Testimony Tuesday: Surviving Cancer

Testimony Tuesday: Surviving Cancer

In the journey of my life, yesterday a chapter ended.  Thank goodness, I didn’t get stuck but moved past my circumstances, when I was diagnosed with my first brain tumor. 

I say first because there was a third time around. And each time, it was a severe blow that overpowered me and almost put me under. I have a history of brain tumors (Meningioma). Therefore, I want to share what God has done in my life, God brought me through it all. 

I was a single woman working in the medical field with no expectations of bad news. I started having severe headaches, and knew something wasn’t right. A MRI was ordered and my peaceful life was impacted significantly when the doctor called me at work and gave me the results. My physician asked: “is this Peggy Hatton?” I said yes. He said “your “MRI” results revealed a large brain tumor.” I said, “what?!” I cried, wanting to scream, but had to hold it in because I was at work. 

And the first thing that came to my mind was, “I’m going to die.” I notified the supervisor of my situation and let them know that I had to leave. I wasn’t any good after hearing this. I had to call my cousin to pick me up because I couldn’t drive either. I was weeping non-stop. I cried unstoppably until my face was swollen. I knew God was the only one who could help me and I prayed and talked to him saying, “Why Me Lord?” I felt the Holy Spirit respond: “Peggy, why not you? Don’t be discouraged, I will always be with you.”

God comforted me and I moved forward and had the first brain tumor surgically removed. Although I woke up temporarily blind, the surgery was successful. I was still in ICU when an optometrist came and worked on my eyes. I was so scared. Later on that day, my vision returned. 

After all of the procedures, my eyes have never been the same. Today, I use numerous eye drops and visit an optometrist regularly. I accepted what I had no control over. 

Years later, I started having severe headaches again and knew the brain tumor had returned. Another MRI was taken and showed it had returned with a vengeance, it was brain cancer. I prayed and put it in God’s mighty hands. 

I had radiation treatment for brain cancer.  Today, I am still having more treatments and is scheduled to graduated soon. None of this was easy and if I didn’t have a mustard seed of faith in God, I wouldn’t have made it. 

I interacted with cancer patients and we all need encouragement, inspiration, and  love. This is whyI am sharing my story to uplift others in their battles.

This illness shattered my life, caused me to become disabled, and live less fortunately financially. However, God has truly blessed me and I thank him for placing supportive saints around me.

During all my trials and tribulations, real compassionate people reached out through texts, calls, and visits. I thank God for his mercy, grace, and his angels.  act of kindness and thoughtfulness was greatly appreciated.

When going through battles, everyone needs somebody. It helps so much just knowing other people care and you are not going through this alone. There is always someone in circumstances worse than yours. No matter how tough this battle has been. I never lost my faith in God, therefore I never lost a battle. I kept my head up, wiped tears, and kept moving. 

Through it all, as a wounded soldier, God gave me peace that passes all understanding. 

 

Single and Free to Be Me: An Interview with Clarence Schuler

Single and Free to Be Me: An Interview with Clarence Schuler

Many believers wonder how to approach staying faithful to Christ while being single, dating, and waiting for marriage.

Dr. Clarence Shuler, an author, minister, and relationship coach shares his insights on how to pursue a godly life while being single and preparing for marriage with UrbanFaith. More on his book Single and Free to Be Me! which explores the joys and challenges of a godly single life is below.

 

In his book, Single and Free to Be Me, Dr. Clarence Shuler gives male and female singles of all ages practical and biblical tools on how to navigate the many phases of singlehood, from the art of flying solo and some of its struggles to learning how to deal with relationships with the opposite sex, all the way to preparing for marriage while still single.Single and Free to Be Me is a handy companion for anyone at any phase of singlehood. “Most books focus on a particular aspect of singlehood like dating or finding the One,” says Dr. Clarence Shuler. “But, singlehood has different cycles like discovering who you are, feeling lonely, healing a broken heart, dealing with the pressure to date or marry, learning how to have healthy relationships with the opposite sex and for some, discerning a potential marriage partner.”Adding to the book’s research, singles’ personal accounts and biblical examples, Dr. Shuler opens up about his own struggles shared by many singles including yearning for marriage, pornography, masturbation, rejection, and other issues. His more than 30 years of counseling singles and married couples as well as his nearly 30 years of marriage provide relevant insight and principles that will help many singles find freedom from society’s and self-imposed pressures.

