By Rhonda Zweber
“Go, therefore, and make disciples of all the nations.” Matthew 28:19
Easier said than done, right? I used to think so. It wasn’t long ago that I wouldn’t have opened my mouth about my faith let alone share it with others. It took me accepting an invitation to learn more about the Catholic teachings and to listen to what Jesus has asked us all to do.
The invitation was from my oldest daughter, Ashley, as she began her preparation for confirmation. She invited me to a mom’s retreat that our parish was putting on. That retreat opened my heart to a world of a deep relationship with God that I didn’t know could exist. I learned about Adoration, Lectio Divina, the Divine Mercy Chaplet, and so much more! Ashley did exactly what Jesus asked her to do, “go and make disciples,” or in her words, “go and ask your momma”!
Fast forward to years of growing my faith and trusting in God’s providence for me. I have been given many graces in opportunities to reach out to others and share God’s love for them. Several months after attending that first mom’s retreat, I was diagnosed with breast cancer and through that the Lord has given me many avenues to travel in order to bring others to Christ over the past ten years.
My favorite opportunities that I have are when I go to the cancer center to receive chemotherapy or have labs drawn. The room has a dozen chairs to choose from. My first choice is to sit directly in front of the doors to the cancer center, so that I can give a great big smile to whoever comes into the room. If that seat is taken, I will take a seat intentionally next to someone so that I can talk with them.
One day in February, “my” seat was taken, so I took a quick glance to see who I should sit by and there was a woman a few chairs down, talking with a doctor. I felt the Holy Spirit direct me to the chair next to hers. I often pray, asking the Holy Spirit to give me the invitation and the words that I should speak in order to help in whatever way I can. The Holy Spirit came through! The doctor looked at me and said, “Look, two mothers of the brides!” My daughter, Ashley, just got married in April. I got so excited and I turned to the woman with such joy and asked the rhetorical question, “You have a daughter getting married, too?”
We compared notes on each others’ daughter’s wedding plans and I soon understood that this woman needed help. Her daughter lives out of state and has asked her mother to plan the wedding. I could see that this woman was struggling with her treatment and before I knew it, I was offering to help her plan her daughter’s wedding! She looked relieved at my offer and I knew it was the right thing to do. I gave her my contact information and we have communicated a few times.
It was in an email where I was really able to evangelize about my faith and how God’s plan was for us to meet and I made sure I mentioned every little detail in between. I was going out on a limb by being so bold, but that is what we are asked to do, right? I was pleasantly surprised and very pleased at her reply to my email. In it, she agreed that it was God’s providence that we met and she was very grateful that He put us together that day.
Making disciples, bringing others to the Lord, helping our neighbor, it all means the same thing: share the love you have received from Jesus and the rest will be provided by the Holy Spirit.
About the Author:
Rhonda Zweber and her husband of 23 years, have three beautiful daughters. When she was diagnosed with breast cancer, Rhonda’s faith began to grow and she co-founded the Pink Prayer Warriors cancer ministry at her parish, St. Michael Catholic Church in Prior Lake, MN, to support and pray for others who are going through their cancer journey. Each time her cancer returned, Rhonda’s faith and trust in God’s plan grew stronger and that gave her motivation to share her journey with others. She is currently working on her second book which documents her faith journey through cancer to encourage the readers to seek the love of Jesus along the way. Her first book, Mommy’s Hats, is her cancer story through the eyes of her youngest daughter. Rhonda has created her own blog: relaxinHislove.com. You can also find Rhonda at relaxinHislove@gmail.com.
Thank you, Rhonda, for a great post! I could not help but think of Mother Therese who first met the physical and emotional needs of those who were struggling, and then shared with them the greatest gift of all. God bless!
What a beautiful article and inspiration to us all! God bless you, Rhonda, and hoping for your complete remission!
Such a hope-filled post, Rhonda! What a beautiful way to evangelize in the cancer center, a place of much fear and uncertainty.Thank you for encouraging us to step forward in faith 🙂 May we all have the courage to shine the light of Christ in the darkness and brokenness! God bless you!
My “true” faith journey also ignited with attending the mom’s retreat at St. Michael’s. I had no idea of some of the beautiful rituals that our faith encompasses. That was 8 years ago and what a journey it continues to be. Though our crosses are very different, the message is same. Trust in the Lord and He will bear the load. We both have such a deep love for Mary and her role as Mother and Intercessor. I wholeheartedly enjoy sharing that love of Mary with you. I am honored and proud to call you my friend, Rhonda. You are an inspiration to every person you meet and a true envangelical disciple. You wear your faith proudly and lovingly in your smile and that faith radiates in all that you do. Your ministry to persons living with cancer has touched me personally and is an amazing outreach at a time that is often uncertain. Your sense of humor has taught me that even in life’s most awful trials, there is still joy. Thank you for sharing your faith with me and for living your life in such a manner that spoken words are not always needed. You simply see your love for Christ in how your present yourself. May God continue to bless you with healing and with the strength to continue your ministry through the written word.