The last few weeks have been a blur of hospital visits and diagnostic tests as well as sleepless nights and anxiety. But can I tell you….
God has been so good, so faithful, so utterly amazing.
Of all the days that the news of the cancer could have arrived, I received the news less than half an hour before teaching the first of four sessions at a week-long family camp at Mount Hermon in California.
More than 40 members of Leif’s extended family had come in for a week from as far away as South Africa, Alaska, Hawaii, North Dakota, Ripon, and Fresno. I spent that week surrounded by loving family. When we arrived home from California, my parents who live on a remote island in the Bahamas greeted me. They only travel through Colorado twice a year, and the day we arrived home from California was one of those days planned long before.
Wherever we look—to the left or right—we see God’s perfect timing and presence. Our sweet office manager, Jessica, who has watched the details of all this unfold even observed, “God is so present in all of this—He’s obnoxious!”
Each day we find ourselves increasingly wonderstruck.
People fight cancer with many tools. And in this dirty-dog fight, you fight with anything you can. Some turn to anger. Others sadness. Others research. And others still, control. When it comes to cancer, the only rule is fight, fight, fight.
But my weapon of choice for this fight is joy.
I am fighting with laughter and happiness and levity and winsomeness and mirth and gladness and gratefulness. I’m taking on this Goliath battle, not with a handful of stones, but a balloon of joy. In the midst of the darkness, we will laugh and play and celebrate.
Joy is my weapon.
I’ve found such great joy in your outpouring of love!
Many of you have asked how you can help specifically:
1. We need your prayer. Everything I’ve written to date highlights my faith in Scripture and the power of prayer. Prayer is the ultimate game changer. Please pray the cancer will be eradicated and never return, but also pray for emotional, physical, and spiritual strength during this time. Pray for joy and pray that we sleep sweetly. This is crucial. When I don’t sleep, my body can’t fight the cancer and my emotions and mind are weakened to fight the daily assault of negative thinking. Will you commit to pray for Leif and I?
2. If you're going to buy a resource, snatch it directly through our website. Leif and I have worked together for the last six years. We don’t have an outside source of income. We live with self-paid health insurance. Over the next few months, our income will be radically reduced at the same time we will be facing herculean medical bills. When you order books and Bible studies through our website, it increases the funds we receive by 5-10 times. If you’re considering taking a group through one of my Bible studies, know that orders placed through www.margaretfeinberg.com make an enormous difference.
3. Consider the best kind of gift. A few dear friends have already sent us gifts upon hearing the news. The packages are wrapped in love and affection, but to be honest, I’m having to re-gift them—because these well-meaning gifts actually undermine my chances of beating cancer. I have a whole new list of foods, allergies, chemicals, and products I need to stay away from. Some “natural” things I thought would be amazing can actually undermine the effectiveness of the chemotherapy. If you are one of those beloved people who loves to send gifts, here is what would bless us most:
First, send a gift to someone that you know who already has cancer or who is battling another illness! Remind them that you are praying for them and thinking of them. Then, if you still want to send something to us consider the following:
We’re in the process of changing all the products in our home—from cleaning supplies and detergents to makeup. That’s why the gift cards are so helpful. They let me pick out the products that won’t cause harm or allergies. The gift cards to joy-filled activities help get me out of the house, give me something to look forward to and dream about, and something else to talk about besides cancer. Our address is PO Box 441 Morrison, CO 80465. If you prefer to email, send it to email@example.com, and she will pass it along.
4. A few of you have asked about supporting us financially through this time. It’s humbling to acknowledge the need. Our dear friends at Capital Church in Salt Lake City are partnering with us. If you feel led to make a tax-deductible donation, you can send a check, made out to Capital Church (1010 E 700 S, Salt Lake City, UT 84102) and with “Margaret Feinberg” in the memo line to help contribute to mounding medical bills and expenses.
This will refine me, but I will not let it define me.
We are grateful for you and all of your support. We will continue to share updates after Leif and I have had time to process and navigate this challenging terrain with our incredible medical team, so thank you in advance for your grace and patience.
