It was about a year ago, while home on maternity leave, that I stumbled upon the Facebook page of a little girl in California who is fighting cancer. Her name is Sophie. The page, Prayers for Sophie, keeps its followers updated on how we can pray for Sophie during her treatments and see her progress.
As any parent, any person would be, I am horrified at the reality that children suffer and die. So I often look away when I see stories like Sophie’s, but that day while holding my newborn baby girl, I didn’t look away. I was brave.
I learned Sophie was diagnosed with a brain tumor when she was only 8½-months-old. I imagined what her parents were going through. I was broken-hearted and in despair. But, God was at work in my despair and I began to pray.
I prayed for Sophie. I prayed because I am not a doctor or wealthy enough to fund major cancer research. I prayed because there was nothing I could do to make her well.
Below is an email I wrote to Sophie’s family at the beginning of 2014:
Hello. You don’t know me, but I want you to know how much Sophie has touched my life. I came across this page after Stephen Amell shared it and have been praying for Sophie ever since. Every day. And my 4-year-old daughter prays for her too.
God created someone really special when He created Sophie and He has great purpose for her life. God is in all things, even what we can’t understand. Your family has ministered to me through the pictures and stories you have shared. Thank you.
I want you to know, to feel that you have an army of people praying for Sophie and cheering her on. And we also pray for you. We are behind you. God is good. He is for you. He is for Sophie. Bless you all.
Over the next year, Sophie and her family taught me about strength, courage, and joy in the midst of uncertainty. Along the way, I had the courage to learn about and pray for other children fighting for their lives. I rejoiced in the victories and grieved for young lives lost.
It was heart-breaking at times, but God is near to the broken-hearted (Psalm 34:18). I didn’t always have the words to express my hope or grief, but the Spirit of God interceded for me “with groans that words cannot express” (Romans 8:26).
I didn’t know it a year ago, but God was starting something life-changing in me by introducing me to Sophie and her family. He was making me stronger. He was raising me up to help. This year I had the opportunity to pray for, support, and encourage children fighting disease and their families. It’s been a beautiful, sometimes sorrowful, experience.
Before I “met” Sophie I felt bad about childhood disease, but I wasn’t brave enough to look into the lives it affected. I wasn’t brave enough to do something about it. I will always look back on 2014 and remember that this is the year I was brave.
***Follow Sophie’s journey of healing here: www.facebook.com/PrayersForSophie and on Twitter: @Prayers4sophie
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