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The Power of Song in the Midst of Pain

July 8, 2019 by Kim Harms (Iowa, USA)

My husband, Corey, sat on the couch and listened to “How He Loves” over and over. We had just learned that his mom was diagnosed with breast cancer, and this was my hubby’s way of dealing with the news—worship. Music is how he connects with his creator.

Not long after that, Corey began singing and playing “How He Loves” in church, leading the congregation in worship. I love to listen to Corey sing pretty much anything, but if I was told to choose one last song to hear him sing, it would be that one. Because I know what it means to him.

Even in cancer, these words by John Mark McMillan are true: “He is jealous for me. Love’s like a hurricane. I am a tree. Bending beneath the weight of his wind and mercy.”

We didn’t expect that just a few short years after his mom battled cancer, we’d be rocked by my own breast cancer diagnosis.  My love for that song deepened as I stood in a sea of people at church, lost in my sadness and listening to my hubby’s sweet voice fill the room. Even in the midst of a freshly broken heart, he worshiped.

It’s been a few years since Jesus walked us through cancer, and I hadn’t heard that song in a while. I hadn’t heard Corey sing it in a long, long while.

Then January 20th happened. The anniversary of the day my life shifted from before-cancer to after-cancer. On January 20, 2016, I collapsed in Corey’s arms crying over and over, “I don’t want to have cancer. I don’t want to have cancer...” On January 20, 2019, we stood together in a church where our friend Laura was leading worship. My heart blanketed with a heaviness that I can only assume will always show up on this day.

Laura began singing “How He Loves.” She didn’t know we would be there that day. She didn’t know it was the anniversary of my breast cancer diagnosis. And she didn’t know the significance of “How He Loves” in our lives. But Jesus did.

I stood in the back row, legs shaking, willing myself not to collapse in a mess of tears. I closed my eyes, raised my hands in worship and listened to Corey sing beside me.

There is no sweeter gift than one that you know could not possibly have been orchestrated by human hands.  

Oh, how he loves us.

Jesus loves me so much, in fact, that he is using my cancer in ways I never would have imagined. I recently signed a contract with a publisher for my first book entitled, Life Reconstructed: A Girlfriend’s Guide to Mastectomy and Breast Reconstruction, which will release in early 2021. To learn more about my book and to follow my writing life, head over to, find me at or on Instagram @kimharmlifereconstructed.

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The Upper Room magazine's mission is to provide a practical way to listen to scripture, connect with believers around the world, and spend time with God each day.

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