To thrive we all need mentors: people with more life experience than ourselves who can speak encouragement and wisdom into our lives.  I am blessed that I can call my own mother a beloved and faithful mentor in my life.  She raised me to adulthood teaching me, by example, to love Jesus, love learning, and love people.  In adulthood, she continues to be a rock of wisdom and an out-pouring of practical support.  She has never stopped being my mom.  Now, she is grandmother to my children and how blessed they are to have this woman of faith to call Grandma.  I thank God for my mom: that she is still alive and that I can pick up the phone and hear her voice.  Thanks for everything you do, Mom.  For alwaysbeing there and for setting my needs ahead of your own.  I love you.
2 Timothy 1:5 says
“I know that you sincerely trust the Lord, for you have the faith of your mother…and your grandmother.  This is why I remind you to fan into flames the spiritual gift God gave you…”
I want to share with you all the faith of my mother, which is absolutely inspiring (and reflects the faith her own mother, my grandmother, who I was blessed to know for 13 years).  Indeed it has shaped my own faith which in turn will shape my daughters’ and son’s faith. (Beautiful isn’t it!)
Below is a letter my mother wrote this fall to her church documenting God’s goodness through her storm of battling Multiple myeloma (cancer) and experiencing her daughter’s (mine) brain cancer diagnosis.  I requested permission from my mom to share it on my blog to document my heritage of faith and to be able to bless others with the mighty wisdom and encouragement of my mom.
Three years ago today, September 3, 2014 I received the chemo that would hopefully knock out any remaining myeloma cancer cells in my body and in the process knock my immunity to nothing as well.  That was 6 months into my cancer journey. In other words it is 3 years since my stem cell transplant.  One of those situations where simultaneously it seems like yesterday and yet a lifetime ago as well. 
It is also 11 months since they found Cheryl’s brain tumor which would soon thereafter be diagnosed as being an aggressive brain cancer.
I feel like there are things I would like to put on paper about those three years and yet I don’t seem to be able to put anything into a logical sequence so I guess I will just start typing in bullet form and see what happens.  So here goes in no particular order…things I have experienced, things learned, things that are just rattling around in my head.  I make it available for you all to read. Perhaps it will encourage someone. If it gets tedious don’t feel you must read on. 
-It’s not fun having chemo cancer treatments. Stem Cell Transplants are definitely not a piece of cake.  But I’ve been blessed in that they did what they were supposed to do and put me into remission. However, I’m sure those of you who are parents will understand when I say ‘I’d do it all again if that meant we didn’t have to watch our children suffer’. 
-We have much to be thankful for.  Good medical people at the right place at the right time for both myself and especially so for Cheryl.  I believe in Jesus the great physician and I also believe that often he works through the gifts of medicine. 
Wonderful people who continue to pray and support.  When I was first diagnosed we were expecting grandchild #5 (with some people having said they doubted I would see that baby).  He is now 3 and we have 3 more grandchildren born since then approaching 2 years of age.  All healthy happy children.  
I was told at one point I was fortunate to be walking and wore a most uncomfortable neck collar for 4 months, but I do a lot more than just walk even if I can’t do all I did before.  God has allowed me to have enough strength to be a help with Cheryl’s twins when she had her surgery and treatment.  I can’t play soccer with Carmen’s boys but truth be told they would have played circles around me even if I hadn’t been sick so I guess that’s OK.  They also enjoy card and table games which I much prefer!
I’ve been able to ditch all pain medication and control discomfort with rest.
-When I was diagnosed God gave me the verse in Isaiah 26:3 ‘You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast because he trusts in you.
– When Cheryl was diagnosed God gave me the verses in Lamentations 3:22-24 – “His mercies are new every morning’.  They have proved to be truth.  See also the hymn “Great is Thy Faithfulness”.
– Paul the apostle  said God told him ‘my grace is sufficient’.  As I look at our church I know many of the rest of you have been in position to test these words as well. Many of you have walked equally or even more difficult roads.   Isn’t it wonderful that although ‘all we need is Jesus’ he gives us so much more. The community of believers is such a blessing and our church has to be among the best.  I know this was what I kept saying in 2014, but to me God did so much for us when he established the notion of church and having us care for one another.  And you have been faithful, you stood by us all through my active treatment time.  Then when Cheryl was diagnosed you just buckled up and supported with caring and prayers again.  I never heard anyone say we had already used up our quota of prayers.  We can’t begin to thank you enough.  
