Talk of heroes is in the air. With the Olympics being aired on TV every night and the news abounding with stories of gifted athletes who have worked and sacrificed to gain their prize, children and adults everywhere are captivated by those they consider to be heroes. Our family has enjoyed watching some of the Olympic events and has cheered for our country as the US athletes have competed to win the gold. While the things these athletes have accomplished are worthy of honor, I’d like to tell you about my real hero.
Today I held my mother’s hand and prayed with her as she entered the hospital to face surgery with a somewhat uncertain outcome. The doctors had strongly recommended a hysterectomy for her, due to the discovery of a polyp that was unreachable by less invasive surgery. Because of her history of cancer, they felt that leaving the polyp was not a safe option in case it, too, was cancerous. It was decided that a hysterectomy would be performed, and then a biopsy done while she was under the anesthesia. If the polyp were indeed cancerous, a cancer surgeon would be summoned to do further surgery to remove lymph nodes and other tissues to try and remove all the cancer. When Mom went to sleep, she did not know if she was facing a simple hysterectomy or the beginnings of another battle against cancer. Seven years earlier, my mother courageously battled breast cancer with more grace and serenity than I have ever seen. She came out on the other side of her cancer experience with an even deeper faith and a peace about the future, whatever it held. Her attitude became, “As long as God is in control, whatever happens will be okay.” Mom never wavered in her confidence that God is good and that she was safe in his hands.
Shortly after getting the all clear on her breast cancer, Mom took a terrible fall and broke her shoulder. This time she endured two painful surgeries and long recoveries, again without complaint. She worked hard at her physical therapy, in spite of the pain it caused her, and clung tightly to her belief that God uses all things for good. Instead of becoming bitter at her string of misfortunes, she persevered and praised God for all the good things He brought her, such as friends who loved and cared for her, and a continued clean report from the cancer doctor.
My whole life, my mother has been a shining example of a godly woman. The first time I heard the phrase “steel magnolia”, I knew it was talking about her. While she is a demure, sweet-spirited woman, don’t be fooled…there is a core of pure steel. Her strength is not about loudness or getting her own way, it’s about not being moved by the storms of life. It’s about never bending to evil, never giving up on those she loves, and never wavering from her faith in the One who made her. I hope someday my children will look on me with the respect and devotion I hold for her.
After an hour-and-a-half of surgery, the doctor came out to report that the news was all good. Once again, God has taken care of my mother and her surgery report was cancer-free. Once again, my beautiful mother has suffered pain without complaint. She is recovering at home now and counting the days until she can return to her normal routine of blessing others instead of being on the receiving end. If there is a gold medal for grace under fire, I’d like to nominate my mother.
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