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The Major Storms of Life
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40 Days for Life Kick-Off Vigil!
London’s Creation Bookstore: An Uplifting Space in a Difficult World
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We Must Stay Positive During COVID (HUMOUR)
Sanctuary in Time of Greatest Need
London Pregnancy and Family Support Centre Invites You to the… First Ever Virtual Gala Event and It’s Free
Bible League Canada Announces New Standalone Canadian Ministry Division

By Helena Smrcek

A few months ago, I wrote a piece describing several of life’s curveballs pitched in the direction of our family. I also wrote about the amazing support that flowed toward us. Friends and family rallied and offered help, prayers, and encouragement. And as our odyssey continues, I’m astounded at the outpouring of care and love.

My husband received a cancer diagnosis. Twice. Within four months. His third surgery is coming up soon. When a doctor tells you this kind of news, it knocks the wind out of you. No matter how rational, level-headed, and grounded one may feel, the Earth still rocks under ones’ feet. At least it did under mine, as the second pathology report took me by a complete surprise. Shock and grief were my first response. I never really asked God: ‘Why?’. My only question was: ‘How?’. How are we going to deal with this? How will our life change? How can I best help my husband? How do we tell the kids and the rest of our family? And as the whirlwind of emotions, fear, and unanswered questions stormed through my mind, I realized how desperately I needed an Anker.

Over three decades ago, a group of missionaries serving refugees in an Austrian camp knocked on my door. At that time, I was in the midst of a different life storm. My parents defected communist Czechoslovakia. I was sixteen, ripped out of a home, losing our family and all my friends. I struggled with my limited German, my parents’ depression, and uncertainty of what will happen to us. I was utterly lost. And then, hope found me.

Schooled in the communist doctrine built on the fundamentals of atheism, I wrestled with the concept of God. The Bible? The inspired Word of God? How would that even be possible? I remember questioning the entire book based on the ages of the old patriarchs. How could someone live for hundreds of years? I guess, at that time, the notion of eternity was utterly beyond my grasp.

My patient friends sat with me week after week, and as we worked through the book of John, I realized that there was something much higher I needed to comprehend. It was the idea of love. Unconditional, self-sacrificing, never-ending love. I saw it in my friends’ eyes, heard it in the English words I was so eager to learn, and felt it in their presence. They were different, that is all I could say at that time. And I wanted to know what, or should I say Who, was responsible for making them that way.

Thirty-odd years later, I’m still in touch with some of them. The miracle of Facebook afforded me that much. Now that I think of it, had I said ‘thank you’ for all that they have done? And if I did, was it enough? For at that time, I didn’t realize that their faith came not only with theological debates, disputes about historical facts, and doctrinal differences, but it also carried this strange invisible connection device. I don’t intend to step over the lines of Esotericism or sci-fi, but I can attest to the fact that the link is there. And it gains strength during times of significant life storms.

As COVID-19 has been holding us hostage for several months, changing our routines, shutting down churches, and most of the ‘normal’ life as we know it, this invisible network gained strength. Zoom calls, texts, FB posts and comments, surprise social-distance visits, old-fashioned notes of encouragement, the online church services—the faith family lives on.

At first, I felt hesitant to unpack our newest crisis for the fear that everyone around me is already under so much stress, that sharing our struggle would add unnecessary worry. On the other hand, I’m not one for holding onto secrets, especially during a time of great need. So, I did share with my husband’s permission. In fact, he was the one to encourage me to tell whoever I needed to and to ask for help, as we struggle to find a path through this mess.

The outpouring of love, compassion, and prayer brought me to tears. See, my missionary friends didn’t explain that a faith-family was part of the salvation package. I honestly don’t know how many people are praying for us, but I can tell you one thing. It helps. It gives us strength. It calms my mind as we prepare for the next step while selling our house and moving the farm. Our adult kids are moving out. For real. We are downsizing. By sixty percent. Most of the furniture will live on a trailer for a while, as the plans to build our new house are put on hold. The goats and the rest of my little zoo had been offered a sanctuary at our friends’ farm, who will not only take care of them but continue to pray for us too.

It seems that things are being taken away, the pause button had been pushed, and the inventory of our life is being tallied. But there is this undeniable light that surrounds us. People who care, take time off work to help me pack the house, bring food, pick the vegetables from my neglected garden. My heart overflows with gratitude.

Yes, I’m still worried about the surgery, the lack of treatment options for this particular beast, the changes that we are forced to make, but in all that, there is hope. It wraps around us like a blanket and brings us peace. Once the whirling thoughts settle, and we look at our life, there is nothing but grace.

Amid this storm, anchored to Jesus, through prayers of so many, we found the strength to go on. To choose to live our days to the fullest. To keep pressing on and not quit. To be present, and to start praying, not only for ourselves but for those who need it, perhaps even more than us, for our God’s love knows no bounds.

About the author...
Helena Smrcek, a journalist, author, and screenplay writer, believes in the power of a well-told story. Her readers can expect a captivating page-turner, filled with thrilling suspense, and heartwarming romance.

She started in publishing as a high school student, freelancing for her local newspaper. Her journalism carrier took off in 1999. Within three years Helena accumulated over 100 by-lines and interviewed Ann Graham Lotz, Carol Lewis, Cec Murphey, Kelita and others. Her stories, many of them covers, have been published in Canada, USA, Bermuda, New Zealand, and Australia. In 2002 she accepted a position at Listen Up TV, a current affairs program.

Helena became a founding member of Write!Canada, and The Word Guild, a Canadian national association of writers and editors. She is a graduate of Jerry Jenkin’s Craftsman Class, Act One, Donald Maass’ Fire in Fiction, Writer’s Police Academy, and several mentoring programs.
She regularly attends writers’ conferences and is a past or current member of such organizations as Word Weavers, American Christian Fiction Writers, Sisters in Crime, Toast Masters International, Boni, The Writer’s Guild, and others. Helena loves to participate in NaNoWriMo and hosts a writers’ group. As an entrepreneur, she is familiar with marketing, branding, and social media. She has volunteered with YMCA, mentoring new Canadians pursuing their business dreams, and was an active member of her local Chamber of Commerce. When not at her keyboard, Helena loves listening to audio books. Working on her hobby farm, and traveling. She lives in the Waterloo Region, Ontario, with her husband, two adult children, two dogs, several cats, and her favorite goat, Rosie.