I have been praying for an acquaintance for the last year who has been battling cancer. I have prayed for her young children, her husband and I have begged God to heal her.  I fully believe that in a split second God could remove that cancer completely. I know that isn’t how it typically goes, but all we are called to do is pray and ask (not question and doubt). I also have prayed that if that is not the plan, that somehow God will give this family the strength, courage and peace that only He can give in this unimaginable situation (Phil. 4:6-7).  I don’t have any idea what that looks like, but I have asked God for that almost every single day for the past year and so have many, many other prayer warriors.  It is hard to imagine what it must be like for this woman (I’ll call her, My Hero) and for her family, but yesterday God gave me a glimpse into who My Hero is and He reminded me that He does answer prayers in His ways, in His time, sometimes publically, but usually very privately. 

Yesterday a mutual friend of mine told me she ran into My Hero at the store.  My friend was shocked to see My Hero out since she is so ill, weak and frail.  When I asked my friend how My Hero was, my friend said, “She was doing really well.”  She was doing really well?  The doctors stopped treating her at the end of the summer after nothing was working.  She is a mother and a wife and the prognosis is not good. She was doing really well?  My friend told me that My Hero forced her family to take her out yesterday because it was too beautiful a day to be inside.  But My Hero could catch something that could make her already struggling body have to struggle more, but My Hero insisted.  My Hero saw a purse while shopping recently that was so adorable that she made her husband get it for her and she was so excited about it.  Yes ladies, you can call her Your Hero now too. 

You know what I did yesterday?  I rushed my kids out the door to school.  I went to work for a while, came home, cleaned my house and complained about it almost the entire afternoon.  I then threw together dinner (but complained about that in my head because I had forgotten all about dinner so had to get it together in 20 minutes).  I rushed to grab kids from school, rushed to get my stuff for my class and rushed my daughter to volleyball.  You know what I didn’t do yesterday?  Notice what a beautiful day it was outside.  I didn’t stop rushing all day.  I wasn’t thankful for a new day.  I didn’t look at my kids, my husband or my friends and intentionally find joy or have gratitude for the big or the little things. I didn’t live like My Hero does and frankly, I’m a little embarrassed and remorseful about that for a lot of reasons.

“Dear Lord, thank you for My Hero.  Thank you that she is modeling in her struggles what the rest of should be doing all the time.  God, help my self-centered heart that is quick to gravitate to frustration and irritation to slow down.  Help me to appreciate the big and small things.  Help me to find joy when life really is pretty amazing so that when I am faced with tough stuff and it would seem illogical that I would have peace, joy or gratitude, that I would find them in abundance.  You know my prayers for My Hero and her family, Lord.  My heart aches for them.  But Lord, thank you for the reminder that you are answering prayers for them. It isn’t always how we would like it answered perhaps, but I know You are doing more behind the scenes than I will ever know. Thank you most of all that in all of this, you are upholding My Hero with dignity, joy and strength.  In  Your Name (where real hope is found), Amen.”