I remember my friend calling me many times, but a few times when she called she would say, "Lori, I read through Facebook and see all of these people complaining about their hair and other things. They're having a bad hair day or they don't like their haircut. These people need to quit complaining and realize their blessings!" I would agree with her and we'd go on to something else......mostly talking about faith, the Bible, our kids, school events, and Disney World.
And we would talk about something else. We would talk about her cancer treatments and about her hair falling out or coming back in, or even her wigs that she frequently gave 'haircuts' :). What a blessing having a friend who was so optimistic in her trials! What a blessing to have a friend who proudly proclaimed to all who knew her that she still had faith in God and His promises.
Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. James 1:2-3
Yes, Tonya believed that God could heal her - even up until the moment she passed away this morning. Her mother told me just last night that Tonya still talked about her faith. She knew God could heal her if it was His Will. She also knew that it might not be His Will.
Tonya was a blessing to all who knew her. She was a wonderful wife and mother. She leaves behind four young children in grades 3, 5, 7, and 9. Her death has affected our whole small town and the school students and faculty. We'll all miss her tremendously.
The last time I talked to Tonya she was heading to MD Anderson the next day. She said then that she was thankful she had been able to help so many people who were taking cancer treatments and going through what she was. What an inspiration she was to others!!! She was to me.
Last night I went to Tonya's house. She was asleep, but sitting up on the couch. Her mom and I talked, the oldest son was near her. The other kids helped me carry in food. The youngest boy tried to wake Tonya up to talk to me. He would poke her on her shoulder and say, "Mama, mama, wake up!" I told him not to worry about it, that when she woke up, to tell her I loved her and was praying for her. It was sweet what he did a little later....still wanting her to wake up. He rubbed her head and said "Wake up!" It made me smile, seeing her short dark, curly hair that had grown in recently and thinking about those "bad hair day Facebook complaining" phone calls. Oh, how I'll miss those phone calls and conversations about spiritual life!
Tonya learned something very important during her battle with cancer. I remember when she called me and said she had cancer almost three years ago. She said then that she believed before that she was a "good" person....she believed in God and believed in Jesus, but she said that before the cancer, she hadn't fully dedicated herself to God and she believed that was why she was 'given' this trial - to proclaim the message of Him. Her faith grew stronger and stronger throughout her struggle. In fact, she never considered it a struggle at all.
My sweet friend spent the rest of her days praising God, telling of Jesus, and encouraging others to do the same - to not believe that just being good is what God wants. She knew that God wanted her to live out her faith for others to see. Her faith never wavered, even when she began to have pain. She read the Bible....studied the Bible....shared scriptures and inspiring messages on Facebook. She worshipped with her church family when she felt good enough to be there and got her family to do so, as well. She was an inspiration to all who knew her and to those who just heard about her.
I pray that Tonya's message will not be forgotten.
When you have a bad hair day, a 'bad' day in general, or a trial come up in your life, think about my friend Tonya. She never complained.....never felt sorry for herself. She was always thankful for all of her blessings and was positive each and every day. Let's all strive to be more like Tonya. The world needs more people like her. And after all, is a bad hair day really that bad? No, not at all.
The last Facebook message Tonya posted herself, she ended with this message: GOD IS GOOD. She believed that. So do I. I pray that you believe that, too.
Do not fear, for I am with you; Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.