Marriage Be Hard: Interview with @Kevonstage and @Mrskevonstage

Marriage Be Hard: Interview with @Kevonstage and @Mrskevonstage

Marriage is one of the most important institutions in the lives of believers. Unfortunately it is rarely spoken about beyond the headlines of culture wars in the news or as the excuse some believers hide real conversations about sex behind. A lot of believers have a hard time keeping it real about how hard it is to be married. Kevin and Melissa Fredericks, aka KevOnStage and MrsKevOnStage, rarely hold back on keeping it real in conversations.

With over a million followers on social media (which don’t happen for church folks), they are some of the most busy and influential believers on the internet. Their authenticity and creativity have helped them connect with the “churchy” and unchurched alike. But like all married folks they have had challenges in life and in marriage. Their new book Marriage Be Hard is a candid look at their marriage and the lessons they have learned along the way through reflection, therapy, The Love Hour podcast and real work. They hope to help couples everywhere to get past “just making it” in marriage to thriving through their insights.

UrbanFaith sat down with Kevin and Melissa to talk about their journey and their book. The full interview is above, more information on the book is below.

 

ABOUT MARRIAGE BE HARD

Discover the keys to upholding your vows while staying sane in this hilariously candid guide to relationships, from the husband-and-wife team of comedian Kevin Fredericks and influencer Melissa Fredericks

Growing up, Kevin and Melissa Fredericks were taught endless rules around dating, sex, and marriage, but not a lot about what actually makes a relationship work. When they first got married, they felt alone—like every other couple had perfect chemistry while the two of them struggled. There were conversations that they didn’t know they needed to have, fears that affected how they related to each other, and seasons of change that put their marriage to the test.

Part of their story reads like a Christian fairytale: high school sweethearts, married in college, never sowed any wild oats, with two sons and a thriving marriage. But there’s another side of their story: the night Melissa kicked Kevin out of her car after years of communication problems, the time early in their marriage when Kevin bordered on an emotional affair, the way they’ve used social media and podcasts to conduct a no-holds-barred conversation about forbidden topics like jealousy, divorce, and how to be Christian and sex positive. (Because, as Kevin writes, “Your hormones don’t care about your religious beliefs. Your hormones want you to subscribe to OnlyFans.”)

Life Starts Now: An Interview with Chanel Dokun

Life Starts Now: An Interview with Chanel Dokun

Have you ever felt like you’ve been waiting for life to happen or chasing a dream that isn’t yours? Chanel Dokun, a therapist and life planner, helps women and all of us redefine our worth from the inside out instead of the outside in her book Life Starts Now: How to Create the Life You’ve Been Waiting For. UrbanFaith had the chance to chat with her has she releases this timely book with practical ways to stop waiting and start living.The full interview is above. More on the book below:

LIFE STARTS NOW:
HOW TO CREATE THE LIFE YOU’VE BEEN WAITING FOR
Did you think you’d finally be happy if you built a great career, found a meaningful romantic relationship, and crafted the picture-perfect life? But once you’ve gotten those things, you find yourself asking, Why isn’t this enough? Shouldn’t there be more? You’re not alone.

Chanel Dokun has walked hundreds of clients, just like you, through a similar journey of disillusionment because she’s traveled the same path herself. She spent years trying to achieve the lifestyle she thought she wanted, but with every accomplishment, Chanel found herself feeling more disappointed, disillusioned, and lost. She realized she needed to let go of society’s definition of success and become the architect of her own life.

In Life Starts Now, Chanel draws on her experience as a therapist and certified life planner to help you redefine what success really means as she offers practical strategies to help you create the life you are longing for. She shares

-an in-depth look at why society’s definitions of success and significance aren’t the answer in your search for more;

-practical action steps for unlocking your genius, finding your flair, and discovering your unique life purpose; and

-how the five postures of silence, solitude, generosity, gratitude, and play will take you from striving to thriving.

Life Starts Now will inspire you to release the search for significance and recover a redemptive view of your ordinary life so you can experience profound joy and fulfillment—and embrace your true purpose.

Three Tips for Bringing Your Ministry Skills Into the Marketplace

Three Tips for Bringing Your Ministry Skills Into the Marketplace

Tip #1: Break Out of Your Box

Understand that God uniquely designed you. Everything about you was created to appeal to the people, place, and position that God destined for your life. Breaking out of your box is an act of surrender that allows God the opportunity to move on your behalf. If you’re seeking help discovering your destiny, reflect on these scriptures: Isaiah 43:19, Psalms 139:14, and Jeremiah 29:11.

