On September 3, 2007, a few months after I joined CB, I wrote a blog entitled God Is Bigger. In that blog I shared about my cousin Diane who has a rare cerebrovascular disorder called Moyamoya Disease.
Life had been tough. About 20 years ago, her husband abruptly left her leaving her to raise their five young children, three of whom were special needs children which they had adopted. Despite her anger, hurt, despair and confusion, she set her eyes on God and kept on running.
Diane had a dream. She had started taking some college courses at the local community college prior to her illness. She worked and went to school as much as she was able but her two youngest children required most of her time and attention. Still, she kept on running.
Then disaster struck. She suffered multiple strokes and nearly died on several occasions as doctors tried to figure out what was going on. At one time, they thought she had MS but they were wrong. Finally, after being airlifted to the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN, the problem was diagnosed. Her two oldest children, now in college, took turns driving over 200 miles from their home in Iowa so that one of them would always be by their mother's side during her hospitalization. The other one would care for the younger children. I happened to be in Rochester during the "changing of the guard" and told them I was so thankful for the care they were giving their mother. They both looked at me and simply said, "She's our mom." It was obvious that serving her was not a chore, it was a joy.
The surgeries were successful in stopping the strokes but permanent brain damage had occurred and the things we take for granted became a challenge. However, Diane never lost sight of her dream. She wanted to return to school and finish what she started. She kept her eyes fixed on her goal, never giving up on her dream.
She was eventually able to return to school but it wasn't easy. She persevered over the years until she had only one class left to pass. It was a math class. Math had never been her strong point and now, because of the injuries she had sustained from her illness, it was even more of a challenge. She failed it time and time again but still she persevered. She refused to give up.
Two days ago, I drove 250 miles to attend her graduation. She was not at the top of her class. She did not graduate with honors. However, I believe that very few people have ever worked harder to obtain their Associate of Arts degree and I doubt that any other graduate was prouder.
The race that we run as Christians is not an easy one. There are temptations that we face and obstacles that we must overcome. The Holy Spirit will train us and equip us to run this race and run it well but He will not run it for us. It is up to us to listen and obey. It is up to us to run the race with perseverance, keeping our eyes set on Jesus Christ, the author and finisher of our faith.
Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
What a remarkable accomplishment!
How proud you, her children, and all who know and lover her must be; this is a wonderful example of how true it of God's "grace" being sufficient for us.
"She was not at the top of her class. She did not graduate with honors. However, I believe that very few people have ever worked harder to obtain their Associate of Arts degree and I doubt that any other graduate was prouder."
Yes! I applaud her valiant efforts.