On December 3rd of last year, I spoke at the very first Ziglar Women Faith and Family conference. My Mom has been traveling and speaking with my grandfather the past several years as well as editing his books and in the fall of 2011 the idea of putting together a conference for women was birthed in her heart. My oldest sister, DeDe had been speaking for business women and in real estate circles for a while and I have been teaching in YWAM training schools for a few years so we put our heads and hearts together and the Ziglar Women Faith and Family conference was born.
Right around this time Phoebe was getting sick. I remember the internal battle I had the day of the conference because Phoebe seemed so lethargic and I felt guilty leaving her when she wasn’t feeling well. I had no idea that a baseball size tumor was in her little head and that the pressure was making her miserable. I thought maybe she was coming down with a tummy virus.
This is what she looked like then….
The conference ended up being a wonderful experience. It was a different format than I was accustomed to and I was nervous about how it would all fit together, but God blessed the whole day and I found it an awesome priviledge to be able to share what He has done in my life with all those women.
On December 17th Nathan and I packed up our little apartment at World Hunger Relief in Waco TX and loaded up our vehicles with our belongings. Phoebe wandered around in tears until she fell asleep on a bag of blankets. She was not doing well.
This is her on moving day…
The next few weeks as we traveled for the holidays, we were in and out of the ER at 3 different hospitals. She was dehydrated, but how could that be? She was drinking 4 or 5 sippy cups of water a night! She was losing weight and she was pale and from time to time she would vomit for no apparent reason. It was a stressful time and I was wracked with worry for my girl.
On January 1st I took her back to the ER at Children’s Medical Canter and asked for a scan of her brain. The night before she kept saying “my noggin, my noggin..” and holding her little forehead. Then she would say “my eyes, my eyes..” and cover her eyes even though the room was completely dark. Fifteen minutes after the CT scan I was told she had a “mass” on her brain.
And that’s where this blog starts…and this whole big wild story.
At first our family decided to suspend the Ziglar Women conferences indefinitely. How could we pioneer a new ministry in the midst of such a trial? What if we lost her? What if this changes everything? We didn’t even talk about it. Mom had already signed a book deal with Guideposts and was in the middle of working on her manuscript when all of this happened. I don’t know how she endured to the end of that process…she took 3 shifts a week at the hospital and wept with me, and brought me coffee and helped give ice baths when Phoebe’s fevers rose to 105 after brain surgery. We all took turns sleeping in Phoebe’s bed and holding her arms to quiet the tremors her body was having as her brain tried to heal. It was a total shift. Survival mode replaced any thought of future ministry plans and conferences…we let it go.
And then encouragement came from several places, to allow God to use our trial. See, at the Ziglar Women conference on December 3rd I had taught from the book of Job. I shared about surrender and laying down your rights and knowing that God is God and I am not. I thought laying down my right to marriage and my right to live in America was noteworthy. Until God asked for Phoebe.
It never occured to me that He might ask me for something so precious to me as my child. Everything in me is built to protect her and nurture her and preserve her and at a moments notice I would throw myself into oncoming traffic to save her life. I have often prayed that God would use my children for the purpose of furthering His kingdom. I thought that might require me to someday entrust my kids to God as they went off to the foreign mission field or that Him using them would mean that they reach out to others more needy with the love of Jesus in whatever place God has them. But cancer? For my TWO year old, only daughter? How could He require me to trust Him to this degree?
These are deep waters.
And I see what He is doing. He is using this sweet girl of mine to move people to pray like they have never prayed before. He is using my Phoebe to break open hearts that have been stagnant or ungrateful. He is using this big mess we’re in to breathe life to others somehow. And that’s why I’m going to speak at the Ziglar Women conference on June 16th. I am tired, weary of hospitals and burn units and chemo days and midnight meds and 4 am emergency room visits but I keep hearing a still, small voice say …
“My strength is perfected in your weakness..”
So barring a crisis, I’ll be there and I’m expecting God to meet me there. This is His story after all…
and Mom’s book : http://www.growingupziglar.com/
What a beautiful and touching post tonight. You brought tears to my eyes. Yes, you are correct. God is using your sweet Phoebe to touch many lives and bring them closer to him. Mine is no exception. I myself also have prayed harder than ever before. I have you and Phoebe to thank for that. Your strength alone during all this is inspiring to witness and I’m honored to be a small part of it. You are a wonderful woman of faith and an awesome example for all to see.
It is such a heavenly privelege to hold up the Phoebster in prayer. Thanking you for sharing this precious update.
Way to go, Amey. What an incredible story it is that you have to tell. It is beautiful because it has been written while walking through the fire, and your faith has been made more pure and BEAUTIFUL! I will be praying for you, and I will continue to pray for Phoebe and the rest of your family.
Amen to all of that, Amey.
As always … you inspire me!
Amey, your strength and faith in God amaze me and lead me to prayer every day. I am in total awe of what you’ve endured and how you all have come thru it to this point. I continue to pray for Phoebe and all of your family.
Great post, Amey. I’ve been through those dark waters. Surrender is a big deal in Gods kingdom. Keep going! Keep moving forward into His perfect will! God is a redeemer and you’ll be okay. Praying.
