Being laid off a job, getting diagnosed with cancer, having your home and possessions burned to the ground, or losing a loved one, are all examples of tremendous challenges many face. Witnessing the reports and destruction of the fires in California to hearing the heart-felt story of tremendous loss and redemption from a friend, the incredible strength and resilience of the human spirit never fails to amaze me.
My friends, today I’d like to tell you a bit about the incredible story of my good friend Linda. Her story is one of overcoming and enduring unthinkable tragedy and hardship, while keeping the faith and not letting tough circumstances reduce her will to live, to contribute, and to go on with an unshakable faith.
Linda’s first husband, a man filled with energy and a love for life, was tragically killed in a motorcycle accident several years ago. She was supposed to be on the back of the bike but had decided to fly and meet him at the last minute instead. Linda was already a cancer survivor, but this was worse and a much more difficult challenge for her emotionally. She ultimately survived by sharing her journey and leaning on her faith.
But her story of overcoming doesn’t end there. Not long after, she was diagnosed with a recurrence of the cancer that she thought she was done with forever. The battle weakened her greatly but once again her wonderful character and strong faith carried the day as she worked her way back to remission.
Sometime later she met a wonderful man, Jessie, who shared her love of God and conviction for life. They began a journey and ministry together that took them all over the world sharing their faith and zest for life – did I mention that Linda has continued to sport her signature rainbow hair color that began back in her youth ministry days. She is a character.
Once again, however, life threw Jessie and Linda another curve as this time it was Jessie who was diagnosed with cancer. They battled this nasty disease together with the same tenacity and strong faith Linda has shown at every difficult turn in her life.
If you are intrigued and interested to learn more about Linda’s story, I would like to direct you to a book she published in 2018, Live Without Borders: Today Makes You Ready for Tomorrow by Linda Vannoy-Castillo. Some of the things Linda wants her readers to understand are:
- Guidance is always nearby
- Detours can be unplanned adventures
- Relationships hold us and mold us
- Your life has a purpose and a plan
My friends, my desire in telling some of Linda’s story is that it will inspire you to get out there and embrace the journey no matter what comes your way, because your life has a purpose and a plan. The holidays are here, a new year is just around the corner, and the best is yet to come!