Tip #2 Trust God

This tip could not be overstated. Many in ministry are joining the “Great Resignation for various reasons, forcing them to step out on faith into vocations outside their typical comfort zone. When I was called to consult for a land development opportunity, I wanted to decline the offer. After prayer and agreement from my wife, I accepted. Turning down the chance to lead a development worth millions could have caused me to head in the opposite direction from God’s calling for my life. If you’re desiring to trust God in this season, reflect on these scriptures: Proverbs 3:5-6, Psalms 46:10, and Matthew 6:25.

Tip #3 Be Strategic

Strategy is time-consuming, tiring, and sometimes frustrating, but it’s what makes and breaks organizations and sets the successful apart. The planning, implementation, and execution of an idea puts your faith into action. As you balance strategy and trust, reflect on these scriptures: Habakkuk 2:2-3, James 2:14-26, and Proverbs 16:1-3.

For Christians, walking in the will of God is critically important. Understanding how your uniqueness in Christ relates to the world provides the opportunity to thrive and spread the Good News in the unreached parts of society. Even those skilled in ministry can find themselves venturing into opportunities to be influential in the business sector. I believe that God is calling many Christians to break out of the box and pursue ministry in the marketplace, trust Him by taking opportunities to work in secular settings, and strategize for success. Isaiah 43:19 “Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.”

True Life: I’m a Father In A Blended Family

True Life: I’m a Father In A Blended Family

In our current cultural and historical moment, it is common to have blended families. Single parents form new households, people wait later in life to get married or have children, and people who have been through divorce find the courage to marry again. But blended families have been present throughout human history, and we see them prominently in Scripture and in African American history.

We think of the patriarchs like Abraham and Jacob. Abraham with children from different women, and Jacob who had a large family with multiple wives and children with each of them. We can think of Moses who was adopted, Esther who was raised by her uncle, and Ruth, whose story revolves around her second marriage to Boaz. David who had children from different relationships and caused strife, and of course we remember Joseph, the stepfather of the Savior Jesus Christ.

In many African cultures, grandparents live with their adult children, children who are orphaned are raised by the closest of kin or the closest neighbor, and fathers have children from multiple relationships. During our history as Africans in America, the extended and blended family systems were how we survived slavery, Jim Crow, and the ongoing attacks on Black family life.

Growing up, I knew uncles who raised their wives’ children from previous relationships, I had aunts who raised their nieces, nephews, and grandchildren. We had cousins who had a different mother or father than their siblings, and cousins on their second and third marriages. My story is not unique in the Black community. But interestingly, these realities of complex blended families are almost treated as taboo in our conversation and daily lives.

I grew up with both of my biological parents married and in the same house. When I started dating the woman who became my wife, some people around us were surprised and concerned because she already had two daughters from a previous relationship. I was single with no children, a couple of prestigious degrees, and a good job, so for many people the thought of dating—let alone marrying—a woman who had children was a letdown or an offense. But it has been an incredible joy and an experience of God’s love to raise two daughters who are mine through chosen relationships and one who is mine biologically.

Don’t get me wrong, raising children is one of the greatest challenges you can ever have, most of the parents out there will agree with me. But it is also one of the most rewarding journeys a person can undertake. Raising children who do not share your blood takes a special person. But if I’m honest, I feel similar about my call to parenting all of my children as I do to being a husband. Let me break the myths: marriage is not for everyone. Raising children is not for everyone, either. But both are callings for many of us. And as Christians, we know both take the grace and power of God to do well.

Being able to raise and care for children who are mine not by blood and obligation, but by relationship and choice gives me a different perspective on how God loves us as His adopted children by the Spirit. Apostle Paul says in Romans 8:14–15 (NLT), “For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God. So you have not received a spirit that makes you fearful slaves. Instead, you received God’s Spirit when he adopted you as his own children. Now we call him, ‘Abba, Father.’”

When you raise children who are adopted into your family, you are able to share your spirit and more importantly God’s Spirit with them—even if you may not share blood. Having adopted children is different than having biological children for me. But it does not make the relationship any less important, loving, or powerful, just as when God adopted us by His Spirit. God’s love toward us as His adopted children is the same as His love toward Jesus, His only begotten Son. That is a powerful revelation and goal for our love as people in blended families: to love every member the way God loves Jesus, the way Jesus loves us, the way we are called to love one another. Although our relationships in blended families may be different, the love should not be different.

Having a blended family is not for everyone. But with intentionality, grace, and patience it can be an amazing experience of God’s love. Scripture and history show that blended families have always been part of God’s people. It is not a moral failure to bring children into a new family or marry someone with children. It should not be taboo to have a blended family. Our response as believers to blended families is clear: love them as Jesus loves us.