Esther was the daughter of Kathy, who was on the Proclamation Trust Ministers Wives conference with me last week. Esther died of cancer just after Christmas, aged 14. They’d found out that she was ill in August 2011.
This is her testimony from her baptism in September – in her will she said that she wanted as many people to hear it as possible. Kathy read it out to all of us who were at Hothorpe Hall last week. And now I’m sharing it with you.
Before I became a Christian I came to church because I had to, and not because I really wanted to. I’d rather stay at my friend’s house or at home. I was slowly moving away from God and my family – I was never at home. I would ‘bunk off’ school and deceive my parents. It wouldn’t really bother me that I was actually sinning against God and I was gradually moving into becoming not a very nice person.
And then, at the end of August last year, I remember going with Miriam, Olga and Elaine to St Ann’s hospital for an x-ray, because I was getting really bad pain in my right leg, and I wasn’t able to sleep. I was sent straight to North Mid hospital for more scans, and shortly after having a biopsy, was diagnosed with bone cancer (which was really a shock because everyone thought that it was just growing pains). In the past year I’ve been given six different types of chemotherapy, two biopsies, I’ve had two operations to remove tumors, and I’ve got a metal knee. More recently I have had radiotherapy on my leg. So far none of these treatments have worked, and there are now multiple tumors in my leg and the cancer has spread to my lungs. It has been hard when I go to the hospital and keep hearing bad news.
But throughout the ups and downs of the past year, I have never felt angry with God or questioned Him about why I am going through all of this. I feel like God is testing my faith and this illness was supposed to, and has, brought me closer to Him. Over time, as I’ve needed God more and more, it’s made me put Him at the centre of my life, and has made me into a changed person whose view on life (as Mr Mac says) is ‘live one day at a time’. I know that I am in God’s hands and I’m ready for whatever or wherever He wants my life to go – however hard it might be. Obviously I’m really praying that God will heal me, but I have put my trust in Him and I know that He will do what’s best for me, in my life. I have realized that Jesus is my Saviour and I’ve asked Him to forgive me for all of my sins. It’s so AMAZING that someone can wash away all of my sins, so that it’s like I’ve never sinned in the first place. But I know that that doesn’t mean that I can keep on sinning; I have to try not to sin – but I’m still only human, so I will make mistakes, and when I do, saying ‘sorry’ to God; but I’m trying not to, and trying to follow God’s commandments.
Before I got saved I was quite a selfish person, and always did what I wanted to do, even when I hurt someone else’s feelinging, it wouldn’t really bother me because I wasn’t that other person. During this past year I’ve had to put myself in other people’s shoes because I turned into that other person. For example, because of having different operations on my leg, I’ve had to go around in a wheelchair. People look at you differently, and it makes you realize how much other people go through that are in similar situations.
One day, I hope that I can become a chemo nurse, and help people like all of the nurses have helped me. Now I really want God to show me how I can help people who are less fortunate than me, and people who need to know the Truth. I don’t expect God to heal me – He may have other plans for me. But whatever happens, it’s amazing to know where I’m going to end up on judgment day. God has given me so many blessings in my 13 years of life, and even through this last year. I went on a Mediterranean cruise; I’ve been able to spend time in Dorset, and I’ve just got a dog called ‘Hope’.
It may sound crazy but, although this illness has brought me a lot of pain and discomfort, and I can’t do everything that I would like to do, in some ways this illness has changed my life for the better. I mean, I don’t know what I would be like if I hadn’t got ill – I don’t think that I would have got saved or appreciated life, or realized that every day that I live is a blessing from God. I thank the Lord for making me ill if it meant that I realize all of these things, and made me accept Jesus as my Lord and Saviour.
I’m so grateful that God has given me 13 years of life, loving parents that have supported me, friends and family that have continued praying for me and most importantly His son Jesus Christ who died for me!
Esther Childress 27th Sept 2012