Umm, so I’m new at this…

Well, I don’t think my life is that interesting as to expect people to want to read about me every day. I’m not important anyway. God is.
Soo, I’m going to focus on God. This will be a blog dedicated entirely to my pursuit of Christ, to give Him Glory, to share His hope and love with others, and to accept any prayer requests that anyone who comes across my blog could have.
I will tell you a bit about myself though, just so you can have an idea as to why I have decided to start blogging in the first place.
I was raised a Christian and have always been one, buuuut, I never really understood what being a Christian meant. Yes, I did accept Jesus as my Savior a while back. Yes, I did believe in God and His love for us sinners. Yes, I always tried to be a ‘good’ person. But in a sense, I still felt my life lacked some meaning. I had no idea what my calling was, I really didn’t know God, even if I said I did. Maybe I was believing just because ‘it was the right thing to do” because that’s ‘what I was taught when I was little’. Did I have a passion for Christ? Not really. Did I ever read the Bible? Nope… and actually, I have to be honest, before March this year I hadn’t touched my Bible since summer 2008. Isn’t that sad? Yes, I think so, too.
What caused this change in me? This newborn hunger for His word, this passion for God, this new love for Him, this reborn Faith… It was caused by one person, with the help of Jesus, of course. Jesus is the reason. God makes all things possible and I thank God that He put this person in my life, cause really, I don’t know where I’d be today if it weren’t for him.
This person’s  name was Daniel Haddad. I say “was” because, unfortunately, he passed away april 12th.
This person changed my life forever and I can’t thank him and God enough. Being thankful every day til the last day I’m here on this earth is not enough. But you know what? I plan on living the rest of my life in memory of his life in mine, and I pray to God that He lets me glorify Him in everything that I do/accomplish. I pray that He uses me for great things, that I’m able to encourage other people to grow closer to Christ, to inspire others to work on their Faith.
A little about Danny: I met him on july 25th, 2007, and I will bless that day forever. I don’t know what would’ve happened to me if I never would’ve met him. Where would I be now? I’d still be lost– that’s for sure. We did become great friends and I could tell that he was a very special person. He was always joyful, his smile was always shining, brightening up other people’s day. Oh, he was incredible. And he had the most awesome sense of humor I’ve ever seen in anyone. His sense of humor was so unique, so great, he always knew how to make me smile, even in the midst of trouble. He always found something positive out of something that seemed so negative. He had such a will for life, such a loving spirit that was so contagious. It was impossible not to smile or laugh when around Danny. He loved life, God, and everyone he met. And isn’t that what God commands us that we do?
Galatians 5:14 – For the whole Law is fulfilled in one word, in the statement, “YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.”
Romans 13:9-14 – For this, “YOU SHALL NOT COMMIT ADULTERY, YOU SHALL NOT MURDER, YOU SHALL NOT STEAL, YOU SHALL NOT COVET,” and if there is any other commandment, it is summed up in this saying, “YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.” 10 Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.
Yes, Danny loved his neighbor. I am not saying that he loved his family and his friends only. No, he loved everyone. He never discriminated, he never rejected, he never judged. And the reason he was able to love everyone, was because God first loved him and he loved God. We can’t really love anyone, or at least know what the true meaning of love means if we don’t know God, if we don’t love him first. Loving God means believing without seeing, walking by faith and not by sight. Loving God means putting all of our trust in Him, laying all of our cares on Him, for He cares for us. – 1 Peter 5:7
Loving God means wanting to please Him only. Loving Him means not being ashamed or embarrassed of sharing His word with others for fear that we might be rejected by people if we do. Loving God means forgetting about desires of the flesh, forgetting about the worldly pleasures and living in the Spirit. Loving God means following His commandments. Therefore, loving God means loving others. How can we not love others, even if they wish to harm us, if God loved us sinners so much that He sent His only Son to this world to suffer and die on the cross for our sins? When we look at it this way, it’s somewhat easier to keep our patience when it comes to dealing with people who try to hurt us. God teaches us to pray for our enemies. Remember Jesus, when He was being crucified, He said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” And they divided up his clothes by casting lots. – Luke 23:34
Also, Matthew 5:44- But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.
So anyway, back to Daniel. He was diagnosed with bone sarcoma cancer on april 2nd, 2010. I remember when he told me about it, the feelings I got. Oh, they weren’t nice. I felt such a terrible sense of hopelessness. I felt really sad. And what’s ironic is that while I was falling apart, Danny was so relaxed and confident telling me his news. The difference was his faith, his GENUINE love for Christ. I didn’t have that back in 2010.
