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  • Writer's pictureSarah Keeling

Larissa's Exceedingly Abundantly Story

"Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be the glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen."

-Ephesians 3:20-21 "I love seeing and experiencing God in the details. I pray for it daily – not only for myself but for those who I hold near and dear to my heart. However, cancer wasn’t the detail I was hoping for. Neither of us were hoping for. I am married to a Marine who is now retired but he wasn’t retired the first time we lived through a cancer diagnosis. He was serving in Iraq and I was praying; trusting God; and looking forward to our upcoming move from Okinawa, Japan to an unknown destination. My Marine returned home just in time for Valentine’s Day of 2011 and we were excited to find out that we would be moving to Oahu. At least I was excited – my Marine was being practical and was disappointed that he wasn’t chosen for a position he was hoping for. In that one answered pray, though not the answer we were expecting, God reminds me even today, 6 years later, that He is in the details. Even in unanswered details. God knew my husband would be diagnosed with aleiomyosarcoma and that our world would have changed even more dramatically than it did had we gotten what we were praying for. Instead, we left the island that we loved and God took us to a new island, to begin our cancer journey. God took us to Oahu to meet the most amazing team of military medical staff – we just didn’t know it until many months later. So, two weeks before we were due to leave Okinawa, Japan and take a 45 day trip via our vehicle in the continental U.S., the hubs was told that after a “test” that they wanted to immediately fly him from Okinawa to Oahu. In true Marine style, he managed to rearrange our move and we were headed to Hawaii under unexpected circumstances. The short story is that they found a 4.5 lb. tumor in my husband’s abdominal area; they surgically removed it (we even have a photo to prove it); the hubs healed nicely; and was back on the golf course 6 weeks after surgery. It certainly wasn’t a fun time in our lives but we knew that not having to take chemo, due to clean margins being found, meant we got off really easy. We made the most of our 3 year Hawaiian tour and we are both so GR8TFUL for all that time to create seriously fun memories. We did not know at the time that this would be our last active duty assignment. The hubs felt led to put in his retirement papers and we started our transition from active duty to retiree. My Marine’s retirement ceremony was far more than I could have ever imagined and I will be eternally GR8TFUL for everyone who was able to attend and for the sweet photos and video we have to memorialize that very special day. Fast forward 7 months, as we were just getting into our retirement groove in the great state of Texas, we find out what we were hoping to never hear – your cancer is back. Not only is it back but it is everywhere, to include the lungs. When your original cancer returns it is considered metastatic – which means terminal. At this point, it is really comforting to know that we serve the God “who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above”. Your cancer is back……but God. It is terminal…..but God. You live in a new state where the majority of your Tribe lives many miles away…..but God. You had a totally different plan……..but God. With God, not only are “all things possible”, but He prepares you for the biggest challenges of your life. With God, a cancer journey can lead to many ministry opportunities. With God, you can thrive through cancer, including two rounds of chemo, and still manage to golf, vacation and host friends and family. With God you can serve at church, between chemo rounds, and live out the faith you say you have. With God’s “power that works in us” we can walk daily through this unplanned challenge and see Him in the details. He has been with us at every visit to MDAnderson. He accompanies us in the ugly green chemo cube and loves us through amazing nurses; expert doctors; and other patients. God gave us a Life Group who loved us through both rounds of chemo. He gave us pastors who sat with us and prayed with us. He showed up in home cooked meals; through the FED EX guy who attends our church; through the many notes and packages that arrived via snail mail. God touched our hearts and our hurting places through willing vessels called family and friends. You see, it takes serious courage to love a family through cancer. It takes consistent prayer and love and resolve to love a family that has been told “it is terminal”. Loving us is risky because none of us know, this side of heaven, what “exceedingly abundantly” is going to look like. In between doctors’ visits; breaks from chemo; holidays and every day, we get to serve, laugh and live. We are standing on God’s promises and BELIEVING Him BIG for a miracle and we will continue to walk this path as long as we both draw breath. We know God is able. We know we have the same power in us that rose Jesus from the grave. We continue to give Him glory and we trust Him with “forever and ever”. Larissa Traquair is a Jesus-loving, Bible-believing, God-fearing woman who is a recovering perfectionist and is passionate about glorifying God in all she does. She is a paper planner; Periscope Broadcaster; and a friend who is always ready to do lunch. Her motto is: “Everyone has to eat so why not eat together.” She will always prefer eating out over cooking at home. She is married to a Marine and they are retired in the great state of Texas. They parent a pair of adopted bulldogs (Hope & Chip) who keep them entertained and humble. God has been known to refine them through their everyday interactions with this stubborn breed." Larissa's passion is to help other women realize that adopting an attitude of gratitude will make a world of difference in their lives and the lives of those around them. Larissa has discovered that “doing community well” comes naturally for her. She believes that God has given each of us a sphere of influence, a community to do life with, and we get to choose whether we influence this community in a positive or a negative way. To accomplish this purpose she believes God called her to start broadcasting live on the phone app, Periscope, back in 2015. This is where she is known as the GR8TFUL Chick, Chief Inspirational Officer (CIO) of the GR8TFUL Tribe, and gets to share an encouraging word daily with the amazing Tribe that God has given her. You can find the GR8TFUL Chick and the GR8TFUL Tribe at Join us on social media where we are making a difference in the world, one broadcast, and one interaction at a time. We love doing community with other #WorldChangers. Join us and discover that you can change the atmosphere wherever you show up!!!

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