Episode #30 Living Life to the Full when Loss Breaks our Hearts. Victoria Chapin

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From Today's Episode

A joy-filled inspiration! Victoria Chapin shares a riveting story of hope and transformation as she learned to trust God through the significant losses of her husband, her mom, and then eventually her teenage daughter, Sydney. Her daughter’s irresistible faith inspired Victoria to embrace a different perspective when she received her own diagnosis of cancer. Victoria shares how God spoke to her about surrender, cancer treatments, contentment, joy and suffering.

Today's Verses
  • John 10:10
  • John 9:1-3
  • James 1:2-3
  • Job
  • Romans 8:28
  • Psalm 104
  • Philippians 4:11-13

Living Life to the Full when Loss Breaks our Hearts. Victoria Chapin

[00:00:00] Welcome to the Unshakable Hope Podcast, where real life intersects redeeming love. I’m Kelly Hall, and this is where we wrestle through faith questions, such as how do I trust God’s heart when His ways and delays are breaking mine? We’ll hear from people just like you and me, who have experienced God’s faithfulness when life didn’t unfold as they expected.My prayer is that God would renew our hope in His Word and His love through these conversations.

Kelly: It’s so good to be back with you after several weeks of spending time with our family during Christmas before you meet my guest today, I just want to talk to you about something I love to do at the start of every new year. And that is to ask God for a word for that year. If this isn’t a normal practice for you, I’d encourage you to consider seeking the Lord in this area.

It’s so cool when God gives you a word for an upcoming [00:01:00] year, Because you’re actually receiving a revelation from him about what he’s going to be doing and an invitation to participate in that.

Jimmy Page, who’s a speaker and author says “focus drives impact.” So you’ll notice that when you have this word, and I write it at the top of my journal, almost every day. You’ll notice you’ll become more aware of what God’s up to in your life. You’ll start to notice that he’ll highlight this topic when you read the Bible, or you’re going to the grocery store or having a conversation. Last year, my word was wholehearted, and it’s been beautiful to look back and just see the many ways God has brought healing from self-protection and deepened my trust in Him in certain [00:02:00] areas.

This year, God’s actually given me two words. Release and restore. There’s a dear prayer warrior in Michigan who will recognize one of these words because God impressed it on her mind as she was in prayer for our family. If you decide to do this, I would so love to hear what God speaks to you. You can email me: kelly@kelly hall. org or message me through social media.

Now, if I were to pick a word to describe my guest today, I think that word would be joyful. Although Victoria Chapin has experienced a great deal of loss and lives with a cancer diagnosis currently, rather than running from suffering, she has intentionally embraced Jesus, and embraced adversity, and her life is marked by joy and hope. She is an author, speaker, and a chaplain. So, Victoria, I’m [00:03:00] so glad you’re here. Welcome to the podcast.

Victoria: Thank you. I’m glad to be here. It’s exciting.

Kelly: Yeah, I’ve been looking forward to it for months and months. I’m so glad to be able to get it scheduled. I’m wondering if you could start by just telling us a little bit about yourself. And also, I love it when people share how God is speaking to them currently and just tell us a Bible verse that is resonating in their hearts.

Victoria: I would love to I am a wife to Jim and mom to 12 and no, I did not birth all of those myself. We have his mine and ours. But that makes me Grammy to 15. We only have one 18 year old left at home. So it’s still busy though. They still need you, even when they’re out of the house.

Kelly: Yes. It’s a different kind of nest. Your nest is empty, but your heart remains full and pouring out of your love remains constant.

Victoria: Yes. And the text [00:04:00] messages keep coming. But besides that, I’m a speaker, chaplain, and author. And my passion, Kelly, is to inspire others, not just to endure adversity, but to learn to embrace it so that they can live out the truth that’s found in John 10:10, Jesus came that we may have life in abundance.

And lately I’ve been reading in the book of Job and. I just have been thinking about, I’m going to have a particular verse in there, but I’ve been thinking about, imagine if we didn’t know that story, imagine if we didn’t have that story as an example, Job as an example, when we go through times that we face hardship and the enemy is at work, like he is in the first part of John 10:10, he comes to steal, kill, and destroy. Imagine if we didn’t have that.