The reason why I was so sad was that I had already lost 4 friends. One in 2001, from leukemia. One in 2005 (my bestest friend, my sister, we were inseparable), from a brain aneurism and tumor. One in 2008, from a car accident, after she was in a coma for more than 100 days. One committed suicide in 2009. So there I was…. thinking about all of my friends who had passed away… thinking about Danny having cancer, telling God that this couldn’t be possible, that I couldn’t take it anymore, that I wouldn’t be able to live if I lost one more friend. I even blamed and questioned Him, “Why are you taking away all of my friends? What did I do to deserve this? Why do you want me to lose all of my real friends? Do you want me to be alone or what? Why do you do this to me?” Sigh. Yes, I know, that was very wrong of me to question His will, but I didn’t understand that back then. I just didn’t….
Throughout Danny’s cancer and spiritual journey, I would always check his blog and his facebook page to check for updates on his situation. I always saw his status updates and they were pretty much always about God, whether they were worship songs, or just personal messages thanking God for his blessings. I was like, “Really? Blessings? He has cancer. What is he thanking God for?” Again, I know, I was wrong. What I didn’t really get back then was that my dearest friend, Danny, thanked God for his cancer, for he knew that it was God’s will, and if it was God’s will, it was surely going to bring about fruit. It was surely for a purpose that only God understood, that only He knew/knows. Danny trusted in Him so much that even though he was in terrible pain that can’t be described with words, he knew that everything would be okay in the end. He knew that pain made him more to His likeness. He knew that the pain and the cancer were there for some reason. He knew that God always wants the best for us, and when we suffer, it’s just God shaping our spirit, teaching us patience, strength, faith. He knew all of that, so he trusted and he praised God always. What an amazing example.
I remember when he told me that the chemo had been working and that he was so excited about it. I was so happy!!!!!!!!! More than I could ever express!! Ahhhhh I jumped around and thanked God. Danny also told me that once he was healed, his next trip would be to come to Honduras to visit. Ohhh, those were too many good news in one day. I was so overwhelmed with all of it. Danny was going to be okay! I was going to see him again! I was going to be able to hug him! I was going to be able to be his tour guide here! I was going to be able to have his friendship for longer. God wasn’t taking him away. I was ecstatic.
To make this super long story a bit ‘less long’, we then found out that his cancer had spread to his liver and to other parts of his body. He then told me that the doctors had said he only had weeks left to live. My jaw dropped. My hope vanished. My faith was pretty much non-existent. My joyfulness was gone. All I felt was a deep solitude, a sadness so great I didn’t do anything but cry for days. I was back to my questioning… but this time it was less. I admired Danny for his faith, for his selflessness, for his humility. He said he trusted in God and that if it was His will for him to be healed, he was going to be healed, but if not, he would happily accept whatever would come his way. He was in God’s hands after all, so he felt safe.
How hard must that have been! But his faith was sooo strong. I was in awe. He once told me through BBM, about this verse from the Bible that I had never read before (because I was never a Bible-reader), and that I now love and cherish and keep amongst my favorite Bible verses: Philippians 1:21 – For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain.
What a beautiful verse. When he said that to me, I was perplexed for a few minutes, or hours– I can’t really remember.
I started meditating on it, until I let myself understand its meaning. Yes, the only reason we’re able to live is because Christ died on that cross for our sins. So the least we can do is live FOR HIM, right? And because we believe in His word, that He came here to save us SINNERS, we know that when we die, we will inherit His kingdom, because of His loving GRACE, because of our FAITH in Him, and not because of our works. This is because every good deed we’re able to carry out is because of Him. This reminds me of one of CS Lewis’ quotes: “Faith in Christ is the only thing to save you from despair & out of faith in Him good actions must inevitably come.”
Danny always told me to read my Bible. He always told me that today was a good day to start. He also said that the day that he found out I had a changed heart and soul and mind, he would know that his disease carried out His purpose for him. I couldn’t believe what he was saying..
Oh Danny was so beautiful. So as the days went by and his situation worsened, his faith was always strong, and little by little, my faith was growing. I started listening to worship music. I started reading the Bible– YES! I know, right? Finally! Praise Him! 🙂 And I was learning more and more about God. And the more I learned, the more I wanted to keep learning and the more I loved Him. I started kneeling and praying like never before.
I remember Danny would always mention another verse to me that always stood out: Philippians 4:7 — And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Wow. A peace which transcends all understanding? That is what Danny was feeling. He had a peace not many people could understand, because of all that he was going through. Then I came across this quote and I even sent it to Danny and told him it reminded me of him. He loved it.

