The story of my walk with Christ began when I was only 6 years old. I wasn't old enough to have a long track record of sin, but I understood enough to know that I needed Jesus.

I grew up in church, and my journey was pretty typical. There were no major tragedies or crises--until just a few years ago, when I was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. Surgery took care of the tumor at that time, but last February I received the devastating news that the cancer had returned and had spread to several places in my body. I had a major surgery and long hospital stay, followed by intense chemotherapy treatments. Now, over a year later, I am still undergoing treatment on a regular basis. I have been told that, in spite of the aggressive treatment, the cancer will almost certainly come back at some point.

Cancer has turned my safe little world upside down. I lost my dignity, my hair, and my confidence. I have been sicker than I ever imagined possible. I have listened to my husband and my children cry. I have missed out on a lot of life while I lay in bed. But the one thing that has remained the same is my Jesus. Even on the worst days, when I thought it would be better if I could just die, my God was there. I have been angry and shaken my fist toward the heavens, and He still loves me. I have grieved the loss of the old me, yet He has kept his promise to "do something new" (Isaiah 43:18).

I sometimes wish that cancer had never happened to me. But it did, and I'm not entirely sure I would trade the experience, and here's why: Over the last year, my sons (ages 9, 7, and 5) have gotten to witness the goodness of God first-hand. They have seen our friends and church family step up in countless ways to minister to us and help our family navigate the dark roads of this disease. They have suffered great loss, but they have witnessed unspeakable joy and hope. They have heard me tell them over and over again that God is in control and that He loves us. In the middle of the cancer chaos, my oldest son made his profession of faith over the summer. I will never forget the great privilege I had to kneel with him and listen to him pray the same life-changing prayer I prayed many years ago. Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Life is hard. But God is good ALL the time. This is my story, this is my song!

Allyson Hendrickson