When I Should Have Died

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Dabney Hedegard
Dabney Hedegard

I always thought that I saved her, but really, God created her to save me.

She gave me something to live for: hope.

By the time I had hung up the phone with Ragan, I was face-forward in my grass—bald head and all—worshipping almighty God and thanking Him for one more day. My neighbors must have thought I was nuts.

For the first time in my life, I didn’t care what anybody thought.

My situation hadn’t changed. I still felt crummy. My nose still dripped, my head hurt, and I had sticks for legs from losing so much weight, but my perspective shifted.

I wasn’t dead.

Not yet.

That’s when I realized I needed to stop living as if my disease had won, as if my sickness owned me.

A new thought occurred to me. As long as I was alive, I still had precious moments to raise my baby girl, to invest in her, to share my crazy God-stories that proved the undeniable power of prayer. As it turns out, while I was hospitalized, prayer chains circulated the Internet. And this time, with a room full of doctors and nurses looking on, God performed the unthinkable.

If I’ve learned one thing from this experience, it is that no one can thwart God’s plan (Job 42:2). If His plan for my life wasn’t completed, no amount of chemo could do me in.

Not on His watch.

My days are numbered, and they will never be set in stone by my doctor’s statistics.

I wish more than anything in the world that I would have believed this sooner.

For me, it took a violent shake of sickness to wake me up to see the glory surrounding my circumstances, even when I felt the crummiest.

I needed hope and encouragement and a reason to go on. I believe that’s why the Bible repeats over and over for us to not worry. I believe He penned this command for people like me who, without a reminder, would gravitate toward this world’s worrisome situations. But with God on my side, I have another choice. I have a life-giving Book that rewires those negative thoughts. I drank in Scripture during my darkest days because very little things in life brought me peace the way reading my Bible and prayerfully laying down my fears did.

The two go hand in hand.

We have the ultimate tool at our fingertips. Fear is a state of mind that can be released. It starts in our head and flows from our mouth, where life and mental death take shape in what we speak. Because what we say sets the guidelines we live by. I had to relinquish control and repeat, “My God goes before me, and He is with me. He will never leave me or abandon me. I will not be afraid. I will not be discouraged” (Deut. 31:8).

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