Have you ever had an experience in your life that changed the way you viewed everything? I have.
When I was eleven years old, I got the craziest news that I had ever heard. I was diagnosed with cancer. This came as a complete shock to me and my family because I had been a totally healthy girl. When my right leg started hurting, none of us thought much of it... until we realized the pain wasn't going away. Months and months went by and my leg just got worse. After many tests, the doctors told my parents that I had a bone cancer called Ewings Sarcoma. Immediately, I was thrown into chemotherapy treatments that made me horribly sick, and made me loose my hair. I also had to have surgery on my leg to replace 5 inches of the bone where the tumor was.
This terrified me.
My world was completely turned upside down. It was as if one day I was this normal little girl and the next I was bald, dying, and in a wheelchair. Realities that I had never thought about became very clear to me at that time. My life was a precious gift - but I hadn't seen it that way before. I saw that I had taken my life for granted in the past, and I told the Lord that if He would allow me to live, I wouldn't waste the time He gave me. Instead, I would use it to passionately live out His purpose for my life.
After a year of my battle, God healed me of cancer. I share my story with you because God used my pain to awaken me to how precious our life is. As young people, sometimes we have a tendency to think we're invincible. But the Bible says that we're not even promised tomorrow -our lives can be snatched from us at any moment.
James 4:14 says, "Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes."
Wow. A mist? This convicts me, because if we really lived like our lives were a mist - how much different might our lives be?
It was the strangest feeling going back to school after having cancer, because I saw everything differently. I remember clearly one of the first days of 7th grade in my new school, when the girls lined up at the bathroom mirror. As they reapplied lip-gloss and fixed their hair, one of them shouted, "I HATE MY HAIR!!! I wish I could shave it all off!"
My heart about stopped as I wanted to scream, "Excuse me?? I just WAS bald and I guarantee you wouldn't want to try that!!"
At the time my own hair was barely an inch long, but honestly... I was just happy to have hair!
After being cooped up in the hospital for a year, I thought that going to middle school would be my ticket back to a "normal life". I had just survived a world where each day was not only precious, but fought for. A world where nothing was taken for granted, and you were simply thankful to be alive. Then, in my quest to be "normal" again, I stepped into 7th grade. I found that normal among many of my peers meant feeling invincible. Normal was blowing off what's important to mess around and do what we wanted. Normal, was wasting our lives.
I quickly realized that I wanted nothing to do with being normal. I knew that God had spared me for a reason - just as He has spared you. You and I have this mist of time on earth and an eternity to think about what we did with it. We don't have a second to waste!