Have you ever come across a person so kind and giving that you are convinced you have encountered a real, live angel? Well, after you meet Lydia Scialabba from Trabuco Canyon, California, you will definitely believe just that. Rarely have I experienced a person so full of love with the willingness to care for and encourage others than Angel Lydia. Lydia was introduced to Key Chain Verses when her mother sent her a chain of Women’s Verses as a gift. She remembers opening the box and being thrilled to see one of her favorite things, God’s Word, inside. And then noticing the personalization, she felt it added something really special. “Something about reading the scripture with your name in it,” Lydia says, “it’s like nothing else. You realize He meant that just for me… It’s breathtaking!”

In the fall of 2012, I saw that Lydia had ordered a chain of Healing Verses for herself. I feared something was wrong and not long after learned of her difficult diagnosis of two different types of breast cancer- a very aggressive cancer called Invasive Ductal Carcinoma (IDC) and also Ductal Carcinoma In Situ (DCIS). Lydia had already been dealing with numerous health problems over the years, including Stage IV Endometriosis, severe Anemia and Fibromyalgia, so she was no stranger to suffering. But as with every other situation in her life, she chose to turn this over to God and begin a grueling treatment battle, which included Chemotherapy and Herceptin, as well as surgery. And she endured all this while also taking care of her husband and young daughter. With this heavy load, she often felt weak and exhausted and remembers them as being “very dark days, filled with so much sickness and pain.” I ask Lydia how she was able to get through these difficult times. She says that focusing on her Lord and remembering His promises gave her the strength to get through each day. Her loving parents, whom she calls “Dearest and Pop-Pop” came to her side to care for her and her family. And keeping her Key Chain Verses close made all the difference because “there is power in His Words. You never get bored with reading the verses over and over. It means something different every time.”
Lydia during her treatment

As the months went by, I began to notice order after order coming in from Lydia for sets of Healing Verses. Messages to me would be included that this person or that person was facing a difficult cancer battle. How in the world was Lydia around so many people with cancer? And then it hit me, she was meeting these men and women during her Chemotherapy treatments and desiring to give them something to help. Angel Lydia. I contacted her and asked if this was true and she confirmed it. “It works for everyone no matter what they are going through,” Lydia says, “I am around so many people who are suffering and it did my heart good for them to have the Verses. One of the best things about Key Chain Verses is that it’s portable. Being able to hold it during Chemo treatments is great because you cannot always take your Bible with you.”

I am amazed by how selfless Lydia chooses to be, when no one would blame her for using this time selfishly. “God has given me the gift of compassion,” she explains. “I am at my happiest when I am giving. I have been trying to find my way through this season that I’m going through. Often times I’m struggling, but there is strength in giving. It helps me to give to someone else.”

Last year, Lydia attended a Christian retreat designed to help people learn how to make certain dietary changes and take preventative measures to enable healing and well-living. At this retreat, there were eight other people in her group; six of them had some form of cancer. And you guessed it- Lydia ordered a set of Verses for all eight of them. On every box, she wrote a special message to each person. “I would tell them they are a Beautiful Masterpiece and how the Lord loves them;” she remembers, “having these Verses to give them was especially helpful.”

As I think of Lydia, I am reminded of Jesus’ words to us about how we must be a light to others. He teaches,

“You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:14-16).

Quite often, and even understandably at times, we are so wrapped up in our own issues and struggles that we do not think to reach out to others. Lydia’s example reminds us that when we give, God provides for us. When we are a light, the Lord’s light will shine on us. When we choose to bless, we will become blessed.

As months went on, Lydia ordered dozens and dozens of chains for various friends who were struggling in their lives, a pastor who was battling throat cancer and she even has plans to send chains to two Korean exchange students she met here who are now back in their native country. “I know they are not allowed to have a Bible,” she says, “but maybe the chain of verses would help them stay close to God and not be too obvious.” Through Lydia’s breast cancer journey, God has used her as a vessel to inspire, motivate and show others that joy in the face of great suffering and sadness is indeed possible. “People’s hearts are broken,” she says, “and I just want to give to someone who needs encouragement. It makes people happy and reinforces the fact that the Lord loves them so much. I wish that I could give the Verses to every single person I know…and I almost have.”

Whether we give a set of Key Chain Verses, write a simple note or make a phone call expressing our love and concern, reaching out to those who are hurting can be of great value, and it is a way to let Christ’s light shine through us. One of the verses on the Healing chain, which is also one of Lydia’s favorites, is Jeremiah 29:11.

“’For I know the plans I have for you’, says the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’”

This verse reminds us that no matter what we are going through, God is with us, He loves us, and He has a plan for our lives. Do you know someone in need of this encouragement today? Do you need to feel His love and comfort? Lydia remembers the day she was diagnosed with breast cancer. She was scared and the future was uncertain, but she found comfort in her Heavenly Father’s arms and in His plan. “I never said, ‘why me?’… I mean, why not me,” she says. “ Instead, I prayed to God, ‘Ok, if this is what you want me to go through, please use me to inspire other people and let me always shine for you and do this for your glory.’” Wow. Angel Lydia.

Well, I think you would agree that God has answered Lydia’s prayer. And I suspect you now agree with me that we have definitely encountered an angel on earth. Lydia is truly a blessing to those who have received her kindness and to those who have witnessed her love. And Key Chain Verses is honored to have partnered with her on this journey. Thank you, Lydia, for being His Light and a beautiful, shining example to us all!

*If you have an inspiring story about how Key Chain Verses has touched your life or the life of someone you know, please let us know. You may email us at [email protected] or call us at 404-500-7025. We would love to hear how God’s Word is making a difference!