Friday, October 23, 2015

Roadblocks and Detours—When Writing is Derailed



Roadblocks and Detours—When Writing is Derailed 

By Cathy Gohlke

Writing is our passion.  For many of us it is a calling from God, a ministry of joy that we’ve been given and eagerly pursue.

So, what do we do about our carefully crafted and hard earned writing schedules, lifelong dreams, and deadlines (self-imposed or imposed by contracts) when life hits an unexpected roadblock? 

Boulders as great as our imagination loom round the corner of everyday life.  Thankfully, most are minor and short lived, but what if they’re not?  What happens when bill-paying jobs are lost or changed, when ill health strikes us, or a loved one?  What happens when a loved one dies, is deployed, or simply leaves, when divorce upends our world?  What happens when a beloved child goes astray or when we lose our home through fire or foreclosure?

Are such life changing events a sign that we need to reevaluate the time writing requires or those thriving passions in our heart?  Does it mean that we’ve misinterpreted God’s calling on our lives, or does it mean that we’re to fight all the harder to pursue the dream He planted in our DNA?  Does it mean something else entirely?

Little did I know, while writing Secrets She Kept, that no sooner would I complete its editorial work and sign a contract to write a new book (a WWII story set in England’s breathtaking Lake District in the photo below on the right; the photo of Two Women Standing Monument to the left was my inspiration for Secrets She Kept) than I’d receive a diagnosis for breast cancer.  In what seemed a whirlwind, my team of doctors outlined surgery, months of chemotherapy and radiation, and a five-year plan for hormone therapy—all of which derailed my writing plans.


I didn’t ask, why me?  I’ve always been more inclined to ask why not me?  But I wondered, why now, and what am I supposed to learn from this experience? 


My husband and I had just upended our empty nest world.  We’d rented out our home in Maryland and moved to Virginia to rent a house with our grown children in order to help with grandchild care while both her parents worked.  Three generations under one roof had us all running as fast as we could while humming the theme tune from the Waltons. Between family and writing life was rich and full and productive (photo below is me signing my contract for Secrets She Kept with my granddaughter).  I didn’t have time to be sick.  Everything from family needs to reader reception to story inspiration and speaking opportunities indicated I was on the right life track.  

Did this diagnosis and derailment mean I wasn’t?  Did it mean that God had changed His mind about my writing or that I hadn’t been faithful?

It was tempting to go that route, to question Him, to become fearful and discouraged.  But those fears didn’t ring true.  

Here’s what I knew:  I love the Lord with all my heart.  I want only to serve Him in whatever way He wants.  If that means giving up writing, I’m ready to do that.  If it means giving up speaking, I’m ready to do that.  If it means refocusing my life on my family’s needs or on foreign missions, I’m ready.  So, as much as I love writing and have always loved writing, I couldn’t see that it was a question of needing to surrender that in some way that I hadn’t.

But I have to admit, sometimes I’ve feared that I’ll run out of ideas—not ideas for stories, but run out of ideas for writing about things that matter.  So, I wondered if this was a time out for the Lord to refuel my brain, and time to focus more closely on Him.

And that, I think, is the key—time to focus on Him.  When life steals our health or finances or those we love or our very heart for living the day to day through any kind of catastrophe, it’s time to refocus, to focus on Him and the most intimate parts of our relationship with Him.  It’s not a punishment, it’s a necessity for getting through life and getting through it with an abundance of joy.
So, I was willing—I thought.  I looked at this as a time to spend with Him and still write—I’d journal and get a good start on my story and all would be well (pic to the right is me in my prayer shawl on my first day of chemo).

Naively, I believed that I’d breeze through chemo—that it would be tough, but not debilitating.  In the early months of chemotherapy I was shocked at the depth of fatigue, how quickly my white blood count plummeted, at my rapid descent into anemia, at how quickly I developed infections and repeated cases of shingles.  Above all, I never expected to lose the use my brain or my ability to focus enough to write.  I’d never even heard of chemo brain–brain fog, weakness, forgetfulness and muddled-headedness.   I never expected to have my normal taken away.

There were times that the pain was so intense I could not think, could not even pray, that I had to release that need to the Lord and ask the Holy Spirit to pray in my stead.  And He did.  And in that moment I learned total dependence and relief in that dependence on Him in a way I’ve never experienced.

Along the way He sent me love gifts in unusual ways, reminders that He sees me, loves me, knows my name . . . reminders that I’m not forgotten by my Father in Heaven.  (photo to the left is a plaque from Transformational Fiction Fans). Big things and little things—things that only He knows matter to me.  I’m sure you know exactly what I mean.  Those things come your way, too.  Because they’re easy to miss in the throes of upheaval, we pray for eyes to see them, ears to hear them, and the sensitivity to recognize them.  Then, oh, how we thank Him!

During periods of respite between chemo treatments I was occasionally able to journal.  Sometimes I could read, though I couldn’t keep anything in my head for long.  Research for a new historical novel was impossible.  I couldn’t remember the contents of a paragraph two minutes after I’d read it.  So often I wondered if I’d ever be able to think clearly, to capture a plot and hold onto it, to write again.  And if I didn’t, if I couldn’t, I needed to be okay with that.  I needed to be able to say, “Yes, Lord.” 

There were times when I just wanted to lay it all down, when I longed to go home to the Lord and enter into His gates with thanksgiving and live forever in His courts of praise.  There were times when I wondered if that wasn’t where I was headed soon.

At one of the lowest points of my chemotherapy treatments—while weak and bedridden from a dangerously low white blood count—I read an account of John Sherrill’s two-time battle with cancer.  

Sherrill and his wife, Elizabeth, were writers for Guideposts magazine at the time.  According to the story I read, although John believed in God and regularly wrote stories of people whose faith helped them overcome great obstacles, he’d not yet accepted Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior.  He’d not made a personal, internal commitment. On his way to a second surgery, with a prognosis of only three months to live, John surrendered his life to Christ.  When the doctors went in to cut out the mass of suspected cancer, it had shrunk to the size of a “raisin,” and was not cancerous.  John considered his healing miraculous.  

But there was another miracle for me.  I hadn’t known the Sherrills as writers for Guideposts.  I knew them as the “as told to” co-writers of Corrie ten Boom’s The Hiding Place.

I realized that if John had given up, if he’d allowed cancer to overwhelm him and steal his life, if he’d never surrendered his life to Christ and been healed to go from strength to strength, he and Elizabeth would not have gone on to write the book that has brought hope to and strengthened the faith of millions.  He would not have written the book that so convicted me as a young woman or that inspired Billy Graham to produce the movie by the same name—or that provided the answer to Hannah’s desperate need to forgive in Secrets She Kept.  

I checked Sherrill’s website.  He is now in his 90s and still writing.  Reading Sherrill’s story of full surrender to the Lord and of overcoming fear and cancer at the low time I did in my own cancer journey gave me great hope that if I wait upon the Lord He might again use me to write stories of hope and faith and conviction, too—stories that glorify Him and portray His love for us all. 

Sherrill’s unique connection to Corrie ten Boom (photo the left) and her connection to the characters of Secrets She Kept –-which was about to release—washed over me as another great love gift, a reminder that all my days and all my abilities and opportunities are in God’s hands, that He is not limited by diagnoses or human catastrophes.  

That morning I learned to fight cancer with a surrendered heart.  Whatever my future holds or doesn’t hold, I know He walks with me through both the valley and into green pastures.  I’ve claimed as my inspiration a Scripture I’ve always loved, “But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.” (Isaiah 40:31)

I’ve learned that cancer, like any major life roadblock, is part of my journey, but it does not define me.  It’s neither the climax nor the end of my story, for life and eternity only begin here.  By God’s grace, there will be many more stories to write.  Those are the secrets I keep, warm and alive in my heart.  

