I love children. I have been a children’s advocate since I was a child. When I was a teacher, I stood up for the children in my classroom when nobody else would. As a minister, I gave my heart and put my life on the line to bring the love of God to children and remind the church that children are so important to Jesus Christ that He called us to be like children. As a chaplain, I have held the hands of parents who lost one of their own, helped children pray to God for their comfort, baptized infants who never took a breath and loved them all as one of God’s own. Children are important to me and they are the reason I am grateful today.
On the 6th Day of Christmas, my True Lord gave to me, the impact of Alyssa’s life.
Today is hard to be grateful when one of God’s children is fighting for her life in a way she shouldn’t have to. 10-year-old Alyssa has osteosarcoma. She has been fighting a courageous battle since she was 8 years old and done a remarkable job at it. She lost one of her legs and figured out how to dance and play with crutches and a wheelchair. She’s gone back and forth from Virginia and Texas and laughed between the tests and pain. She has lived her life to the fullest and cared for her family in ways that only a faithful child can understand. I have learned so much about courage, fight, determination and love from Alyssa and her beautiful family, mother Lynn, father Jeff and her little sister Lexie. They have all faced the unimaginable and done so with love and passion.
Alyssa’s cancer is inoperable. The tumors are in her lungs and they have caused Alyssa to have difficulty breathing, be in constant pain, unable to eat and yesterday, she had a seizure. Her family and friends and an unlimited amount of love and care are surrounding Alyssa today. When you think this family can’t give any more, they do. I learned as a chaplain that when someone we love is hurting, we find a strength that comes from the depths of our souls; an inner strength that we never knew we had and can only come from the arms of God and the love and support from those who love them.
I am grateful to be able to see that family in the midst of darkness, hold onto one another with this strength, surrounded by a love that defies human definition. Prayers, love, tears, hope and strength from friends and family are surrounding the Divers family today. People from near and far are praying for a miracle, praying for hope, for comfort and for peace. I ask that you surround them too. Please do what you can to bring all they need in the days and weeks ahead.
I am grateful for children. I am grateful for all they teach us with their faith and understanding. Alyssa taught me about courage, faith, and strength in ways an adult can’t. The Divers are surrounded by God’s love and strength today and I pray they feel the comfort and love surrounding them in our thoughts and prayers. I hate that cancer hurts anyone and even more so how it hurts a child. They need us today more than ever. Will you join us?