She’s staying strong! Beth Chapman may be right in the middle of her cancer battle, but she hasn’t let that slow her down or stop her one bit. On May 12, she even delivered a Mother’s Day sermon at The Source Church where she persevered despite losing her voice to share a deeply personal message. In the speech — her first since her cancer diagnosis — she opened up about all of the obstacles that she’s faced in her life, how her faith helped her overcome them, and how they all led to her going down a “wonderful path” with her husband, Duane “Dog” Chapman, a.k.a. Dog the Bounty Hunter.

“Growing up, I was the baby of five. My brother was No. 1, I am No. 5. Five is still alive by the grace of God. So far, so good,” she said in the speech. “But I seriously contribute my life to my base and I think that it takes a village to raise children, it really does. In my home, being the baby of five children, my parents were divorced when I was eight. … Having [a] very strict [Mennonite] base was really the only thing that kept me grounded once my father left. … See that strict base that I had taught me right from wrong, so even when I was out doing wrong, I still knew where to run back to base to get straight.”

The star opened up about getting involved with drugs and alcohol as a teen and “running amok” with friends. “Now see, my lessons always came later in life,” she said. “For instance, when I was 17 years old in the Mennonite church, I got pregnant. … The lesson came later. Nine months later exactly, actually. That lesson right there popped the cork for a million lessons that I was about to learn. How to be a mom, how to fail at being a mom, how to be a welfare mom, how to lose your child in two short years. Lessons. Very, very valuable lessons. Took me a long time to trust that I should even have a child. I thought maybe, I should raise cobras instead of children.”

She continued, “I learned as I grew as a young Christian that, you know, God doesn’t do things for just no apparent reason. There are reasons. And it is really up to you to figure out what your lesson is by the circumstance that you’re going through. … I went to jail, lost my child. Again, thought I knew everything, [the] lesson came later. Because drugs weren’t so fun. Alcohol wasn’t so fun. And the guys that came along with those things were dangerous. They were dangerous. … But all of these lessons came from me not feeling like I was a regular mom like everybody else.”

The star credits her “bonus children,” Dog’s kids, with teaching her even more. “The most important thing was to keep an open and transparent relationship with all of these children, because having now another woman in their life telling them what to do, the common phrase around our house was, ‘You’re not my mother. You’re not my mom. I don’t have to listen to this.’ You’re right. You don’t. But they mostly did. They mostly did. And it wasn’t an easy transition. … Being a mom is such a serious role that I didn’t really realize how serious it was until I got sick.”

“Once that happens, you start to become painfully aware of how are they gonna make it. Are they gonna make it? Are they strong enough to make it? What can I leave them with? What can I do right now to make sure that they make it? And I’m not gonna say that I’m ever satisfied. … But I will say that I have had an extremely wonderful life. I went to jail. I lost my kids. All those things led me down this wonderful path of Duane ‘Dog’ Chapman. And being Mrs. Dog has been my greatest role.”

There was one lesson she still had to learn, though — and the star seemed to hint that she’s stopped chemotherapy treatment in order to learn it. “I don’t go to God and go, ‘Why did I get cancer?’ … I know why. Because this is the ultimate test of faith. It is the evidence of things hoped for and it is the substance of things not known. … Chemotherapy is not my bag, people. Sorry, that’s not for me. … For me, this is the ultimate test of faith. This is my ultimate lesson.”

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