The things I’ve learned from the Lord in the silence of pain and waiting are lessons I’ll carry into all of life ahead, lessons that will surely show up in anything I write in the future, most definitely in the book I’ll resume writing as soon as I’m able.  

I share my journey to encourage you, to say that an interruption in hopes and dreams and plans for a writer is not a dead end.  It is a fork in the road less traveled that leads us to new understandings—if we allow it to enrich and not embitter us.  Everything in life is material for a writer, every joy and every trial.  

Let all of life, the good, the bad and the ugly, be the gift it’s meant to be.  Seek joy each day, through each experience.  We’ll all be better people and better writers for this, we’ll all have more from the Lord to share and more ways to bless one another.

GIVEAWAY:
In addition to our $50 gift-card giveaway this week and the grand prize of an iPad Mini to be drawn at the end of the month, Cathy has been gracious enough to offer a copy of Secrets She Kept to one winner drawn from all those who comment today.

ABOUT SECRETS SHE KEPT:
All her life, Hannah Sterling longed for a close relationship with her estranged mother. Following Lieselotte’s death, Hannah determines to unlock the secrets of her mother’s mysterious past and is shocked to discover a grandfather living in Germany. 

Thirty years earlier, with Lieselotte’s father ascending the ranks of the Nazi party, a proper marriage for his daughter could help advance his career. But Lieselotte is in love—and her beloved Lukas is far from an ideal match, as he secretly works against the Reich. But Lieselotte never imagined how far her father would go to ensure her cooperation.

Both Hannah’s and Lieselotte’s stories unfold as Hannah travels to Germany to meet her grandfather, who is hiding wartimes secrets of his own. Longing for connection, yet shaken by all she uncovers, Hannah must decide if she can atone for her family's tragic past, and how their legacy will shape her future.

ABOUT CATHY:
Cathy Gohlke is the two-time Christy Award-winning author of Secrets She KeptSaving Amelie (INSPY Award), Band of SistersPromise Me This (one of Library Journal’s picks for Best of 2012), William Henry is a Fine Name, and I Have Seen Him in the Watchfires, (one of Library Journal’s picks for Best of 2008, and winner of the Carol Award).  Cathy and her husband divide their time between Northern Virginia and the Jersey Shore, enjoying time with their grown children and granddaughter.  Find her online at www.cathygohlke.com and on FB at CathyGohlkeBooks.










170 comments:

Marsha Bernabe said...

Wonderful post. I have always liked Elizabeth Sherrill'a writings. She, like you, shared the lessons she learned through her struggles.

Please enter me in the drawing. :-)

Melissa Jagears said...

Beautiful post Cathy. I've not read The Hiding Place yet, but I got the adult and the kid version for me to do with my daughter and I'm looking forward to it even more now.

Prayers for you to keep up your strength and positive outlook!

Trixi said...

Enjoyed reading your testimony, Kathy! I especially loved "seek joy each day, through each experience". My husband is always encouraging me to see the positive in everything. There are some days and things that are harder to see past and find that joy in than others. But I'm learning, and the more I seek that, the more I really do find the blessings & joy!! And my outlook in life is more positive & I find myself smiling more. It changes a persons whole countenance & it spills onto others :-) It's getting much easier to find those hidden blessings, because I am seeking them more!

Thank you for the chance to win a copy of "Secrets She Kept", sounds like a good book. And I do also pray that the Lord would continue your healing & restore all that was taken from you! He's the great Physician after all :-)

Tina Pinson said...

Kathy, I didn't have cancer but dealing with my mother's battle and her death nearly two years ago took more out of me then I thought possible and watching dear friend struggle for the last year and a half (she went to be with the Lord on Monday) derailed my thoughts as well and caused me to look closer to what God wants.

Have I gotten beyond the barrier in my mind? Not totally I think my why questions are slowing down as I talk with God about it all. Probably should do it more.

Thank you for sharing.

Mary Preston said...

Such an inspiring post thank you.

Cindy W. said...

Thank you for sharing your testimony Cathy. I pray that God will continue to heal you, sustain you and that He will use your testimony to encourage others.

I just purchased a beautiful copy of The Hiding Place and in is in the TBR pile. I love books set during the WWII period and would love a copy of Secrets She Kept. Thank you for the chance to win a copy.

May everyone have a blessed day today! God is so good!

Smiles & Blessings,
Cindy W.

Cindy W. said...

I meant to say, The Hiding Place is in my TBR pile. :)

Blessings,
Cindy W.

Tina Radcliffe said...

Dear Cathy,

Welcome back to Seekerville. I read your post last night but was actually too moved to respond.

Your post is not only beautiful and touching but transparent and I thank you for that.

It made me stop and turn and look back, which is something I rarely do.

I've trained myself to only look ahead.

I can see now that on occasion it is okay to turn around.

Thank you for this.

I went to sleep with this scripture on my mind.





Isaiah 55:8-9King James Version (KJV)

For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.

I'm adding you to my prayer list this am.

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

Jackie said...

Cathy, thanks for sharing your encouraging story! Right now I'm getting through a minor derailment and look forward to more consistent writing. I'm also a why not me girl.

Your book cover is beautiful! Thanks for visiting with us today!

Kate said...

You inspire me, Cathy. Difficulties do not have t define us. And it's so easy to let them!!! Thanks for the encouragement!!

Bettie said...

Cathy, Thank you for sharing your inspirational life. You have shown us a wonderful example for dealing with major changes in our paths. I will pray for you and your family. I remember reading the Hiding Place as a teen. If my memory serves me correctly our youth group saw a movie about it too. Corrie. was a very courageous woman. I would love to read your story. How wonderful that you have brought part of Corrie's.. story back to life. Happy birthday Seekers! Pardon my punctuation. My phone doesn't like Carrie.

Cathy Gohlke said...

Thank you for stopping by, Marsha. Yes, the Sherrills inspire me, too. Such faithful use of their pens throughout their lives! God bless you!

Cathy Gohlke said...

Thank you, Melissa! Those prayers are most appreciated! You and your daughter will love "The Hiding Place." When you can, see the movie on video, too. It will mean so much--especially after reading the book. God bless!

Cathy Gohlke said...

Thank you, Trixi! Yes, He is our Great Physician and He heals us in so many ways--all the way to the gates of Heaven! I'm so happy for you in your own journey for joy. You're right--the more it bubbles up in us the more it simply spills over into and onto others. God is making you a blessing wherever you go!

Cathy Gohlke said...

Dear Tina, you have certainly walked through the valley of death with two dear ones you loved and have loved, and that's a long and hard walk. Be gentle with yourself, dear Sister, and know that walking with others in their hard journeys is a gift to them beyond measure. It's also so very, very difficult. Having walked on both sides of this--we cared for my mother-in-law until she died of a brain tumor--I will tell you that for me it was harder to walk to the end of life with a loved one than it was to endure cancer myself. There are so many reasons for that--another blog entirely--but know that the gift you gave was exactly what they needed. God bless you! Over time, He will heal your heart, but all you have learned and experienced will forever be a part of you and you will bless still more people through that.

Cathy Gohlke said...

Thank you for stopping by, Mary!

Cathy Gohlke said...

Yes, Cindy W.--God IS so good! : ) You will love The Hiding Place! Thank you for your prayers. I know our Father hears them. God bless!

Cathy Gohlke said...

Thank you, Tina Radcliffe! It's wonderful to be in Seekerville again! Thank you for your prayers. I know He hears them and answers so faithfully. You are right--His ways are beyond our understanding--and that is part of this blessed journey. He is healing me in ways that have nothing to do with cancer--trust, dependence on Him, distilling and clarifying my insistence on productivity and schedules, making clear my need to spend more time with Him. The list goes on, through so many things for which I didn't even realize I needed--and still need--more healing. What a loving Father! God bless you!

