The word warrior instantly brings images to mind...soldiers, law enforcement, firemen...exceptionally courageous individuals who push themselves forward to challenge situations that would cause most of us to shy back. Aside from the first examples one might think of, the warriors of which I speak are a bit different.
These warriors are women fighting serious illnesses. At this very moment, I personally know two who are in stage 4 cancer. Both of them are mothers, both have young teenage children still in the home. I know one of them is on her fourth battle with this wicked disease and I believe the other has experienced multiple bouts also. I'll be back to them in a minute.
The first woman warrior I knew was my very own Mom. Diagnosed with breast cancer, my mom faced her battle with incredible courage, perseverance and hope. We all stood by her, although pretty helplessly, as she made bold, decisive choices to endure radical surgical procedures and accept the poison into her body that would take her to the brink of death but ultimately help save her life.
This on it's own shows considerable strength. Even more remarkable was that despite the personal hell she must have been enduring, emotionally and physically, this isn't what those watching my mom in battle witnessed. Where there was no doubt physically that she was ill, beyond her baldness and highly unusual pallor, what shone through above all was her strength. I'm certain that one of her greatest concerns was what her disease meant to the others in her life. While my mom could not control this illness coming to her, she refused to let it define her. In that, she held onto her power; and with that, she won!
So back to the dear women I know who are currently in the battle...I see many similarities. Neither of these dear ones let their diseases define them. As mentioned, one of them is on her fourth "tour of duty"...her fourth! And yet what is seen in both of them is optimism and a determination to hold onto their power. Like my mom, I know they are worried about their families, the fear in their significant others, the sadness and worry in the eyes and hearts of their children. I believe it is primarily because of that that they press on...despite days I suspect that giving in may seem the more desirable option for them personally.
Ephesians 6:11-20 speaks of how God, calling each of to take up our crosses daily, equips us to do this:
"Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the power of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
Despite what carrying their crosses has required of each of them, these beautiful, powerful women each remain steadfast in their belief that even from this, God will bring something good; and He does. Through their examples, we who stand by are inspired and afforded a fresh perspective on our crosses; most of which are much easier to bear in comparison.
I believe women of this caliber don't need a reminder to put on the full armor of God daily...no, indeed; they sleep with their armor on! Fight on beautiful friends, you're a privilege to know and a glorious inspiration to many!