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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Summer (the season) (07/09/09)

TITLE: My Holly
By DeWayne Bricker


Have you ever been in the pitch blackness of pain where you can’t find anything that brings you joy or hope? Last summer was a glorious time for me and my family. We had just returned from a wonderful vacation at the beach in Florida. All was right with the world and we were happy and satisfied where life had taken us thus far.

Upon returning home to North East Louisiana our beautiful, creative, intelligent twenty year old daughter, Holly was diagnosed with kidney cancer. I have always prided myself on the fact that I made sure my family was healthy and safe. That was my job as father, husband, protector and provider. When we heard the horrific news I realized that I had no control over anything. Every time I closed my eyes I saw my lovely Holly in a casket with a white Lilly beneath her gently folded hands across her chest. I couldn’t sleep, eat or think without crying.

One night my wife, lover and soul mate asked me this question: “have you put her on the alter before God?” I told her no and I could not give her up but then I realized I am not in control. It was then that I relinquished my imaginary possession of my daughter and put her on the alter before God with these words: “ Lord, God, I know that she is yours and not mine therefore I give her to you and will worship you no matter if she lives or dies because you are in control of everything and I am not.”

It was only then that I could truly begin praying for her recovery. The next six months would have been intolerable had I not given her to God. We literally went through hell as we watched our daughter suffer the agonies of having a kidney removed and subsequent chemotherapy. Her beautiful mousy brown hair fell out by the handfuls. The nerves to her legs, hands and vocal cords deteriorated at the brutal onslaught of one of the chemotherapy drugs lovingly nicknamed the red death.

I went to work crying as my wife spent every moment of every day by our daughter’s side and watched as her young, vibrant body wasted to little more than a skeleton.

It has almost been a year since we were knocked down by her diagnosis of cancer. I scarcely remember this past Fall, Winter and Spring but Summer is here again and our daughter is cancer free and back in college living her life, full of potential and expectancy as if nothing had ever happened. I look back and see the grace of almighty God and how He shielded our eyes and hearts from the true colors of death. All of this has transformed this new Summer into the most brilliant ever for all of us.

We are getting ready once again to head for the beach as a family. Holly’s hair is about three inches long and extra curly with a slightly different hue to it. Yes, it’s been almost one year and Summer is here again. I wonder what wonderful thing God will use this year to show us what is truly important in our busy, self centered lives?

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This article has been read 357 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Laura Manley07/17/09
This was a very heartfelt story, one which I have a feeling is true. Isn't God good? This is so typical of Him - to get us to a point where we finally look to Him for our strength and comfort. One of my favorite verses in the bible is Romans 8:28 "And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose." What a comfort this has been for me in so many times in my life. Thank you for sharing this story. If it is true, I pray your daughter will continue to be well; if it isn't true, you have done a very good job in telling a story that unless you have lived it, would seem almost impossible to write. Blessings, Laura
Seema Bagai 07/19/09
Vivid and infused with strong emotions. Good work.
Deborah Porter 07/23/09
Hi DeWayne. I just wanted to leave a quick note to let you know your entry, My Holly, actually did very well in the Summer Challenge. Although you didn't receive an award, you made it into the Highest Rankings for Level 1, placing 8th in that Level.

The competition is always intense in Level 1, so you deserve a pat on the back. :-)

If you'd like to check the highest rankings for yourself, you can find them here:

The highest rankings are posted every Thursday evening on the Message Boards.

Again, well done!

With love, Deb (Challenge Coordinator)