When it comes to my kids, my fears and worries seem to always be fighting for center stage in my mind. It’s a constant battle I fight, each day, trying to make sure I don’t let those fears cripple my true destiny as a mother or stifle the potential of my children. I worry about everything from scraped knees, bumped heads and stuffy noses, all the way to broken bones, car accidents and serious illness.
September is Childhood Cancer Awareness month, and it got me thinking how childhood cancer has directly affected me and how I could be a part of bringing more awareness to others. That’s when I knew I wanted to write about my dear friend Mindi: a beautiful wife, mother of three boys, loyal friend and amazing local business owner. When I think about mothers who inspire me, she comes to the forefront of my mind because as I sit at home fearing the worst for my kids, she’s living the reality of those fears.
This year, the doctor gave her and her husband the devastating news: their sweet 3 year old son Brody (who was 2 at the time) had cancer. Anaplastic Large-Cell Lymphoma was the diagnosis. It’s been a little over 6 months since that day and yet through it all, she inspires me with her strength and unwavering faith. Her dedication to her family is something I’ll remember for a very long time.
Oddly enough, childhood cancer was never something I thought much about until Brody, and it made me wonder, if I were ever faced with a doctor telling me my child had cancer, how would I deal? Would I or could I be as strong as she has been? Or would I crumble under the pressure and devastating news?
Mindi found out first hand life as a mother can change in a blink of an eye. One minute, we were having a fun-filled play date. All our kids playing without a worry in the world. The biggest fear we faced that day as moms was what we would fix all of them for lunch! What seemed like the next minute (but in fact was a few weeks after this photo was taken), Mindi found out her precious boy Brody, would begin the biggest fight of his life.
I have had the pleasure of spending some quality time with this precious family since the diagnosis, and let me say that the strength, unshattered faith, love and joy I have seen each time I am around them has been one of the most impacting influences of my life. Don’t get me wrong, this family is in the trenches right now. Strength is matched daily with unyielding exhaustion. Their faith is tested each time they look at their sick boy; their love and joy is also matched with Brody’s horrible effects of chemo and steroid treatment. But they keep on choosing to fight each day, to keep their head above water and to give God praise for another day with their boy. Mindi recently wrote these amazing and honest words on her online journal.
“We are thankful to be slowly making progress in our mental struggle. For such a long time we have lived in shock – is this really happening to our son? Are we going to wake up and this just be a bad dream? Will this crazy cycle EVER end? Now, I feel myself turning a corner in my heart. This IS my life. It’s not going away. I’m learning to live in my story. And maybe the most important thing we are thankful for is the realization that life has no guarantees. But seriously, we looked at our boys tonight as we prayed, kissed goodnight, laughed a little, sang a little, tried to get them to stop laughing and SLEEP…and we just thought “how blessed are we to share joy with these little guys?” With or without cancer, we never know when our time will come… So (more than ever) we treat each day so intentionally, each thought, each conversation, each activity, etc. And realizing all at the same time – with or without cancer – nothing is a guarantee. Our only guarantee is a hope in a future beyond this life. Thank you Jesus!”
Yes, you read that correct, she’s thanking Jesus. Because she knows He’s good. Despite all the bad, He is good and her hope comes from Him and is in Him. Brody is such a brave boy and has gone through more than anyone could ask of such a little one. He is now half way through his year long treatment plan, and we can only hope and pray that remission is at the end of this long road.
When faced with such adversity and devastating news, will I have the grace, faith and strength as Mindi does? I can only pray I am never tested. But I am sure many of you out there have been. The inspiration I draw from Mindi’s strength and story is something I will hold close to my heart.
If faced with your greatest fear, how do you think you would respond? Have you been tested?