Juanita Everman: I met Juanita soon after moving to Kentucky. She was an energetic women with a push to help those who struggle, like none I had ever witnessed. Quickly after is when she was told of her cancer and started treatments. We’d have private lunches at her home during the day and pray and talk and pray and talk. This was a time that we became real with each other. We have very similar stories of struggle and because of Jesus we also have very similar stories of victory. I’ve been blessed to call her friend and look forward to many more years of praying and talking.
This is my God story. How He didn’t give up on me and how He has carried me through my trails to see the joy on the other side.
I knew of Jesus and went to church some as a child. By the time I was in elementary school we quit going to church. I wouldn’t seek Jesus until I was so desperate and hopeless in my life. I became a Christ follower at 43.
His word says in Romans 5:3 – 5 says Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character;character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out His love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom has given us. I love this verse – it tells me that life is not going to be all roses when we serve Him. It tells me we will have troubles and suffering, but – look what we gain HOPE AND JOY.
My life has been full of suffering, some from my own choices and some from life. I was sexually abuse as a child. It was hard to have safe feelings in intimate relationships. I had no self-worth and I was afraid to express my feelings and stayed in harmful relationships to long. I have been married three times and divorced twice. My husband and I are celebrating 27 years of marriage and 21 years of sobriety.
Before turning my life over to Jesus I lived in the world. I took everything it had to offer and lived my life taking chance after chance. I had so many troubles and I had no idea how to fix them. This life was of my own doing. I had to suffer the consequences of my actions. That was my choice, my fault.
How do you keep on living and have hope when you’ve just been told you have cancer? I thought I was doing every thing right. I was living for Christ. Giving my all and now what? My first diagnosis was in 2013. I went into surgery for a fibroid tumor and when I woke up I was told I had stage 2a Ovarian Cancer. The next few months were very hard. I tried to keep my focus on positive things. The chemo treatments made me so weak and sick I didn’t think I could continue them. And then I would think of my husband and children how could I leave them. How could I not do everything I can to get well. It was hard not to get in that dark place where I would give up. Its hard to describe the feeling of just wanting it to be over, not wanting to be so sick. But yet not wanting to give up. I only went out to go to church and that was not that often.
It was because of God’s Word and my sisters and brothers in Christ that I was able at stay positive and make it through this trail. I kept asking God what I was to do or to learn. I realized all the pain and suffering He had gone through for me – for us all. That no matter what I went through He had already been there. He knew what I would go through and He was there to comfort me and give me the strength and hope to get through it. I started serving at Celebrate Recovery as soon as I could and going into the jail to do CR Inside.
In January 2017 my cancer had returned. There was one spot and the only way to reach it was surgery. I was heart broken. Why again? I had all the fears and doubts again. The sinking lost feeling of dying. But I prayed Your will not mine. I was ready. I didn’t think after the first time that I would face it again. After surgery I made the decision not to go through chemo again. It was one spot. I would leave it up to my Heavenly Father. I am seeing a holistic doctor and I have changed the whole way of take care of myself. This is very hard also. Especially when it seems everything is geared around food!! I take my own food a lot or just eat at home. I have tried so many times to lose weight only to fail. I have lost so much weight – I didn’t even notice because my focus was on living a healthy life and not my weight. I wanted to live for Christ and my family.
September 2017 I had a CT scan come back with a spot on my lung. I prayed and prayed. I had a PET scan to see if anything was there. This was just before my youngest daughters wedding and also the Rally4Recovery. I had to stay busy. I couldn’t think about what the news would be. I was ready to give up. I had fought all I could fight. If it was back – I would let God guide me on what steps to take. I started to think about the things I needed to get in order. What I had to take care of so I would be prepared. But with in few seconds of feeling like giving I heard a small voice. YOU CAN’T GIVE UP! YOU HAVE TO MUCH TO DO!!
The spot did not show up on the PET scan. I was so grateful to God. I choose not to have the following CT and PET scans three months later. My blood work was good and I decided I would except that as answer that everything is ok for now. God is so good. God is so good. I listened again to that small voice that I heard in 2013 to have the pain checked out.
I listened and I didn’t give up! I was working on a non-profit organization with a friend. An organization that carries out recovery-focused community education and outreach programs, and peer-based recovery support services. It is in the process of starting. I am so thankful for the opportunity to serve those in need.
I choose today to take each trail as a way to look at what is going on in my life and how can I direct it back to Jesus. He has already filtered it, He has felted it. Now I have to use it to glorify my Lord and Savior! God never waste a hurt.
Lord, I thank You for my friend. I ask that You will continue to bless her life as she continues to give You glory. I pray for those around her that are influenced by her gentle and loving spirit. Amen!