Jill Weatherholt said...

Thank you for sharing your story, Cathy. I've printed this post and place it inside my Bible for myself or a loved one, who in the future, might face a similar challenge. You're a true inspiration. God bless you.

Cathy Gohlke said...

Thank you, Jackie! I love the cover for Secrets She Kept, too. The team at Tyndale does a wonderful job with book covers, as with everything else, and I'm so grateful.

I just prayed for your derailment, Jackie, and know the Lord has this covered, too. You've already saved yourself so much time through being a "why not me girl." : ) God bless you and sustain you, my friend!

Cathy Gohlke said...

Thank you for stopping by, Kate. You're right--difficulties do not define us. We know Who is more than a conqueror! God bless you today!

Patricia W said...

Inspiring testimony! Although we celebrate survivors of this awful disease every October, for some reason, this year in particular I've read story after amazing story of courage, fortitude and faith from people whose names are familiar to me. I am awed by your strength and grace. Blessings!

Patricia W said...

Inspiring testimony! Although we celebrate survivors of this awful disease every October, for some reason, this year in particular I've read story after amazing story of courage, fortitude and faith from people whose names are familiar to me. I am awed by your strength and grace. Blessings!

Cathy Gohlke said...

Oh, Bettie--I, too, was a teen when I first read and later saw "The Hiding Place." What an inspiration Corrie ten Boom was to me! I never imagined then that I would one day write about her, or that I'd write such a book at all. God takes us on amazing journeys. His faithfulness in my past makes me trust Him all the more with my future. Thank you so much for your prayers for me and for my family. It's been quite a journey for all of us. God bless you!

Deanna Stevens said...

Thank you for sharing your story.. God Bless You..
I have your book Secrets She Kept and it is going the top of
my TBR stack :)

Cathy Gohlke said...

Jill--I'm so thankful if what I wrote encourages another heart. Thank you for sharing that with me. God bless you for being so thoughtful, for preparing for the future for those you love!

Cathy Gohlke said...

Thank you for stopping by, Patricia! I, too, have been reading more testimonies of breast cancer survivors than usual this October. I'm not sure if there are simply more available, or if it's just so much more on my radar this year. But they have encouraged and inspired me. God bless and keep you!

Cathy Gohlke said...

Thank you, Deanna! I'm so glad you already have Secrets She Kept, and I pray that you will enjoy the journey as you read it. God bless you!

Kelly Bridgewater said...

Thank you, Cathy for such a moving story. We lost a great aunt who was liked another grandmother to my boys back in May to lung cancer. She was only diagnosed two weeks before God called her home. My boys still talk about her. It really warms my heart to hear your words of comfort. I will add you to my prayer list. God will continue to bless! I really enjoy your stories.

Unknown said...

No wonder your books are so wonderfully inspiring, Cathy. They come from a heart that loves God and His people. May His blessing be upon you every step of your journey.

Rose said...

Cathy,

Thank you for this inspirational post. Your book sounds wonderful.

Cathy Gohlke said...

My sympathy and heart goes out to you and your boys, Kelly. Your great aunt sounds like a wonderful person to have had in your life for so long. Thank you for your encouragement and for your prayers. God bless you!

Cathy Gohlke said...

Thank you, Unknown, for your words of comfort and encouragement. I have to smile--your signature is "Unknown," but I KNOW you are intimately known and dearly loved by our Heavenly Father. : ) God bless you!

Cathy Gohlke said...

Thank you, Rose, for stopping by. So good to see you here! God bless!

Suzanne Baginskie said...

Cathy, I applaud you for baring your soul and keeping your faith through all your trials and tribulations in your life. Acceptance is the hardest part and a good positive outlook along with belief in God and prayer helped you get through. Wonderful news about your latest book. You are an inspiration to us all. It's not easy sharing what you've been through. Thanks for a heartwarming account of your life and how you maintained your writing for a great end result. Enjoy the writing high.

Ruth Ann Dell said...

Thank you for the inspiring post today Cathy. I appreciate you taking the time to share your thoughts and to encourage readers.

I have just journeyed through the worst two years of my life but God has been with me all the way and carried me, although often I could only see this in retrospect and not at the time.

May God bless you as you write for Him.

Suzanne Baginskie said...

Happy Birthday Seekerville. Another wonderful week of great posts from authors willing to give their time for others. I wish you all lots of story ideas and a good writing weekend.

Cathy Gohlke said...

Thank you, Suzanne, for your message of encouragement. God has been so loving and faithful, so entirely ever-present throughout this journey that I am content. In those moments when anxiety rears its ugly head--particularly re. chemo brain-- I know my Father is only a prayer away. He's teaching me to live day by day and moment by moment--quite a lot for a "scheduler" to learn.

God bless you today!

Cathy Gohlke said...

Thank you for sharing your journey, too, Ruth Ann. Two years is a long time to walk through the valley. I pray life is looking up each day for you and that the sunshine and Sonshine is warm and healing. I see more in retrospect, too, and that's a good thing. Sometimes, when we're walking the journey and being changed in the process, it's hard to see all there is to see. Prayers for you, and God's blessings!

Glynna Kaye said...

Good morning, Cathy, and thank you for sharing your hard, but inspiring journey.

While I haven't dealt with cancer, I did at one time have severe & uncertain health issues that came from out of the blue--sidelined me from writing for years. So I know firsthand of God's healing touch and his faithfulness--how he can take bad things and work them for good in our lives.

Sally Shupe said...

Cathy, thank you for an inspiring post. God never leaves us; He is always there. No matter what we are going through, He's there holding our hand and lifting us up. When we take the time to listen for Him, we see Him there and know He is near. I am praying for you and your journey. We never know why we go through things. It makes us who we are.

Caryl Kane said...

HELLO CATHY! You are a beautiful testimony to our Lord! Thank you for the reminder that He IS working behind the scenes even when we can't see it.

Please put me in for today's drawing.

Leslie McKee said...

Cathy,

Thanks for stopping by. What an inspiring post!

This is a WONDERFUL book! (I'm actually giving away a copy on my blog this month.) I haven't read Corrie's book yet, but it's on my TBR list.

Leslie

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Cathy -

I picked up Secrets She Kept (for Kindle) a few days ago and can't wait to read it.

Thank you for your inspirational post. I've read John Sherrill's book, The Hiding Place, as well as his personal story. The Lord always provides the encouragement we need to move forward - often from sources we don't expect.

Writing must sometimes take a backseat to life, but the gift is there ready to spring back into action when the time is right. I experienced this after my own health challenges seven years ago. God has taken what the enemy meant for evil and turned it around for my good. He doesn't waste any experience we go through.

Love and prayers,
Susan :)

susanjreinhardt AT gmail DOT com

Cathy Gohlke said...

Thank you, Glynna Kaye, for sharing your journey through very difficult health issues. They certainly can derail writing plans. It sounds as though those times have passed for you, and I'm so very thankful. Yes, God is the Great Healer and is faithful in every way. So often, what our enemy means for our ill, our Heavenly Father turns around and brings the very best to us. Each of our journeys is unique, as are we. God bless you!

Kav said...

What a wonderfully encouraging post to wake up to. Thank you for sharing your journey and the wisdom that has come along the way. I'm at my own fork in the road health wise so this has been a huge blessing to read. One of those special 'God winks' that lets me know He's aware of my needs. So thank you so much for being His instrument this morning.

And guess what I just picked up from my TBR pile this morning? Secrets She Kept. Just about to start reading, so no need to enter me in the draw.

Cathy Gohlke said...

Thank you, Sally, for your prayers and encouragement. Yes, all that we go through makes us who we are, and being alive in Him is everything! God bless and keep you!

Cathy Gohlke said...

Thank you, Caryl, for your encouragement. Yes, He is working in ways we never see but benefit from daily! What a blessed assurance! God's blessings for you!

