43. THANKFUL | with Andrea Pieper
This is the extended series of spoken words shared by women around the world, who have been selected or interested in sharing their stories and word from God. It's to showcase the power of faith and how God manifested their lives in the most powerful and loving way.
I know Andrea through my husband who works with her at Booksin Elementary. Andrea is a nurse at the school and my husband the recess coach (yes that is a job!). We met briefly once and my first thought was wow what a stylish nurse! She wore these cute mickey mouse leggings and her hair is short but styled very cute! My husband would talk a lot about their conversations that they would have during school. It inspired me to reach out to her and share her story. Not only is she an inspiration to me, which you will know later, but the words in her story showcases a woman of a changed mindset and how God opened her eyes to what it truly means to be "thankful."
M E E T A N D R E A
My name is Andrea Pieper, I'm 35 years old. I was born in Southern California and moved to San Jose when I was 4. I have been married to my husband, Billy, for 12 years. We have 2 rambunctious boys, Shane is 9 and Bryce is 6. I am a Breast Cancer survivor, woohoo! I am a follower of Christ and was baptized with my husband after completing my cancer treatment. I work as an Licensed Vocational Nurse for a school district. When I'm not working or busy being a mom and wife, you can find my boys and I riding dirt bikes or camping.
How do you pray? If you are anything like me your prayers may sound a bit like, God please help me be a better mom or friend? Maybe, can you please, God, help me get a better job or make more money? I promise I will do better tomorrow or I will act “more Christian” if … My prayers tended always to be about me and what I needed and what I felt would be in my best interest and what God can do to help me.
In September of 2015, at the age of 33, I was diagnosed with Breast Cancer. Being a wife and a mom of 2 crazy boys, I thought how could I possible get through this. At that time of need I hit my knees and prayed to God. My prayers started the same as always, God help me, get me through this. Make me strong enough, kill the cancer, and make me healthy again. Sometimes I felt like God must not be listening to me, how could he not be hearing me?
As I sat in service one Sunday during my early stages of treatment I felt like my Pastor was speaking directly to me. He was speaking about being thankful when praying. Instead of asking God try thanking God. I sat there in a daze. What do I thank God for? Hey God, thanks for the cancer, the bald head, and all the nausea and vomiting. Oh and all the medication and not eating and not being able to do things with my kids, thanks so much God. Yeah, I was frustrated to say the least.
So after that service I went home and tried to pray. I started small and kind of generic, thank you God for my husband and kids, thanks for my family. Thank you for my health insurance, yep I said it. That was it, simple and to the point. Ok, so it wasn’t so bad, felt a bit awkward, but I didn’t ask for anything, so that’s a start. So now I was going to try and start my prayers with thanking God and see how it goes.
As time went on I thanked God for everything, I learned to be thankful for the small things even if it was just for waking up that morning. I would thank him for the other cancer patients in the infusion center, the chemo nurses and oncologist. God, thank you for putting supportive, caring and loving people in my life that help me everyday. I never thought thanking God would bring so much joy and peace into my life. I’m so thankful to him for the wonderful relationship he has blessed my husband and I with, the 2 great crazy boys that I love, and my super supportive family. I started thanking him for everyday that I’m healthy, cancer free and alive. I am thankful for the cancer because it has blessed my life greater than I could have imagined. It has allowed my to share my story and relationship with God with others. So, what are you thankful for?