

      Hi Kim,
      I’m so glad the book was a blessing to you, but I’m so sorry you had breast cancer.
      I’ll be teaching workshops and a main track at every session at YOU Lead and have a book table so be sure to come up and introduce yourself. I’ll be teaching on mentoring and teambuilding…I’ll for sure see you there!

  3. Your message was really blessed me. What a model of a victorious survivor and willing to share your heart with others. May God grant you favor as you serve Him. Your Facebook postings are encouraging to me also.

    • Janet Thompson says:

      Thank you Lillian. I always say that God doesn’t give us character building experiences just to work on our character alone…but He wants us to share with others how He helped us make it through the tough times and He will help them too! Sharing Life’s Experiences and God’s Faithfulness is the heart of mentoring!

      It’s a blessing to know you and serve our Lord together…About His Work!

  4. You are a blessing to others through this heartbreak. You might already know about the powerful DVD “More Beautiful.” I can’t watch it without being brought to tears and hope (although my personal health issue is Alpha-1). It might do the same for you as you minister through your book, mentoring and your workshops. Georgia Shaffer, also a breast cancer survivor, used it as part of her presentation to AACC a few years ago. http://www.musicforthesoul.org. Love, In Christ,

    • Janet Thompson says:

      Hi Judi,
      Yes I do know about “More Beautiful” and have their DVD and I also use it when I’m speaking to breast cancer groups. I also know Georgia Shaffer. Thank you for you comments. I’ve had breast cancer three times now…but God keeps using it to His glory. Prayers for your health.

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