Last updated: October 2023
Anyone who really knows me and has traveled the journey with me knows that God and my daughter come first. It seems like yesterday I was being told I had about a year to live.
A few days after receiving this news, we were explaining Heaven to my 7-year-old little girl. She coined it "a pasta part" when I told her it was the best thing you could imagine and I may have to go there soon.
Growing our faith
As she got older and we developed relationships at church, she began to really understand and was baptized (without us telling her to) at the age of eight. We were going to church as much as possible until COVID hit. She goes each year to all available church camps, and this year, she was a counselor in training for a church camp.
The little church camp she was afraid to go to when she was eight turned out to be such a blessing. She came home after the week she spent there, and to hear her talk about God, how she never really felt him until now and knows she'll never be alone, was music to my ears. She was misty-eyed when talking about it, and I cried tears of joy when she left my room.
Nurturing beliefs and independence
My biggest goal in this life was to raise a child of God. Even though she will stray sometimes, she knows He will always love her. I don't think I could ask for anything more to make my life complete. The two I love the most now know each other, and it gives me such strength and inspiration.
At the beginning of the summer, she was at a church camp on Jekyll Island for the weekend. My phone rang at midnight, and it was her. I immediately panicked because I knew they couldn't have their phones.
She told me that someone from their camp didn't return that night and camp would probably be canceled. She did say that if it was, she planned to be a part of the search team when the sun came up.
I was somewhat apprehensive about it. But this unmistakable peace came over me and just made me feel like I should allow her.
A tragic turn of events
The little boy was 11 and had been begging friends to go to the beach and meet everyone back at camp. He was at the camp when his assigned buddy went to shower. When his friend returned, he was gone.
We have alligators, sharks, etc., everywhere in this area. The thought of her discovering that little boy mangled and gone bothered me. But she is majoring in forensics in college. It's something she's very passionate about.
So, how could I say no? Especially when this poor kid was missing.
She called me throughout the day as they searched on foot while the coastguard and volunteers came out in droves, hoping for a search and rescue. They were tired and hungry by the afternoon when the sheriff approached them and told them to go home and rest.
She called me on the way home that day. She said, "I know the sheriff told us to go home because he didn't want us to discover what they already found."
Sure enough, a news alert popped up on my phone a few minutes later. That poor, sweet boy had wandered down to the beach and got in the water. The rip currents have been deadly this year, and he couldn't swim.
A local fisherman spotted a minx on the beach. He took out his camera to get a picture, and when he zoomed in, their worst fears were realized. His body was near the minx.
A lot of times, people drown here, and their bodies are never discovered. Thankfully, he was so his family could have some closure and give him a proper homegoing.
Turning trials into blessings
It's amazing how God works. He allowed me to get cancer, and now I'm seeing the trickle-down economics of it all.
It saved my daughter and me. Now she teaches "tiny town" every Sunday. When she became a counselor in training at Camp Connect, the children absorbed her words about God like little sponges.
I can genuinely say I have a very beautiful, Godly child that I know is going to go on to do great things. She's going to change lives.
So, maybe you're asking God, "Why me?". Well, you could just be the beginning of a tidal wave of believers, children of God with strength and wisdom beyond their years.
We do ask that you pray for that little boy's family from Jekyll. I was proud of my daughter for spending her Saturday off searching for him. It was extremely traumatic for her and the others, I'm sure.
She doesn't like to talk about feelings much, but she was pretty sad after that camp until she went to the next one. That is the one that changed her life.
I thank God I was here to bear witness. I feel so very blessed.
What healthy habits do you use to improve the quality of your life?