Rachael Koppendrayer said...

Thank you for sharing your story! Anytime one is advancing God's kingdom, one can expect retaliation from the enemy, and as a writer, your reach is wide. It's encouraging to hear your story of God reaching out to you through the trials and lifting you up. God bless! (And I'd love to be added in for the drawing).

Cathy Gohlke said...

I'm so glad you've enjoyed Secrets She Kept, Leslie McKee! That's very encouraging. You will LOVE Corrie ten Boom's book! It convicted me on so many levels. I will never forget her story and that of her family. Standing strong in the midst of adversity and persecution, as they did, is something that I think we will all be called upon to do at some time in our lives. God bless you!

kaybee said...

Cathy,
This post really touched me. You went close to the bone to share your journey and it is appreciated. I was thrilled to hear the reference to Corrie Ten Boom. Sometimes younger Christians don't know about these great heroes of the faith, and they need to be kept in the forefront.
The real hero, or at least equal to Corrie, is her sister Betsie, who was older and frail and DID NOT MAKE IT OUT of the camps. But she was a big spiritual influence on Corrie. We have a quote from Betsie framed in our home, "The center of God's will is our only safety." Yet She Died In The Camps. This always brings me up short and helps me keep my eye on the prize, which is not this earth.
Because if Betsie had not existed, Corrie would not have been who she was, and the Sherrills wouldn't have written the book, and Graham wouldn't have made the film, and thousands of lives wouldn't have been touched. It gives me the chills, and I needed to have the chills today.
Oh thank you Cathy for pointing us in the right direction. It isn't what we write but Who we write and what He wants to do in us.
Kathy Bailey
Grateful in New Hampshire

Cathy Gohlke said...

It's wonderful to see you here, Susan Reinhardt! I know you have walked through health challenges, too--your own and with those you love. God is faithful in every experience.

I love what you wrote: "Writing must sometimes take a backseat to life, but the gift is there ready to spring back into action when the time is right." and "God has taken what the enemy meant for evil and turned it around for my good. He doesn't waste any experience we go through." Both these things are so true and I'm trusting in them now.

I hope you enjoy Secrets She Kept. God bless you!

Cathy Gohlke said...

Kav--you just blessed the socks right off me! : ) I'm so thankful if my posting helped you today. I know what it means to me these days to come across one of those "God winks." YES--He knows your name and your very heart! God bless and keep you, and give you strength and healing in all the days ahead. He loves you so--you are His precious daughter!

I hope you enjoy Secrets She Kept! So glad you already have it!

Cathy Gohlke said...

Rahael--you are so right. Our enemy is vigilant and would so like to destroy us and our influence for good, our work for God's Kingdom. I'm so thankful when other writers recognize this, because our writing to uplift and glorify God in this day and age is desperately needed by a hurting and broken world. May God bless and keep you as you work to honor Him in all things!

Wilani Wahl said...

Cathy. Thank you so much for sharing the post. It is so encouraging. I have bee praying for you and will continue. I have been wanting to read Secrets she Kept.

I have managed to get bronchitis again, so I am in bed this morning with my laptop and books. Hoping to still get some writing in today

The Lord is good even on the difficult days--I should say especially on the difficult days!

Cathy Gohlke said...

Kathy Bailey--you hit the nail on the head! Even though Betsie did not survive the camps, her influence, born of God, spread far and wide and continues today. Yes, she was a powerful influence on Corrie ten Boom, which is a wonderful reminder that we may not be the person that directly reaches the world, but we can be the "cup of cold water" to weary saints, a blessing wherever we are placed.

It is such a privilege to bring the work of faithful and strong influences from former generations to the world today. I've been trying to do that--John Bunyon and The Pilgrim's Progress in Promise Me This; In His Steps through Band of Sisters; Dietrich Bonhoeffer's The Cost of Discipleship in Saving Amelie, and now Corrie ten Boom's The Hiding Place. Their work is too good to be forgotten. My next book will feature the early work of C. S. Lewis. I pray my books will inspire readers to dig into the books of these great Christian warriors.

God bless you today!

Pepper Basham said...

Unequivocally, one of the best post I've read in a long time! What a beautiful story of surrender and trusting in God's loving and hard Providence

Pepper Basham said...

Thank you for reminding us that God's calling on our hearts is consistent no matter the season. This reminds me of the verse "all things work together for the good of those who love the Lord and are called according to his purpose" thank you so much, Kathy. What a beautiful ministry from a beautiful heart

Cathy Gohlke said...

Praying for you and your healing today, Wilani Wahl! Bronchitis is so very draining. Yes, God is faithful through all times, but we especially sense His presence in those difficult times. Maybe it's because at those times we really are "still, and know that He is God." I hope you get that writing in today, but especially--take good care of yourself!

Thank you so much for your prayers for me. God is truly answering them! God bless you!

Cathy Gohlke said...

Thank you for your encouraging message, Pepper. Yes, God does work all things for our good. Sometimes it takes a while for us to see that good, but He is ever working, ever present, ever seeking our best for eternity. His calling on our hearts is as you said, "consistent no matter the season."

God's blessings for you today!

Pepper Basham said...

Sorry Cathy! My phone auto corrected your name spelling :)

S. Trietsch said...

You are truly a servant of the Lord! Thank you for sharing!

Stephanie

Cynthia Herron said...

Cathy, thank you so much for this today! Thank you for sharing your heart and your courage. I'm praying blessings of favor and healing over you just now, and I pray, too, that God grant you peace in the midst of so much change.

I've not battled cancer, but I have walked a similar path as a mom to a once very ill teen. Though God didn't heal our son in quite the way we planned, dreamed, or hoped, He did bring about victory beyond our greatest expectations. Today, our child (the boy who was told at age 14, "You're going to lose your colon--you might as well get used to the idea") influences bright, young minds as a middle school teacher.

Secrets She Kept sounds wonderful. Continued blessings on your writing ministry!

Myra Johnson said...

Thank you for sharing your courageous journey with us, Cathy! So inspiring--and such an important reminder that interruptions are NOT dead ends!

Candee Fick said...

Thank you so much for sharing your story and the beautiful reminder that God doesn't waste a single moment in our lives, even if those moments are for drawing us closer to Him rather than further down our to-do lists. Because the former inspires and empowers the latter.

I loved The Hiding Place and have the tear-stained, yellow-paged copy on my stack to re-read. Loved Betsy's statement that God's love is deeper than any pit we're in. I'm adding your book to my TBR wish list!

Marianne Barkman said...

Cathy, now I know why your books are so inspiring....you write from close to your heart the stories God gives you. Thank you for that, and for the post your shared with Seekerville today. I would love to win your novel, but know that if I don't, it will soon be on my shelf, anyways.
Happy Birthday Seekerville and villagers with birthdays this month!

Heidi Robbins said...

I'm sorry to hear that you have had such a battle with cancer, but thank you for sharing your experiences and thoughts for our benefit. You are an inspiration!

Cathy Gohlke said...

S. Trietsch--Thank you for stopping by today! God's blessings for you!

Cathy Gohlke said...

Cynthia Herron--I want to sing for the joy of victory your son has experienced and the blessings he is sharing as a teacher today! I know that walking through very tough times with a child is the hardest thing ever--much harder than when we experience pain ourselves. God bless you for your years of patient love and care, for the victory that you, too, are experiencing today.

Thank you for your prayers! I know God hears them.

Cathy Gohlke said...

Myra Johnson--You are so right--"interruptions are not dead ends!" There is joy in that reminder.

God bless you today!

Cathy Gohlke said...

Oh, Candee Fick, I loved what you wrote: "God doesn't waste a single moment in our lives, even if those moments are for drawing us closer to Him rather than further down our to-do lists. Because the former inspires and empowers the latter." That's it, exactly!