And that’s just been what I’ve been pondering the last couple of days. [00:05:00] There’s other people in the Bible too, but I just always look to him when I look at how he fell to his feet and worshipped during the hardest times.

Kelly:  Wow. Victoria, you and your family have walked through a lot of deep waters of losses. You’re intimately acquainted with heartache and disappointments, deep heartache actually. So I’m wondering if you could just share your family’s story with us.

Victoria: It started back in 1998 when my my first three girls were really young and we lost their dad in an industrial accident. And then within 20 days later, he was only 31. And then 20 days later, we lost my mom unexpectedly at the age of 49. So we had Christmas sandwiched right in between. So I had learned back then, what grief was like, but then even harder than [00:06:00] that, my Sydney, my sweet daughter in 2008, I lost her, just 11 days before her 15th birthday.

Kelly: Those are huge losses, but to lose your sweet daughter. That just goes beyond anything you can describe.

Victoria: It does. It’s the hardest loss. It and it wasn’t the prognosis. So Sydney was born with tumors on her brain and spinal cord. They were non-cancerous, so they weren’t life threatening, but they were disabling. They put a lot of pressure on her brain and spinal cord and she had several surgeries. First one was when she was eight months old and we lived in and out of hospitals. The growth would come back, even though it wasn’t cancerous.

It was just a really rare kind of tumor. And so not a lot of answers from the doctors, but we lived in and out of hospitals, for most of her life. She did really well from age about seven till she got into middle school and we did therapies. [00:07:00] And always going to and from the hospital, we had to go to Chicago, which is a three hour drive because the doctors around here, it was so rare. They didn’t really know, we had to go get second opinions. So that that was going on. And then when she was in middle school, she started to deteriorate rapidly, lost her ability to walk. She was in a wheelchair. And we went through a couple more surgeries, long stays at a rehab hospitals. And then one day I found her, she wasn’t feeling well. And I found her non-responsive and called the ambulance. They got her to the hospital and she was on life support for a while. But she, she didn’t make it and all along we prayed.

Because she was, she had such a strong faith, so we prayed for a miracle healing for her because she wanted to tell everybody about how great God was and how he healed her, and we planned to write a book [00:08:00] about it and everything together, and then we, we didn’t get the miracle that we prayed for.

I am still writing the book though. One of her favorite verses was in John nine, one through three, and it’s where the disciples ask Jesus who sinned: this man or his parents, that he was born blind. And he said, neither…this happened so the works of God could be displayed in his life or, depends on the translation, how it reads out, but it’s like that.

And when we were, when Sydney was about, I don’t know, maybe about seven or eight years old, we were reading the Bible and I found that and I showed it to her and she said, that’s like my life. And so that was her favorite verse. And so of course that’s what the name of the book will be. This happened. And then there’s a real neat tagline with it too, but it comes from that verse.

Kelly: Oh, I love that… her faith just shines… her ability to see her life and her suffering through God’s eyes [00:09:00] really astounds me. And that’s got to have been such a comfort for you over the years. That one scripture you mentioned, that is the first verse that came to mind on the day my oldest daughter was diagnosed and it comforted me so much because as a mom, my first thought is: This is my fault. I’m sure this is my fault. And it, and the doctor had even said, this is not your fault, but I needed the Lord to tell me this was not my fault…. that God is sovereign in this place.

Victoria: I went through the same thoughts. I thought, what did I do wrong? Did I drink too much diet coke? Did I, you go through the whole thing and the doctor said the same thing. They said, you didn’t do anything wrong. It’s just fat cells got in where they weren’t supposed to be. They grew there, and they didn’t have any cause to it. Yeah but Sidney was, she amazed me with her faith.

I have a [00:10:00] little story to share. It’s so it’s when it really opened my eyes to what she was starting to understand, but it was when she was in kindergarten and they had what was called VIP of the week, and so each week, the parents would be tasked to sit down with their kids and make a poster, and then there were questions that prompted what could go on the poster.

