Today marks the remembrance of two anniversaries.
Forty-five years ago today my mom and my dad said, "I do". Their marriage is a beautiful picture of devotion. Their love for each other and their love for the Lord has been my guide throughout my life.
My mom and dad with the kids
Six years ago today I sat in a waiting room. I went with my mom to a routine appointment. To my surprise, a nurse called my name and asked that I follow her. As I walked briskly behind the nurse trying to keep up, she murmured, "Your mom's test came back positive". Not understanding, I replied, "What?". She said your mother has breast cancer and I thought you might want to sit with her while she waits for the doctor. There is no word that strikes fear more than the word "cancer". We weren't given any immediate prognosis. I don't think my mind would have had the capacity to hear details beyond what I'd already heard.
I was sure our lives would never be the same.
Later that day we sat at my house, much in disbelief with my dad. I can tell you that out of all of the brave souls I know, my mom wasn't one of them. She was cautious. She was a worrier. And she was a very private woman. If I could make a list of attributes describing my mom, her strength would not have been one of them.
No, our hope would lie one who's stronger.
We began to pray and we began to ask others to pray. My mom had surgery and we were glad to hear that the doctor felt confident that radiation would rid her of any remaining cancer. As the cancer was removed from her body, bits of my mother began to chip away...... but not the parts of her you may be thinking.
Her caution turned to a boldness as she made bookmarks for others battling cancer. Where once she was ruled by worry , I watched a greater faith spring up. She was no longer the private woman I once knew. She shared her own battle and made herself available to listen to others. As I had imagined, our lives have never been the same.
At one point I told my mother she had went from being a "worrier" to a "prayer warrior".
She's been cancer free for five years now; every member of our family touched by the experience. But more importantly, we've been touched by God who brings beauty from ashes.
As you probably know, butterflies are a symbol of hope and resurrection for those touched by cancer. These pictures of Hallie- at a tree covered in butterflies- was taken on the day we found out my mom had cancer.
Pink is the color specifically for breast cancer, which is what mom had. Hallie, not usually much on the color pink, came out of her room in this get-up. This also was on the day we got the cancer news.
July 28 will always be a date that I reflect on two legacies:
- A blessed life that came from the union of two wonderful people.
- And a strength I hadn't yet known which blossomed from a beautiful
transformation only God can create.
Below is the poem my mom wrote during her cancer treatments.
Worrier to Warrior
When I am not in control of my life
Worry sets in causing much strife.
If my wants and worries, to the Lord I bear,
Will consequences come with answered prayer?
Even when I have a wonderful day,
I’ll worry about troubles coming my way.
Oh what troubles will tomorrow bring?
Will my worries ever change a thing?
Does God want me to worry my life away
Or give my worries to Him when I pray?
Then real trouble touched my life one day
Answered prayer, He took my worries away.
Now the Lord is my strength and my shield.
With the power of the Spirit, I am filled.
My helmet, salvation and my sword, God’s word.
My enemies are powerless when I trust in the Lord.
I’ll follow His commands and His armor I’ll wear
A good soldier of Jesus Christ, I’ll be prepared.
Now when trouble in the distance I see,
Not a Worrier but a Prayer Warrior I will be.
Gaye Griffin Fowler
September 4, 2006
Written during my Cancer Treatments
Is any one of you in trouble? He should pray.
James 5:13 NIV