For many girls, they dream of one day becoming Snow White, Cinderella, Anna, Elsa, Ariel or one of the other Disney princesses. But Erin Weidemann is hoping to change that through her series of books called Bible Belles. The series highlights the real-life women whose stories and character are highlighted throughout the Bible. We sat down with Erin in 2015 and talked with her about how her cancer treatment which included a 72-hour quarantine ended up being the turning point in her returning to God.
Weidman opens up how she went from thinking she had it all, to having cancer and re-engaging God in a relationship.
“I got a job working as a mortgage consultant for D.R. Horton, because I thought, ‘I can make a lot of money working for a home builder.’ I was super successful making money in real estate and I was doing great and I started living 100mph. I was going out and doing a lot of things I shouldn’t have been doing in a lot of places I shouldn’t have been…And then I bought a house in December of 2006 and then a month or two after I moved in, in March of 2007, I found out I had cancer. I got sick and moved right back out and into my parent’s house for months after I had two different surgeries and physical therapy and it was a time where I just couldn’t take care of myself. But the moment I found my way back to God was in June 2007 when I was in the middle of a 72-hour quarantine. The type of cancer I had was an aggressive variant papillary carcinoma. It starts in your thyroid; and if it doesn’t get dealt with, it metastasizes and mine was super bad…”
“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.” James 1:2-6
Weidman shares how her 72-hour quarantine after her radiation treatment was pivotal in her returning to God.
“While I was doing this radiation treatment I had to be quarantined for 72-hours. I could’ve done it at the hospital, but my mom suggested I just do it at the house. So the moved out of their bedroom and had me stay there with a cooler and we also had to plastic wrap the entire room because anything I would touch would become radioactive and I spent three days in that room and ten days total away from human contact so that I wouldn’t injure anybody because once you swallow the radiation pill it starts to radiate and kill all the cancer throughout your whole body, but it becomes a danger to other people in close proximity to you…I hit this hour twelve panic. I was so freaked out and became hysterically terrified. It hurt so bad, and I was so dizzy, I just thought, ‘Oh my gosh, I am going to die.’ So I laid down on the bathroom floor and I started to pray. I prayed for God’s help because I was totally broken in that moment. I couldn’t fix it, I couldn’t help myself, and it wasn’t going away. I sat up a few minutes after that and I definitely felt calmer. It was the little push I needed to think, ‘Okay things are going to be okay and you are going to get through this.’ And then after I got out of there and thought about it for a little bit I thought, ‘I should probably revisit this because if I don’t think God exists, then who was I talking to?’”
Serve someone else. Whether it is cancer, a terminal illness or a friend that is just under the weather. Take time this week to help someone else out. Ask them if there are things that you can do to help them. It might be assisting with their lawn, running errands or cooking a meal. There are even some churches and organizations that serve people with cancer by giving them rides to chemotherapy, babysitting their children while they go to the doctor and other things that health insurance does not cover. Pray and ask God to show you who you can serve and how you can serve them. Remember serving someone else is not easy and it not usually convenient.
Re-engage God. God wants us to have a relationship with each of us. For some that might mean returning to the faith that they grew up in as a child, for others it might mean asking some of the hard questions as to why we don’t believe and for others it means going deeper in our relationship with Christ. Ask a trusted friend, small group leader or pastor to help you with any questions or doubts that you might have. There are also a handful of books written by people that were searching for God or were even atheist at one point and then became Christian including “Evidence That Demands a Verdict,” by Josh McDowell and “A Case for Christ,” by Lee Strobel.
Evaluate your life. It is easy to put our hope in things or people. We want to become rich, own a nice home, have a successful job, a great marriage and family, and have lots of friends. Often, the pursuit of those things comes at the cost or sacrifice of what is really important. Take time this week to evaluate what you are putting your hope in and what you are investing your time into.
To read our entire interview with Erin Weidemann, click here.