And so one of the questions was, what is something that you like about yourself? And when I asked her that, she said, Well, I like that I have tumors. And I said, can you explain that to me? Because what do you mean by that? And she said I don’t like that I have tumors, but I like that we get to tell people about Jesus because of my tumors.

Wow. And she was five years old.

Kelly: I am speechless

Victoria:  I was too

Kelly: That can only be a gift from the Lord… that is the Holy Spirit working in [00:11:00] her heart…just shows she was shining Jesus. That can only happen through him.

Victoria: I know. And that’s when I realized, okay, there’s no junior Holy spirit, like this is the same Holy spirit that lives in us can live in kids and can give them things, but she never blamed God. She just had so much faith. She, she did, typical kid, frustrations and everything else typical teenager with the eye rolls and everything else, But she was such a sweetheart, but she would like, like the sarcasm would come out, like you wouldn’t expect to hear certain things out of her mouth.

But when it came to her spiritual walk, she never wavered. She blessed God’s name unapologetically. She wanted to work really hard in therapy and she believed she would be healed and she wanted to tell everybody about it. And somehow at a young age. I think she started to understand and maybe through, all the hospital visits and [00:12:00] everything that we went through and just saw how we almost made us being in the hospital part of our ministry.

So she just picked up on that. At a young age, and I feel like she started to understand possibly that there was purpose in what she was going through. so I have another cute story. There’s all kinds of cute stories, but

Kelly: please share.

Victoria: Okay. So one day we were reading in God’s word and when they were little and, and it was, I think we were reading in James and we were reading in Romans and it was the two verses that talk about how suffering and pain can cause how you’re supposed to persevere through because perseverance brings on character and character, hope. And so we were talking about that.

And one of the questions in the devotional asked, is there anything you can think of that you’ve been through? And so because she had lost her dad, her favorite grandma, all these surgeries she’d had, because by [00:13:00] that time she had been in and out, she’d probably had maybe five surgeries by then and lived in the hospital.

But I asked her, I said, is there a time that you can think about, where something bad happened? And I was going to try to tie it into perseverance, character, hope, and she was like there was that one time that my sisters almost dropped me out of the treehouse.

And I’m thinking, girl she obviously didn’t think there was any purpose in that, right? That’s what she thought of, but I just was amazed that she didn’t really point to any of those other things that were terribly bad, which we know they are, but how did she have that kind of faith childlike faith?

But yeah, it just amazed me. The wisdom she had

Kelly: that amazes me, too. I think the next time I struggle to trust God, I’m going to think of Sydney’s childlike faith. That was beautiful. Wow. She’s such a great example. In this podcast, we talk a lot about [00:14:00] hard faith questions and you’ve been through a lot of hard things that have tested your faith.

So I would love for you to just share how you navigated those spaces when you were in the deepest valleys of sorrows and just what kind of questions you asked God, because I think it’s so important for people to understand that we can tell God the truth. He’s not afraid of our questions. And then he promises to answer us in certain ways. He may not answer the exact question we’re asking, but he will always meet us. So I would love to hear, how God met you in those places, what that looked like.

Victoria Yeah. I think I started grieving Sydney’s normal life. I guess you could call it that. Sometimes when you have a sudden loss, it’s just all at once and you’re not expecting it. So with hers, because, we lived in and out of hospitals, I think I somewhat grieved a normal life with her already. But it got more difficult for me. So [00:15:00] that was a gradual thing and God was just there. He just always was there comforting us. So I didn’t seem to have a lot of questions.

I could see how he would bring people across our path in hospitals for us to talk to. So I sensed the whole medical journey… there was purpose in that. But it became more difficult when she started to deteriorate, especially in the end. And I was seeing her praying and believing for her miracle.

And I’m telling you, she complained the least of anybody in our family, although had the most to complain about. And I just would say, I would argue with God and I would be so upset. And I would say, there was even times I was on my knees in her bedroom, just shaking my fists in the air going, come on, she believes you’re going to heal her and I get emotional.

She wants to do it so she can glorify you. I don’t understand why aren’t you doing it and why is she continuing to get worse, but then still [00:16:00] through all of it, we still saw him, we still. We still felt his presence. We still saw other things happen. They weren’t like you said, what we were praying for the miracles we thought are the way we thought it should go, but we saw him in other ways and we saw other miracles happen.