And, yes, Betsy ten Boom understood, and lived hourly in the presence of the King, even while she walked this earth.

God bless!

Cathy Gohlke said...

Thank you, Marianne Barkman, for your encouraging message. That is the desire of my heart, to write what the Lord shows me and gives me, and only that--to get self out of the way and hear and share His voice as spoken to my heart. There is no greater joy for a writer, and I know that many here in Seekerville feel the same way.

I hope you enjoy Secrets She Kept!

God bless you today!

Cathy Gohlke said...

Thank you, Heidi Robbins, for stopping by today. It is a joy to share this journey with you. Thank you for your encouragement!

God's blessings for you!

Julie Lessman said...

GOOD MORNING, CATHY AND ALL, and boy, do I feel like a sludge -- 7:22 AM in the morning, and there are 65 comments already!!

But it doesn't really surprise me, Cath, because your story is so heart-wrenchingly inspirational, that I too -- like Tina -- am moved to tears each time I read it. You are truly a beautiful example of a child of God holding onto the hand of her Savior.

Thank you for taking the time to come to Seekerville today to inspire, encourage, and bless.

Hugs and more hugs!

Julie

Cathy Gohlke said...

It is my joy to be here today, Julie Lessman! What a wonderful place to visit! Thank you so much for inviting me.

There is simply no happier, safer place to be than holding onto our Savior's hand. But, that is not news to you, or to anyone here. You do the same!

God bless you today, my friend!

Loves To Read said...

Cathy - thanks so much for sharing your story. I have to agree that is it one of the best posts I have read in a long time.

Carrie Turansky said...

Dear Cathy, what beautiful touching words, and I know they come from your heart. Thank you for persevering to write this post for us all. I'm sure it took hours since you are still recovering from your treatments. I loved hearing more of what you've learned on this challenging journey. Your books are treasures, and I'm praying for God's healing work to continue so you can write the next and the next and the next. The world needs those stories! We love you!!!!

Cathy Gohlke said...

Loves To Read--I love your signature name! Thank you so much for stopping by, and for your encouragement. God bless you today!

Cathy Gohlke said...

Dear Carrie Turansky--you are always a blessing to me! Thank you for stopping by, and for your loving encouragement. It is great joy to me that you and Julie and all those at Seekerville and so many far and wide are keeping your pens brightly burning for the Lord and His truth. His light shines through you into the darkest places! I hope to rejoin your ranks--sooner, rather than later--but am content, or trying daily to be or become content, in His leading for my life.

God bless you, my friend!

Terri Gillespie said...

Oh my. What a beautiful blog, Cathy! The passion and compassion you have for the Lord and for His kids shine through. Love you!

Debby Giusti said...

Cathy, thanks for sharing your journey. Such an inspiring post. I'm printing it off for a friend who was recently diagnosed with Stage 4 lung cancer. I hope your sharing touches him as much as it has touched me.

I read THE HIDING PLACE as a young woman. Recently, I uncovered a copy in my local bookstore that was closing. Of course, I purchased it and brought it home, knowing I needed to read it again. Your post today confirmed that to me.

I traveled to Poland in May and toured Auschwitz. I'd been to Dachau when we lived in Germany. Both places are holy ground. Your story intrigues me and is calling my name. I know I'll enjoy unfolding the story you've been given to tell.

Thanks for being with us today. Praying the Lord continues to use you to spread his message of hope and love.

Peace and health! Always!

Cathy Gohlke said...

Terri Gillespie--So wonderful to see you here, dear friend! You and Carrie know so much about this journey, for you've traveled it with me every step of the way. I can't thank you enough for the blessing you've been and daily are to me. May God bless and keep you as you inspire others through your spirit and your wonderful writing! As Amy Carmichael said, "Swords drawn to the gates of Heaven!"

Melanie Dickerson said...

Wow, I love your heart for Jesus, Cathy! Saying a prayer for you right now. Thank you for sharing your heart with us today. God works in our lives in so many ways, so mysteriously, so different, and yet He is so faithful. I know God has GOOD plans for you, and He is using your books every day. God bless.

Missy Tippens said...

Cathy, what a beautiful, inspiring post! Thank you so much for sharing with us today. You've really encouraged me.

Missy Tippens said...

Tina P, I'm so sorry for the loss of your friend.

Cathy Gohlke said...

Oh, Debby--prayers for your friend going up! I also pray he is encouraged through this posting.

I've been helped so much by the encouragement and words of others walking the journey. A book that has been a special blessing to me recently was a gift from a friend: "Rose From Brier," by Amy Carmichael. It was written by Amy during her own time of illness (not cancer) and so comes from a heart that truly understands the throes of suffering and being suddenly taken out of normal daily life. Her words have uplifted me so many times.

I know you'll enjoy rereading "The Hiding Place." Reading it again in recent years--maybe because I was at a different place in life than during my first reading of it--brought new insights and blessings--especially after having visited Ravensbruk. Your trips to the camps will make your reading of it different this time, too. Be prepared for the increased heartache, and for the increased blessing.

Thank you for your prayers and encouragement, Debby!

Cathy Gohlke said...

Thank you, Melanie Dickerson, for your wonderful encouragement, and for your prayers! Yes, God is faithful in every way, each and every day to each of us. How wonderful that He knows our names, our hearts, and their deepest desires.

God bless you today!

Cathy Gohlke said...

Thank you, Missy Tippins, for your welcome and encouraging words. God's blessings for you today!

Tracey Hagwood said...

Hi Cathy,
God is so amazing! He knew and provided what you needed as you made the journey through your valley. He knew what I need today too and that was YOU! Your words and your encouragement.

Like Tina R, I read this earlier and was so moved I had to walk away for awhile, I have read it three times and have felt the voice of God through it each time. We all have those valleys, some health related, others emotional, spiritual, relational, financial, the list is endless. But God does not leave us fatherless, or friendless either. It's not by accident that Corrie ministered to John, who then help minister to you and then you to me and countless others. We all need each other so very much.

Thank you for being His mouthpiece in my life today. We never know how much what we share will impact those wo read it. I know how hard it can be to expose our vulnerability to others, but the best testimonies I've ever heard always speak truth, along with the encouragement to go on. I love that quote, "Swords drawn to the gates of Heaven". Yes, that's it, for ourselves and each other.

On another note, I've noticed a trend in fiction about WW2 and to be honest, I've shied away from it. Reading is my "happy place", I like to escape life's realities so these hard facts in history don't always make for easy reading. After reading this inspirational post and the beautiful flow of your words, I went straight to amazon and purchased Secrets She Kept (at a terrific sale price too).

Sorry to be so "wordy", but you have been such a blessing, I just wanted you to know all that was in my heart. YOU ARE AWESOME!

Rebecca Maney said...

Thank you Cathy, for making a very personal testimony of faith and endurance, very public.

May the Lord continue to bless you richly in just the ways that you need it most!

Cathy Gohlke said...

Dear Tracey Hagwood, you have surely blessed me in return! It's true--when we open our hearts and lives so publicly it leaves us vulnerable on many fronts. I'm glad if the posting was a help today--then God fulfilled my purpose and I praise Him!

You are so right--God never leaves us fatherless or friendless, and we're each a ripple in the pond for others. So many have surely been that for me.

I agree that WWII stories can be hard to read or write. I never expected to write three set during WWII! But the things I've learned through interviews with survivors and through research are things I feel compelled--and led--to share. I hope you enjoy Secrets She Kept. It's not an easy read, but bears that saying, "may we never forget!"

God bless and keep you, Tracey!

Cathy Gohlke said...

Thank you so much, Rebecca Maney! Your encouragement, support and all your faithful prayers are so very much appreciated!

God bless you today!

Janet Dean said...

