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By: Amy Debrucque

“There is a difference between having a childlike faith and being a childish Christian.”

I can’t remember anything unnatural and unexpected happening in my life until I was 22, when my friend Mike died from a brain tumor. I remember walking out of his funeral and thinking to myself, “I never could have imagined anything like this happening.”

It was a defining moment in my faith journey and, in hindsight, a red flag. It showed me not only my naiveness in thinking my family and friends were invincible, but also my unpreparedness in the face of trials. I realized for the first time that maybe my faith wasn’t where it needed to be.

I had always identified as a Christian, even from the time I was little. My parents took us to church, led us in grace before meals, and prayed with us each night. What I didn’t realize as I entered adulthood, however, was that I was riding the coattails of their faith, not growing in my own. My faith consisted more in traditions than in trust. The thought of pursuing a deeper relationship with Christ independently of my parents never even crossed my mind.

But, less than a few years after my friend’s death, my oldest brother was diagnosed with a similar brain stem tumor that would eventually take his life as well. His diagnosis further highlighted the fragility of my immature faith. I remember my mother telling my brother, “I am not going to let anything happen to you” – a lie that shattered me at the time, revealing to me both my parents’ human limitations and my unhealthy dependence on them for strength.

Then, just 16 days after my brother’s death, my little son passed away unexpectedly. What was left of my faith foundation completely caved in and instigated an onset of ongoing anxiety that lasted until my 40th birthday. I often say that while other people experience a mid-life crisis at 40, I was planning my treatment course for a cancer diagnosis of Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.

Life can be hard, and almost cruel at times, but sometimes the things we never would have prayed for are the things we need.

My diagnosis was my awakening moment. It was an opportunity for growth, and to finally mature in my faith by learning how to develop a personal and everlasting relationship with God. For the first time, I learned to trust God before everyone and everything else, and I chose to surrender my will to His.

As I began to develop my faith in this way, my life dramatically changed. I received the courage to live with purpose instead of fear and started doing things I never would have considered doing before. I leaned into what God desired for me instead of what I desired for myself. Living in obedience is hard, but it is the only way to live a purposeful life—and it’s only possible through the support of a mature faith.

I pray you don’t wait to be intentional in your faith walk or rely on others to do it for you. Instead, be proactive now so you’re prepared for whatever may come. Because at some point in life, we are all going to need it. 

What fears might be interfering with your confidence in Christ? Have you prepared well?

Amy Debrucque is a wife, mom of four, author, podcaster, and cancer survivor. She is the founder of the Life On Purpose Movement and host of the Life On Purpose Podcast where she encourages women to live on purpose instead of fear. Amy’s first book, Embolden, co-written with her oldest daughter Blair, helps women discover the next brave steps and actions to conquer their fears and insecurities. Through this self-reflection journal, women learn more about the love of God and the transformation that can happen through His words as they grow in faith, friendship, and community.