As women from The Father’s House head out on the 2016 Freedom Challenge, here are some inspiring words from Freedom Climb founder Cathey Anderson’s journal
BY Callie Carson & Cathey Anderson
Many of you knew, loved, and admired Cathey Anderson. She was a beloved member of our church community and the founder and visionary of The Freedom Climb. Over the next two weeks her daughter, Callie Carson, will be sharing with us some of her mother’s words written on Caring Bridge during her cancer journey last year. We continue to remember and celebrate the life and legacy of Cathey Anderson.
From Callie: As many of the Father’s House daughters prepare to leave for Freedom Challenge 2016: Wyoming Grand Tetons in the coming week, I thought this journal entry from my mom, Cathey Anderson, would be appropriate for this week’s Daughter’s Blog. It blows my mind to think about my mom, sitting down at her computer writing this journal entry just over one year ago. She was excited and ready to head for Europe and hike throughout the Swiss Alps. At this point in her cancer journey she had received all the cancer therapy that she would end up doing, and she believed that she was on the upside of the battle. Little did we know that in just six short months, she would be meeting her Savior face to face. But there were a few things she was sure of, as you will read here. Jesus is the Lover of our souls, and she knew without a shadow of a doubt that whether she lived or she died, everything was going to be ok.
The Lord Determines our Steps
June 26, 2015
On July 16, we leave for Geneva to set out on “The Freedom Climb 2015: Alps”! Each week JoAnn Hummel sends a message of encouragement to the Freedom Climbers as they prepare physically, spiritually and emotionally. Her scripture was from Proverbs 16:9-“In her heart a woman plans her course, but the LORD determines her steps.” Very appropriate! For this past year, I have planned my course of healing with the medical staff CONFIDENT that it would come to fruition. But, the LORD is most certainly determining the steps I’ll take.
We had the CT scan on Tuesday, June 23 and met with the oncology staff on June 24. The good news: the tumor markers (meaning the level of protein the tumor is putting out) dropped. The bad news: the tumor has done nothing. Surgery is out of the equation. That tumor is quite the stubborn little beast! So, what does this mean? We have done everything we medically can. I can go on “chemo maintenance” to try and keep the tumor quiet. Do I want to do that? Not sure. There are “alternative” choices and we’re looking at those. Perhaps. For now, just lots of prayer, prayer and more prayer.
After the last CaringBridge post, I was blessed with lots of great discussion. LOVED THAT! The key point etched into my thoughts was this and it’s pretty simple: Every single one of us is decaying. Our bodies are wearing out and breaking down. We were born with a shelf life. Too bad it’s not stamped on our hind ends! And even if it was, we’d likely do everything we could to extend that date! When we get sick or broken, the LORD can heal us. He is capable. But he doesn’t always choose to do it. It’s His call; His decision. His ways and His thoughts and His reasons are FAR higher than ours! So, when people ask, “If God’s a good God, why doesn’t He heal you?” My answer is, “I don’t know because He could. But, He’s still a good God.” For reasons He alone knows, He won’t always heal us physically. He might. Honestly, that shouldn’t be our focus. Our focus should remain on our souls.
100% of the time, without exception, He WILL heal our souls if we ask Him to. Every single time. All it requires is that we acknowledge that our souls need His healing touch. Jesus is the passionate, desperate, consuming lover of our souls! Oh, how He loves us!!!
A long time ago a friend shared a story that has stuck like gorilla glue in the back of my brain. Her husband was a new believer but had not given up much of his “old” lifestyle which, honestly, was not so squeaky clean. Well, he came down with spinal meningitis and was a REALLY sick man. I mean REALLY sick. Coma kind of sick. My friend would watch him lie in the hospital bed and writhe in pain and agony. The look on his face was of a tormented man and his body would thrash so violently that he had to be tied down. When he eventually came to and woke up, he vividly told the story of the battle that was being waged for his soul. The LORD was drawing him, but the devil was hanging on as tight as he could. It was like he was being torn in two. The battle for his soul was real and strong and violent.
“Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.” Matthew 10:28
Now, recently I encountered a man who also experienced near death. His story was much different. He was seconds away from death from a “widow maker” heart attack. As he encountered God, all he could say was the Majesty was indescribable, the Love profound, the Love profound, the Love profound. There were no words, lexicons, icons, or images that could describe the love and peace that he felt. He also said that what we see around us, our “reality”, is just an illusion. He looked at me and in a very quiet, gentle voice said, “You’re going to be OK.”
No matter which way this goes, I’m going to be OK. Those are some good words.
This entire journey has been filled with blessings beyond description. When Daniel was thrown into the lion’s den most of us would say that was close to as bad as it gets. But, if he hadn’t gone into that den, he wouldn’t have gotten to see the angel God sent to shut the mouths of the lions. This year has allowed me to see so much good and so many blessings. The kindness and love and gentleness of friends. The goodness and caring that have shone through the sparkle in the eyes of friends. I’ve been so spoiled. I’ve been given so much through you, His people. There are “no words, lexicons, icons, or images” that can describe my gratitude.
Through it all there’s only one thing I want: that the Lord would be glorified through my living or my dying. If He performs a miracle, I want it all to point to Him. And, if I die, I want my life to speak of a soul running into the arms of the God who loves her passionately. How desperately I want all of you to know the DEPTH of the love of Jesus for your soul. My pastor, Tracy, spoke at a women’s event and she said, “I’m God’s favorite.” Immediately I wanted to jump up and say, “No! I’m His favorite.” Honestly, we both feel that way! But, I want each one of you to feel that way. To know how special and loved you are by the Author and Creator and that YOU are His favorite is all that really matters.
For now, as we wait and “plan our course,” may all of our lives be lived with a heart of celebration for the blessings and the love poured out upon each one of us. It’s going to be OK!
“But the Lord stood at my side and gave me strength, so that through me the message might be fully proclaimed and all the Gentiles might hear it. And I was delivered from the lion’s mouth. The Lord will rescue me from every evil attack and will bring me safely to his heavenly kingdom. To him be glory for ever and ever. Amen.” 2 Timothy 4:17-18
With never ending love and gratitude for each of you,
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Cathey Anderson is a lover of Jesus and all things outdoors. She was the visionary and founder of The Freedom Climb (now known as the Freedom Challenge), which raises awareness and funds for the fight against human trafficking and sexually exploited women and children. She has 4 adult children and 6 grandchildren. She passed away and met her Savior face to face on December 22, 2015 after a long battle against pancreatic cancer. She will forever be remembered for the smile on her face and shine in her eyes. She was an encourager, adventurer, hiker, farmer, teacher, mother, daughter, grandmother, friend. An extraordinary woman who will never be forgotten.
Callie Carson is Cathey’s youngest daughter. She is also a lover of Jesus and the outdoors. She loves hiking and fitness and empowers women to see their strength, value, worth, and beauty. She is often surrounded by 3 handsome men, her husband, Kirk, and 2 sons, Caleb and Connor.