By: Heather Phillips
“My friend, please pray for me. I had a biopsy this morning, there’s a highly suspicious mass. I’m okay but feeling a little overwhelmed right now.”
That’s the message I sent to my friend, Rev. Romal Tune almost a year ago and here was his reply:
“I will definitely be praying for you. I already know that all will be well. I sense that. Be encouraged, Heather. Positive thoughts and confidence. Do not worry. Rejoice in The Lord always. Give God thanks now for the victory you want and anticipate. Bold faith.”
Bold Faith. The second I heard that phrase, it took root in my soul and has been my mantra ever since.
While awaiting the biopsy results there was nothing, medically, I could do. I talked to my close friends and family, I prayed, I walked in the woods, and I visualized healing. I pictured myself as light, with a dark spot where the tumor was growing. I imagined my light overwhelming the mass; I pictured healthy cells blanketing the mutated cells and snuffing them out. During one of these visualizations it occurred to me that these are just cells. This is just a body. Even if the cancer killed all of my healthy cells, it could never get to the essence of *me*. My light is my light regardless of what happens to my cells.
When I realized that, I had an a-ha moment and made a spiritual link between what was happening to me now and everything I’ve learned about God in 41 years. God reaches out to us constantly, even in our brokenness. Cancer can’t get to the essence of who I am, but God’s love and grace can. I started to picture God reaching out to me and peeling back this shell of a body to reveal my true self. That night, I had a brainstorm… I wanted to have my body painted with this idea of God reaching out to me, revealing my Spirit, and me responding with love, gratitude, and Bold Faith.
I immediately thought of artist Maggie Spaloss and photographer Jenn Alcantara as the visionaries that could capture what I was feeling. Remarkably, not only did both of these busy moms immediately respond with full support, we were in the studio just four days after the initial idea. I sent them a description of my thoughts with the primary theme being Bold Faith. I met with Maggie once prior to the shoot to talk about how to actually execute this image in my head. Somehow, she was able to take those ideas and turn it into something more beautiful than I was ever able to imagine.
God’s funny, we think we’re going one way, then bloop, we’re headed somewhere entirely different. I don’t know what lies ahead for me. But, I do know that God has shown me time and time again, that if I just stop trying to steer from the passenger’s seat, life is a beautiful, exciting and unexpected ride. Now, I’m going to take a deep breath, let go of the wheel, and live.