Matthew West sings a song called "My Own Little World"
2 and a half years ago, this was me. I lived in my own little world with two children and another one of the way. I lived in my little house in Orange, VA only knowing the few people that we talked to at church. I worked my job, often complaining about things, but never attempting to change them. I gave to my church, but usually with a burden of "how will we afford food this week too?" I lived in a world, knowing tragedy and hardship existed , but never experiencing it myself. I loved the Lord, but had no idea how weak my relationship with Him really was. I lived with a husband that would hand the homeless man $10 and it made me cringe because what if that homeless man was a liar and he really had money!
Then God used cancer to open my eyes and shake my world upside down and inside out.
Cancer had never personally affected me. It didn't run in my family, no family members had cancer, I knew of a few cases, but it wasn't "my problem" I never really cared about cancer, especially pediatric cancer, even though I had 2, almost 3 of my own children.
February 2013, cancer became my problem, my family's problem, my friends' problem. It affected me, Richard, our children, our parents, our siblings, our cousins, our aunts and uncles, our friends, our coworkers, our church, our town. All of a sudden I knew what words like hemoglobin, platelets, methotrexate, subcutaneous port and ANC ment. I became aware of just how many different types of pediatric cancers there were and alarmingly aware of the lack of research for some of those cancers.
I learned quickly that pediatric cancer is not profitable, pharmaceutical companies don't make money off pediatric oncology medicines and research, therefore numerous charities and organizations exist to fill the gap that is left. I learned that those who lead the way in these organizations are parents like us, who unfortunately have learned these facts too.
Through Ellie's cancer, God opened my eyes wide. He allowed me to see the amazing things people will do for you when you are in need. He pretty much forced me to accept help from others and to stop trying to do it all myself. I learned quickly, this world is not in my control and it is not all about me or what I want. God taught me how to pray and truly brought me to my knees. I learned that I only need to depend on Him and He will lead the way, opening and closing doors for me. I learned that the cancer world is full of stories of heartache and joy. Amazingly, the cancer world is also full of God. Full of stories of the amazing things God has done, from healing here on earth, to guarding the brokenhearted.
Two and a half years later...my world is much larger, even though we still live in little old Orange, VA. We have friendships now that we never had before. My shy husband now speaks at our church, and has even visited other churches to speak. I still work (and sometimes complain) but my eyes have been opened to how blessed I am to have that job and the motivation to try to help wherever I can. We have experienced tragedy, we have experienced heartache, but more importantly we have experienced God's grace.
As most of you are probably aware, September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. This is my 3rd one being a cancer mom, it doesn't get easier. It's still kinda frustrating to look around and see all these sweet children being diagnosed, to see the same cancer time after time wreck havoc on little bodies. I guess that's what God uses families like mine and others for. To bring about awareness, to raise funds for research to find new medicines and treatments, to raise up little scientists who one day want to find the right medicines. Selfishly, I will admit, I like to hear my daughter's name come out of others' mouths, and maybe that's the wrong motivation at times. God keeps reminding me lately, its not about her (I'm pretty sure I've said that before...I must not be a good listener lately). He didn't put this desire in my heart, so that her name could be heard or her picture seen. He put this there for His Glory, and He's allowed to be selfish! He gets the glory because on every Princess Strong shirt, there's a cross or His name or His word. He gets the glory because we know that without Him, our family wouldn't be functioning very well right now to even be able to raise these funds for charities.
Whoever serves, [let him do it] as one who serves by the strength which God supplies – through Jesus Christ. To him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen. (l Peter 4:11)
I like my little world. I'm still a homebody and would often rather sit around at home with the kids and do nothing. However, I'm grateful for the world that my eyes have been opened to. I like that when we do venture out now, its with a new crew of friends for a new cause. That crew of friends is pretty awesome, because it's a crew that I would never have known had it not been for cancer. It's a cause I would have never cared about, had it not been for Ellie.
Cancer may not be a part of your world right now, it wasn't part of mine 2 and a half years ago, but you never know when it could be. If you haven't done anything for Childhood Cancer Awareness Month and you'd like to, you can visit our CureSearch for Childhood Cancer walk page and make a donation to our team, in honor of your healthy kids or in memory of another. You can also register to walk with us if you'd like to, I'd love to have you part of my little world!
Prayers, Praise and Pink