Breast Cancer Stole My Sister

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Hey friends! It’s been a week or two since I’ve been on here. Life has been pretty busy! Fall is officially upon us- school activities are in full swing. As we celebrate the cooler temps and prettier colors, I have also been mindful of what October represents: Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Many of you know about my story of losing my sister to this awful disease. (Check it out here!)

While reflecting on this loss, I was compelled to write something in honor of her that brings awareness on the effects of breast cancer as well. Please hop over to Her View From Home and give it a read. It wasn’t easy for me to write but it was necessary for my healing journey. I encourage you to give it a try: writing brings healing in a very tangible way.

The National Breast Cancer Foundation says, “One in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime.” That’s like one gal in your mama tribe or one neighbor in your running club. One in eight means that every single one of us is already or will be eventually affected by this monster of a disease.

Do you know someone fighting this battle? Are you walking through it? Remember: you are never alone. Thanks for reading my personal story- there are so many other stories out there that deserve our attention as well. Go find one and read it today. Better yet, go write one. Your story matters.

Click here: Breast Cancer Stole My Sister

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The Best Big Bro Ever

Romans 8:29 says, “For God knew His people in advance, and He chose them to become like His Son, so that His Son would be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters.”

Take a minute and really read the verse above. Let it sink in for a second.

Jesus is our big brother.

This is such a simple yet profound concept. It struck me right in the heart as I was reading my Bible plan today. You see, I am the oldest of three sisters. I have felt the sting of losing a sibling way too early in life.  And my baby sister just had her first child yet I couldn’t be there. We live many states apart and the distance makes it difficult to be actively involved in each other’s lives. Both the loss and the separation are extremely hard for me to deal with some days.

Can you imagine how hard these things are for our big brother, Jesus? He has to deal with loss and separation ALL THE TIME.

Those that turn away from Him because of the harshness of this world. 

Those that reject the free gift of family He offers and choose to do life on their own.

Loss. Separation. My whole perception of family changes when I think of it like that.

I have always cheered my sisters on. I have always tried to lead them down good paths. That’s what big sisters do. Don’t we all want someone rooting for us? Don’t we all need an example to follow?

But I have failed many times in my efforts to love them well. I have fought with them over hair dryers and clothes. I have chosen my own comfort over their well being. I have made bad choices that they saw and sometimes chose as well. I am, at most, a flawed big sister who has always wanted the best for my siblings but didn’t always get it right.

The amazing thing is: Jesus doesn’t mess up. He is the best big brother a kid could have. He fights for us not against us. He sacrificed physically, mentally, and spiritually so that we could live a life of freedom. He only chooses what’s in our best interest. He never leads us down a trail of mistakes or mishaps.

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He is all we could ever want in a big brother. And more.

For those of you who have felt loss and separation in your families- Jesus truly understands. He hurts with you.

For those of you who have never had an older sibling to watch out for you and lead you well- He can be that for you. Jesus is the most overprotective brother you could have.

For those of you who are the oldest in your tribe and have had to carry extra responsibility- Jesus wants to take that burden off your shoulders and carry it for you. He has super strength!

He’s holding up a big foam finger right now and screaming,  “You’re number 1! You’re number 1!” Can you see Him?

Ask Him to make the heartwarming truth of His brotherly love real to you today.

Rise Up

This past week has been full of tears as I have reflected on the 34 years of memories that I have with my dear sister, Melody. She fought a 3 year battle with breast cancer and it took her life last Sunday.Who she was as a wife, mother, daughter, sister, and friend speaks volumes to the brave and beautiful warrior spirit that God had placed within her.

As I was watching television with my husband last Friday night, the song “Rise Up” by Andra Day began playing at the end of one of our favorite shows. I had never heard it before but something in me needed to hear it. I did not know what was to come within the next two days but it’s like God gave me an opportunity to be prepared through this song.

I listened to it non stop before I found out about my sister, on the flight home as I let the sad news sink deeply into my heart, and throughout the following week as funeral plans were made. And I can’t get past the meaning of the words.

You’re broken down and tired
Of living life on a merry-go-round
And you can’t find the fighter
But I see it in you so we gonna walk it out
And move mountains
We gonna walk it out
And move mountains

And I’ll rise up
I’ll rise like the day
I’ll rise up
I’ll rise unafraid
I’ll rise up
And I’ll do it a thousand times again
And I’ll rise up
High like the waves
I’ll rise up
In spite of the ache
I’ll rise up
And I’ll do it a thousands times again
For you

When the silence isn’t quiet
And it feels like it’s getting hard to breathe
And I know you feel like dying
But I promise we’ll take the world to it’s feet
And move mountains
We gonna walk it out
And move mountains

And I’ll rise up
I’ll rise like the day
I’ll rise up
I’ll rise unafraid
I’ll rise up
And I’ll do it a thousand times again
For you

All we need, all we need is hope
And for that we have each other
And for that we have each other
We will rise
We will rise
We’ll rise, ohh ohhh
We’ll rise

Melody has risen up PERMANENTLY. She is alive and well in the presence of our Savior, Jesus Christ. No more falling down for my sweet sister ever again. How grateful I am for this truth. The lyrics are also a call to action for the rest of us here on this very lost and desolate place called earth. We have a mandate to rise up against all odds and testify to the goodness of God no matter what. We have an opportunity in the middle of pain and loss to stand tall on the foundation of God’s unfailing love. To speak out above the noise of chaos in a voice that resonates with hope.

So, I write this from a place of honor for my sister and the legacy of faith she left for others to follow. There is no other option than to rise up. I will not let earthly sorrow keep me from having a heavenly perspective.

Until we meet again, my lovely sister… #riseup

(photo credit: Sunrise Yabucoa, Puerto Rico via photopin (license))

There is Hope

Life has come crashing down. And your life has flown away.

I don’t have the words but my heart knows what to say.

I don’t have the words but my voice knows what to sing.

I don’t have the words but my soul knows what to feel.

Despite the pain, this is what I do have:

HOPE. Always. Because of you, sister, I will never question it again.

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” – Romans 15:13

#thereishope