Cathy, thank you for this beautiful post and for sharing your inspiring journey to a surrendered heart. The stories you write are important and will be only more so with all the lessons your illness has taught you. I'll be praying you will be blessed, as John Sherrill was, with the health to write for Him.

What seems a terrible hardship is often a blessing in disguise. As was true when an infestation of lice kept the guards from molesting female prisoners in Corrie ten Boom's barracks. This example of God at work has stuck with me all the years since I read The Hiding Place. Praise God that you read John's story and were filled with hope.

Jeremiah 29:11. For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

Janet

Mary Vee said...

Thank you, Cathy, what a lovely post. Many have suffered such illness and are unable to write works to share with others. Years later, three rounds of cancer, surgeries, chemo, radiation, and two false alarms wears on a soul. I know many readers profit from these books. In my shoes, though, I hate to remember. But I am glad you have...thank you for ministering to the many aching hearts.

Cathy Gohlke said...

Oh, Janet--I remember the story of "even the lice" in the Ten Boom Sisters' Ravensbruk experience. What a testimony to our Father's creativity! I'm sure those guards never imagined what the lice enabled. Yes, as you said, "what seems a terrible hardship is often a blessing in disguise."

Thank you for your prayers--they are precious and so much appreciated.

God bless you today!

Cathy Gohlke said...

My heart goes out to you, Mary Vee. I cannot imagine enduring three rounds of cancer and all that treatment entails for each of them. I completely understand why you would rather forget and move forward with life. I feel that way, too. You are truly a warrior drawing your sword to the gates of Heaven! I pray that you will be cancer free in the future and enjoy good health and every good thing in life.

God bless you!

Pam Hillman said...

Cathy, Mary, others here, I'm amazed at your strength and fortitude through adversity. You are truly remarkable women!

Kathryn Barker said...

Cathy,

I've had to have a few moments to digest this post. You're an inspiration...your story tore at my heart. What a blessing you're still here with us. And so many have shared a similar journey and can relate to the pain, the sorrow, and the joy of dealing with and beating cancer.

That verse, Isaiah 40:31... is our "life" verse. My Sweet Husband and I have experienced this truth over and over and over again!!

Thanks for encouraging words to fill the weekend! I'd love to be entered in the drawing. I've read The Hiding Place, saw the movie and watched many of Corrie Ten Boom's recorded speeches! She was such an anchor for me in the 1970's!

Chill N said...

CATHY -- this is wonderful: "I’ve learned that cancer, like any major life roadblock, is part of my journey, but it does not define me." That very fact is why, when my son developed diabetes at 10, I insisted he had diabetes ... but was not a diabetic. It seems a small thing, but it isn't.

Secrets She Kept sounds layered and filled with discovery. I'm eager to read it. Thanks in advance for your generosity!

May blessings abound,
Nancy C

Chill N said...

P.S. CATHY, a very, very, very -- very -- talented writing friend gave up writing during her breast cancer treatment and hasn't returned to it after almost three years of remission. She even deleted all her writing (which fortunately, I have). I'm saving your post for the 'right time' to share with her. Thank you.

Nancy C

Linda Truesdell said...

Cathy
What an inspiring post. I have a dear friend whose husband is going through this cancer valley right now. I share verses and devotions with her in hopes it will help her with this trying time in her life. I can't wait to share your post with her for I know God's message will shine through to her via your words. That's just the way it works. God uses our weaknesses to speak the loudest and strongest. Praying for healing and strength for you in the coming days.

Kelly Goshorn said...

Cathy, thank you for sharing your journey with us. So beautiful and so tender you brought me to tears. You still have the gift of writing, friend. May God richly bless you as you continue your recovery!

Cathy Gohlke said...

Pam Hillman, thank you for stopping by. God's grace is sufficient--we all learn this one way or another. We are all warriors for the Kingdom of Heaven. Thank you for your encouragement, and God bless you!

Cathy Gohlke said...

Kathryn Barker--Corrie was that anchor for me in the 1970s as well! What an inspiration she was!

I'm so glad to know this is your life verse--you and your husband--truly precious to share that!

Cancer, in its many forms, strikes so many. I was told that 1 in 8 women will experience breast cancer in their lifetime. Those statistics are staggering. Even so, we all share the bond of Hope with the One who loves us best.

God's blessings for you!

Lyndee H said...

Wow, Cathy. Your story is so compelling. It helps to put things into perspective. Your witness here was much needed by my heart. Thank you. Blessings and prayers for your continued battle.

Lyndee H said...

CHILL N - I LOVE that you have saved your friend's writings! That will be a blessing to her one day.

Cathy Gohlke said...

Chill N--I love how you saw your son's diabetes, and how you surely helped him to see it. That insight is such a lifelong gift for you both!

I hope this posting is a help to your friend whenever, if ever she is ready to receive it. I'm chomping at the bit to write, but confess that I'm fearful (amazing, after all the Lord has done for me!) that I won't be able to write well again, to write a story with coherency and spiritual strength, with well developed plot or characters. Chemo brain is so very real and besides sapping clarity and creating confusion, it saps confidence. Perhaps this is where your friend is, even now. Still, I hope, hope, hope . . .

I've decided to sign up for NaNoWriMo this year, in the hope that I'll at least begin to write again, even though I don't anticipate 50,000 words. NaNoWriMo is how I wrote the first half of Secrets She Kept. It was a thrilling and sacred journey with the Lord. I'm so eager to go there again. : )

God bless and keep you!

Cathy Gohlke said...

Your friend is a warrior, Linda Truesdell, and I hope this posting is a help to her. Just knowing that others share the journey can be encouraging. I also think it is harder to walk through cancer with a dearly loved one than to walk the path oneself. Caregivers can feel so very helpless and at the same time so very burdened. I'm praying for your friend right now, and for you, as you minister to her. God bless you!

Cathy Gohlke said...

Kelly Goshorn, you are very encouraging! God bless you today!

Cathy Gohlke said...

I'm so glad if you were encouraged, Lyndee H. Thank you for your prayers and encouragement to me! God bless you!

Jackie Smith said...

I am so glad you are here today, Cathy, and have given us such inspiration. I have health issues, and am going to file your post to read over and over...thanks! I have read Corrie's book (and the Sherrill's writings), and now I am so anxious to read Secrets She Kept...please enter me. I am putting it in my Amazon cart to purchase IF I don't win today!
Praying for you....

Cathy Gohlke said...

Thank you so much for your prayers, Jackie Smith! Prayers going up for you, too, for your health issues. Some journeys are long, but our Father is ever present, ever faithful, ever loving. I pray you will experience and feel His love and singing over you today. So glad you've read and known Corrie's story--such an inspiration--and I hope that you enjoy Secrets She Kept. God bless you!

Sandra Leesmith said...

Hi Cathy What an inspiring story you wrote today and a great message for all of us. Personally, I've learned many of the same lessons while trying to write during intense periods of elder care. And it is so true. You just need to stay focused on HIM. What an amazing concept. chuckle.

Thanks so much for sharing. Your stories sound really interesting.

Have a fun day.

Sandra Leesmith said...

Forgot to mention Cathy, But isn't it interesting how in hind sight we DO see where God was with us holding our hand and paving the way? And also, isn't it a blessing how He uses us to minister to others who are sharing the same journey or trial. He truly is an amazing God.

Thank you again for giving us a message of inspiration and hope through all the trials we may end up facing in our lives.

Cathy Gohlke said...

Elder care is a precious but difficult pathway, Sandra Leesmith. God bless you for traveling where many choose not to journey. Yes, so many lessons are the same . . . surrender in all things, tucking ourselves close to Jesus, keeping our eyes, our minds, our hearts fixed on Him . . .

Thank you for stopping by today. May God bless you as you keep on keeping on!

Cathy Gohlke said...

