BECKY ELLISON knows what it means to live one day at a time. Since being diagnosed with cancer in 2010 she said a key question she seeks to live by is: “If I had one more minute and I wanted to live it like God wanted me to live it what would that look like?”
For Ellison part of that answer involves investing in the lives of Christian Women’s Job Corps and Christian Men’s Job Corps leaders throughout the state of Texas.
Ellison has been involved in CWJC/CMJC ministries for 14 years. She began serving as a contract consultant with Woman’s Missionary Union of Texas in 2008. Six years later – and four years after her diagnosis – she was invited to serve as the state WMU’s full-time CWJC/CMJC strategist. That role involves consulting with 56 ministry sites throughout Texas.
“The one thing I prayed about was ‘Lord what do you want me to do in this role?’” Ellison recalled. “He was really clear that He wanted me to minister to our leadership because they are in the trenches they are the ones sacrificing so much day-to-day for the men and women who come through our doors.
“They’re dealing with cancer they’re dealing with family members who have illnesses they’re dealing with crises” she explained.
Even when the ministry sites’ coordinators mentors and volunteers are in the midst of challenging days Ellison said she seeks to remind them “God gave you today. What are we going to do with it?”
Amid life’s struggles Ellison also is able to assure each of her leaders “I know where you’re coming from.”
Her journey with cancer began in the summer of 2010 while visiting urgent care to evaluate a pain in her back. The doctor ordered an MRI and told her they would call her in a couple of days with the results.
Instead she recalled “They called me back in two hours because a radiologist had called the doctor and said ‘Does this woman know she has cancer?’”
Ellison said she received the unexpected diagnosis in a phone call from the urgent care physician.
“We talked and at that moment I just said ‘Well let’s just see what God does with this journey’” she reflected. Affirming that God’s promises and His Word hadn’t changed she said “I just knew it was going to be a new season. The blessing of that is the doctor on the phone with me said ‘Can I pray with you?’ So this journey was bathed in prayer from the very beginning.”
It took doctors 18 months after the initial diagnosis to Ellison’s cancer was a rare form that currently has no approved treatment.
“It’s slow growing which is a blessing” she emphasized. “But God has just been faithful through the whole thing.”
Amid the ups and downs of dealing with the disease Ellison’s doctor told her in 2012 that with the tumors growing she likely would be paralyzed within three months. Instead she continued to trust God’s plan and timing for her life and illness. She went back to her co-workers and told them “You guys don’t worry about this. God’s got this.”
“Of course that was six years ago” she recounted with a broad smile. “God really did a miracle healing. I walked away from the hospital and was pain-free. I hike nine miles I exercise I ride bikes. I haven’t been in treatment since then. I asked God to let this be a testimony of His still doing miracles and let me be a testimony of having faith to know that He lets us go through seasons. If this is my season and it ends with this then I’m still blessed.”
As she works to facilitate ministry for the benefit of Christian Women’s Job Corps and Christian Men’s Job Corps participants Ellison said a primary motivation is “getting to invest in them and love on them as they go through their journey.”
“The core of Christian Women’s and Christian Men’s Job Corps is about relationships” Ellison explained. She said participants often come out of backgrounds in human trafficking incarceration addictions abuse or generational poverty.
With CWJC and CMJC ministry sites providing participants such resources as job readiness training parenting classes mentoring and Bible study she said “We see transformation. We see families being healed.
As she maintains her faith perspective amid the challenges of life Ellison acknowledged that “even hearing that you have cancer changes your lens.”
“Every day I get up and say ‘Thank you God for waking me up today’” she reflected. “The lens it changes is ‘This possibly could be my last day. What do I get to do today?’”
For Ellison the answer is clear: Keep trusting that “God’s got this” – regardless of what tomorrow holds.
Trennis Henderson is a national correspondent for the Woman’s Missionary Union (WMU).