“The best thing that I can ever tell people is that anything and everything can be taken away from you in an instant,” says Candy Lindley, the featured speaker at Ladies’ Night Out at First Baptist Church in Alcoa.
Lindley said that because of the dramatic circumstances in her life, she developed a spiritual relationship with God. “Our personal relationship with Jesus Christ is the only thing that can’t be stripped from us.”
At 30-years-old Lindley, a speech and drama graduate of the University of Alabama, was married and had two young children. Her wonderful life was turned upside-down when she was diagnosed with a baseball-sized tumor in her head.
“I thought I was in charge and in control of my life,” Lindley says. She adds that she learned very quickly that there are no doctors or no amount of money that can change your circumstances.
It was in the hospital during the biopsy surgery, Lindley says, where she surrendered her life to Jesus. She said after two years of pain and seeing many doctors, she was tired and gave it all to God. According to Lindley, it is not unusual for the type of tumor she had to go undiagnosed. The pain she experienced is usually treated as a sinus condition, and the sinus x-rays never showed anything because of the location of the tumor.
The doctors at the Mayo Clinic were not optimistic about Lindley’s surgery. They said the surgery to remove the tumor would be drastic, and she could lose the greater portion of her face, her right eye and possibly her left eye.
Lindley says the surgeon made a judgment call during the surgery and rebuilt and remade her face.
“Not only did I experience a total makeover of my face,” Lindley says. “It was a makeover of my heart as well.”
Lindley says she was elated when they successfully removed the tumor, however, months later, a life-threatening infection set in. Several surgeries were required to combat the infection.
“I was on a spiritual rollercoaster,” Lindley says. “I did learn to still have joy despite horrendous circumstances.”
The rollercoaster did not end after the infection. Two years later, the tumor came back, which required more surgery.
Now cancer-free, Lindley says she has limitations due to pain she still experiences. Her limitations do not hold her back, though. Lindley, a Birmingham, Ala., native and Knoxville resident for the last three years, draws from her theater experience to provide dynamic presentations to groups of all types. She speaks to youth groups, college ministries, civic organizations and in the academic setting, just to name a few.
On top of her speaking engagements, Lindley has taken the time to write a book, “Face of Faith.” The book, which came out in March, is being used as an evangelical tool.
Lindley’s story has received national attention and has been featured on television and radio programs such as the “700 Club,” “The Sally Jesse Raphael” show, “Maury Povich” show, “Mother Angelica” and “Heart to Heart with Sheila Walsh.”
According to Lindley, her story is intense, and God has inserted humorous things to lighten it up for her presentations.
The theme of Ladies Night Out at First Baptist Church in Alcoa is “Rising above our Circumstances,” event coordinator Jackie Evans said. “It fits with what Candy has been through.”
Evans said that Lindley’s passion for a relationship with the Lord is so inspirational and her message encouraging for all. “Everybody is going through some stressful situation, whether it’s with children or work or family situations,” Evans said. “What Candy has to say will help us take a positive viewpoint for our circumstances.”
Ladies Night Out is scheduled for 6 to 8 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 20, at First Baptist Church in Alcoa. Evans said the event is a ministry to the community. In the past, the church has had events like this, but during a weekend day. The evening presentation worked with Lindley’s busy schedule, and Evans is excited about the event. She says volunteers will be table hostesses and decorate each table with different themes.
For example, Evans says people who know her know that she is into shoes. She says she is decorating her table with shoes and giving out shoe ornaments as gifts, which seem appropriate considering her table theme is, “Walk Humbly with God.”
The tickets can be purchased for $5 by calling the church office at 865-982-2661. For more information about Lindley and “Face of Faith,” visit www.candylindley.com. Lindley will have her book at the event, or it can be purchased at www.Facesoffaith.com.