The Daniel Plan is perfect timing for this Saddleback Church member, who is setting her goals high—with a new hope—for a spiritual and physical makeover. Read her letter and be encouraged by her vision of faith, grace, and determination.

Dear Saddleback,

I’m so excited about starting The Daniel Plan. It couldn’t have come at a more perfect time in my life. My husband and I took our “before” pictures at church last weekend, so I thought this would be a good opportunity to tell my “before story.”

I grew up playing every sport I could fit in, working out, and eating healthy. As I got older I put on some weight – like we all tend to do – but I remained active and considered myself fairly healthy. At the age of 37, I grew bored and restless and, looking for a new challenge, decided to return to college to get my Computer Science degree.

It was a long and exhausting four years. I would usually start my homework after everyone else went to bed and quit around 3:00 or 4:00 in the morning. Towards the end of four years, I was exhausted, mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually – just exhausted. I remember waking up in the school parking structure during my last quarter with my face smashed against my window. I had no recollection of driving to school and all I could think was, “please God, just get me through this day. As soon as this is over, I promise to take better care of myself.” I got out of my car and had to sit on the curb because I just felt weak and sick and like something was really wrong…and something was. Two weeks before my graduation, I was diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer.

I spent the next year and a half in chemotherapy. I endured a failed lumpectomy, which led to a mastectomy and six and a half weeks of radiation. I made it through that time with complete faith God was in control and his plan was perfect. But it wasn’t easy on me and it was especially hard on my family. In August of 2009, I was told I was in remission and went back to work at a job I love and I’m sure that God put in my path (another story). Over the first year though, I started having increasingly bad pain in my left hip. Some days it was bad enough that I could barely make it from my car to the door. After many, many tests to rule out bone cancer, I was told my hip was just worn out and there was nothing that could be done to repair it – I needed a complete hip replacement.

So here I sit writing you this story, recovering nicely with a new hip and new hope. I heard about The Daniel Plan at church and thought “what an awesome opportunity to show people what God can do.” I can’t wait to see what God will do in 52 weeks with this broken, beaten body that has been poked, prodded, burned, cut up and poisoned. This body that is currently carrying about 50 extra pounds of fat. I know I can’t do this on my own. I also know without a doubt that there is NOTHING God can’t do. I want my life back. I want my healthy, strong body back. Most of all though, I want people to look at me in 52 weeks and say “Look what God has done in her life.” I want people to ask me how I went from this to that and I want to tell them, “With God, ALL things are possible.”


Amy De Oliveira