“Anyone can give up, it’s the easiest thing in the world to do. But to hold it together when everyone else would understand if you fell apart, that’s true strength.”

And that true strength is called Jesus. 

One thing about Danny that I didn’t specify before is that he would always talk to me about God. I would ask him how he was doing and he would say how he was in terrible pain but that God is Good and that he would keep trusting. He never talked about himself. You know, he always said hi to me through BB messenger and he’d never mention his pain or situation unless I asked him about it. He was always so concerned about me, asking me if I had started reading the bible yet, asking me if I knew that God loved me, asking if I had already accepted Jesus as my one true Savior. Who does that? Really? He was in pain and he was suffering, and he STILL had time to be concerned about me. I was so honored and always so amazed. That is why I started reading the Bible in the first place. I thought, “Oh well, Danny seems to really want me to read the Bible. I guess I’ll do it for him.” Yes, I started reading it for the wrong reasons, because we must only want to read the Bible and sink in God’s divine and sacred Scriptures for Him and only Him. Although I did start reading the Bible for Danny, I have been reading it every day for the past month and a half for Him. I have a new hunger for His word. I can’t satisfy this hunger, no matter how much I read, I can never get enough! This is amazing, and I thank God for this! And I thank God for Danny!  I can’t believe that I start my day with the Word every day. Who would’ve guessed that I would be doing that? I bet you no one would’ve guessed that I would end up being such a Jesus freak. 🙂 I pray to God that this hunger is never satisfied, and that I get to know Him genuinely, and that my heart is pure and that my spirit is renewed.

“Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.” – Psalm 51:10

Danny did plant the seed of Faith in my heart. And what I am doing now is harvesting it, feeding it, until the day that God decides to take me with Him, until the day that I meet the Lord face to face (AHHHHHHHH goosebumps!) and I get to see Danny’s smile again. Yes, that day will come. I only pray and hope that I can someday be somebody else’s Danny. I pray and hope that my life serves His purpose perfectly, that I’m able to encourage others to seek God, just like Danny did. Oh yes, he encouraged so many people. He touched so many hearts, and he helped God change so many of them for His glory.

I will always bless the day Danny was born. I will always bless the day we met. And I will always bless the day I started reading the Bible again. Daniel Haddad changed my life forever. He really did. And you know what? I think I fell in love with him in the process, for it was so easy to love his heart. His pure love for others and for God, really made me be filled with even more love for him. So yes, my heart was broken when he passed away on April 12th, 2011. The difference was that although I felt devastated and heartbroken (I still do), I have God’s peace “which transcends all understanding” in my heart. Oh yes, I am now able to feel that peace that Danny felt. Thank GOD! I miss him every day…. every day, but I know that he is in Heaven, he is resting, he ran the race marked out for him and he won– Yes, he won the fight, and his prize was given to him in Heaven, for having had such an unshakable FAITH and LOVE for Christ. He was a true Christian. We should all aspire to be at least half of what Danny was here on earth.

I came across this verse yesterday that really touched my heart and made me think of Danny:

Hebrews 13:7- Remember your leaders, who spoke the word of God to you. Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith.

Oh yes, Danny was a true leader. He led me to Christ. And my mission now is to imitate his faith and to seek God’s purpose for my life, to spread God’s hope through His Word, to encourage others to seek Him, and to love God and others the way that he did.

A million thanks to God for this miracle. And a million thanks to Danny for having given me the greatest gift of all:

JESUS CHRIST.

Seek Him, for He is the answer to all of your doubts, all of your worries, all of your fears. God loves you. Yes, YOU. God loves you. Oh how He loves you.

My new favorite song thanks to Danny: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rSCE8uLuTJY Enjoy. Also, visit his site and be encouraged: http://www.DanielHaddad.org

GOD BLESS YOU ALL.

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15 thoughts on “Umm, so I’m new at this…

  1. Amazing story yes you’re right everyone should strive to have half of that faithfulness in the midst of adversity or even everyday life when things are going good but you’re wrong you are interesting and important enough to read about 🙂

    • Thanks for your comment, Dave! 🙂 Still, I don’t want to make this about me.
      I ask the Lord, “More of You, Lord, and LESS of me..” 🙂
      “He Must Increase, But I Must Decrease” – John 3:30
      Ecclesiastes 3:20 “All go to the same place; all come from dust, and to dust all return.” God is what matters. 🙂
      Bless you.

