"I Hope You Find Your Smile"
"But now I come to You, and these things I speak in the world, that they may have My joy fulfilled in themselves." John 17:13
I am a pretty happy person. I strive to walk in the light of Christ; chasing after His will for my life most days and praying for a contentment in who I am in Him. I have an easy smile and I try to keep my mind on the more positive side of things. I love to laugh and be social (except for the times I am an introvert; quiet, reflective tendencies and love of solitude).
As much as I love to think of myself with a happy countenance it was brought to my attention (twenty-three years ago) that I had lost it.
You see, that was during the time Mama was diagnosed with ovarian cancer and my world was turned upside down. Up until then I had prided myself on having a strong faith. I read my Bible daily and prayed about all things. Dana and I were grounded in our church and was raising our boys (then, 9 and 10 years old) according to the Word of God. I was 'doing all the things' I thought to be pleasing unto the Lord, right? Well, when this news reached my ears I fell to my knees. I immediately began to cry out in prayer for my Mama's life and ask anyone who would listen to pray for her. I kept asking God how could this happen?
I can still remember the early morning that she was to go to the hospital to have surgery my sisters and I met at my parents house and right there in their bedroom floor we gathered and went to our knees and clung to Him and each other begging God to take this from her. To heal her and make her body new. The diagnosis was confirmed after the surgery that in fact she did have cancer and would have to undergo chemotherapy.
I know this is my mama's story to tell but I feel I must share from my eyes; what I witnessed and learned about her, myself and my Lord.
For months and months as I watched her have to walk the road that cancer takes one down I cried tears of hurt and pain and uncertainty. I was on the sidelines. I was in the cheering section of the crowd. I plastered a smile on my face in front of her and was as uplifting as I knew how to be but deep down I was scared; I was scared of losing my Mama.
So when our lady's group at church went on our annual retreat I wasn't sure if I would go. I had no energy for happy at that moment in my life until Mama told us girls she wanted to go...so we all loaded up. As I was preparing to meet the group that morning Dana hugged me tight and said, "I hope you find your smile." That broke my heart. I thought I had done so well to mask my pain. I thought I had been the perfect actor in hiding my true feelings behind the facade of a frown turned upside down.
Dana saw through it. He felt it. He knew me better than I knew myself. He had been through losing his Mama to cancer ten years earlier and he knew the thoughts and feelings I was having without me having to say a word. The light in my eyes had gone out and was replaced with watery tears almost at all times of my days.
Mama was so strong. I know she clung to her heavenly Father every minute of everyday. She leaned in hard and in front of us it showed. I was amazed by her fight to live and live well. Every victory she achieved she gave glory to the Lord. She saturated her life with Christ; day and night walking through the words of the Bible for rest and refreshment; healing and peace. She talked about how good God is and it made me realize how distant I was from Him because of the fear I had gravitated toward during this time.
"...He said, "This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God may be glorified through it." (John 11:4)
The weekend of the retreat I found my smile again (genuine and true). Mama gave her testimony that opened my eyes and my heart again to the great God we serve. He showed me who He is even in my doubt and fear and that He is with me in the valleys just like He is with me on the mountain tops. God truly covered her with His feathers and under His wing was her refuge; His faithfulness was and still is her protective shield (Ps. 91:4).
Mama has faced ovarian cancer and won two more times since then (10 years cancer free). I am proud to say I humbly sought the Lord for strength and courage as I watched her fight her battles (so much stronger than the first time). She is a true testimony of a servant of the Lord. She is stronger than she gives herself credit for because she's busy giving credit to her Lord. Praise God!
I love you & He loves you more!
Lord, Thank You for sparing my Mama's life. I pray that my testimony will be as strong and as sure as hers when I face whatever this life has for me. Thank You for showing me how to smile again. You are a good, good Father! I will always praise Your name. Amen.