Today is a very special and poignant day for me and my family. It’s my mam’s 64th birthday! It might be her last. As many of you are aware, mam has been battling cancer for more than 4 years now. She’s a beautiful Christian woman and the grace, courage and tenacity she has shown throughout these difficult years has been both a blessing and an encouragement to many, not least me! Over the last month or so, however, she has become quite seriously ill as the cancer has returned for the fourth time.
Just a fortnight ago, she wrote an article for her church magazine explaining her strong confidence in the sovereignty of God, who she loves so passionately. The next day her health started to deteriorate to such an extent that she was taken into hospital, where she still remains. We don’t know when, or even if, she will come out.
When I went to visit her on Thursday I was able to hold her hand, share some scriptures and pray with her. It was one of the most sacred moments I think I’ve ever experienced as the Holy Spirit drew close in a very real and very special way. During this time she told me about the words she had written for the magazine and asked me to pray that God would use them for His glory. Obviously I did and with my dad’s permission I have posted a copy of her words here. I pray they will bless you:
“From life’s first cry to final breath
Jesus commands my destiny”
These lines from Stuart Townsend’s lovely hymn remind us that as Christians we acknowledge God’s sovereign guidance over the whole of our lives. But there are some pivotal points when He guides us to make decisions which have far-reaching consequences.
When I was 17 I reached a crisis point when I was desperate to find God for myself, but I really didn’t know where to turn for help. In September a new girl joined our 6th form, full of how God had changed her life that summer. I knew with certainty that God was pointing me to her. Through her testimony and help in studying the Scriptures, Monica led me to the Lord and I was baptised.
Then to college in Aberystwyth – and what a blessing that proved to be! There I found close Christian fellowship and sound Biblical teaching, and there too I found Barry (or rather, he found me!) We were married in 1969, so have just celebrated 40 precious years together, with all the blessings those years have brought.
On the recommendation of Christian friends, the Lord led us in 1975 to Ebenezer, which has been our spiritual home ever since. It is here that David (Dai) was baptised, having been converted in Bala camp, and here that Ruth, who had quietly been going her own rebellious way ,unexpectedly “decided” to come to chapel with us one Easter Sunday morning, collapsed in tears during the sermon and was soundly converted. Praise God that we can trust Him not only to guide our own steps, but our children’s also.
Then in May 2005 came the unexpected diagnosis of my ovarian cancer. A sudden decision had to be made – should Barry finish work or not? He knew immediately, beyond a shadow of doubt, that he should, in order to be able to support and care for me during the unpredictable times ahead. The wisdom of that decision has been reinforced time and time again He was there to look after me after the initial operation and through the following 4 years of hospital appointments and chemo sessions. We have been able to enjoy precious, unhurried time together and welcome the arrival of 2 lovely grandchildren.
We have been overwhelmed by the love and support of so many. And now, as the cancer runs its course, we face the future together, with the peace of God in our hearts and with joy and hope, knowing that our times are in His hands, and the best is yet to be.
Happy birthday mam.
I love you so much!