One of the things that I remember is at the end… at the end when she was on life support, one of the neurosurgeons that came and was doing rounds was talking and he was saying something about her being in a wheelchair all her life. And I said no she wasn’t in a wheelchair all her life. It was just the last, like year that she was in a wheelchair.

And he had been studying her films from when she was little until now. And he said, you mean to tell me that until a year ago, she walked all this time? And I said, yeah, she did. Well she walked a little bit differently. She had to learn things and her muscles fired in a different way. It was a different gait that she had. But yeah, she walked and he said, [00:17:00] based on her films and the way her spinal cord looks. I don’t understand how she walked and so little things like that, not little, that’s a big thing, but from big things like that to even little things, God just continued to show up.

We had gift of life come in at the end and we were able to donate Sydney’s several of her organs and her corneal tissue. And that was another miracle. I think about all those people that were… whose lives were improved and then there was a young man out of Lapeer, Michigan, which is near Ann Arbor, a couple hours from where we live. And he was, he got his sight back. So for him. He got a miracle.

And yeah…. yes, I questioned God a lot, but He never left me, I just think about, in this world, there will be trouble. That’s what it does say [00:18:00] in God’s Word. But, He will never leave us nor forsake us, and that was so true during everything with Sidney’s life. He just showed up and Miracle signs, wonders, things like that happened. And that’s why the tagline of the book I’m writing is: experiencing the miracle signs and wonders through suffering and loss. Because he was, he was present always, and he was good. And he was faithful through it all.

Kelly: I can’t wait to get that book. That’s just so powerful. I love that miracle of her continuing to walk, even when her scans or films said, there’s no way this person should be walking. So powerful. Yeah. Victoria, I know also that you’ve received a cancer diagnosis. Do you mind just telling us about that as well?

Victoria: Yeah. So it’s a rare form of cancer that I’ve been diagnosed with. It’s in the left lung area. There’s no systematic approach to treatment with it. It’s [00:19:00] so rare. They say chemo and radiation wouldn’t help at all. So they didn’t recommend it. They did recommend to try to surgically remove it.

Which was the plan at first, but I, the more I met with a surgeon and the more questions I asked, I realized how intense the surgery is and what would have been, and there could have been complications with it too. And so I prayed a lot about what to do with it. But it supposedly has a life expectancy of 11 months after diagnosis and poor prognosis and malignant, highly malignant, supposed to be fast spreading. So it was a big decision. I really had to pray a lot about it, but I decided not to have the surgery.

Kelly: How long ago was the cancer diagnosed?

Victoria: It’s been about a year and seven months.

Kelly: [00:20:00] Look at how God is at work for sure. I don’t know if you want to even answer this question, but are you, when they’ve done scans, when they’ve done scans, have they shown that the cancer is progressing or is it just remaining stable?

Victoria: It was somewhat remaining stable for a while, and then it was very just slow growing, because right away what I did is I got it was another God thing.So it’s crazy because I somehow knew that something like this was going to happen to me, and it’s, not anything I ever told anybody about. I never talked about it, but only to God, and so I already knew because my daughter was such an inspiration, how I would handle something if something came on to me, and I had to suffer through some kind of diagnosis like Sydney had.

And so I, so like I said and I tried to, I’ve tried to[00:21:00] embrace the suffering too. Just like she did. And I just stopped getting scans after a while because I was getting them, they weren’t growing. And then I just… God worked it out where there was a delay. So first I was going to have the surgery and then there was a delay.

So immediately what I did was I started praying, okay, God, what is the delay all about here? I knew that if there was a delay, there was probably something God wanted to show me in it. And so I. I started to pray and then he orchestrated things for me to learn things over a weekend’s time that brought alternative ways of doing things to my attention.

And so then now I had that knowledge. And then I was not really sure I wanted to do the surgery. And so I started doing those other things instead, alternative health care. So I believe because I was doing those things that this, they weren’t growing very quickly. [00:22:00] Okay. So that was a kind of roundabout way to answer your question, but

Kelly: I actually love the answer so much because I think it’s really helpful for people to hear how to seek God’s direction. And how they hear from him and how they look at their circumstances and bring them to the Lord and make decisions. So I’m really glad you shared that.

