Deep Breathing

Deep Breathing: Finding Calm Amid Cancer Anxiety


About The Book

A CANCER DIAGNOSIS IS UPSETTING to anyone, but life-threatening illness can be navigated without terror.
When pastor Mary Holder Naegeli was told she had lung cancer, her world shifted into slow motion. Prone to anxiety and worry, she learned how to stay calm, curious, and courageous through her aggressive treatments—by accepting her illness as a test of faith and surrendering to God her life and death. With realism and humor she chronicled her growing discovery of God’s safety and security.

In Deep Breathing: Finding Calm amid Cancer Anxiety, Mary guides those facing dangerous illness toward calming faith in God’s might and mercy. Deep Breathing is structured around the church year and its hopeful rhythms. The author grapples with life’s basic questions of Why me? and What does this mean? through

• ADVENT—welcoming the waiting room

• CHRISTMAS—treasuring the gifts we’re given

• EPIPHANY—opening our eyes to God in action

• LENT—examining our soul condition to pursue healing

• EASTER—celebrating resurrection hope

Mary’s style is reflective, grounded, and encouraging. She helps readers embrace faith that survives life’s upheavals. Discover how to slow down, discern right thinking, and loosen anxiety’s grip as you hold fast to the One who holds you. Deep Breathing is also an excellent resource for pastors, caregivers, and medical professionals seeking insight into the patient’s experience.

About The Author

Dr. Mary Holder Naegeli

An ordained Presbyterian Minister, Dr. Mary Holder Naegeli has degrees from Stanford and Fuller Theological Seminary. As a hospital chaplain, pastor, Bible teacher, and blogger, she has helped believers and questioners sort out complex issues and clarify how the Bible is relevant to real life in real time.

She and her husband live in the San Francisco Bay Area and enjoy their grandchildren, travel, music, and baseball.

Dr. Mary Holder Naegeli

Rave Reviews for... Deep Breathing: Finding Calm Amid Cancer Anxiety


“If you’ve ever wondered how a person of faith can experience pain and find purpose, or give glory to God at the cellular level or if you just need to know the anchor really holds, these reflections are for you.”

— Carmen LaBerge, radio host and author of Speak the Truth: How to Bring God Back into Every Conversation


“This highly personal and radically transparent memoir of Rev. Mary’s physical and spiritual journey through “the valley of the shadow of death” with advanced lung cancer is informative, moving, and ultimately a call to discipleship through intimacy with Christ.

Her honest realism and insightful biblical reflections provide encouragement and hope both for those suffering threatening illness and for those who walk alongside them as companions on the Way. I highly recommend this, both for its insight and for the gems of wisdom to help us on our own daily pilgrimage of life in the love of Christ. I was blessed and challenged in reading it.”

— The Rev. Dr. Roberta Hestenes, pastor, former professor at Fuller Seminary, and President of Eastern University


“One day you may receive unexpected news that turns your world upside down. How do you begin to navigate your new life – one now filled with loss, suffering, and pain? When pastor, musician, and creative thinker Mary Holder Naegeli was diagnosed with cancer, she merely veered down a new path on her life journey which was already one of holding tight to the hand of Jesus.

Deep Breathing is a brilliant and beautiful manifestation of how God’s people can use a lifetime of spiritual deposits to guide the inevitable hard days. Follow Mary’s journal, which so cleverly interweaves classic spiritual resources with everyday life experiences. And then please buy another copy for a gift – there are so many who need to learn to breathe in deeply the grace and mercy of our loving God.’”

— Lucinda Secrest McDowell, author, Soul Strong and Life-Giving Choices

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