Strong Will, Strong Mind, Strong GodNov 30, 2023
God's Warrior Woman ~ Rachael's Story
"You’re the strongest woman I know,” I texted my mom during her hospital stay for a stem cell transplant. She lives in a different state, so I cannot be with her as much as I’d like. I’d recently returned from an in-person visit that coincided with the beginning of her time in the hospital, and the chemotherapy treatments to prepare her body for the stem cells to be placed back into her body had just begun.
Before I entered her room each day, I was required to dress in a protective gown that covered my body, a face mask, and rubber gloves because her body excreted the chemo, and it was unhealthy for the chemical to get on me.
I was amazed that what couldn’t even touch my skin was filling her veins. She was required to take showers three times a day, and the nurses changed her gowns and sheets each time to minimize the contamination. The nurses disposed of all the linens and protective gowns they wore each time they entered the room in a hazardous container.
With each new chemo bag, we knew she would continue to feel worse—losing her energy, weight, hair, appetite, and immunity—but also gain hope of recovery and healing because of her medical care.
I could only stay four of the nineteen days she had to remain in the hospital. I got the best of her time there because it was at the beginning of her treatments. Despite the dismal situation and surroundings, we had a wonderful time together. Since we don't live in the same community, and now that my brothers and I are all married with children, the two of us can rarely spend such quality time together alone.
We didn’t read or turn on the television. We simply sat and talked as my mom rested in her bed or recliner. We had nowhere to be, no errands to run, no chores to tend to
(other than what the nurses gave her to do), and no agenda. We had the space to be present with each other and have conversations about life.
We shared memories, fears, and hopes for our future. I find it remarkable that while being cooped up in a place we didn’t want to be, with a diagnosis we didn’t want to face, and while receiving treatments that made her feel terrible, we could still enjoy sharing hospital-made meals, working puzzles in a window seat, taking walks in the hallways, making new friends with nurses, and finding ourselves overcome with laughter.
Well, I should say: it was easy for me to enjoy. Being with my mom was a joy, and I felt good. I am healthy. She is the one being poked and prodded and in pain. And yet, she’s making the most of the cards she’s been dealt, intentionally choosing to do so because she wants to live.
My mom’s situation makes me think about when Jesus saw an invalid man lying near the pool of Bethesda in John 5. The man had been disabled for thirty-eight years.
Before his healing, Jesus asked him, “Do you want to get well?” This seems like a strange question. Of course, the man would want to get well, right?
But was he willing to do what it took to get well?
He needed to get up, pick up his mat, and walk (John 5:8). Yes, he needed Jesus for his healing, but he also had to make a conscious decision to move.
To get well beings with a desire and a willingness to do what it takes to get well ~ physically, spiritually, and emotionally.
I wonder if God is asking us the same question today.
Whatever you are battling, do you want to get well? Doing so begins with a desire and willingness to do what it takes to get well—physically, spiritually, and emotionally.
My mom isn't healed yet and faces a long road ahead. It was difficult to leave her on day five, knowing she had fourteen days to endure in the hospital and even more at home to recover.
Each day I check on her, she always responds honestly but positively. On one of the days when I messaged her, she responded with a picture from the window of her room, looking out at the horizon.
The photograph featured the concrete walls of the buildings and a muted orange sunset. She typed, “It is not a gorgeous sunset, but it made me smile. I’m feeling happy.”
Reading her words convicted me. How often do I take a sunset for granted from the comfort of my home when I feel perfectly healthy?
When my family is safe and all is well, I forget to be grateful, or even worse, I grumble and complain about something I wish was different.
I’m so proud of my mom for “giving thanks in all circumstances” (1 Thessalonians 5:18) and maintaining a positive outlook.
Because while her battle has been physical, it has also been equally brutal and taxing on her mental health. That is why it is essential to saturate ourselves in the truth of God’s Word so negative thoughts don't crowd our minds.
Jesus sees your pain and is available to help. Hear him say, “Do you want to get well?” How will you respond?
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Author of A Little Goes a Long Way and host of The Love Offering podcast Rachael Adams hopes to help women realize their God-given purpose and significance. She and her husband, Bryan, live in
Kentucky with their two children, Will and Kate. Her work has been featured on Good Morning America, Crosswalk, Proverbs 31, Today Parenting, and YouVersion.
Connect with her by visiting rachaelkadams.com, by searching @rachaeladamsauthor on social media, and by tuning in to The Love Offering podcast every Tuesday on your favorite listening platform.
Enjoy a 31-Day Devotional by Rachel, You are Who You Say I AM.
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