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A New Life Purpose

Given a two-year life expectancy, I decided to do what mattered most in the days I had and to trust God to give me exactly what I needed every step of this new journey.

By Carol Kuykendall, Boulder, Colorado

As appeared in

If you are going to be used by God, he will take you through a multitude of experiences that are not meant for you at all; they are meant to make you useful in his hands. —Oswald Chambers

When I placed this quote above my computer several years ago, I wanted a reminder that God intended to bring some good out of my Stage 4 ovarian cancer diagnosis. I had no idea then how meaningful those words would become for me now.

When first diagnosed, I was given a two-year life expectancy. Instead of fighting that prediction, I let it shape my life purpose: to do what mattered most in the days I had and to trust God to give me exactly what I needed every step of this new journey, even if it included dying much sooner than I expected. But I didn’t die, and when I passed the five-year anniversary of my diagnosis, I wondered if I could find a new life purpose about being a survivor.

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Soon, my phone started ringing and people identified themselves as recently diagnosed cancer patients. “How have you survived cancer?” I was asked again and again. I felt a bit baffled. I didn’t have any nice neat list of do's and don'ts about not eating sugar or eating only raw vegetables. My survival is far more about what God has done than what I have done,” I replied, and went on to relate my story about the ways God prepared and equipped me for my journey.

In these conversations, I keep discovering how life-giving and hope-bringing our personal stories can be, especially when they are shared with a person walking the same challenging path that God has walked with us. That’s sacred ground. And I’ve discovered a new life purpose.

Lord, I hope that I am useful in Your hands when I tell and retell my stories about Your faithfulness.