Post image for Nakaela Feagin-Hooks, Track and Field, University of Florida

Nakaela Feagin-Hooks, Track and Field, University of Florida

by carmine on January 14, 2015

Today cancer is known as a death sentence. Yet, God used cancer, a flesh death sentence, to save me from the ultimate penalty, my spiritual death sentence.

It took me awhile to realize that growing up in the church does not mean you are walking with Jesus. Since I was young, I can remember going to church with my mom and then going with my nana when my mother was traveling, since she ran professionally. I did and said all the right things to be the wholesome church girl but I had no desire to have a deep relationship with the Lord. However, in my personal life I felt empty. I could feel God drawing me to Him even at a young age, but of course I wanted to do things my way. I rebelled. My parents got divorced when I was 12 and it devastated me. Each weekend that I would come see my dad, I went to church with my nana. Yet, I was still going for the wrong reasons. One Sunday, the pastor spoke on “You are never too far to be redeemed.” So much emotion overpowered me and I made the decision to get baptized. I thought walking with Christ would be easy, but it got harder. I continued going to church but still was not living for God.

IMG_4642When I was 17, I began attending the University of Florida. That summer was all about academics but I was staying in shape for track. After lifting weights one day, I noticed a huge lump on the left side of my neck. When I went to the doctor, he told me it was just a hematoma and I would be fine. My family kept saying I looked so thin but I thought I looked fine. Fall semester came and I started noticing I was tired all the time, after showers my skin burned so bad and these patches popped up on my skin. During my track physical, the team doctor, Dr. Gravlee, thought the lump was abnormal. She sent me through a series of test and wouldn’t clear me until we got a real answer. I got a neck biopsy and that night the doctor asked to call my mom because I needed to go into surgery the next day. On Nov. 17, I was diagnosed with stage 3B Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. When my mom knelt by my bed, all I could ask was “So I’m going to lose my hair?” The magnitude of the cancer never hit me until my first treatment. I cried and prayed for God to heal me. I wasn’t afraid to die, I was afraid to die not truly knowing Him. The days I was home alone, I spent talking and getting closer to God. For six months I went through treatments and I could feel God wanting me to do more once he brought me through the cancer. Before my last treatment in February, my aunt’s pastor called me to pray for a supernatural healing over my life. The next day, my half mark treatment results came up showing I was in remission. I finished all my treatments on May 9th, 2012.

I am now a senior at UF and have been in remission for over two years by the grace of God. He used cancer to bring me back to Him, to show me that my relationship with Him is serious. I am still nowhere near perfect, but I know God uses imperfect people to spread His perfect Word. Jeremiah 29:13 “You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.” God wants us to just come home, and like the prodigal son, we are welcomed home with open arms.

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