Today is day #27 for the National Migraine Awareness Month Blogging Challenge. The prompt is "In my Head and Heart. Who inspires you to keep trying and not give up, despite your Migraines?"
I am incredibly blessed to have a father who is a model of grace, perseverance and belief in both good times and difficult times. His personal battle with cancer has taught me what it is to lead a life of hope and joy. Daddy has battled with cancer twice in his life. During his first battle, he was recovering from surgery as my mother, who also had cancer, was being brought into the hospital for what was to begin her last days. As he awoke from surgery, we had to tell him the news about mom. While many people would be overwhelmed and incapacitated by their own pain - both physical and emotional - my father showed us all what it was like to have grace under pressure. He encouraged my mom and the three of us with his love, his presence, his faith and his laughter even though he was experiencing significant personal pain. He helped us all to celebrate my mom's life, our faith and our memories as a family by his example.
Twelve years later, Dad was diagnosed with cancer again. This time the prognosis was much more grim, and he was given a 20 percent chance of recovery. At the age of 81, he underwent a very complex and difficult surgery with significant pain and rehabilitation. I watched as my father held on to the Lord with unwavering faith. It was as if he took his illness as an opportunity to love others and to shower them with the grace that he has found in our Lord. He chose to say "thank you" for something that he did not understand but trusted could bring glory to God rather than asking why this had happened. Rather than complaining, he went out of his way to find means to encourage others. I have never seen anyone deal with adversity with the grace, faith and dignity that my dad did.
Dad is my shining example of what it is to persevere with hope in the midst of hard times. When I think about complaining, I learn from his example of praising. When I think about giving up, I think of his example of doing whatever it took. When I think about withdrawing, I think about how dad reached out to and touched so many people in the midst of his difficulty. When I think that there is no hope, I think of how my dad, who was told that there was little hope, hung on to hope in a way that everyone who knew him was effected by. When I think that there is little I have to offer because of my situation, I see all that dad did for others in the midst of his illness.
In addition to all of this, my father has been one of my biggest supporters during this time of chronic, intractable Migraines. He has been there for me in every situation. He has helped me out financially; he has supported me emotionally, and he has loved me unconditionally. I saw Romans 12:12 personified in my dad: "Be joyful in hope; patient in affliction and faithful in prayer."
I am so thankful for my dad. He inspires me every day to be a better, more loving, more giving and more faithful person. My prayer is that I might follow his example in praising God, serving others, and rejoicing in the good that surrounds me even when things are at their most difficult.