This past Sunday, as I stood in church and worshipped God with my fellow believers, I thought back to my first time back to church after my surgery. I was weak, but I was worshipping…
10 years ago on April 17, 2007, I went through a major surgery to rid my body of cancer. I was 20 years old and had no idea how sick I was until coughing up blood in my dorm on Easter Sunday. (You can watch my story here.) After my parents traveled to Tulsa to take me back home to Dallas, I underwent one of the most difficult weeks of my life. Prior to the surgery, the enemy threw punch after punch to knock me down. Then the day of my surgery came and I was wheeled into the surgery room. All of the bright hospital lights & shiny silver knives on the table next to me. I asked if I could keep my bible with me on the table and the doctor agreed.
After the surgery, I woke up to an unquenchable thirst...and quickly realized that I couldn't talk to tell the nurse I needed water. That was rough. She finally came over and gave me some ice cubes. (Thanks a lot. Lol) But that was all I could take. I spent the next few days in the hospital with these massage boots on my legs to keep my circulation flowing. I couldn't walk, talk, eat or drink. They basically shut my body down in order to remove half of my left lung to get rid of the malignant (cancer) mass and all the surrounding lymph nodes. I started practicing walking down the hall arm and arm with my dad a few days later. The nurse said if I could walk down the hall and to the windows and back, then I could go home. With my goal in mind, I practiced and prayed and gathered my strength to make it overtime. Finally, I was discharged and wheeled down to the hospital exit. I'll never forget the sound of the birds singing outside as my dad pulled up his SUV to take me home. I cry just thinking about that....
April has a special place in my heart. As does Easter. It was in this month that I suffered and recovered a disease that kills lives everyday. For whatever reason, God drew a bloodline around me and wouldn't let me die at 20. Then fast forward two years later, April 2009, I got married to the love of my life. Someone I didn't even deserve. Who had prayed for me and believed for my healing when I overlooked him for years. Fast forward to April 2011, Easter Sunday, I was in labor with my baby girl and gave birth on the following day, April 25. And now here I am, April 17, 2017, 30 years old and pregnant with my baby boy.
God has a way of turning our place of pain into our place of rejoicing. I pray that my story brings you encouragement to believe that the same hand that allows pain and suffering is faithful to bring joy and healing. IN THE SAME PLACE!
To God be the glory for reminding me yet again that He is the Resurrection and the Life. He will always give us beauty for ashes. The oil of joy for morning. And the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness. The same God that did it for me, will do it for you.
Leave Your Beauty Mark
Good evening, ladies. I couldn't pass up this day without sharing with you how meaningful this date is to me. Today is the 5 year anniversary of my surgery. I cannot even explain how thankful I am to be alive. God gave me a second chance on life and today I remember His faithfulness to see me through the darkest day of my life. Not only did I survive cancer, but I was able to get married, reproduce and give birth to my daughter Grace. A few weeks ago, I had an extensive physical exam and received a great report from my doctor from all the test results. "Thank you" just can't seem to express all of my gratitude. I pray that my life will bring Him glory and that when it is my time to go, I will have emptied out all that He's placed inside of me, leaving my beauty mark on the world.
Emonne Markland Leave Your Beauty Mark
Last night, I was captivated by the 9/11 documentaries that flooded the TV stations. Stories of sorrow, heroism, bravery and hope played over and over again. The images of that horrific day pierced my heart to the core. Like many other Americans, I can remember exactly where I was when I heard the news of the attacks. On September 11th, 2001, I was a freshman in high school sitting in my first period class when an announcement was made over the PA system from our principal stating that something bad happened in New York City. When that class concluded, I went to my next period and watched the TV with my teacher and classmates in disbelief. The images of people running through the streets of New York City covered in white ash seemed like something out of a movie. Watching an airplane go through the second building and seeing both buildings fall to the ground was utterly unimaginable. What began as a normal school day turned into a day of mourning and desperation, and an attempt to have class as usual was completely out of the question as we all tried to wrap our minds around what was happening.
How can people be so evil? Why did this horrible event happen to so many good people? What is going on in the world? These were all of the questions that ran through my mind all throughout the rest of my school day as I longed to be at home with my family that I love so dear. After what seemed like an eternity, I finally finished out my school day and watched more coverage of the attack at home with my parents and brother. I believe that these questions, and many others like them, have gone through all of our minds in the wake of the terrorist attack on 9/11, and only God truly knows the answers.
If you are reading this today, there’s a great chance that you or someone you know was directly affected by this horrible act of terrorism. If you personally lost a friend or loved one on 9/11, I cannot begin to imagine how you feel and I am so sorry for your loss. The thought of losing a loved one in such an evil way is inconceivable to me. It’s been said that time heals all wounds, but I don’t believe that to be true. Even though it has been 10 years since 9/11, I’m sure that the hurt still remains in many hearts. Although there are many things that I don’t know or understand about this tragedy, I do know this without a shadow of a doubt: that there is hope in Jesus Christ and that God specializes in bringing good things out of hopeless situations. In Isaiah 61, the Word of God tells us that Jesus came to “console those who mourn in Zion, to give them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they may be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified.” (Isaiah 61:3-4 NKJV)
As we take time today to reflect on the events of 9/11, I believe that we must make a conscious effort to see the beauty in the ashes. To remember all of the brave fireman, policeman and every day Americans that risked their lives for their fellow Americans as they exemplified the greatest commandment in loving their neighbor as themselves. May we be thankful for the lives that were spared and rejoice in the great stories of triumph and the will to survive in the face of death. May we give to God our questions, concerns, sorrow, mourning and ashes from this tragic event and receive joy, beauty and praise instead.
God Bless America.
Emonne Markland: Leave YOUR Beauty Mark
1 Peter 3:3-4