-Does this mean that every day is positive or that we never worry.  You know I’d be lying if I said ‘yes’.  But:  David gave great praise psalms to us. He also gave us psalms of lament. God hears all our prayers – the laments as well as the praise.  But, as with David if we’re honest we always circle back to the fact that God is good and praiseworthy and can be trusted.  
Naomi is often seen as a woman of lament in a negative way, but I recently read something that rang true.  If Naomi didn’t in the midst of her struggles exhibit faith in God would Ruth really have claimed Naomi`s God as hers and followed her to a foreign land? 
-Why do some people appear to suffer more than others?? Do you think when we get to heaven it will be an important enough question to ask?  I don’t know.  
I realize that there are many forms of suffering. I don’t think I/we should try to compare. That’s not my purpose.  No matter what the struggle when it’s ours it’s ours and it’s tough.  I write of my experience. God knows each of us by name so I’m sure He also knows our situations.
-Our troubles may surprise us but they don’t surprise God.  Isaiah 55:8-9 ‘For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord.  As the heavens are higher than the earth so are my ways  higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.’  
Yes there are days when I have great faith, days when I just marvel at the goodness of God in ‘the midst’ of everything and then there are days when I dearly  wish there was a ‘magic’ formula or special prayer that I could recite to take the struggles away and bring perfect health. Days when I think maybe God should listen to the way I think I would do it or times when I’m tempted to try to bargain with God. 
-The God of the Mountain is also the God in the Valley.  Gotta cling to that. But it’s truth. 
-Last winter our small group used the book by Laura Story ‘When God doesn’t Fix It‘. Subtitled: lessons you never wanted to learn, truths you can’t live without.  (It’s worth a read if you’re struggling and it is in the church library). 
One of the truths we discussed is how God always has our greater good in mind. Our own view and vision is so limited. He’s there to help us grow. We desire the quick fix – but is that really God’s best for us. She also wrote the song BLESSINGS – what if God has a greater plan than our idea of a fix?  What if Our blessings are learning to depend on Him more or learning to grow closer to Him. What if our blessings come through rain (tears)?  
-We need to share our stories. As we share we comfort one another, learn together, gain strength. Don’t wait for that perfect miraculous ending to share. We rejoice with those who receive such but God’s sustenance through a longer trial is also worth rejoicing over.  We also mourn with those who mourn and have to carry on without loved ones. 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 says God comforts us in our trials so we can comfort others. I believe sharing our stories is a way to do that. It helps when we know we’re not alone. It also helps us pray better for each other. 
-I must look for the ‘small’ blessings.  Small blessings aren’t really small at all. 
They are things that God orchestrates as much as major miracles.  But because we’re so focused on the ‘bad’ we often don’t recognize them. Look for them. They are faith boosters.  -That special word in my devotional book. 
That phone call at just the right time.  Amazing sunsets on drive to Regina. Cheryl was seen exceptionally quickly by medical people. We all love their nanny. Thank God for the retired nurse friend who pushed them to hire one and recommended Stefanie. Not small – each one big – as a grouping  huge. 
-God is worthy of our praise just because  – because he is God!!! He is after all creator, holy, all powerful, sovereign, omnipotent and perfect. You get the picture.  God is in control.  He knows what’s going on AND He loves us with a perfect love. We can trust Him. 
-God is a lavish God. I don’t want my daughter to die. God loved His son too but He freely gave His only son Jesus to die for my/our sins. 
We want the quick fix – Jesus freely gave up his life to die a horrible death on a cross to pay a penalty I/we could never pay. Isaiah says our righteous acts were like filthy rags. (wonder how He must see our unrighteous acts??)  We couldn’t begin to face a holy God without Jesus’ blood. 
I’m sure there’s more I could say, but this has become long as is.  As you have stood with us you are part of the story.  And I’m so grateful for each and every one.
God Bless
Alice (and Arnold)

**reference for the title “Her children stand and bless her” Proverbs 31:28 (NLT)