Yes--Sandra--hindsight is an amazing gift! Sometimes it takes years to see where the Lord has led us, or why, and then when a pathway unfolds it is like walking into Eden. Such beauty! Such revelation! And when our experiences can be helpful to someone else traveling difficult roads it is simply the best. Bearing one another's burdens is a gift to the one in need and to the one walking beside. It amazes me how our lives flow in such rhythm with one another. God's timing is perfect in every way--never too early, and never too late. Yes, as you say, "He truly is an amazing God." God bless!

Lourdes said...

Thank you so much for sharing what God is doing may He continue to keep you strong. Secrets She Kept looks like a great read.

Barbara Scott said...

Cathy, thank you so much for sharing your inspiring story!! It makes my detours seem trivial.

When God asked me to lay down my writing career to become a Christian book editor, I thought I'd never write again. Now years later, the Lord has restored my dream. My first manuscript in 20+ years is making the rounds, and I'm writing the second book in the series. If I hadn't worked in the CBA industry all those years, who knows where I would be. I do know I have a deep well of experience to draw from, and I can't thank Him enough for what He's done in my life!!

I'd love to read and review a copy of SECRETS SHE KEPT! In addition to Corrie Ten Boom and the Sherrills, Catherine Marshall's testimony of her health struggles has also been a great inspiration to me.

Beth said...

Cathy, thank you for sharing your story! I look forward to reading the Secrets She Kept. There were so many brave men and women within Nazi Germany at that time.

Cathy Gohlke said...

Thank you for your encouragement, Lourdes! May God bless you!

Cathy Gohlke said...

Oh, Barbara--no detours are trivial!

I'm thrilled for you in your return to novel writing! That is such an exciting discovery in your journey. May God bless you and all who read your words. Life is a great giver of experience, and our Lord wastes nothing.

I'd be delighted for you to read and review Secrets She Kept.

Yes, Catherine Marshall's life and testimony was most inspiring!

God's blessings for you!

Cathy Gohlke said...

Yes, Beth, I agree. There were many brave men and women throughout the war in every country. I've been blessed and inspired by so many of their stories and testimonies.

I hope you enjoy Secrets She Kept.

God's blessings for you!

Andrea said...

Cathy - Keep hanging tough and thanks for sharing your story and also the inspiration John Sherrill is (btw - I've read The Hiding Place multiple times since I was a teen. Corrie Ten Boom is an inspiration for all). Looking forward to reading Secrets She Kept.

Tina Pinson said...

Thank you. Cathy your reply brought me to tears as well. It a hard road. I literally watched my friend starve to death because of tumor blocking her stomach and I have been frustrated not only in my thoughts but in my spirit wondering sometimes where God went in it all. But your beautiful testimony and answer reminds me God is there. And he knows our grief and is hurt for us.

Tina Pinson said...

Thank you, Missy.

Cathy Gohlke said...

Thank you, Andrea! Yes, Corrie ten Boom is surely an inspiration for all! I hope you enjoy reading Secrets She Kept. God's blessing for you!

Tina Pinson said...

Thank you, Missy.

Cathy Gohlke said...

My deepest sympathies for you, Tina, in the passing of your friend. I think nothing is so hard as walking with a loved one to the end. My heart grieves for you. We watched a similar event with my mother-in-law in our home. Near the end she could not, would not eat and it was so very hard to watch. We felt entirely helpless and even angry that we couldn't fix it. Cancer is a terrible thief. But through it all, God was/is good, and there is the joy and hope of eternity. I can't imagine how we'd live life without Him.

Yes, just as you say, God knows our grief and is hurt for us. God bless you!

Valri said...

Thanks for your post, Cathy. I've gone through my mom's breast cancer (she's 80) with her and she's such a rock! I don't know that I could be as strong as she is! What a marvel she is! God has blessed her with great faith. Sounds like you have that too! Thanks for your reminder to remember our blessings!

Lynne Feuerstein said...

Thank you for sharing your story,Cathy.My father had cancer,so I realize its not an easy thing to go through.As you said you have to keep faith and put everything into the hands of God.Thank you for reminding us of God`s love through this post and your wonderful books.I`ll be praying for you! God bless!

Cathy Gohlke said...

Your mother sounds wonderful, Valri! I'm so glad you have each other--a true blessing. My guess is that you'd be "such a rock," too. You've had her wonderful example. I've been blessed with wonderful examples of fortitude and faith in my life, too--both those I know and love, and those I know through their writing and books. God supplies our every need AS we need. That's so exciting and special to remember.

Thank you so much for stopping by. God's blessings for you today!

Cathy Gohlke said...

Thank you, Lynne Feuerstein, for your prayers and encouragement--both much appreciated! You've already walked this walk with your father, so you understand. Yes, we must each keep faith and put everything into God's hands. God bless and keep you!

Marissa C said...

Enjoyed reading and would love to be added to the drawing.

Jeanne T said...

Cathy, I've tried all day to get over here. Thank you so much for transparency here today. The hope infused in your words inspired me. My mother and my MIL have battled breast cancer. And both have come through it changed. I appreciate your reminder to hold everything from a place of surrender. I need to remember that.

Please put me in your drawing. And thanks again for such wise words today!

Rhonda Starnes said...

Cathy, thank you for sharing your story with us. You're in my prayers.

Cathy Gohlke said...

Absolutely, Marissa C! God bless!

Cathy Gohlke said...

Thank you for stopping by, Jeanne T! You've seen firsthand the changes in your mother and mother-in-law. What a unique journey, and one you can share with others walking beside loved ones on this journey. God's blessings for you!

Cathy Gohlke said...

Thank you for your prayers, Rhonda Starnes--they're so very much needed and appreciated. God's blessings for you!

CatMom said...

Thank you for sharing your journey and your heart with us, Cathy.
I remember meeting you at my very first ACFW in 2008 (we sat at the same table at the Awards dinner). You were very kind (not to mention an amazing and talented author).
Please know I've been praying for you and will continue. I'm sure you are an inspiration to many.
Blessings from Georgia, Patti Jo

Just Commonly said...

O Cathy, thank you for a wonderful sharing. It literally moved me to tears. God bless you. Thank you.

Please add me to the drawing as well.

From Snowflakes To Hotcakes said...

Such an inspiring and genuine post. Thank you for sharing so deeply.

Deanne Patterson said...

What a beautiful post today. I love the encouragement and determination shown. This posting brought me to tears. Thank you for sharing it with us !

Deanne Patterson
Cnnamongirl at aol dot com

Savanna Kaiser said...

Dear Cathy,

It's wonderful to see you here on Seekerville. Every time I read your words I am so blessed by your sweet spirit and courage. Your testimony shines bright, my friend. Praying you feel God's strength and joy every step along this journey. Sending you a hug!

Savanna

Sandy Smith said...

Thank you for writing this inspiring post, Cathy. I pray for your healing.

Cathy Gohlke said...

Patti Jo of CatMom--So nice to meet you here again after all these years! I hope you are well and enjoying your writing life in every way.

Thank you so very much for your prayers and kindness. God is good and surely answering those prayers! May He richly bless you!

Cathy Gohlke said...

Thank you for stopping by and for commenting Just Commonly. So nice to meet you! God's blessings today!

Cathy Gohlke said...

From Snowflakes to Hotcakes--I love your signature name! : ) Thank you for stopping by. God's blessings today!

Cathy Gohlke said...

Thank you for your encouragement, Deanne Patterson, and for stopping by. God's blessings for you today!

Cathy Gohlke said...

So nice to see you here, Savanna Kaiser! You're always so cheerful and encouraging. God is answering your prayers for strength and joy in this journey--thank you! God's blessings for you!

Cathy Gohlke said...

Thank you, Sandy Smith, for your prayers. They are very much appreciated! God's blessings for you!

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Cathy, I was traveling yesterday and unconnected, and actually zoomed through Virginia! On my way back north, I will wave as I go through again!

