Written By: Hanna Ekres
I’ll never forget the morning of June 11 2011.
Those four somber words from the attending ER doctor, “I’m sorry its leukemia.” Cancer. Those six cold empty letters that sent a chill down my spine. I was eighteen years old on my way to to Bible College to fulfill the call God placed on my heart. Out of the all the things that I had imagined for my life, this was not part of my plan. In those next few moments my whole world began to collapse and any dreams that I had became fragmented pieces of a life I once hoped to have.
I was your average 18 year old. I grew up in the church my whole life, and from a young age became involved in serving in different ministries. It was in grade 11 after a youth retreat where I felt a call to go into youth ministry. My heart ached at the statistics that a large percentage of youth would leave the church upon finishing high school and entering the adult world. My heart was set on entering youth ministry and helping teenagers grow strong in their faith and to help grow and invest into their lives in a positive way. I finally felt I was headed in the right direction for my life and I couldn’t have been more happier then eagerly waited for September to roll around.
By the time it did, I was already halfway finished through the first part of my aggressive treatment. Even though what was happening at the time seemed cruel and unfair, it was a true matter of the heart to learn what it meant to surrender all of myself to the Lord. Every day I was challenged by what trusting God looked like, and to put it simply it's learning to “live by faith and not by sight.” ( 2nd Corinthians 5:7) Learning to understand no matter how I may feel, that God’s word and His promises stand true always. Even when I didn’t see healing as quickly as I had hoped for, I based my faith on truth rather than emotions. This helped me to grow in my trust in Him.
It’s been six years since I was diagnosed with leukemia. Six years of dealing with painful side effects from a stem cell transplant and harsh treatment. But it’s been six years of being cancer free, making eternal friendships and dreaming with God of my new future. In some of the hardest times His joy has truly been my strength. Ultimately I give Him the praise for healing me in the way that He did. For helping me grow in my faith and also for loving me through the hard times when I felt like giving up. Knowing that whatever trials I face I don’t do alone, gives me the greatest confidence of all.