Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: HOME (02/07/19)
TITLE: The Faith of Nellie
By Carolyn Ahrens
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Life had given our family a kick in the guts 2 years ago when Nellie was diagnosed with a rare form of aggressive cancer. This is something you never want to hear a doctor say. The outlook was not good, however, we believed in miracles and that’s just what we prayed for. God could do anything, and we had faith that he would!
It was hard watching Nellie go through Chemo. It caused her great suffering from severe nausea and vomiting. No child should have to go through something like that! When her sickness was at its worst, I’d remind myself that her healing was on its way. God has perfect timing, but I must admit, when Nellie was having a bad day, I would ask God to please hurry and ease her suffering. The times that still rip my heart out are the ones where Grandpop and I would take turns holding and rocking her as she cried, asking us to help her not be sick anymore! We tried to hide our tears, but she’d catch us. We’d sing to her and explain how God was working on making her well! Several times she’d say, “Nana, we need to pray and ask Jesus to hurry! Dear Jesus,” she would pray, “Please help Nana and Grandpop not to be sad and make my cancer go away so I won’t throw up. Can I go home tomorrow? My dog misses me…Amen. Okay Nana, tomorrow we can go home,” she stated. “Nellie,” I asked, “Why do you think you can go home tomorrow?” “Nana…Duh,” she responded, “You said God’s working on making me well, so I asked him to do it tomorrow.” The faith of a child is unquestionable trust, so much more than most adults! That’s what Jesus was talking about when he said we need faith like a child.
Doctors were amazed when a year had gone by. They didn’t think she’d make it very long, but Jesus gave Nellie the strength to endure! When her hair fell out, I made some silly hats. It cheered her up. When she was having a bad day, Grandpop would put on the silliest hat and push Nellie up and down the hallway visiting nurses and other children battling cancer. It always cheered her up and her smile left a lasting impression on all!
After many treatments, Nellie’s hospital stays had slowed down. She was nearing her 8th birthday and we planned a party but a few days before the big day, Nellie suddenly got sick! She was in pain and throwing up vile looking liquid! We rushed to the hospital where she was quickly admitted. Her doctor wasted no time in doing tests including an MRI!
As we waited for tests results, I noticed Nellie’s skin looked a grayish color. Gagging and throwing up, the nurses would rush in to suction her throat. This was scary for my Nellie! Tears streamed down her face. By the time her doctor returned, she had taken a turn for the worst and he gave us the grim news. Cancer had come back with a vengeance! Aggressive chemo must be started immediately if any hope existed.
All that could be given was given and it caused her severe nausea! “I want to go home,” Nellie cried. “I know you do sweetheart. You can go as soon as you’re better,” I replied choking back tears! “No Nana,” she said, “Jesus asked me if I want to go home? I won’t be sick there…Just like we prayed!” Her strength was failing rapidly, and she could only whisper! At first, I couldn’t rap my brain around what she was saying, “Nana, can I go home? Jesus said he’d take me.” With all the strength I had, I leaned down and gave her a kiss and said, “Yes baby, you go home with Jesus. We’ll be a long before you know it!”
Closing her eyes, she gave the biggest smile ever and breathed her last. God had eased her suffering. She went to her heavenly home where there is no more pain…no more tears!
Sitting here now, looking at her picture, I know heaven is enjoying her infectious smile…because that’s my Nellie!
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