January 11, 2007: “You wouldn’t believe the numerous stories I heard of people who gave it to God when they were told “terminal” and are still here today. Hearing those stories are such an encouragement, not only to me, but to those that I share with, so if you have one share it! There is nothing more nurturing than hearing a story about God’s miracles. Over the past several weeks, I have heard such a calling in my heart to share my story with others. Technically, I shouldn’t be here but by God’s healing grace and our faith in His miracle, I have ‘outlived’ my doctor’s grave prediction. I pray that God will open doors for me and show me how to share the gospel with others, not to brag but what an incredible testament of faith Jeff and I have.”

Marlena was diagnosed with a rare advanced stage of cancer known as DSRCT in January of 2005. Since then she has kept a journal of her many ups and downs while battling the disease. Marlena died July 27 of this year but the online journal she left behind literally helped and inspired thousands. We hope to use her writing as basis for a book to provide support for others struggling with cancer.

January 22: “Another lesson from Marlena. When you are getting over a major stomach bug, DON’T eat spicy chili. It will make you sick! What can I say guys. I’m hard headed!”

January 27: “God continues to be so good! Yesterday was “one of those days” and it amazes me how God sends angels to lift my spirits. I came across a CD that a friend from Sunday school gave me when I was first diagnosed. I thought to myself, ‘Hmmm, let’s see what’s on here’ and as I listened, it was as if the songs were written just for me. ‘The Joy of the Lord’ spoke to me the most.”

The joy of the Lord will be my strength, I will not falter, I will not faint,

He is my Sheppard, I am not afraid, The joy of the Lord is my strength.

The joy of the Lord will be my strength, I will not waiver, walking by faith,

He will be strong to deliver me safe, The joy of the Lord is my strength.

“And a verse from God is in Control smacked me in the face. ‘Duh Marlena! You’ve given it to God so LEAVE it THERE!’ He has never let you down, why start to worry now? He is still the Lord of all we see, and He is still the loving Father watching over you and me! I guess it is safe to say that sometimes my independent nature gets the best of me. I love to be in control of everything and one thing I am learning is that we aren’t in control all the time. Sometimes we just to have to leave it to God. Easier said than done, especially for us ‘Type A’ people. Smiles, but I’m working on it!”

February 6: Hebrews 11:1 “’Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.’ When you are 26 and have been given an expiration date for your ‘time left’ it makes you contemplate a lot of things; especially the purpose of life. It also challenges your beliefs in the things that are intangible and unseen. People in this situation often do one of two things; they choose to curse all of their beliefs while denying God or they choose to cling to the one thing that will give them life, namely faith. I choose to do the later. I choose to live each day as it comes. I choose to laugh at my fears. I choose to make sure that I do something to help another person each day. I choose to tell Satan he’s messed with the wrong gal because nothing is impossible with God. After all wasn’t I supposed to be ‘au revior’ a month ago? Smiles! Keeping the faith!”

February 19: “I wanted to ask a selfish favor and ask for you to pray for my faith. It has really wavered over this past week since I’ve not been feeling well. Obviously, when you are sick one thinks the worst and I’m desperately trying to think positive. However, Satan is using my insecurity against me. I remind myself that all things are possible with God and by His stripes I have been healed, but sometimes you just need that extra lift. Where is my ‘EASY BUTTON’?”

You can read Marlena’s journal and learn more about her by clicking on her site: http://www.caringbridge.org/cb/inputSiteName.do?method=search&siteName=marlenahodges

Categories: Devotions