  2. Amen! Agreed, I especially like the part about not just being a Christian but living and loving like one since this is how the world will know who we are and that God is real and his son is too. (He main reason there are agnostics, atheists, and believers of false prophets, idols, and religions is because of luke warm Christians and those who are not really saved giving us bad names. Don’t forget that like Danny was an inspiration to you, you may be one also to others like me but our main inspiration, and obviously Danny’s, was Christ himself. Look up Shane and Shane – the answer, if you don’t already know the song great stuff. side note: they went to A&M 🙂

    • Amen. And I love that song! 🙂 “My happiness is found in less of me and more of You..” ❤
      You're right. It is He who inspires us to inspire others. 🙂 I am blessed and honored to be used by Him.
      Be blessed, Dave. 😀

      • Yes I am blessed to have you in my life thank god someday in person too. Call me today so we can discuss the bible and related things k god bless you as well

  3. Absolutely true. Real grand. I loved it Vanessa. David is right– You inspire so many people also. The reason this is true is because Christ, who’s within you, can be seen by others in you. 🙂 Thank you for sharing.

  4. Tthank you Vanessa for this beautiful and encouraging post. We are not on earth without a reason, may God lead us in every little thing to give Him Glory and Honor for He deserves it.
    And yes, let’s love our neighbours as Christ did and still does, we should not leave our heart in peace until we are able to love truly God and our neighbours, that should be our ONLY obsession: love, love, love….
    LOVE is Truth, LOVE is Power, LOVE is Solution, LOVE is Happiness, LOVE is Health…LOVE is all for LOVE is GOD.

    Love you sweet sister and friend :-)))

    • Thank you for your beautiful words, dear sister! 🙂 You are so right, the answer to everything is more LOVE. Love for everyone and above all, love for God. If we learn to love God, we learn to love our neighbors, and by loving our neighbors, we’re able to be living testimonies of His love here on earth.

      I love you in Christ, sweetheart. May God bless you always. Thanks for subscribing! 🙂 ❤

  5. Thanks for your story. Many of us have a Danny in our lives who was the light that we followed to the truth. As you know, God put Danny in your life and his mission is now completed such that he can boldly look Jesus square in the face as he is told “Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things:
    Matt 25:21 (KJV)” .
    You seem to have a great grasp of what it means to be a follower of Christ for somebody so new. I can tell you have been serious with you reading and study of the word. This happens to be my passion and my purpose is to help believers become equiped to present Christ to others, so that we might be the light for somebody else. We have the truth on our side, so we never have to fear the lies that the enemy uses to discourage us. If you ever need any help with your biblical studies, I am always available. It’s what I do. I have much more material on my other blog http://augustine1-defendingthefaith.blogspot.com/…God bless.

    • Wow. Thank you so much… I am quite speechless right now….

      4min later: Again, thank you! Your post brought a smile to my face as well as tears to my eyes. You are so right. Danny’s mission was completed and that is exactly the way he was greeted by our Lord. How beautiful.
      Thank you for offering me your help. It means so much to me, more than I could tell. Christ’s love can easily be sensed in you and it’s amazing. I have been reading the Bible a lot, even when at work hehe. 🙂 I love this new hunger that I have for His word, it’s beautiful and I pray that it never vanishes. 🙂 I am beyond blessed, and posts like yours are what keep encouraging me to never give up, to keep trusting the Lord, to never lean on my own understanding, or on my feelings, but to lean only on Him.
      Which reminds me of: Proverbs 3:5-6
      Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him, and He will make your paths straight.

      THANK YOU. I will keep you posted and will definitely check out your blog. God bless you immensely. Oh, and I just wrote a new post. Hope you enjoy it and may it help spread God’s love and peace.

  6. He always gives us the tools to do what ever He asks us to do. It has been my experience that there is somebody out there who only you can influence. God uses us as secret agents to target certain people he puts in our lives. When a person becomes a burden in our spirit, that is usually the purpose of our mission. We just have to be sensitive to what is going on around us. There is a whole dynamic going on just out of our sight, and we are part of it. Sometimes we need to “be still and listen”.

    • Yes, exactly! AMEN! 🙂 Thank you for your encouraging words. God bless you!
      If you have time, check out my other posts. Hope they bless you. Oh, and maybe that way we can encourage each other on our walk with the Lord? 🙂

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