Victoria: I have to tell you, I was still not sure. And I found myself wanting a yes or no answer. And I said to my husband, I just haven’t heard, cause it was like the day before and I had to decide if I was going to cancel the surgery.

And I said to him, I just have, I’ve been praying and I just don’t have a yes or no answer. And all of a sudden it was like the Holy Spirit just spoke cause I wasn’t thinking it. And what came out of my mouth to my husband was, But maybe that’s not how I’m supposed to do this. Maybe I’m not going to get a yes or a no.

And he said you should probably go back up in your prayer closet and start praying some more. I go, [00:23:00] I’m on my way, and so I went up there. And I was praying, God, I don’t know if you’re going to give me a yes or no, but I need something, and I was crying out to him and I found myself in prone position, flat face to the carpet, just praying.

And he showed up, he gave me the story of the woman who just wanted to reach out and touch the bottom of Jesus cloak because she believed just doing that she would be healed. And I get really emotional. And And that was a story that just came to me, just like that. And then I, what was impressed on me is I want you to have that kind of faith.

And so I’m telling you, I popped up, I ran downstairs and I told my husband, I’m canceling the surgery because I have that kind of faith, and so from there on, it’s just been, okay, Lord, I’m going to just follow what you want me to do here.

Kelly: So thank [00:24:00] you for sharing that. And, I’m just going to share that. One of the reasons that impacts me so much is that we have so many unusual health challenges in our family that and we’ve had to move a lot with my husband’s air force career. And so we’ve had to make decisions based on what God’s told us. And we’ve been judged by a lot of people thinking that was…That’s dumb. That’s crazy. Why are you doing that? Why aren’t you doing this? And so being able to just say, I am simply following the Lord. That’s all we’re doing. We’re just following the Lord. We don’t know the outcome. It, we don’t know what it’s going to look like and it may not make sense, but the only thing we can do is take the next step of faith and then we’ll find out from there what God wants us to do.

Victoria: I’ll tell you, for a moment after I made that decision, and then I had to call, and as I’m dialing, and then I made the call, and then, [00:25:00] right then and there, I was under spiritual attack, because, in a moment, for a moment, and I’m saying, a moment, I had this fear of death come over me and I hated how it felt. I hated it. It was so oppressive. I just I was like, I can’t do this, and because I had so much peace before that with, because I knew what he was saying and I had that faith and I had that kind of faith, but for a moment. It was there, but I had to capture those thoughts. I had to realize where that was coming from and I had to, because it felt horrible.

I didn’t like that feeling of not being abiding in Christ because, it was just this darkness that came over me, but I hated it so much. I had to get out of it. YEah. And then I just remembered Jesus words, my peace, I leave you my peace. I give to you not as the world gives, it’s that peace that surpasses all understanding. And I, I’ve often thought it says my peace. [00:26:00] I give you. My peace, I leave you. So it’s like he’s already given it to us. So when I’m not feeling it, why is that? It’s not that he has to give it to me again. I already have it. It’s that I’m not receiving it and I’m not accepting it in that moment.

And so that’s what I had to do, right? In that moment was, accept that. Embrace that peace that he has given us already.

Kelly: Yeah. You just laid out a faith choice. That’s how you walk by faith and not by sight and you recognize the attack of the enemy. And then you received, you declared what was true and you opened your heart to receive it.

Victoria: Powerful.

Kelly: I’m curious because I’ve heard from many women over the years who have just had a lot of hurts, a lot of heartaches, and I can relate. And maybe they have, there are times when they have felt, why would God continue to allow difficulty and Heartache. Like it just feels like a pile of hardship.[00:27:00]

And so they, some of them walk into a place where they’re offended with God. I’m wondering if you’ve ever dealt with that. And because you, your family has dealt with a lot of loss as well. So have you ever dealt with the feeling of being offended or feeling sorry for yourself? And then how did God respond?

