A Life Lived Beautifully: Hannah Cobley
One of the most incredible things about the community of Life Lived Beautifully are the women that I am able to meet all around the world. Women who are pursuing Jesus with every breath. Women who are doing hard things for His glory. Women who are chasing after the dreams God has laid on their heart and doing them with His strength and grace. Hannah Cobley is one of those women. She is an example of a Proverbs 31 woman, using her gifts, her trials, and her passions to make much of Jesus. I cannot tell you how excited I am for you to read her story and the how she began Lighthouse for Hope!
Grab your cup of coffee, a cozy blanket, and meet Hannah!
Introduce yourself like we are having a cup of coffee together. :) What kind of coffee/tea would you drink?
My drink of choice always varies, depending on how I am feeling each day! If I was having a "coffee day" I would go for an iced coffee with a little bit of vanilla and cream. If I was having a "tea day" I would go for some peppermint tea with honey and a splash of cream.
I'm Hannah Cobley, I'm 22 years old, and I have recently founded a nonprofit called Lighthouse For Hope! When I was 18 I was diagnosed with a rare form of Leukemia. I have now been off treatment for a little over a year and have decided it's time to give back. Lighthouse provides financial support for families facing pediatric cancer. For each shirt purchased, a portion of those proceeds go towards basic day-to-day necessities for these families.
What is your definition of a "life lived beautifully"?
The first thing that popped in my head when I read that question was the phrase "all in" and completely surrendering your life to Jesus. There's no way to only give a little bit of your life to Christ. A life lived beautifully is one that gives everything over to God. Surrendering, patience, hope, and complete trust. The word hope implies both trust and patience. Trust involves confidence in God's power to deliver and faith that He will keep His promises. Hoping in the Lord also implies the patience to wait for God's promises to be fulfilled. There is nothing more beautiful to me than someone being completely all in for Jesus and willing to trust in His goodness completely.
When did you start following Jesus?
I grew up in a Christian home. I can't really pinpoint a time where I dedicated my life to Christ the first time, but I do know it was at some summer camp. I think I really noticed a difference in my love for Christ after I got sick. My life is completely different now and I feel closer to God than I ever did before. It's hard to describe, but there's an intimacy you feel with Jesus when you are so vulnerable. That happened after I got cancer.
What are some verses you constantly cling to and bring life to your soul?
"Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds...." James 1:2
The whole book of James is just pure joy. Even the first verse is enough for me. I have found so much joy through my sickness and journey with cancer. I owe all of that to Jesus.
"Weeping may stay for the night, but joy comes in the morning." Psalm 30:5
I love this because I have learned to take everything as it comes. When I was my sickest I had to learn get through it day-by-day. I had good days and bad days. But for however many bad days there were, The Lord brought me so many more good days.
How do you integrate sharing the Gospel with creativity?
Our God is not boring, He is the ultimate creative being. For he created mountains, human beings, butterflies, the ocean and all that lives in it, and sunsets. He is also the ultimate story-teller. He knew my story before I was even a thought in my parents minds. Something I am so passionate about is using my story to share the Good News! I am so fortunate enough to be able to tell my story through Lighthouse. There are so many others that don't have that chance. I want to be their voices. We often hear about children fighting cancer, but there are so many kids fighting who fall below the poverty level who don't have the voice to to be heard! I want to help them speak up.
How did God direct you to start Lighthouse For Hope?
I always knew I wanted to do something like this. I figured I would just wait until after college. However, last March I was feeling extremely uneasy about what I was doing with my life. I was up one night and didn't sleep, so I somehow started researching how to start a nonprofit. The Lord definitely was telling me that night that there was no reason to wait. I called my parents the next morning and told them my plan and got to work.
What is the vision behind Lighthouse for Hope?
The original vision behind Lighthouse was to help provide financial assistance for families fighting pediatric cancer. Cancer is an evil that is not only physically and emotionally challenging, but also financially challenging. The goal was (and still is) to alleviate some of the financial stress by providing assistance for day-to-day expenses. The proceeds from the shirts go towards gas cards, groceries, school supplies, and clothes. God has totally turned this into something way bigger than that. During my own fight with cancer I was fortunate enough to have a community that fought alongside me and helped in so many ways.
Unfortunately, not everyone has the same experience. Lots of families who have a child with cancer can't even afford groceries or gas to get them to and from the hospital. I feel so passionately about the kids who get lost in the crowd, the kids who have stories that nobody hears about. So many families with a sick child don't have friends who can take them to appointments, can't buy groceries or school supplies, and don't have the voice to speak up and tell their story. Who will fight for these families? I want to be their advocate, to help them feel heard. That is what God has turned Lighthouse For Hope's vision into.
What encouragement would you give to someone fighting cancer? What would you tell their family?
Through talking to several different families, parents, siblings, and patients, I have discovered that the common thing they all like seeing is a healthy person who has overcome cancer. Parents and teenagers especially like to see me now, healthy and trying to live a full life. I tell them that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. It's hard to see sometimes, and it's ok to be angry and feel alone, but that doesn't make the light go away. Sometimes, to reach the light, you have to experience complete darkness, but you will eventually reach it.
What are some books you are currently reading?
I recently finished Hannah Brencher's "If You Find This Letter" and LOVED it. Hannah has such a beautiful honesty about her. Her words are poetic and raw. I am currently reading "One Thousand Gifts" by Ann Voskamp. So many people have been telling me to read this and I have finally gotten around to it. I have only just begun reading and have already highlighted the majority of it. Here's a bit of my favorite part, "As long as thanks is possible, then joy is also possible. Joy is always possible. Whenever, meaning - now; wherever, meaning - here. The holy grail of joy is not in some exotic location or some emotional mountain peak experience. The joy wonder could be here! Here, in the messy, piercing ache of now, joy might be - unbelievably - possible!"
If you could tell every woman reading this blog one thing God has laid on your heart, what would it be?
It's hard to think of just one thing. The ultimate thing is that even though we are called to share The Gospel and bring light to other's lives, we can only go so far. However hard we try to love others or shine God's light, His love and light is so much greater than ours. Less of us, more of Him.