We are all on a journey. We can choose to allow that journey to draw us closer to our Lord or to tear us apart from Him. My journey at twelve years old made a sudden turn upwards with many twists and turns. I fell many times along the way bruising my knees and needed Christ to come lift me up. Always He has been there holding my hand.
My mother was diagnosed with Malignant Melanoma when I was only twelve years old, and it reoccurred when I was fifteen years old. The doctors gave my Mom six months to live at that time. I was to loose the woman whose hugs and kisses could not be replaced by anyone else. No one could give advice like my mother. I no longer had bruised knees that needed care, but a fragile heart that needed her tender touch and wisdom. My favorite times were sitting over a hot cup of coffee talking with her about the lessons I was learning from Christ, or the struggles I was dealing with. Always a smile would be upon her face as she’d offer up advice.
Months passed into years, cancer never leaving our home for long. Then slowly… over time… the cancer began to make it’s marks upon her body. Scars began to appear as surgery after surgery was needed to remove the cancer that threatened to take her life. Year after year it etched a little deeper into her face, skin, and body. Her posture changed as she suffered through treatments. Losing hair was not foreign. She’d lost her hair numerous times over the years as she continued to fight for her life. What never changed was her bright eyes and smile upon her face.
She walked a long hard road and her faith in God remained fast. He was her rock and stronghold and she had tied her anchor fast to Him. Because of her faith, mine drew stronger. However, in 2012, she was in the worst state I had ever seen her in. She laid in bed almost continually. She grew sores all on her body that caused her constant pain; they even appeared on the soles of her feet making walking a challenge. She would hump over as she made her way slowly down our hallways. The pain shot through her body so deep her bones ached within her. Sometimes cancer treatments can cause effects worse than the cancer itself.
I cried out to God, my faith that had remained solid throughout the years began to waver. My mother held on tightly and fought hard. She wanted to live to see her children grow up. Her five children that she had loved, taught, and cared for were still too young and needed their mother. My youngest sister was only three years old when cancer first broke into our home. It had been ten years and the cancer still threatened to tear down that house. I felt the more she slipped away, the more my faith slipped away. I struggled, cried, and felt like I was losing the battle.
That’s when God came and whispered in my heart. Why was I fighting so hard to keep Mom here on this earth? I realized, my Mom had eyes that looked to her helper and Maker. She had eyes that saw the beyond. I however, had eyes that only saw this world. I wasn’t looking into the next.
I surrendered my Mother into the hands of the One who loved her much deeper than I ever could. I trusted Him that He knew best. He had given me my precious mother and He would take care of her. One month later we received the news that the cancer had disappeared. It was only six months relief, but I knew God was showing me He was the One in control, not cancer. God still hasn’t shown us the end of this journey, but no matter what I know He is good in all things.
I left last July to serve as a missionary for fifteen months in the Dominican Republic. A week after I left, I got the news that Mom was cancer free. Almost one year she has been cancer free!!! I rejoice for this relief. It’s been a rough road but not a day goes by that I don’t rejoice that my Mother is still alive on this earth. She has remained faithful, constantly working to serve others, even in the midst of the trials and pain. Praise for her Savior, is always on her lips. Even in my darkest moments, Mom was quick to worship God. I stood amazed at her steadiness as my own faith was wavering. She raised her hands and thanked God for another day of breath. She taught me each day is a gift that we’ve been given and that gift has a tremendous amount of responsibility.
Will we live this day to help others draw closer to God? Or will we use it selfishly? I pray that if ever I am called to walk as hard of a road as she has walked, I do it with as much grace as she has had. I eagerly look forward to the end of my fifteen months away, where I can once again be wrapped up in her embrace and feel her kisses upon my cheek. In the mean time, I will continue to enjoy our Skype dates as I share with her all that God is teaching me and seeking her advice as trials come. She taught me to lean not upon her, but upon my Savior. However, she remains here to help guide me in that path:)