In From the Vine

By Rhonda Zweber

 

Has there been a time when Jesus’ agenda for your life was different than your own? Many times, I’m sure. There have been in my life. I would like to tell you about one that is forever carved in my heart. In 2007, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. More specifically, I received the phone call from my doctor at 11:59 a.m. on Friday, May 18, 2007, confirming that I had cancer. Like a carving in a tree, I see that time and date etched on my heart. It was when my life changed forever.

The extent of that change continues to unfold as I walk the path that Jesus has laid out for me. Just two days prior to that phone call, I was lying on an exam table after having an ultrasound done on my breast when a prayer came to my heart. “Thy will be done; just give me the strength to get through it.” Thirteen words. Thirteen words that have also been carved on my heart. It was at that moment that I accepted Jesus’ agenda for my life and not my own. What’s absolutely amazing about that prayer is that it was full of trust and acceptance of a life I had no idea how to comprehend.

Trust and Believe

In today’s gospel from John 11:1-44, we read about the death of Mary and Martha’s brother, Lazarus. Martha went to meet Jesus and said to him, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died. Even now I know that whatever you ask of God, God will give you” (John 11:21, 22).  I believe that Martha was saddened that Jesus didn’t heal Lazarus, and yet, she trusted and believed in God’s will, not hers.

She had no comprehension of the power that Jesus had but totally trusted him when he said that her brother would rise. “I am the resurrection and the life; whoever believes in me, even if he dies, will live, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this” (John 11:25, 26)?  Do you have that level of belief in Jesus? Martha did! I do!

Accept the Invitation

My diagnosis opened my heart to desire a real relationship with our Lord. Before my diagnosis, I was just going through the motions of what I thought it meant to be a ‘good Catholic’. My three daughters were attending catholic school, I was volunteering at school and church, and we attended mass every Sunday. I had no idea what I was missing. It took me a couple of years after my diagnosis, to realize that those words that came to my heart on that exam table were a prayer, accepting the invitation from Jesus to walk with him and believe that he was walking with me.

Walk with Me

Almost thirteen years later, my relationship with Jesus continues to strengthen. Jesus has never left my side, especially when the breast cancer continued to move throughout my body. I know He is showing me the pathway to heaven as He guides my daily actions. I have come to completely believe that when my body cannot take any more chemotherapy and my physical body dies, my soul will live on because Jesus IS the resurrection and the life.

“Did I not tell you that if you believe you will see the glory of God” (John 11:40)?

 Etch those words on your heart.

 

About the author:

Rhonda Zweber is a Catholic wife, mother of three daughters (two are married), and a proud grandma of Lucy! Rhonda’s mission in life since being diagnosed with breast cancer in 2007 has been to bring others to Christ. Rhonda enjoys speaking to groups and sharing how her relationship with Jesus has grown and has sustained her throughout her journey.  Reading Between the Signs, was published by the American Chesterton Society. Her first book, Mommy’s Hats, explains her first year of cancer treatment through the eyes of her youngest daughter when she was just 5 years old. 

 

 

 

 

 

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Showing 14 comments
  • Monica Chase
    Reply

    Thank you, Rhonda! It has been- and continues to be – so wonderful to watch you plant so many seeds and to faithfully water and fertilize and help them grow. You are growing a beautiful garden of believers for God. May God bless you, your works and your family❤️

    • Eileen Napolitano
      Reply

      Dear Monica, your comments to Rhonda are beautiful and touched my heart. In fact, all of the women’s comments helped strengthen my faith. ❤️ Thank you all, and may God keep you and bless you. ❤️

      Rhonda, thank you for sharing your story about faith journey.

      • Rhonda Zweber
        Reply

        Eileen, Thank you for you kind words. May God bless you on whatever kind of journey you may be on!

    • Rhonda Zweber
      Reply

      Monica, you have quite a way with words! Thank you for sharing them here. You have been MY great support throughout my journey and I thank you for that, as well.

  • Gwen
    Reply

    God bless you, Rhonda – I will ask St Peregrine, right now, for his intercession to help you. He has helped many friends and family get through and most have even been cured of the cancer. I pray and ask him to intercede for all that I know who have received the dreaded diagnosis. Peace and love! +JMJ+

    • Rhonda Zweber
      Reply

      Gwen, thank you for your prayer. St. Peregrine has been a powerful saint since my diagnosis. God Bless you!

  • Alyssa Bormes
    Reply

    “Like a carving in a tree, I see that time and date etched on my heart. It was when my life changed forever.”
    Oh – Rhonda – what a beautiful image. Thank you for your witness!

    • Rhonda Zweber
      Reply

      Thanks, dear friend!

  • Lynda MacFarland
    Reply

    Just lovely, Rhonda! And inspiring. God bless you for sharing this story of faith with us. Praying for you and all who suffer illness and seeming uncertainty right now. Grateful for our “certain hope” in Jesus, the Resurrection and the Life!

  • Jackie Sadowski
    Reply

    You are a beautiful women of Faith Rhonda! Thank you for sharing your words “Thy will be done; just give me the strength to get through it.” I can see the strength that God has given you – and continues to give you. My prayers for you and your family always.

    • Rhonda Zweber
      Reply

      Thank you for your kind words, Jackie!

  • Mary Fox Schaefer
    Reply

    Thanks Rhonda for your surrender to God’s will. There is no peace without surrender and we all need this in these challenging times. I just finished reading your book a few days ago and passed it on to my neighbor who is alone in her house caring for her bed-ridden husband on hospice with brain cancer. I pray your words (and Christ’s words) will encourage her.

  • Kari McGrath
    Reply

    Dear Rhonda, my first meeting of you was as a designer (very beloved I might add) for all the WINE events. Little did I know how very attached to the Real Designer you were, but I should have know because you actually glow with “trust and believe”.
    Thank you for sharing your beautiful words and story today filled with so much LOVE you have for others, your family, of HIM. The Glory and Resurrection in Him, is already in you!! xoxo, kari

  • Rhonda Zweber
    Reply

    Wow, Kari, I love how you worded your comment. Thank you for your support!

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