Over the last few years, I’ve invited you into this journey—writing the book, realizing what was lacking, and rewriting it. Word. For. Word. Then wrestling the words and ideas through another 50 or so drafts.
I have ached and cried and listened and laughed with many of you along the way. . . and you with me.
Above all, during this time, I’ve been praying for you. I’ve been praying that the Holy Spirit will awaken something so holy and beautiful and breathtaking inside of you as you read. If you read Wonderstruckand think, “Margaret wrote a nice or fine book.” I have failed miserably.
My prayer is that when you finish reading you cannot, you will not stay the same. My prayer is in a handful of pages God will awaken you to His presence in a whole new way. The book isn’t about my story—it’s about your story, and how God is chomping at the bit to reveal His power, glory, and might in your life.
Now this is a tall order. One only God can do. So I pray and pray and pray for you.
As you pick up and thumb (or index finger, if you’re a Kindle or Nook user) through a copy of Wonderstruck, may I encourage you to do the following:
Sip. Don’t gulp. Allow the words and imagery to ignite your imagination. Permit your mind to wander. Give yourself permission to pause and reflect. You don’t have to finish the section or chapter in a single sitting. Allow yourself to savor the stories and Scriptures, the colors and hues.
Invite the Holy Spirit. God graciously gives us the Holy Spirit. When we pause to invite God into our lives, our hearts, our thoughts, we can’t help but become more sensitive to the work He is doing in and through us. Ask God, through the power of the Holy Spirit, to speak to you and be expectant for how He answers as you read and as you go through the day.
Pray for wonder. The original title for this book was And I Prayed for Wonder, and those words represent the heartbeat of the book. Not that I would pray for wonder, but you would pray for wonder and live wide eyed to how God might answer. Don’t just do it today, but tomorrow and the next and so on until God answers. And when He does, keep on praying, because you never know how God is going to expand your capacity to know and experience Him more.
Join with a friend and take the 30-Day Wonder Challenge. At the back of the book, you’ll find a 30-Day Challenge with simple activities to awaken you to the wonder of God all around. Some are simple. Some will ask you to be silent. Others to dive into the Scripture. Still others to take photos. And more. But all ask you to begin living awake to the presence of God in your life. Grab a friend and do it together so you can share the joy. Take a dive into the Wonderstruck Bible study together come the new year. I assure you, God is closer and more intimately involved in your life than you ever imagined!
On this day, know you are loved and I’m wildly grateful for you.
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I poured my heart, my soul, and everything I’ve learned in 15 years of writing into Wonderstruck. When the book didn’t come out right the first time, I rewrote it.
Word. For. Word.
Then I went through another 50 drafts with friends and editors reading and rereading to try to get every image, every word just right.
We developed a launch team called “Partymob” which more than 400 people applied to be a part of—many of whom filled their blogs, Facebook pages, Twitter accounts, and Pinterest pages announcing the news of the book. Their emails, notes, and shout outs and brought so much encouragement and joy that some days it’s been overwhelming.
Meanwhile, I’ve prayed thousands of prayers. More than anything I’ve asked God that the Holy Spirit saturate the writing in such a way people feel as if they’re drinking from the chilled spring of Christ on a steamy summer day. It’s a big prayer, but one our wonder-ful God can answer.
And tomorrow, Christmas Day, Wonderstruck releases.
My friend, Mark Batterson, likes to say, “Work like it depends on you and pray like it depends on God.”
I know I have done everything I can do.
I know our team has done everything they can do.
Now we need God to do what only God can do.
I wrote this book to God’s glory and now I lift it up once again in prayer to Him.
I take a deep breath, inhale a sense that everything now rests in His hands.
To order Wonderstruck for only $7.57 (current price) from Barnes & Noble, click here, or to order from Amazon.com, click here.
Margaret Feinberg is a popular Bible teacher and speaker at churches and leading conferences such as Catalyst, Thrive and Extraordinary Women. Her books and Bible studies have sold over 600,000 copies and received critical acclaim and extensive national media coverage. Click the image to learn more.
Margaret, Leif, and Hershey are traveling all across the country this year. Check out the speaking schedule to see when they visit a city near you.