Emily Parker spoke with author Kate Nicholas about her healing from inoperable advanced breast cancer, the supernatural peace she was given and why she has written her new book Sea Changed.

Kate Nicholas
Kate Nicholas

Kate Nicholas was working as Chief Communications Officer for the Christian international aid agency World Vision when she was given a life-changing cancer diagnosis. What began as a death sentence, ended up being the start of a life-giving journey into the heart of God. Emily Parker heard her story.

Emily: Why did you write Sea Changed?

Kate: I've always wanted to write. I grew up surrounded by words. My mother was an author, my father was a poet and I've been a journalist and a communicator most of my life, but it actually took a cancer diagnosis to turn me into an author.

I wrote the book while going through treatment for advanced cancer and I wrote it initially as a legacy for my children. I was really worried when I was diagnosed with cancer that it would affect their faith. They were quite young and I was very worried they'd think that somehow God had done this to me. I was thinking how much God had loved me and how much He had stood by me all my life, even as I potentially faced leaving them.

Although I was desperately ill, I wrote a lot of the book in hospital beds and even when I was in isolation, when my immune system failed, the words just flowed out of me.

I began to look back over my life and I recognised with amazement that God had always been there and had always been guiding me.

Then God did something miraculous in my life and the book became about something much bigger. It became a book for anyone who felt that they'd been looking for God in the wrong place, or struggled to find Him in the face of adversity. I really wanted to reassure people through my very unconventional faith story, that the surest path to God isn't always a straight line and He can be found in unexpected places; in the secular buzz of a newsroom for example and even when facing one's own mortality.

I really wanted to encourage people to do as I'd done and to look back over their lives, preferably without some life-threatening disease, and to recognise how God's unseen hand shifts our perspective and guides us and how He lifts us up even in our darkest moments.

Emily: What was life like at the time of your diagnosis?

Kate: I was working as Chief Communications Officer for the Christian international aid agency World Vision. It's a wonderful organisation and I was travelling all over the world. I was responsible for communications across a hundred countries and I would meet the most extraordinary faith filled people, in some of the world's toughest places.

My life had changed overnight and my world had shrunk in many respects to that of a hospital room, but at the same time my world also expanded.

Emily: What was your perspective of God when you received the diagnosis and were faced with death?

Kate: I was diagnosed two years ago. It was in August 2014 and I was told that I had inoperable advanced breast cancer, which had spread around my heart. I was told that even if the tumour shrunk down with chemotherapy, a decision would have to be made on whether to undertake surgery, based on how much time I had left.

As a wife and a mother of two school aged children, you can imagine it was a pretty hard thing to hear, but it's amazing that at the outset I was just given a sense of hope and I decided I wasn't going to give up.