Victoria: Yes. Yes. During Sidney’s, like I talked about, I, toward the end of her life, she required my care. We even had to get, because I had five kids, all different ages, so we even had to get home care to come in and help with her. Because I had to completely take care of her, she couldn’t do anything.

And there were times when really personal things you have to take care of and you just get tired and you just get worn out because you’re trying to do the normal life and then care for this special needs child. And not that I wouldn’t do it all over again, but my flesh just got weary, and so I would ask God, like then it wasn’t [00:28:00] just about her. Then I was feeling sorry for myself too. And, I was real with God. I think authenticity is important. He wants us to be in a relationship with him. And if you think about relationships, here human relationships you have to be real or they don’t work.

He doesn’t want us to be fake with him. He already knows anyway, so there’s no sense, right? But so I think authenticity is so important and I don’t think that he minds that I got mad at him or had so many questions, but I do know that he doesn’t want us to stay in the pit of despair and I, it’s a process.

And for me, it was a process. It took, gratitude. Gratitude is what really did it for me. There was a time that, there were times, not just, and I still experience them even today sometimes, where it just feels like my blankets are just so heavy, and I don’t want to get out of bed. It’s I want to get [00:29:00] out of bed, but the blankets are holding me in. Cause they’re so heavy. I don’t want to move. And one of those times God gave me Psalm 104 that says enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise. And it was like, I popped up and I said, that’s what I need to do. I need to enter my day with thanksgiving. And so what I would do, it’s like a practice that I started to do and I still do it today.

I don’t do it every day, but when, especially when I’m feeling like that, I do sometimes I wait until I get into my journaling time and do it, but many times I sit on the side of my bed and before I let my feet touch the floor, I will recite to God and thank him for at least three to five things.

What happens is it starts to change things for me, and in the really hard times, what it did, it was like gratitude became my rope that I could grab on to, to pull me out of the pit. And then once I was out of the pit and I could see, even though I’m going through these things, there’s still [00:30:00] all these other things to be thankful for.

Then I started to understand that. I don’t need to just manage my pain anymore. I don’t need to just, fake it and manage it and everything I’m going through, all the hardship. Now, what I’ve learned is I can embrace it. And there’s a difference, between embracing it and managing it. And then it brings it back to Job.

It’s he didn’t choose to curse God. Instead, he worshiped. And to me, that’s, Part of the embracing it, and so we, we have a choice. We all have a choice of how, when things happen, we can either blame God and turn away from him, or we can acknowledge, where it’s coming from that. We do have an enemy that we do know that he seeks to rob, kill, and destroy from us.

It says it Like I said in John 10, 10, but then there’s that second part of John 10, 10, but that Jesus said, I came to give you life in [00:31:00] abundance. And I just try to remember that nothing I go through is wasted, that God’s promises are true. And in Romans 8, 28, for those who love him and are called according to his purpose, which is all of us that he will work it out for good, that he can work it out for good. And so that’s, what’s really helped me.

Kelly: That’s so beautiful. , and haven’t, you found to that just declaring it out loud. It stirs faith and hope in you like nothing else.

Victoria: Yes.

Kelly:  Because I think too, when you’re just saying thank you to God for something it reminds you that God is actively working in your life. It reminds you he’s with you. You’ve been leading into this next question. I’m wondering if you could just share what the Lord has taught you about contentment and joy. This is such an important part of learning to walk by faith when we are in places of disappointment and you’ve already started talking about that.

Victoria: Yeah, I love this question. We’ll think about [00:32:00] it. Most people, you look and this was me, you look and when life’s going well, you can count your blessings and there’s joy, right? And then on the other side, there’s pain, when things are harder. And and it doesn’t seem logical that they could come together and coexist, that you could feel them both at the same time.

WhEn I was reading in Philippians, the popular verse that everyone knows I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me, right? Philippians 4, 13. One time God showed me, don’t forget about the verses prior to that. So 11 and 12, which is Paul was in prison under persecution when he was writing this and he said, I’ve learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether in plenty or in want, and then I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

And that came out to me. And so I pondered on contentment and I thought, okay. He says any and every [00:33:00] situation, right? And he was under persecution. So what does this contentment look like? And the more I prayed about it and pondered it, I feel like it’s that place where the pain and the joy come together.

