I Will Never Again Doubt

by Kristin Pesz

Your new normal. This phrase was first spoken to me by my oncologist after my first surgery to remove breast cancer. I did not understand what she meant at that time and was not ready to accept that my life would not be able to be the same as it was before. I was clinging desperately to something that was not God’s will for my life.

I had grown up going to church and I accepted and developed a relationship with Jesus from an early age. In my mid-teens, I felt a call from the Lord to be in missions or ministry, but I was scared. It wasn’t what I wanted for my life and I honestly probably didn’t feel “good enough.”

I just wanted to forget about it and have fun. I got about as far away as you can from God and did not live a life that honored Him. I made poor decisions, had a failed marriage, self-sabotaged and self-medicated. Looking back, I see how many times God saved my life and saved me from harm during that period. To a casual observer I should not be alive. Even though I was not in relationship with Him, He was protecting me and building something for me.

In August of 2014 at the age of 37, I was diagnosed with breast cancer for the first time. After a successful surgery I was doing well physically, but after beginning the subsequent treatment to prevent the cancer from returning, I was not doing well mentally and emotionally. A downward spiral into a deepening of the anxiety and panic attacks I had experienced off and on for most of my life as well as an introduction to my new “friend” depression had me at the end of my rope. Was this the new normal my oncologist had spoken of? No way. No way was I going to be able to live like this. I tried some different medications, saw a psychologist, leaned in hard to my husband, mom and dad. But I kept the hardest of times from most of my family and friends and people around me. It can be very isolating. It’s difficult to write about even now.

At this time, I also began to rediscover the foundation that I had been built on: God’s everlasting love for me, His forgiveness, the sacrifice that He made in sending Jesus to die for me, His mercy and goodness, and most importantly His presence in any situation that I was in. It’s hard to imagine that He would accept me after I had turned away from Him for so many years. But I found myself one afternoon on the floor of a tiny closet in a tiny apartment that we were living in, at the absolute end of my rope. I was emotionally and mentally at the bottom of the deepest well I could ever imagine, amid the mud and the muck. I cried out to the Lord that I needed His presence and intervention, and He was there. In that moment I absolutely felt His presence and can say that I experienced true faith, probably for the first time. My life has not been perfect by any means since then and will not be the same as it was before, but I will never again doubt the power or stray from the presence of my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. THIS will be my new normal.

I am thankful to God for the family and friends He has allowed me to have, the partner in this life that He chose for me, and for HNW Church and my church family. I know that in my toughest times, I knew where to turn because of the foundation that was laid for me early on in life. I hope to always convey to our littlest of littles (Editor's note: Kristin is HNW's Preschool Ministry Director) that no matter where you are or what you have done, God will meet you. He loves you and He is here for you. You need only to call out to Him.