On November 9, 2014, I lost my husband of almost 8 months to brain cancer. During our emotional battle, I saw God working more in my life than I had ever recognized before. This is a story of a divine appointment. After my husband's funeral, our strong, encouraging friend Maggie Vallotton gave me a key necklace that had the word “STRENGTH" on it. I had never heard of The Giving Key before, so I didn't realize how powerful this small item could be. Maggie explained to me that this key was my reminder God loves me, and that I had the strength to get through this. She encouraged me to wear it everyday, and, once I found my strength, to give it to someone else, tell my story, and encourage her to do the same. I wore this key everyday, rubbing it when moments got tough and holding it when questions were asked.
April 14, 2015, I was on a random missions trip to Guatemala with the World Orphans organization. The first morning there, I was asked what my key was about. Not realizing people noticed it, I shared a little of my story, and ended it with, "But I'll never give my key away. I'll buy one first." Our team leader overheard a little of my story, and asked me to share with the whole group. I wasn't too excited, because speaking in front of adults was not my thing. We both agreed to think about it, and went on about our day. That night at church, I was called downstairs to talk with a woman who recently lost her husband. She, our translator, and I sat and discussed our loss. Two minutes into the conversation, I found we were almost the same age and had gone through the same kind of loss. Her husband had also died of brain cancer.
This sweet, beautiful lady, Claudia, too had witnessed such pain. I started rubbing my key, trying to show her how much strength I had gained, when something came over me to ask her when her husband died. If it was close to the same time, we may have more to talk about than I thought. After the translator asked, she looked at me and said, "November 9th." I couldn't believe God brought me on this trip to be with this lady, whose husband not only died of brain cancer but died on the same day as my husband, David. As I sat there, sobbing, I looked up at the sky and said, "Okay, I'll do it". The key that I said that morning I would never give away clearly needed to be given to Claudia. As I handed it to her, we made goals and talked about ways she would find her strength, too. As she cried and thank me, she added that this key was one of the nicest gifts she had ever been given. And she promised to keep it as a Giving Key.
When I got back to the house, I shared my story with the group. One of the band members asked if I would share my story at their concert, trying to be a faithful servant, I agreed. I ended up speaking in front of almost 400 people as Blue Tree and the Informants band played. I never thought this key would be so powerful, but I am thankful for it's reminder as I continue to go through my journey.