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/