In honor of Mother’s Day, here’s a truly inspiring story…
“You have six weeks to live,” the doctor announced after Sandy returned from surgery. “We found cancer of the cervix, uterus, colon, and a small portion of the stomach. I’m sorry. There’s nothing we can do.”
“I was only 29-years-old,” said Sandy, “when I was sent home with that devastating prognosis, but my primary doctor wasn’t ready to give up so easily. He contacted the Mayo Clinic and found a surgeon who was willing to operate and try to remove the cancer. In fact, he was persuaded to postpone a vacation until I could get there for the surgery.”
The operation lasted five and a half hours. Sandy’s liver quit functioning, and she was in very critical condition.
Sandy said, “The pain was nearly unbearable because they couldn’t give me pain medication due to the liver failure. I started reciting the Lord’s Prayer that I had known since childhood. It was the first time I had prayed in years. The prayers were said out of a sense of fear and physical pain, not out of any sense of acknowledgment of God or praise. I didn’t care enough about my own life at that point. I didn’t care if I lived or died.”
Sandy was raised as a Christian, but fell away from the church as a young adult. She was at one of the lowest points in her life when she was diagnosed with cancer, struggling with various addictions and a plethora of personal problems brought on by that lifestyle.
She said, “My mother was a very prayerful, Godly woman. I was in the hospital for twenty days. She stayed with me day and night, holding my hand and praying while I fought for my life. My most vivid memory of that time was a picture of Christ on the wall opposite my bed—the familiar side view of the face of Jesus with his eyes looking upward. Every time I opened my eyes, that picture of Jesus comforted me. I thought it was the most beautiful picture I had ever seen.”
As Sandy told her story, she said something profound that she had never thought about before: “It was just the three of us in that hospital room—me, my mother, and Jesus.”
Throughout her rebellious years, two people never gave up on Sandy—her mother and Jesus. It was easy for Sandy to see that her mother was always there for her. It was more difficult for her to see that Christ, too, was always there, through the good times and the bad. It was no accident that the picture of Christ hung on the wall opposite her bed to remind her of his constant presence.
Sandy’s miraculous recovery occurred 40 years ago, a time when cancer survival rates were much lower than they are today. She experienced complete recovery physically, but her spiritual comeback was much slower.
“I didn’t make a complete turnaround in my life immediately,” she said. “I still had a lot of personal struggles to deal with, but I can definitely look back on that time and see that my mother’s prayers and that picture of Christ brought me back to Him.”
God used that crisis to change the direction of Sandy’s life. She became a mental health counselor, who works with clients of drug and alcohol abuse. She often quotes this Scripture to them:
Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith.
** This story is adapted from Diane Pearson’s book, God in the Midst of Grief: 101 True Stories of Comfort, © 2011, Carpenter’s Son Publishing, Franklin, TN.
Oh, the power of a mom’s prayers. Let’s focus on these words…
Lift up your hands to him for the lives of your children.
And let’s keep praying!
God certainly honors those prayers lifted up for our loved ones.