Strength, Courage, and Determination

Each day we are challenged to rise above adversity.  One day it might be that we had a misunderstanding with our spouse.  On another day it might be that we can’t seem to help our children see the big picture as we see it.  It might even be that we just so happen to feel under the weather and can’t function the way we want to or need to.  In these three scenarios, among many, many more, we must overcome.

The older I get the more vulnerable I feel.  The older I get the more I realize there is so much more of the world to experience and know.  When I was in my mid to late twenties I believed that I was invincible, I believed that I had the answers to solve my community’s, my world’s problems.  In my early thirties my wife and I began having children, we were too busy to even consider our mortality or the possibility of sickness and disease.   Praise the Lord for our health and wellness.

Because of the vulnerability I have felt in recent years, I have opened my heart to God more completely.  I have faced many circumstances in the last eight years of my life that have led me to prayer and led me to Jesus.   Four years ago a trusted friend and admirable colleague of mine lost his bout with cancer.  He was a young man in his early fifties.  He was a good man and I miss him today.  The fact that I miss him is proof that his spirit is still with me and that his legacy lives on.  Why do such things happen to seemingly good/great people?

Most recently a colleague of mine has been humbled, to say the least, in a battle with cancer.  She has been up and down through treatments and testing.  She has a young child and husband at home and she continues to work hard as an educator engaging her students on a daily basis.  She has had positive tests in recent months, but yesterday the tests she underwent revealed more cancer yet again.  This sent a rippling effect through our faculty yesterday afternoon.  Many of us are in the same age group, feel extremely vulnerable, and want to desperately help one of the members of our extended family.  My first reaction was, “Why the hell can’t they figure out a cure for this damn thing?”

This colleague of mine is a fighter and I am not sure I have met someone tougher.  Just the other day she posed the question about God and where He was at during times like these.  All I can say now, as I did then, is that God is ALWAYS with us through every peak and valley of our lives.  My colleague has the support of her family, friends, and co-workers.  People often ask, rhetorically, ‘What would Jesus do in a time like this?’  I don’t know what Jesus would do, but I do know that He might listen with an open heart and pray to His Father to let this colleague of mine feel His presence.  All of us will do everything in our power to help.  The power of prayer is amazing.  When our collective energy is put toward a common target we can climb mountains with the strength of 1000 men.

I don’t know what tomorrow holds, but I know who holds tomorrow.  God is with us.  Together we can help overcome adversity.  We can help through open and honest prayer.  As John says in his Gospel, we have never seen God, but if we love one another God’s love will be complete in us because His love lives in us.  We must open our hearts and pray that God finds His way to the heart of my colleague who is in need emotionally and physically.  Our prayers are with you.  I admire your strength, courage, and determination…all of which God has gifted you.  May you find peace in God’s presence and may His light shine upon you, wrapping you in the warmth of His love to give you strength in your time of most need.

Please send your thoughts, comments, and prayers via responding to this post.  Thank You and God Bless!


About jpsteltz

Proud husband and father of four; Literacy Specialist; Reading Teacher; Literacy Coach; HS ELA Teacher; Published Author
This entry was posted in Christianity, Faith, Family, Parenting, Praise and Worship and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

47 Responses to Strength, Courage, and Determination

  1. Jennifer Huguet says:

    Heidi please know that we are thinking of you and praying for you. I wish that I had some insightful thing to share with you, but I think you have heard them all. Please just know that you are in all of our hearts and prayers and we will help you in any way that we can.


  2. Karri VDL says:

    Heidi – Your an inspiration to me! When I am down and fell like giving up, I think of you and that after all you have been through you still wear a beautiful smile on your face! My thoughts and prayers are with you always! You are a true inspiration!


  3. Doreen Mattson says:

    My thoughts and prayers are with my colleague at this time. We’re ALL here for you! 🙂


  4. Mark Schmoll says:

    Heidi – We are all thinking about you and wish nothing but the best. You are not alone.


  5. Mike Lamberg says:

    Heidi, you are such a positively strong young lady and bring a ray of sunshine to each day! Know you are in my prayers and remember positive things happen to positive people! Be strong and smile often!