They coexist. It’s for me, it’s been a place of Holy ground. And so that’s, and then I think of the verse I think it’s in James one, maybe two through three, consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because the testing of your faith produces perseverance.

And then the next part, let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete and not lacking anything. And so to lack nothing. Is to be full. And so then it was like, Oh, that goes really well with the John 10 10 about living an abundant life. And so I feel like my life would not be as full as it is or as abundant [00:34:00] as it is without having gone through the adversity, without embracing that adversity.

Jerry Sitzer wrote a book, A Grace Disguised, one of my favorites, and there’s something that he really, it’s a, it was like a really good visual for me. He said, the soul is like a balloon. The more we go through and the more we go through, it just continues to stretch us. The soul being our mind, our will, and our emotions.

And we just get stretched. Our soul gets stretched way out like a balloon. But then when there’s good, that means our soul can accept all the good. So if our souls. Just a small little balloon. We can only fit in that much good, but if our soul is stretched way out, we can fit all the more good in there and live all the more of a full life.

And so I just loved that when I read that and I thought, I get that. That’s a great

Kelly: visual picture. And I love that book. I’ll put a link to that book as well in the show notes, but [00:35:00] it’s just this picture of grief and hope can reside side by side in the same heart. And it does expand our soul. And we begin to experience new depths and dimensions of the Lord that we’d never experienced before.

Victoria: Yeah. Yeah. I love it. It’s so true.

Kelly: We’re coming to the end of our time. I’d love for you to share with us what you know about God now. What do you know about God now that you didn’t know? I was going to say before Sydney’s diagnosis, but even before that you lost your husband in that accident. So maybe you want to go all the way back to that place and just answer the question from

Victoria: there.

Okay. I wouldn’t be who I am today without all the things I’ve learned through the life of Christ, watching him suffer, we are always so when we accept. Jesus, we become sisters and brothers with Christ, right? So we [00:36:00] now get to inherit the kingdom, right? We’re always okay with inheriting all the good part of being a Christ brother and sister of Christ.

But what about the suffering? We’re not always wanting to share in the suffering. And so that’s one of the biggest things that I learned is sharing in the suffering is part of It’s walking along and doing what Christ did, it’s being a part of what he did. And I’ve realized that my story that it’s parallel to the big story, to the gospel story, that the redemption that is in the bigger story also is in my story, and.

Remember the the VIP poster, how Sidney said that about her tumors? On her eternal birthday last year, so October 15th, last year, I was preparing for a talk and I thought. I was just praying [00:37:00] and the Lord, like how I could end it. And the Lord showed me, and it was, this is how he shows up on her eternal birthday.

He showed me that I could tell people about Jesus because of my tumor and it just came full circle. Like I never thought of that, And so I think the biggest thing is that the gospel story doesn’t change. So yes, my daughter died. Yes. I have a cancer diagnosis. Yes. I went through all that other grief, but none of it changes the gospel message.

It’s still true. Even though we go through hard things, even though, we all suffer, no matter what happens to us. It doesn’t change the gospel message and it doesn’t change our purpose as Christians in the great commission, and that’s to tell people about Jesus and bring them with us to heaven.

I just learned, sharing in the suffering, to sum it up sharing in the suffering. It’s part [00:38:00] of the walk. It’s part of the Christ centered walk and it’s part of the great commission. It’s all connected. Yes.

Kelly: Amen. And just to jump back to the very beginning, what you shared about Job, where would we be if that story were not in the Bible?

That’s so true. We saw somebody walk through so much suffering that was not his fault. And then the way he worshipped God, the way he grieved through it, the way he at times yelled at God, and then the way he stayed in communication with God the whole time.

That’s what really stands out to me about Job is he remained in conversation with God with the good, the bad, the ugly, the pain and the hope. And . In the moment God spoke to him, he humbled his heart and just had this beautiful surrendered moment. God, I thought I knew you, but wow now I see you.

