Sheila Ann's Story
I grew up in a loving home that was devoted to church but even though we knew about God we didn’t know Him in a personal way. That changed when I was seven and my parents and I learned that knowing about God was different than loving Him personally as Saviour and Friend. Finding out about this amazing truth and experiencing the love of God personally changed everything. I wanted to learn more about Jesus and grow to love Him with all my heart.
Throughout my early years I also had a strong love for music. My favourite thing to do was to write songs and poems and I filled binders full of songs in many different styles. I also loved to sing! Some of my favourite memories were outside under the trees all alone singing to the birds and to my delight, sometimes they would sing back! I dreamed of recording my songs so that I could more easily share them with others but it would be a long time before that dream would come to pass.
Experiencing the love of God personally changed everything!
Through many valleys and
struggles God made
miracles in my life.
While I had many days filled with joy, there were also sad days and I know by experience that it is true God has never promised life would be easy. In college I dreamed of working full time in music and sharing God’s love with others. I was moving forward in that desire and had graduated from college, full of hope and promise of the future. However, in each of our lives there are specific days that change us forever. One of those days for me was the day not long after I graduated from college that the doctor told me I had Leukemia; cancer in my white blood cells.
The word “cancer” strikes fear in the heart of even the very brave. It became apparent that my condition would not stabilize and that I needed a bone marrow transplant as soon as possible. The best match for a transplant patient comes from siblings, but since I was an only child and my parents were older I needed an unrelated donor. The chances of finding an unrelated donor at that time were about 1 in 20,000.
But God has a solution long before we even know we have problem. My perfectly matched donor had signed up on the International Registry a few years before I was diagnosed. Through many valleys and struggles God made miracles in my life. The process of a transplant is a long and difficult one, but God brought me through every struggle, and the doctors have pronounced me in normal health without a trace of cancer. Now, years later, I am physically strong with excellent energy and stamina. I am very grateful for the gift of life given to me by my bone marrow donor and I am overwhelmed by the gift of life and healing given to me by my Lord Jesus. These are gifts that I could not earn, I did not deserve, and I can never repay but I will be forever grateful.
God has brought me through many defining moments in my life including the sudden death of my dad in 2003. Though sorrow and grief, I felt the arms of my heavenly Father protecting and comforting me in a way that I had not felt before. My dad was a wonderful man who deeply impacted my life and I determine to live as he lived, bringing compassion and joy to others.
Over the years, there have been amazing changes in my life, learning more about the power of God’s love and lessons in forgiveness. God has taken my life through stressful times of cancer, life changes and work situations over the years to an even deeper, more fulfilling life in love with Jesus. My God continues to say to me, “do not be afraid”, as He leads me through valleys and over mountain tops in the pursuit of His dreams for my life. I am discovering more and more that life, and especially life with God, is an adventure! May I never forget that each day is a precious gift!