I was a guest panelist for the St. Louis American Heart Association’s Workplace Wellness Solutions Forum this week. What a wonderful experience to share the budget strategies I have incorporated in the wellness program at my workplace with other human resources and wellness professionals. Our keynote speaker, Aaron Hunnel brought his message of perspective, positivity, passion, and purpose. This humble young man has accomplished much in his young years. An American veteran who served two tours overseas, overcame addiction, has literally climbed several huge mountains, ran an Ironman Marathon with a disabled young woman as his partner, author of the book Upwards, and a successful business owner. His keynote message “There Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” moved many to tears. I sobbed. His authentic message reached home in my heart.
You see I know this woman who has a beautiful soul. She seeks the good in everyone she meets. She loves unceasingly, full of “thank yous”, and affectionate hugs. “See the light in others, and treat them as if that is all you see,” Kirk Weisler is quoted, and this is what this woman lives. And the courage she possesses is like no other I know. This woman has not one but multiple disabling medical conditions. This woman is Rachel, my oldest daughter. I am so proud of the character she has and is. An “all abilities” woman. The battles she has fought and continues to fight are extreme pain with advanced degenerative disc disease and arachnoiditis. Depression, self-pity, “why me”s, “why now”, purposelessness, faithlessness, hopelessness Rachel has fought against too. And this woman warrior has won! Her faith in God has saved her time and time again, and will continue to sustain her. Rachel gives love to family, friends, and strangers because she knows she was created for such as this. Love is sacred, love shared, no holding back.
A few months ago I began this blog dedicated to the warrior woman God has called each of us to be. This necessity to write about this topic came after my daughter, Elisabeth was diagnosed with two forms of breast cancer, stage 1. Within each of us is a fighter, some more pronounced than others. So I am not speaking of a roughneck girl looking for a fight. (Though I believe either one of my daughters, daughters-in-law and their mothers could hold their own if confronted in a physical battle.) With this blog I am speaking about the spiritual, physical, mental, and emotional fight we as woman encounter on a daily basis. And for some that fight is minute by minute of every day. My Elisabeth had such the fight the past 5 months. She told her story on her social media page, not whining and complaining, but injecting faith and the power God gives to fight against fear and the Enemy. The Enemy, cancer lost! After 5 months of chemotherapy and a bi-lateral mastectomy Elisabeth received the pathology report announcing “CANCER-FREE!” The victory is hers!
In my eyes, and many others’ eyes, Elisabeth is Wonder Woman. She endured chemo treatments every 3 weeks, the nausea and zapped energy level that followed for days. Hair and breasts loss. The mind and emotions battled the lies of the Enemy, refused defeat every step of the way. It takes a village to raise a child. And my daughter had a village praying for her, literally hundreds of family, friends, and church groups surrounded her with love and support, and beseeched Our God. And the countless miracles that followed … her husband’s unwavering support … God’s grace extended from her employer, to work when able… strained relationships focused on one thing, Elisabeth’s healing rather than their differences … a clinic of dedicated medical staff … most expenses covered through the healthcare reform mandate … non-insurance covered special bandages left in the mail box during recovery … gift baskets delivered … and most of all the village’s thousands of prayers said on her behalf.
How thankful I am that my Elisabeth has been healed, and continues in the grace of God! From the bottom of my heart, THANK YOU for loving my girl! To God be the glory!
This Woman Warrior writes to share the challenges, battles, and triumph cries of women such as myself and you. This blog has brewed in the 4-part curriculum “Beyond Resilience” I have written for the employees at my full-time human resources job in a local government entity. With the recent news from my daughter, Elisabeth, and the beginnings of her fight against breast cancer, I felt it is time to share words with the whole world what I and so many other women encounter. Elisabeth came from the womb a fighter. A woman warrior. She will beat this damned cancer. She has a legion of angels who surround her, and prayer warriors interceding for a complete healing. It will be Elisabeth’s toughest battle yet in her 32-years of life, but she will win!
The focus of this blog is on women, common and not so common battles we fight as warriors in this world and beyond. These are physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, and vocational battles. We struggle with our health, self-esteem, acceptance, forgiveness, as well as financial and job securities. Real life stuff. This blog is not a political platform to bash political parties or leaders. Nor is it to bash the men folk in our lives. I need men in my life, and I am sure you as well. Oh, how I miss my father today. Our men folk fight their share of battles, too.
We women need each other! We need to stop fighting, malicious gossip, and comparing ourselves to each other. God has made us each unique and perfect. Let us work together towards better purposes. Today I need you to pray for my Elisabeth, her husband, her children, and her supporting family which includes me. Love, faith, and strength unceasing during this battle. A victory cry awaits.
So much to write about in the near and farther future. My Elisabeth may set up your own WordPress blog soon. She wants to share her ups and downs of this battle against cancer, so maybe someone else can learn from her life and words. Elisabeth is a wise woman warrior.