Today's post was written by Julie Estep.

I had been a Christian for a long time but still never felt close to Him. I remember laying in bed one night just praying and talking to God trying to figure out why at age 36 I still didn't feel close to Him. I figured that most people who felt close to God "needed" him. I looked at my life and thought, "I don't need You in my life." I had a roof over my head, great health for the whole family, a wonderful husband with a great job that allowed me to stay home with the kids, etc. I am embarrassed to admit that there were many days that I just forgot to pray. So I prayed to God that He would make me need Him, following that with, "Please don't hurt me though."

Three months after that prayer, I was diagnosed with a cancerous brain tumor. Wow!!! I was in shock. I was in the best shape of my life, didn't have any cancer in my family, etc. I don't think that God heard my prayer and said, "I'll give her a brain tumor." It had been dormant, and God used that tumor to change my life for the better.

Within two days of the diagnosis, I was having my first brain surgery for a biopsy and hydrocephalus relief at Brookwood. Two months after that, I was having a second surgery for the full removal of the tumor. That entailed a sheet I had to sign that said I could lose part of my memory, have short-term memory loss, lose my vision (or parts of it), and many other things that included death. It was an eight hour surgery, which followed with a seven day semi-coma, and over a year of therapy that would start out with me in a wheelchair, only seeing white when I opened my eyes (because my pupils were so low), barely being able to even lift my cellphone up, having six weeks of radiation, losing about twenty pounds, and losing all my sense of taste.

After going through all of that, about two years later I was finally close to the Julie I started all of this with, all cancer removed. Despite all that, I considered having that tumor as a gift from God. I had so many people praying for me, covering over three continents (because my father traveled the world for Coca-Cola and had lots of friends). The relationship I have with God now is absolutely indescribable. I don't know how I made it through my days prior to my diagnosis. God is TRULY amazing. He has opened my eyes to this amazing world we live in and given me so much peace that could only come from Him. I will forever try to broaden God's kingdom and follow the path that He lays out for me each day.

I could write for days, but I will end with this. I felt very positive throughout the whole process, but one night in the shower, I broke down crying out for help from the Lord. When I got out of the shower, I got a text from my mom. It said, "Do not be afraid, I am with you, I am your God, let nothing terrify you, I will make you strong and help you, I will protect and save you" (Isaiah 41:10).