I am so proud of how you handle this crisis on a daily basis. You are correct, yours and Phoebe’s story has reached millions on social media and you are bringing light to darkness.
How beautiful, touching and so full of God. Thank you for sharing this. What comes into my mind is that sweet saying, ‘Let go and let God’.
May I have your permission to put this post of yours on my blog? I would link it back to your blog here. I have a prayer blog and I have Phoebe on my prayer page. I do know many of the people I am praying for visit my blog and I truly feel they would be blessed to read this. I have subscribed to the comments, so you can answer me here.
Praying and praying for you and your family often.
Yes, you are welcome to post a link 🙂
Thank you! I will put it up tomorrow. 🙂
I am so glad and blessed that I clicked and read your Inspiring story. Praying for you and your family. God Bless!
You are so right on, the coming together in prayer for Phoebe and the positive outcome thus far demonstrates what can happen when people come together. God Bless you and just keep following the small voice inside you!
Love that you’ll still be speaking. Wishing I was going to be around to attend. Would love to hear you speak! How about dinner sometime soon instead. I’ll be praying for the conference.
I love you and your family, Amey. Even more than my love, God loves each of us more than I think any of us can imagine. Our prayers are with you. Jeanne sends a special hello to her friend, Ben.
Love and hugs.
His ways are not our ways for sure! Thank you for sharing the beginning of the story, because I came in on it the last month and a half. I have been praying for Phoebe, Deacon and your family. And I never miss a post. But, I would say what you are going through has to be looked at through the eyes of our creator. He sees the finished product and I know He has his plan.
Than you so much for sharing your thoughts and your heart. From one mother to another, you never want to see your children hurting, but you DO want your children in God’s will. It doesn’t make sense now, but later on I look forward in knowing the end.
I am praying for you and with you…because I know all too well that He WILL ask for our children. And, somehow, it’s painful but clear when we are able to hand them over too.
You are such an inspiration. I just know you will touch so many hearts at the conference. God has been preparing you for this work. Bless you, Amey, as you do His will. Hugs, Marilyn
Amey, I write this in tears having just read the words of your heart… I so can not imagine walking through the place you are in right now. Yet, you have been so open and honest in sharing SO much of what God is doing in your family during this trial,of the heart ache, the times you just don’t know how to go on- then HE takes control….. through that, I see such a new glimpse of how HE works. How close He is when His children are hurting more than any can EVER imagine. There have been so many touched through your blogging and sharing, and i know there will also be those touched at this conference.He is SOO good!!
Your dad shared with the prayer warriors about this conference a little while ago. When he was sharing I was challenged to pray that Pheobe would be able to be there with you, or at least visit…. I don’t know what the likelihood of that is with the crowd and all or where she will be in chemo cycles, counts, etc. during that time… But he had said he had a dream of you sharing and her sitting nearby completely healed and chattering with joy. Not sure his exact words but something about that not happening… the tug at my heart was that maybe she will not be the pre-cancer, post brain surgery, before etc., etc. Pheobe…. HOWEVER, I felt strongly that having hope that she would be doing well enough to give all those ladies a smile and a hello was such a BIG thing. I mean to think were she was when sedated and septic a few months ago and compare that to now and to prayerfully her being able to be there that day is a HUGE amount of healing!!! He has taken her SOO far in these months and is not done yet!! Who knows…. maybe she’ll walk across the stage that day. 🙂
Just wanted to share my heart’s challenge as maybe an encouragement. With love!
Ms. Amey and Family.
Please be sure that we will praying for all of you from Chihuahua Mexico.
For us you and your family are an example of strength and faith.
God give His strength to all of you.
Beautiful post Amey, you are such an inspiration!! I wish I could be there at the conference and hear you talk about your journey but I’m in California. Your family is in my prayers daily and I’m amazed at how far Phoebe has come and all that you’ve all been through. Praying for complete healing!
Amey, Phoebe is a gift from God but so are you! You through your messages have woke something inside me. I lost my Grandson almost 4 years ago now and I have not been the same since. Without my faith in our heavenly father I don’t know how I would have made it through the most difficult time in my life. You have a gift with words that God has blessed you with. Anyone that is fortunate enough to hear the Ziglar women speak will surely be changed for life. All I can say is Thank You!
Inspirational – thanks for the post. Sandra & I are praying!
Thanks for giving us some of Phoebe’s background. Your updates are always so beautifully written and inspiring. I am glad you have chosen to go ahead and speak at the conference. I know anyone who has the privilege of hearing you will go away feeling inspired. I had no idea you were a part of the Ziglar family. I pray little Phoebe continues to reach thousands of people across the world with her story. May you continue to feel His strength surrounding you with peace, comfort, strength, and healing. God Bless.
COLE’S Prayer Team
I found out about you and your precious daughter through Child of God at CPR Ezra 8:23. I was very touched by your story and would be privileged to pray for you and wait with great expectation for how God will move! There is something special about those beautiful blue eyes…our God is able to do all things! Mountains can be cast in to the sea…they can melt in His presence…or He can walk with us to the top and our perspective is changed. Believing for a miracle…trusting He will be the strength you all need…
I love you Amey…