What a story of true inspiration and courage. My friend Lisa was 38 when she was diagnosed, with four little kids I'd helped raise. It was a year-long treatment that mimicked yours. So drawing, so draining and the chemo fog is something we laugh about now, but back then we'd sit and have long conversations about everything imaginable, none of which she remembers.

But I do, and the raw courage it takes to weather these treatments is amazing. You're amazing.

Praying for your full and wonderful recovery and a cure for cancer. A real cure that teaches our body to go on an all-out defensive/offensive and conquer it by itself. God bless you!!!!

Ruthy

The Artist Librarian said...

Thank you so much for sharing something so personal. Keep fighting --God is using you in amazing ways! My mom raved about "Saving Amelia" ... I think it's one of the best WWII books she read. I'm hoping to get to it soon. =)

Joan said...

Inspiring! Challenging! I've been derailed several times in my career...or so it seemed, but really God was redirecting me.
Would love to win the hook inspired by Corrie arena booms story . She is one of my heroes!g

Cathy Gohlke said...

Thank you, Ruthy, for your prayers and heartfelt encouragement! I'm so thankful your friend, Lisa, is doing well now and can laugh about chemo brain. I look forward to that day!!!

I can't imagine having four small children and going through this, although I did go through a severe illness in my 30s when my children were small. That was far more difficult than the cancer and cancer treatments I've experienced this year, and I think that was especially because my children were young and we had no idea if I'd live through that. That statement is in no way meant to diminish the trial of cancer for anyone! It's just that I think having young children at such a time increases the anxiety for everyone.

Yes--a cure for cancer would be wonderful for millions! Amen to that! God bless you!

Cathy Gohlke said...

Thank you, The Artist Librarian, for stopping by and for your encouragement! I'm so glad your mom enjoyed Saving Amelie. That was probably my most challenging book to write, but such a blessing to do the research--especially reading the writings of Dietrich Bonhoeffer--what a pillar of faith and conviction! I hope you enjoy the story.

God bless and keep you!

Cathy Gohlke said...

Joan--you truly understand that God's purposes transcend our agendas. Your own experiences testify to that. He takes me down paths I would never have discovered on my own and I praise Him for that! God bless you in all your discoveries!

Dana McNeely said...

Cathy, I'm touched and extremely encouraged by your testimony. Thank you so much for sharing your personal story.

Cathy Gohlke said...

God's blessings for you, Dana McNeely! Thank you for stopping by and for your encouragement.

Sarah Claucherty said...

Wow, I'm amazed by Cathy's story...I'm so glad that you're clinging to your faith through this, and I sincerely hope that you are doing well.

Sarah Claucherty said...

I love this trend in your novels, by the way. I'm always eager to find out whatever influence you'll share with us in one of your books. Excited to read Secrets She Kept and about Corrie Ten Boom, and also for the C.S. Lewis book to come!

Sarah Claucherty said...

Am I too late to hop into the drawing? Yesterday and Thursday were so busy I couldn't get to Seekerville until now. :(

Cathy Gohlke said...

So glad you came by, Sarah Claucherty! I love sharing heroes and heroines of the Christian faith through novels and am delighted that you look forward to that in my books--makes my heart sing! So many faithful writers and speakers have influenced and truly convicted me that I'm eager to share their influence and their work, knowing that this new generation will be blessed in the same way.

Thank you for your encouragement and good wishes. I feel I am doing well . . . at least I'm where I should be on this journey, and Jesus is at the helm. That's all that matters. It's one day at a time. I certainly couldn't do it without Him, nor would I want to try.

God bless you!

Cindi A said...

What an amazing interview. It is obvious that the Lord is working through Cathy on so many levels. This is a great reminder that we all need to refocus on the Lord regularly.
I pray that God has plans for Cathy to continue writing and recovers fully from the cancer.

Becky Dempsey said...

It is amazing to see how God worked through your story and weaved His design. It isn't always easy to deal with derailments.

bonton said...

Thank you so much for your beautiful post, Cathy - it was such an inspiration to me. I've been praying for you since hearing of your cancer, some time ago, and will continue to pray for your complete healing and return to writing. Prayer is a mighty weapon- I've witnessed miracles in my own life, and the life of others, through prayer. The prayers of my friends and family have been such a blessing to me during my own health issues.

I'm not a writer, but related to your post in numerous ways. I had cancer for the second time just last year (breast cancer), I am currently dealing with new health issues that once again, may be cancer. My brother and I care for three elder members of our family - my father has stage 4 cancer, my mother has Alzheimer's and my aunt is an invalid. As with you, I have been able to ask "why NOT me"? Because God has drawn me closer to Him, given me new lessons to learn, and worked all things to my good through each trial I've encountered - not the least of which is how incredibly blessed I am.

Christian Fiction is one of those blessings - through it, God speaks to many people. Although there are things I once did that I'm not currently physically able to do - reading, reviewing, and promoting Christian Fiction is one thing I can do, one which has brought me much joy. Thank you for using the writing gift He has given you - for Him, as well as your testimony.

Please enter my name in the drawing to win a copy of 'Secrets She Kept'- I love the storyline, and would love to read it!! Thank you!!

bonton said...

Thank you so much for your beautiful post, Cathy - it was such an inspiration to me. I've been praying for you since hearing of your cancer, some time ago, and will continue to pray for your complete healing and return to writing. Prayer is a mighty weapon- I've witnessed miracles in my own life, and the life of others, through prayer. The prayers of my friends and family have been such a blessing to me during my own health issues.

I'm not a writer, but related to your post in numerous ways. I had cancer for the second time just last year (breast cancer), I am currently dealing with new health issues that once again, may be cancer. My brother and I care for three elder members of our family - my father has stage 4 cancer, my mother has Alzheimer's and my aunt is an invalid. As with you, I have been able to ask "why NOT me"? Because God has drawn me closer to Him, given me new lessons to learn, and worked all things to my good through each trial I've encountered - not the least of which is how incredibly blessed I am.

Christian Fiction is one of those blessings - through it, God speaks to many people. Although there are things I once did that I'm not currently physically able to do - reading, reviewing, and promoting Christian Fiction is one thing I can do, one which has brought me much joy. Thank you for using the writing gift He has given you - for Him, as well as your testimony.

Please enter my name in the drawing to win a copy of 'Secrets She Kept'- I love the storyline, and would love to read it!! Thank you!!

Terri said...

Cathy, your post is so inspiring. I'm humbled at all I take for granted. Thank you for sharing your story. - Terri

Cathy Gohlke said...

Thank you, Cindi, for your prayers--definitely needed and so very much appreciated! Time with the Lord and focusing on Him, is as you said, something we all need. We don't all need cancer, that for certain! : ) God bless you and keep you!

Cathy Gohlke said...

You're right, Becky Dempsey, it isn't always easy to deal with derailments, and you're right, too, that God has woven His purposes through my life. He does that for each of us but sometimes it's hard to see when life is busy and engaged with others at life's normal pace. I think being derailed has given me time to trace His leadings in my life and I'm so very grateful. God brings good things out of every experience, even those our enemy means for ill.

God bless you!

Cathy Gohlke said...

Dear Bonton, my heart goes out to you and my prayers are going up. You and your brother certainly have your hands full. I admire your very positive spirit in the face of difficult circumstances and sense the Lord's love and blessing and even carrying in your life.

I'm so glad that Chrisitan fiction is a blessing for you and you are certainly doing all you can to share that blessing with others. Isn't it wonderful how the Lord gifts each one of us with abilities and opportunities to glorify Him and to bless others? I just love that about our Heavenly Father!

I especially pray for you in your own health concerns, and hope with all my heart that it is not again cancer. Whatever you face, may our Father hold you close and sustain you, lift your heart high and give you strength for all your days. Blessings and prayers for you, Bonton!