Christmas is a time to celebrate the birth of our Savior, but Christmas 2011 is one I am ashamed to admit I did not celebrate. I began battling the most treacherous storm of my life during this season.
Sitting by my mom’s side in an unfamiliar cancer center, I heard words so foreign to me I had to have the doctor repeat them, and then spell them for me—“small-cell carcinoma lung cancer.” From the doctor’s grim expression and cautious words, my mom and I knew she had been handed a death sentence.
I armed myself with research and set out to stand by my mom through rounds of radiation, chemotherapy, blood transfusions, and a barrage of tests and paperwork.
I prayed without ceasing, “Please, God. Please heal Momma.”
While I begged God for a miracle, a story began to take root in my heart that became my creative outlet when the reality of losing my mom was too great a burden to bear.
During endless treatments, I shared some of the story with my mom. She made me promise to share it with the world. And I agreed that one day I would, but not right then. At that point, our focus had to be her and her healing.
In spring 2013, God answered my prayer, but not in the way I had envisioned. Rather than healing my mom’s body, he healed her soul, freeing her from the abusive past and sinful life that had held her captive for far too long. That healing was the most precious gift I had received since the birth of my children, for my mom had suffered greatly long before the cancer invaded.
In May 2013, Lulu’s Café was completed. I put the manuscript away for safekeeping and set out to help my mom get her affairs in order before the cancer robbed her of the ability to make decisions. Yes, the cruel disease had rebelled against treatments and had spread.
In summer 2013, I felt devastating pain and anguish I never knew could exist. I had to say good-bye to my mom, and selfishly, I was not ready. Watching her suffer and fade rendered me broken and defeated.
As I held her fragile body during the early evening of September 19, 2013, my mom took her last breath on earth, and I felt my own breath leave me in acute grief.
I fell into that grief for several months, not knowing how to resurface. Life kept going without me. My prayers were now for my own healing, for my heart was broken. The past three years had been all about fighting my mom’s cancer, and now that the battle was over, I felt lost. I begged God to help me move on.
Finally in January 2014, God said it was time to share Lulu’s Café. I was scared and didn’t feel worthy to share it, but I had made my mom a promise. And I intended on keeping it. Through honoring the memory of my mom and through the strength of my heavenly Father, my broken heart slowly began to heal. I know it will not completely heal while I’m still on this earth, but one day . . .
Since sharing Lulu’s Café, an abundance of stories have knocked on my heart’s door and asked to be shared also. They are not perfect stories, for I am not a perfect woman. But as long as God keeps giving me these stories, I promise to share them.
Thank you for reading and helping me keep my promise to my mom.
I am running with patience the race set before me, looking to Jesus, my author, and finisher of my faith.