Last week, I went to visit family in Arizona. My dad was scheduled for surgery, and I wanted to keep him and my mom company during their hospital stay and home recovery.


As we walked through the hospital doors, I felt completely comfortable. The corridors, procedures, and people were all very familiar to me, even though I am a non-medical type person.


I escorted my parents through the admissions process, then to pre-op. After we prayed for my dad, and kissed him goodbye, my mom and I waited in the post-op lounge. The hours passed slowly, while memories of other hospital visits filled my mind.


I remembered a phone call 5 years earlier. Our world was rocked with the devastating news that our 17 year old niece, Kelsey, had a brain tumor. (Click the link to read more). Surgery was scheduled for the next day. We rejoiced when we learned the tumor was benign. Still, after her recovery, our precious brown-eyed, brown-haired girl did not get better. She endured several more surgeries. With many hours, days, and weeks spent, off and on, in the hospital. Life for my sister-in-law and her dear daughter would never be the same. 


Since then, I have watched everything change in the lives of these lovely ladies. Their home, modes of transportation, jobs, lifestyle, expectations, and dreams all took a drastic turn. Yet, through it all, I have witnessed them grow stronger, more grace-filled, and deeper in their faith than ever before.


Life gave my niece and her mommy more than they ever bargained for, more than they could possibly handle. Yet, God has been with them! And, He has used these two amazing women to model to me (and many others) how to turn trials into triumph, adversity into victory, and fears into faith. I have marveled at their:


Sense of Humor - I know there have been moments of tension, toil, and tears. Nonetheless, these two keep telling jokes, laughing, smiling and finding the silly, fun, and joyful treasures in their lives. One of my favorite memories is when my niece named her surgeon, “Dr. Shark,” because a scar he left looked like a shark bite.


Steady Hope - I know they have cried out, and probably even screamed, questions like, “Why?" "Why me?" "Why us?" "If only?" "What if?” Nevertheless, as I have watched their faith stretched and tested in excruciating ways, their hope has consistently grown and flourished despite the hardest, most painful, and often inexplicable circumstances. And through it all, they continue to reach out to, love and serve others around them, even in the midst of their hardest days.  


Strong Determination - Kelsey's dreams of college, travel, and independent living have been put on hold, for now. But, she and her mom passionately pursue and press forward with all that they can do! Swimming, singing and online school are just a few of the things that fill Kelsey's days. Plus, these two wonderful girls continue to frequent the theatre, movies, and the gym, as well as enjoy music, games, art, and even mani/pedi's whenever they can. Together they are a great team! In fact, this past year, we are rejoicing as Kelsey gradually regains her strength and health. 


After my dad's successful surgery, I went to visit Kelsey and her mom. They are my heroes! Daily they model to me the way to live a victorious life, even when life gives us more than we can handle. I hope their story inspires you! And, I ask for you to keep them in your prayers!