In the Valley: Testimony of Tricia Carter Baines

I accepted Christ when I was a child. That night, I sat on the cliff of our yard, watching a farmer across the street, set his field ablaze. As I watched the field light up the sky, I asked my sister, “Is this what hell is like?” When she said “Yes”,  I ran to my mother crying. I didn’t want to go to hell. Kneeling by the sofa that night, my mother led me to the Lord.

I was raised in a Christian home, filled with nightly devotions and praise, rushing to church each time the doors opened, and I attended a Christian school. Although, entrenched in Christianity, I still strayed.

At the age of seventeen, I conceived my firstborn. I didn’t know what to do. After I broke the news to my parents, my father encouraged me to go to Jerry Falwell’s Godparent Home, a home for unwed mothers. It didn’t sound appealing to me. Very late one night, I cried and prayed, asking God what to do. I turned on the television and an infomercial for the Godparent Home was on. I asked God, “Do you want me to go there?”

Still skeptical, I changed the channel, only to view the same infomercial again. I knew I was to pack my bags and go. There in Lynchburg, Virginia,  I grew closer to God. I learned more about Him and became excited for His Word.

Now, 22 years later, busy with running a household, a business, raising children, and volunteering at church, I miss the closeness I felt in the solitude of the God parent home. My hectic schedule doesn’t permit lengthy Bible readings or long prayers.

In February, during worship I felt a longing to be closer to God. I prayed, “Lord, something has to happen to me in order for me to come closer to you, in order for You to break my heart.” I will never forget the day I prayed those words, for God heard them. By Friday, something did happen…

One of my breast started to itch. I noticed a lump there the size of an egg.  By Tuesday, my mammogram revealed I had cancer. At first, fear flooded my heart. Briefly forgetting my prayer, I had never felt so scared before. What would happen to my children? My little girl was only five years old, and she needed a mother.

A few days passed and I remembered my prayer, and quietly the realization God is in control replaced my fear. My biopsy disclosed my cancer was a stage 2, and the double mastectomy was scheduled 60 days away. The waiting was hard. As the days dragged on waiting for surgery, fear rushed in.

After my surgery, my doctor informed me I was now a stage 3 level B, breast cancer patient. She removed 28 lymph nodes and all 28 had cancer. She further stated, it was the most she’d removed in all her years of practice, and it was bad.

In the weeks following, I’ve had my ups and downs. Each time, I hear of the severity of my situation, I am down a couple of days, but God faithfully pulls me out of my trench of fear.

Last Sunday, I was overwhelmed by our pastor’s sermon. He stated illness can draw a believer closer to God and create a more Christ-like believer. I sobbed on the altar. In fear, I’d forgotten God had His hand on me, and through my illness He was molding me into His image. I was humbled God chose me to be a testimony for Him. I asked God to take away my worries and give me a heart that accepted His will for my health.

As of the beginning of June, my chemotherapy has yet to start. Where treatment usually begins at 4 weeks, I am now into my 8th week.  I don’t know where my journey will end, but I know I will not be alone. God will lead me through the valley of the shadow of death. I am determined my testimony will give Him the glory for my life.

June 2011

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