Okay – buckle up because this is a long one! There is just no good way for me to give you the short version☺ For those of you who have either already heard this story or actually walked on this journey with me, I’m sorry but you are going to hear it again. I will never cease to praise Him and I must share the story with those who have not yet heard.
I have learned that God’s Word is life’s most powerful anchor. It comes to us from the one who gives life and makes our lives meaningful. His Word speaks deeply into our souls and it is what sustains us during life’s most difficult moments.
In 2006, my family found itself stranded somewhere between faith and despair. At 17 months of age, my granddaughter Mia was diagnosed with a stage 4 cancer called neuroblastoma. This cancer affects approximately 65 children per year in North America. Within days we could see the result of large tumors pressing on her eyes and face and we were terrified.
I’ll never forget the day when my 22-year-old daughter and I met with the chief oncologist at McMaster Children’s Hospital for the prognosis report. He used words like, widespread metastasized disease, lesions from the top of her head to the bottom of her feet, the cancer was in her bone marrow – it was everywhere. He said the pathology report indicated only a 10% chance that this cancer would even respond to treatment and then he told us that we should prepare ourselves because she probably would not see her second birthday.
I admit that as I hugged my weeping daughter, I felt defeated; this Doctor had just told us that there was virtually no hope for Mia to recover. But then God’s spirit welled up inside of me and I said, “Dr. Barr you do all that you can medically, and we’re going to trust God for a miracle.” He shook his head and said, “Oh Grandma, this is a pediatric oncology floor, everyone in here wants a miracle.”
I knew in that moment, that this was just the beginning of a battle where we could either cower in fear or stand firm in faith. I remembered two other things that day. One is a magnet on my fridge that says, “Women are like tea bags – you never really know how strong they are until they get into hot water.” Well, we were in some hot water and with the help of our God; we were about to learn just how strong we could become.
The other thing I remembered was the Bible story of a young shepherd boy named David who faced a giant named Goliath. David trusted that that the battle was the Lord’s and he stood firm in faith – knowing that God would deliver Israel. For the next 14 months of in-hospital treatment, my daughter, son-in-law and our entire family banded together to face a giant called cancer and we too stood firm in faith.
Bravery beads are given to oncology patients throughout North America for every needle poke, surgery, blood transfusion etc. In 2006, Mia gathered enough Bravery beads to fill five long necklaces.
• 134 beads represent blood transfusions
• 6 beads represent chemotherapy treatments
• 12 beads represent radiation treatments
• 1 silver bead represents a stem cell transplant at Toronto’s Sick Kids Hospital
It was in the darkest moments that we found our strength in God and in the fact that hundreds of people were accepting the burden to pray fervently for Mia’s Miracle.
During that time, we spent countless hours pouring God’s Word into Mia’s young heart. My cousin gave me a CD of a man reading Scripture and when Mia could hardly speak, she would point to the CD player and say, “man” We quickly realized that she preferred the “man” reading Scripture to other children’s CD’s that we had been playing for her and we began to play the “man” night and day.
We watched as God’s Word literally fed her spirit and miracles began to happen. Little by little tumors began to disappear, her surgeon was able to get the entire primary tumor out of her abdomen, the stem cells they infused into her system created new bone marrow, and she didn’t lose her hearing and her sight as they warned us she could.
Today, Mia is six years old and in grade one. I’m thrilled to tell you that she is completely free from cancer (Thank you JESUS!). Her oncologists say there is no medical explanation and they continue to be amazed every 6 months when her tests come back clear.
Yes, she is still listening to the “man” reading Scripture to her at bedtime and she is a living testimony to what God can do when we stand firm in faith – not just believing what we can see, but knowing what we believe about God and the amazing promises found in His Word.
I’d love to hear from you! If there’s a time in your life where God has intervened in a miraculous way – share your journey and inspire others in the process!
Part two of Mia’s Miracle – A Silver Lining will follow on Monday.