  6. Stacie K says:

    This is the third time Heidi has had to face cancer in her short life. I was a friend of hers the first time, a closer friend the second time, and am yet closer to her as she got this devastating news yesterday. Each time the news has been that much harder to hear. Tears welled up in my eyes after school as I talked w/ another colleague whose sister has also faced and beat cancer. Maybe I was naive or blind or ignorant but even though I knew she was going to have the tests done, I didn’t expect to get that ugly email that stopped me in my tracks and took my breath away.

    I am also 30 something so I see a lot of Heidi in me. I know how hard it is to juggle parenthood and work and I can’t imagine adding chemo, surgery, and radiation to the mix. I know how easy it is to get down about having a cold, having to help my kids with their homework and run them to their activities, having a spat with my husband, or experiencing a small financial set back.

    As the tears flowed down my cheeks yesterday I felt guilty for letting these small hick ups of life get me down when I know Heidi would love to have those be her biggest concerns.

    Just as her hair is growing back and looking adorable, she is preparing to lose it again soon. And although that is minor compared to the bigger concerns, most of us would shudder at the thought of losing our hair.

    Despite all of these humbling truths, I also know that she is very loved and there is power in love. I pray our love and God’s love will support, comfort, guide, and heal her once again.


  7. Matt Timm says:

    Heidi, All of our thoughts and prayers are with you. Please know you are not alone, we are a family and will be there for you no matter what!


  8. Amy Bucheger says:

    Heidi you are in my thoughts every day and any conflict or adversity I feel in my own life pales with what you are dealing with. I will pray every day that God gives you the strength and courage to fight this next stage of your life. Please know that we are all here to support you with whatever you need.


  9. Cece says:


    You are a beautiful woman. In your spirit, you always think of others before yourself. You have an amazing grace with making people feel special and important. When you had a shower for me, I was in awe of the care and love put into the celebration. You bring such joy and humor to our lives. Your love of your family is who you are. Cooper and Gary are blessed with your love.

    As others have shared, please let our family help you with anything whenever you need anything. We want to be able to give you just a glimpse of what you have shared with us.

    We will be praying and thinking of you every day. We love you.


  10. Josh Blau says:

    Heidi, please know that you are not alone in this fight. There is a mass of support right here in Seymour who are standing beside you ready to help you fight. Our thoughts and prayers are with you and your family! Make sure to smile every once in a while – positive energy is a strong healer.


  11. Patty Wojcik says:

    Heidi, We are praying for you and will do whatever we can to help and support you. We are blessed to have you as part of our staff.


  12. Pam says:

    John posed the question: What would Jesus do? I think we saw the answer before with Heidi. He would fight this head on, just as she has. Yes, cancer sucks! Yes, cancer stings! But, as we have seen before, Heidi beat it!! Not once, but twice! There are so many unknowns in life, but we can’t dwell on what may be. We can only move forward with what is. What do we know? We know it is treatable. We know that they are finding new ways to fight this every day. We know Heidi is strong. We know Heidi has a lot to live for so she will fight this thing tooth and nail. We know that we all love and support her, and we will do whatever we can to help her. We know the power of prayer, and we will continue to pray for her. We know God is on her side. We know she will beat this!

    Heidi, you have never left my prayers, and I will continue to pray for your strength and courage as you fight this once again. Remember we are all here to help you in any way you need. You are a fighter. Keep fighting! We are all in your corner!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Teresa Mikulski says:

    I wanted to write someting that would put laughter in you heart and a smile on your face. All I could think about was the time we went to that conference in Chicago, and we all shared stories about our childhoods. I know you remember mine;the one about my tube “things!” I’m hoping you are smiling at the moment. You are such a strong person. My thoughts and prayers are with you, Gary, and Cooper. Hang in there girlfriend; please let me know if there is ANYTHING I can do to help. We all love you, Teresa


  14. Diana says:

    John is right, Stacie is right, Pam is right… God is here ALWAYS; there are a million humbling truths to be found; cancer sucks, Heidi is strong, and we all love and support her. The power of prayer IS amazing — together we shall raise our voices for our sister!

