We were at a Breast Cancer walk a couple of years ago.
(She's the one in the middle, wearing the white shorts, with the eyeglasses on and the beautiful smile on her face.)
She is a three time breast cancer survivor!
That's right...three times!
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and I couldn't think of a better time to honor her and the strength that she represents. For me...she has all the qualities a hero possesses.
Hero-someone of distinguished courage or ability, admired for brave deeds and noble qualities.
Jo and I have been close since we were little.
We are only 17 months apart, which caused us to share most of life's growing stages together.
She has been at times my biggest supporter, and my strong rock.
Then there are times, that we have had our disagreements, only to make up soon after because we couldn't stand being mad at one another.
Sisterly love...there's nothing like it.
A few years ago, I had a small scare when I myself had found a lump.
She jumped in, with that hero-like courage, and guided me the entire way through.
I must admit, I crumbled under the pressure from the fear of having cancer.
She never once made me feel inadequate, or silly for feeling so much doubt or fear...she only encouraged and loved me, pushing me forward to a healthy diagnosis.
She was there to carry me, when at times I could barely hold the phone up from crying so much.
Not only did she imulate strength and courage in her own situation, but she poured it into mine.
A true hero.
If you were to ask her how she handled her cancer, she would probably respond that she didn't do a very good job.
She is humble like that.
Her last diagnosis was a shock to everyone.
"Again?"...is what we all thought.
But, Jo went on being Jo.
I didn't even find out about her biopsy, until we had just gotten back from our trip to Disney World.
She said it very casually and with no worry in her voice.
She never mentioned it before the trip, so not to ruin the mood of the vacation we had spent months planning to take together, with our two families.
I know beyond a shadow of a doubt, that the evergrowing relationship with her savior Jesus, and her faith in Him, was the driving force behind her strength.
I remember sitting on the porch at my dad's house with her one day.
It wasn't long after our vacation to Disney World.
It had been several weeks since she had started her treatments.
I sat on one step, and she sat on the step below me leaning back on my legs.
I began to play with her hair and rub my hands along her back.
(We are a very affectionate family.)
I could feel the bones in her spine poking out of her back.
I then rubbed my hands along her back towards her waist, feeling her small frail body in my hands.
My eyes began to tear up. "Jo, you are so tiny. You have lost so much weight", I said.
"It's the medicine. It makes me so sick. There are only certain things I can eat", she replied.
I hugged her and began to cry.
"It's o.k. sister, don't cry. When this is over, I'm going to eat enough Mexican food to feed a small village. I'll fatten up in no time."
I began to laugh through my tears.
Such courage and optimism.
She amazed me then...and still does.
My sister has shown her Christ-like character through her life and her battles with cancer.
She has carried the cross that God would have her to carry with grace and dignity.
Just as Christ showed His strength in His own life, suffering upon the cross, and also offering His strength to us in time of weakness...so does Jo in her own life.
She is always there for anyone, at anytime, to offer whatever she can in any way.
Life will hand us obstacles at times, testing our strength and will.
I am happy to say, that there is comfort in knowing that God has offered His son Jesus to be our strength and courage.
And as an added blessing, He gives us people like my sister, to look up to as a symbol of strength.
Offering us hope and assurance... that every once in a while...a hero comes along.
*Thank you God for blessing our family with Jo.
*Jo..thanks for being you! I love you!!
*Join me in honoring the heroes among us!!
If there is anyone in your life that has battled breast cancer and won, celebrate them today by thanking them for being a hero and a symbol of strength.
If you have lost someone who battled breast cancer and has gone home to their eternal resting place...celebrate their life by thanking God for allowing you to know them, and learn from their strength.
If there is someone that you know right now, that is battling breast cancer, give them a call, offer your encouragement and strength.
Be a hero to someone today by offering your love and support where they need it the most.
There is a hero in all of us.
If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and in purpose.
Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfector of our faith.
I Thessalonians 5:11
Therefore encourage one another and build eachother up, just as you are doing.
Be strong in the Lord, and in the power of His might.
Be of good courage and he shall strengthen your heart, all ye that hope in the Lord.
Click on link to listen: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mwVg6GjWgOw
*To get a mammogram, contact your doctor, local imaging center or hospital. Special rates may be offered during the month of October in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
*To give support of Breast Cancer Awareness month in your community, wear a pink hat, a pink shirt, or a pink ribbon.