June 5

Today is my mom's birthday.

I've been writing today's prayer message for a couple of weeks in my head.  I've been afraid to write any further than the first sentence, which is my heading.  You see my mother has stage 4 breast cancer, we've known since last September.  She tried one round of chemotherapy and the chemo almost killed her.  Her support group of doctors and health experts agreed with her to not continue any means to stop her cancer -- except one -- that is prayer.

Mom's journey since September has been remarkable.  Mom is one of those quiet women who raised 5 children following the "war" -- all of us baby boomers.  We went to a catholic school where most of the kids came from families with 4 - 12 children in each family.  I didn't realize how close the mothers of those families were until I went to a funeral for one last December.  I was amazed how many of the large family mothers were in attendance, praying for each other.

Mom has received cards, gifts, and flowers from people she didn't think remembered her.  Their messages of love have been endearing.  And little things have become big miracles for mom.  My parents drove to church one Sunday and while they were at the service, the man who parked next to them noticed one of the tires on my parents' car was flat.  He waited for them after church and changed the tire for them.  It turned out the spare did not have enough air in it, so another man and his wife offered to go home and get an air compressor.  They offered to take my mother home, but mom insisted she wanted to go back into church to pray for her angels.

My dad goes in and out of doctors' care for his heart and now his kidneys.  Mom stands by him and writes everything in her journal so they can refer to it when they forget.  Two weeks ago dad was in the hospital for a couple of days while we were visiting family.  There were so many prayers offered from so many places.  Even the man who runs the Bed & Breakfast we were staying at offered prayers (and cinnamon buns for us to take to dad in the hospital!).

Prayers have brought a community together to support my mother and father.  A community bigger than my mother ever imagined existed.  Prayer has given them the strength, courage, and patience to meet the challenges of each day.  It's their response to prayer that has positively affected the rest of us -- children, grandchildren, great grandchildren, neighbors, friends, doctors, nurses, nurses assistants, and anyone who comes in contact with them.

My mother is 86 years old today.  She has given me (and now you) a very special gift -- don't be afraid to pray, and don't be afraid to ask for prayer.

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