    Heidi, you have taught us so much through your battles with this wretched disease. Witnessing your strength, faith, and perseverance, continues to teach us about life, love, and our need for each other (that’s not a bad thing…). I, we, are here for you with prayer, time, a shoulder… “Just call my name, I’ll be there”.


  15. Angie Moehring says:

    Heidi, you are in our prayers and we will help with anything you need. You are a fighter…..keep fighting!!


  16. Petra says:

    As I am reading these messages addressed to you, I think about a quote that hangs in my room here at school. It reads: “In the midst of change, we often discover wings we never know we had”. Your “wings” is your tenacious personality that has not given up; you have found that strength to fight on-continue to fight Heidi! Your “wings” are also those around you whom you have touched that care about you, are praying for you, are there to do what they can to help you. I continue to pray for you and as John stated, “the power of prayer is amazing”. You, are amazing!!


  17. Jodi Braun says:

    Heidi – You are truly an amazing person. My thoughts and prayers are with you. You are an inspiration to me. You always are upbeat and smiling even with all you have gone thru. You can beat this. Jodi


  18. Lynn Spaulding says:

    You are an amazingly creative and talented woman. I am in awe of the variety of things that you tackle each day, usually for others. I shall keep you in my daily prayers and may the Lord, once again, keep you strong and return you to good health. Our support and love will be with you every step of the way.


  19. Tina Rasane says:

    Heidi, we think about you often and admire all that you accomplish every day no matter what the circumstances. We are here for you!


  20. Nancy Koehler says:


    According to the Wizard, “A heart is not judged by how much you love; but by how much you are loved by others”. I hope that your heart is full after you read how much you are loved by your family here at Seymour. We are all praying for you and encouraging you as you fight on.


  21. Amie Secor says:

    Oh, Lucy…this [truly] sucks (of course, I said what I really meant yesterday to you). You know, the thing is, when I got the news yesterday, I was sad and angry but I knew without a doubt in my mind that you would beat it once again. That is the only option, after all. I will be there for you during the tough times and will certainly celebrate with you when you get done with this crap again. I love you! Amie


  22. Dan says:

    I have, in all of the years I have known and worked with you, never known you to be anything but tenacious and strong willed. I have no doubt that with the support of family and friends you will muster these characteristics once again to crush this thing. We are always in your corner and here for anything you may need.


  23. jsteltz says:

    This from Keith via email:

    We can choose to laugh and love and fight. You are never alone in this life or the next. We can walk this path together.


  24. Diane Hutjens says:

    Dear Heidi, I’m so sorry you had to hear that news! IT SUCKS! Yes I know you are strong and believe God will take show you the way, but it’s ok to be angry too. If you need someone to scream at or just let out your frustration, I’m around to hear you vent. Of course, I’ll be praying too.

    Remember – Women are angels, and when someone breaks our wings we simply continue to fly…….on a broomstick………….We are flexible.! Loveya, Diane (grandma di)


  25. Laurie says:

    Like everyone else who heard the crappy news, my heart sank. How could this be? How could God allow this wonderful, thoughtful, kind person to go through this again? I can’t make sense of it… I guess the one thing I do know is how lucky I feel to know Heidi. Her strength inspires me daily. Her grace and positive outlook make me count my blessings and want to be a better person. I know if this were to happen to any of us, Heidi would be the first one in line cheering and encouraging.
    Heidi – I hope you find the strength you need to do this one more time in all the love that is pouring through these pages. I know you can beat this again. You have a hundred people rooting for you and looking forward to celebrating your next victory.

    We are here for you in whatever you need –
    XOXOXO – Pat, Laurie, Meghan, Mollie & Sam


  26. Turi Suski says:

    Heidi, We love you. We’re pulling for you. We believe in you. We know that you still have huge depths of strength and courage. And most of all, we’re praying for you!


  27. Scott Tingo says:

    Heidi – I hope everything goes as well as it can for you in this tough time. My girls and I have added you to our bedtime prayer list, and we will continue to pray for you until you beat this again. Best of luck to you!


  28. Susan Conradt says:

    Heidi – You are a great inspiration. You have such beauty, strength and gracefulness. My prayers are with you all the time. You will beat this!