Victoria: Yeah. And there, in, in the part about how he worshiped, that’s always stood out to me too. At Sydney’s celebration of [00:39:00] life service, we called it a celebration of life because that’s, she was going to have lots of her peers, their high schooler. We didn’t want it to be so sad. The only way I could think to end that was worship.

So we worshiped at the end of her celebration of life, two songs. And we had so many people say that they’ve never been so moved at, a celebration of life or a funeral or whatever, but it was the only thing in that moment, like knowing that was okay. We were having her. Service.

Now it’s going to be done. All the preparation, all the, it’s done. Like this is it, how am I going to end this? And that’s all I could think to do was like, just worship. Just worship.

Kelly: Wow. What songs did y’all have?

Victoria: We did a blessed be your name, you give and take away but that’s perfect.

My heart will choose to say blessed be your name. And then the other one we did, which is my absolute favorite, because the lyrics just [00:40:00] resonate with me, but it was back then Chris Tomlin, it was so popular, it was How Can I Keep From Singing Your Praise. And there’s a part in it when it says I will sing with my last breath, sing for I know I’ll be, I’ll sing with the angels and the saints around the throne.

And that’s that’s what we were all singing, right at the end. So it was just beautiful. It was beautiful.

Kelly: Yeah, that’s the perfect way to just celebrate her life. Thanks. Yeah, okay, let’s wipe our tears away. Celebrate what we know to be true about God.

I’m wondering if you could close our time, tell people how they can get in touch with you. Just tell us what resources you have on your website.

Victoria: Yeah. So on my website is victoria Chapin. com. I am also on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, my husband and I have a ministry do life to the full ministries.

Imagine that. And so we like to do little videos on YouTube or just getting that started. But all those will be in the show notes, all the links to everything. But [00:41:00] yeah, my website, there’s a free gift there. And so what it is, I’ve written a prayer journal, it’s called Undaunted, and it was something that God just moved me to write.

I didn’t do it for about a year after he told me to do it. And then out of obedience I did. But it was just like a, the way I was journaling and spending my time with him, and he impressed on me to turn it into a prayer journal, into a book for others to use. So I did that and, so there’s a sampling of that.

So I took just a few, a part of it, and I put that as a a free gift on my website. So I would love, because I’ve had people tell me that just doing it that way with the different components has really helped them to get out of that pit. And of course it talks about praise and gratitude and it talks about humility and all of that.

So yeah, that’s Undaunted. They can go to my author. Page on Amazon if they want to buy the whole book, but like I said, there’s a free you can print it out on my website. It’s right up at the top. [00:42:00] And then I have if on my author page on Amazon, you’ll see there’s another book. It’s an anthology.

That is a really neat book. I have a chapter in it that talks about Sydney’s story and it’s just seven really hard stories and how our stories matter. And so that one’s out there. And then, of course, I told you I’m working on the other one but if anyone wants a signed copy, I’m having fun putting little notes in my books, too just message me and I’ll, I can send one out, that I have here with a personal message in it, either of those two books.

Kelly: Yeah, thank you, You are just such a joy. Victoria you live your John 10:10 scripture, you communicate joy and hope to people, even when you have walked and are walking in places that are full of heartache.

Victoria: I’m just going to be honest. There are some hard days, but. I keep thinking about Paul talking about working it out daily, and so we just, [00:43:00] so we do that. We, we just choose when the flesh wants to take over or the enemy wants to just mess with us. We just have to capture those thoughts and remember God’s promises to be true and remember that, that they’re, they are for me.

That’s when it changed for me when I re I could read the Bible, but when I really embraced that, the promises in his word were for me. That’s when it made a difference. That’s when I was able to walk in the spirit more and just really cling to those scriptures and know that, he loves me and he wants me to live that abundant life.

Kelly: Yeah, I love that so much. Victoria, thank you for the gift of your story. Thank you for the gift of your time.

Victoria: It’s been my pleasure. I love it.

If you were encouraged in your faith today, it’d be great if you’d help get the word out by subscribing, sharing with a friend, or [00:44:00] leaving a review. I’d love to hear from you. You can reach out through my website, kellyhall. org, and pick up some free resources while you’re there. Thanks for listening to the Unshakable Hope Podcast.

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