Cancer could have killed her, but instead it’s teaching her how to live.
That’s how my friend Kim DeVries describes the past four years since a breast cancer diagnosis at the age of 51 rocked her world.
“I used to say ‘maybe someday I’ll do that,’ but now it’s more like ‘I’m going to do that!'” explains Kim, who recently hiked 20 miles at high elevation near her Colorado home.
She and Curt, her husband of 33 years, used to talk about “someday checking out” scenic sights. Now they’re more likely to say “Let’s go this weekend.”
And since finishing her surgery and radiation, Kim says she “appreciates the little things in life more.”
“I’ve always enjoyed watching sunrises and sunsets, but I appreciate them even more now,” she says. “Small things like a good cup of coffee, I take note of more easily. And I see and appreciate the little details in nature more.”
Kim. a part-time library administrative assistant, says her cancer diagnosis “came as a complete shock.” No family history of breast cancer and no indications there was anything amiss until the tumor showed up on a mammogram.
Fortunately the cancer was caught early, but for a few weeks after the surgery, she waited anxiously to hear whether the tumor’s characteristics would require chemo.
“As I was relaxing one Sunday afternoon on the back deck of my house,” Kim recalls, “a house finch sitting on the deck railing looked directly at me and sang.
“The instant the bird flew away I heard a still, small voice saying, ‘Be still and know that I am God.’ I knew that no matter what happened God was in control and taking care of me.”
Shortly afterward, Kim and Curt were taking a walk and she decided to discuss a ministry called “Be Still and Know” with her husband…a self-admitted worrier.
“I feel like there’s something I’m supposed to be doing with all this,” Kim said as she explained her idea for “encouragement bags” for patients and caregivers with items that helped bring her peace during her cancer journey.
Curt’s response surprised and thrilled her; “I love that idea and if God has laid that on your heart, I’m not even worried about the cost.”
In 2021 Kim began putting bags together in her laundry room and handing them out for free to local cancer centers and churches. By 2022, she had a designated room in their home for the operation and to date, Kim estimates about 1,440 encouragement bags have been gifted.
At first, Kim hand stenciled “Let your Faith be Bigger than your Fear” on each bag, but eventually hired a supplier to do that job. However, she still personally packs and prays over each bag.
“We want to be a light in the dark for others and show that God is with them,” Kim says.
Recently, Curt heard from a business associate that her dear friend had stage 4 cancer, so he offered to send a bag.
“We have no idea whether this friend knew God before her diagnosis,” Kim says, “but on three separate occasions Curt’s business contact has specifically brought up that the Be Still and Know bag has changed her friend’s life. The friend has even read the book (50 Days of Hope) twice!”
“Be still, be calm, see, and understand I am the True God.” Psalm 46:10 The Voice Bible
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ ++++++++++++++++Be Still and Know is a 501(c) nonprofit, https://www.bestillandknowinc.org which is funded solely through individual donors. You can donate online to have a bag sent to either a male or female patient, or a caregiver. https://www.facebook.com/BeStillandKnowInc
Open in your browser to hear “Be Still and Know” by Stephen Curtis Chapman.