Yesterday, one of my coworkers, Chris, told me her mother’s 35 year breast cancer survival story. It was so encouraging to hear. I doubt Chris knew how much her story inspired me and boosted me up. Thanks, Chris!
Brad was a man who work with my dad at Colorado Interstate Gas Company (CIG). He was severely burned over most of his body because of a welding incident at the plant causing an explosion. Today, he speaks about safety. I watched part of one of his speeches and that gut-wrenching feeling similar to the one I felt more than 20 years ago sat at the bottom of my stomach for a bit before I recognized God was showing me another miraculous survival story.
I’ve followed a family who went from having a toddler named Sophie to her being diagnosed with a type of incurable brain cancer called DIG. I read as they loved her each moment of each day until she left this earth. Her mom has survived each day without her by celebrating the 3 years of her life. She’s an amazing example of a survivor.
My friend, Elisa, and I both have cancer. They have different names and are in different places. Her dad is also fighting leukemia. We talked about how cancer patients in the thick of cancer survive each day from one hour to the next at times. We’d all like to shout “I’m a survivor!” once we are deemed cancer free, but the reality is we are survivors every day we don’t let cancer or treatments for cancer beat us down to nothing. My oldest sister, Cindy, tried to get me to see this months ago, but I failed to understand her at the time. Maybe that’s because my conversation with her was during the yucky days following AC chemo when my brain wasn’t working so well.
Those of us surviving medically tragic events aren’t the only survivors of the world. Most of us could call ourselves a survivor of something. I know people who’ve survived awful home lives and relationships and became better people because of it. I know people who can say they survived their teen years by a miracle. Many of them scraping heaven’s gates by thin margins. There are years when teachers barely survive a school year without mental breakdowns. I’m sure this happens in other careers too. I just can’t personally speak of them because I haven’t walked in their footsteps.
Many of us have had moments when life has required us to be stronger than we’ve ever been before, and we pray we’ll never have to be again. These trials bring many of us closer to God and change our lives for the better. Our perspectives are often changed forever. We all seem to have a bigger fight inside of us and we become eager to try and keep others from making the same mistakes we did or struggling through things we feel we can help them through. God uses our tragedies as testimonies of His greatness.
This makes me think of one of my favorite verses in the Bible: Romans 5:3-5 – Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.