Fear, Faithfulness, and Freedom

As Heather Ward shared her story at Women of Purpose on Saturday, it was evident Jesus carried her through open-heart surgery.  Each part of her story was laced with scripture; a testament to her meditation on His Word and her heart for Him as she went from fear, to seeing His faithfulness, to freedom.


When Heather was told at age 40 she needed open-heart surgery, she found herself in a place of fear.  She said, “I had to fight fear all the time.”

She began thinking of all the things she still wanted in her life…growing old with her husband, Patrick, and raising their three children.  But, she said, “God says in Deuteronomy that He goes before me.  God gave me courage.  I leaned into him, and he’s so mighty. I prayed, ‘Lord, please guard my heart and my mind.’ The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” Deuteronomy 31:8




Heather shared with us many instances of her faith in God and His faithfulness to her before and after surgery.

One night, Heather felt a bright light on her face; she thought it was coming from the neighbor’s house and wanted it to go away.  She soon realized it was a moonbeam, shining in through her bedroom window.  She heard a deep, strong voice say “who put the moon in the sky? I did and you’re worried about surgery? “ She heard a laugh that reminded her of her dad’s laugh, so she began laughing too.

“The exact moments when you need strength are when God creatively shows up.”

Heather also saw God’s faithfulness as she stood in her kitchen one day; fear gripped her.  She cried out to God saying, “God, I can’t feel like this all the time – please help me.”  In that moment, the singing on the radio became speaking.  The voice said, “God is your helper.”

Heather clung to Isaiah 41: 13:  For I am the Lord your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you.

She made a fist with her hand and lifted it toward heaven.  To her, this symbolized her heavenly Father holding her hand – a gesture she makes often reminding herself that God’s holding her hand always.

Heather recalled a day when she was particularly emotional, and her husband said, “Satan is not going to steal our joy.”

Heather agreed.  She remembered her mother telling her throughout her life to “gird up her mind.”   Therefore, prepare [gird up] your minds for action; be self-controlled; set your hope fully on the grace to be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed. 1 Peter 1:13

 “I had to reign in my mind because my emotions were all over the place, so I meditated on all the places in the Bible where God is faithful.”



“When I woke up [from surgery], I felt so close to Jesus…he was just so close…Jesus Christ is my strength, and he’s everything we need even when it looks messy…I couldn’t even exercise before my surgery. Now, I am so thankful just to be able to breathe and walk up a hill.”

“My heart for the lost has been magnified.  My fire renewed.  I don’t want to miss an opportunity to share Jesus.  This life is fleeting.  We need to be bold in sharing Jesus.  God is our strength and we need to share Jesus with as many as [people] as we can because He is that awesome.”

“Even if your faith is teensy tiny, God will make it grow.” I tell you the truth, if you had faith even as small as the mustard seed, you could say to this mountain, “Move from here to there,” and it would move. Nothing would be impossible. Matthew 17:20

“I have learned complete and total surrender even when it doesn’t make sense.  I have learned to enjoy my relationship with God.  I have learned to be quiet. It’s a beautiful thing when you are quiet and focus on God.”

Heather was free from fear and free to be used in an even greater way by God for his glory.  She walks in freedom, knowing He is with her always and loves her immeasurably.

Thank you, Heather, for sharing your story.


  1. AnnMarie Dixon says:

    Beautiful story depicting the goodness and faithfulness of Our Father.

    • Thanks so much, AnnMarie. It’s my honor to share the stories of God’s awesomeness. These women have endured much, but choose God. So inspiring!

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