Friday, June 24, 2011

Her Story: Christina

Hey all!

I'm so excited to get this series going! I can't even begin to try and explain all the joy that you all how brought to me! The comments on my story were so encouraging and I am blown away by how many of you want to share your story! You're all going to be such a light!

This week Christina from Brown Town is our guest! As soon as your done reading her amazing story, go pop over to her blog! She's a really gifted writer and has so much to share! God is doing some amazing things in her life and I'm so blessed to call her a friend! So with no more blabbing from me, here's her story.

When I was two years old, before I even knew what the word meant, my Granny was diagnosed with cancer.

Little did I know the huge impact this would have on my life. Now, let me tell you a little bit about my family. My grandmother (my mom’s mom) was the happy string that held us all together. We have strong, but quiet women in my family, each with her own personality and influence. My Granny was the type of woman who did not have an easy childhood, but who made the best out of every situation. Anyone who knew her would describe her as a selfless warrior who touched many, many lives. She was small in stature, but large in influence. You can kind of get the picture of the type of woman I am speaking of.

Now, back to the story. When I was two, Granny was diagnosed with cancer. She also battled Myasthenia Gravis, a neuromuscular disease that often left her fatigued and weak. I spent almost every afternoon at my Granny’s house, being that she lived less than 10 minutes away and I went to school right behind her house. I remember her warm hugs, sweet encouragement, and willingness to live. She wanted to fight, she wanted to live life. Even though she was weak I still remember her running after our car as we would leave her house after a game of Kick the Can. This was the type of fighter she was.

For nine years, Granny battled cancer. Radiation left her scarred, chemo left her frail, but cancer did not leave her defeated. She still lit up the room and touched lives wherever she went. When I was 11 years I old I was riding in my dad’s little Ford truck, my hat on, glove in hand on my way to a softball game when my dad’s phone rang. I knew something was wrong, but didn’t think too much about it. Next thing I knew, we took a detour and ended up at my Granny and Popaw’s house. My mom and dad told me that I needed to come see Granny. When I got up to the room, all I remember is seeing her lying in the bed looking very sick. She was not herself. I crawled up into the bed, where I had spent many sleepovers, and gently kissed her on the cheek and told her I loved her. I knew something was wrong but I did not realize that my world would be shattered that night.

My dad and I headed on to my game. I have no idea if we won or lost that night because on the way home my dad’s phone rang again. I could hear my mom yelling through the phone and saw a single tear roll down my dad’s cheek. Now, my dad is not an emotional man. He’s a man’s man, so I instantly knew something terrible had happened. He hung up the phone and looked at me from the driver’s seat of that little truck and said “She’s gone”. Being eleven years old, I was hurt, defeated, sad, at a loss, but I knew that my Granny was in Heaven with Jesus. I remember saying as I sat on the couch with a green popsicle in hand “at least we know she’s in a better place”. Little did I know the work that God would do in my heart later that year.

I grieved, boy did I grieve. The spontaneous grief took hold as I took swim team pictures and as I rode to school, but I continued to live life. That summer I went to church camp, the same camp my church went to ever summer the week before school began again. The last night, as tradition holds, we all hiked to the top of the mountain for a bonfire service. That night I felt God move in my heart. Telling me that Granny wanted me to live life to the fullest, as she had. He wanted me to use her legacy and take reign of the influence she placed on my life, to follow her faithfulness. That night, as an eleven year old girl, I walked up to one of the youth leaders and accepted Christ as my Savior as the fire burned in the background.

My life took a new path that night. Fast-forward 3 years, I was 14 and on a mission trip in Jacksonville, FL. I had spent the week helping to run a day camp for underprivileged children and youth. I remember one night at service the speaker talked about Walking the Walk and Talking the Talk when it comes to your faith. I knew I was saved and that God was using my life to influence youth and children and that this was the path for me, but I had not taken the step to be baptized. That Sunday after we got home I walked down the long red aisle to the front of my Southern Baptist church and asked to be baptized. A few weeks later I was. As a two year old I never knew the impact my Granny’s diagnosis would have on my life.

God uses unexpected and sometimes awful circumstances to speak to others through you. My Granny’s life was a testament of faith and I know I am not the only one she changed. I pray that God would use my story, just as He used hers to touch the lives of children and youth. God has continued to move in my life and I pray that I will never forget the impact my Granny had on my life and the potential impact I can have on others through my tongue and actions. My story is nothing out of the ordinary, but it is the story that changed my heart forever. Remember, your story is your own to do what you want with. When you have someone in your life who influences you through their story, carry it with you and weave it into something beautiful in your own life to write your own story.

Thanks friends for letting me share something so personal and I hope it encourages you today to take the reins of influence and run with them into something great.

{if you'd like to share your story please email:}


Annie said...

"God uses unexpected and sometimes awful circumstances to speak to others through you." so true. what a legacy your grandmother left! thank you for sharing it with us, Christina!

Anonymous said...

I am so sorry for what your grandmother, you and your family had to go through in battling with the cancer. But I am so touched by what you have shared. And I am so grateful that the Lord uses all things for good for those who love Him and who are called according to His will.
Thank you for sharing.

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