  29. Suzanne Flesch says:

    You are both an inspiration and a role model to me. I fell asleep last night with thoughts of you on my mind and in my prayers. You will remain in my prayers until, once again, you have beaten this cancer. You have always given us so much of yourself so now it is time for us to give back to you. Know that you can call on me whenever the need is there. Take care and know that we are all praying for you!


  30. Suzanne Flesch says:

    Suzanne Flesch :Heidi,You are both an inspiration and a role model to me. I fell asleep last night with thoughts of you on my mind and in my prayers. You will remain in my prayers until, once again, you have beaten this cancer. You have always given us so much of yourself so now it is time for us to give back to you. Know that you can call on me whenever the need is there. Take care and know that we are all praying for you!Suzanne


  31. jbrogley says:

    Heidi, I have always looked up to you as a role model for so many reasons. The past few years I’ve often thought about how brave you are. You’ve handled everything with such grace and courage – I am envious of your strength. You have your family at home, but at Seymour as well and we’ll be with you through everything. Everyone is praying for you.


  32. kathy says:

    Heidi, your positive outlook and good deeeds will take you far during this rough time. Remember one day at a time and use the strength of others.My prayers are with you daily.


  33. Andrea Gawryleski says:

    Heidi- I can’t even find the words to try to express what I am thinking and feeling. Just know that I am thinking about you and praying for you. Andrea


  34. Hayley Secor says:

    Heidi, you are a wonderful woman and mother. You are unbelievable in everything you have been through. I have been and will continue to pray for you, your health, and your beautiful family. You are an inspiration.


  35. Paul Bucheger says:

    Heidi, my thoughts and prayers are with you.


  36. Desiree says:

    Heidi-you are a strong woman and I know God will be with you. ” I can do all things with Christ who strengthens me.” I now pray this for you, that Christ will strengthen you and wrap his arms around you and carry you through this. You will succeed-the power of prayer is amazing.


  37. Jason says:

    The smile I see on your face when I walk through the hallway is always contagious and brightens the day. Keep smiling, stay strong and fight through this yet again. My family’s thoughts and prayers are with you!


  38. Jon says:


    Our thoughts and prayers are with you in this continued battle against a difficult opponent. We all know you will fight with everything you have… You will once again prevail!


  39. Danielle Kallio says:

    Keep your head up! You are such a strong woman…you helped me through some difficult times too. I know to some extent what you are going through and I want you to know that God really helps. Keep praying and keep asking for help. He will help you! If you need anything at all, please ask. We are all here for you.


  40. Kathy Hayes says:

    Heidi, Sara sent me this list of the overwhelming support that you have from your colleagues and friends. You are a fighter and an inspiration to all of us. Remember that all these people are thinking about you. I woke up several times during the last two nights thinking about you and saying prayers. You are not alone and don’t ever forget about that. Don’t hesitate to ask us for help when you need it.


  41. Sara Perrizo says:

    You have such an amazing network of friends and family! And I know that you have so many good friends because YOU are such a good friend. You are the strongest person I know and I know you can beat this damn disease again. Keep fighting and remember that Tim and I and the boys are there for you, Gary and Cooper – day or night.


  42. Stacie Kaminski says:

    Hey Girlfriend — Just remember that when you have a problem — especially one that is bigger than you are — not to start tackling it yourself. Instead, invite God in to tackle it with you. ALSO remember the story John was telling about the guy in the Bible who couldn’t keep his arms up to hold off the attack so others had to help him. That’s where we come in. Love you up to the sky and back!


  43. Jenny Zastrow says:

    You are a very special person and we are praying for you everyday. You have such a wonderful support team and we are all here for you, Gary & Cooper. Your couragous spirit will give you the strength to beat this one more time and we will be there every step of the way!
    Our love and prayers will be with you always!
    Troy & Jenny


  44. Staci Sievert says:


    We love you and pray for you and your family. You are a role model to your students who are brainstorming ways to help and show their support. Their response (and the response of all your colleagues) is because we are connected to you and want to be sure you can feel the support.


  45. Ingrid Stettler says:

    Thank you for writing this it was God send i had a very depressive day again and having a hard time to get out of it and need help.I have no friends or family here in SC and no job so i sit at home to much .Thank you for the uplifting post and God Bless:)

    Liked by 1 person

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