The Heart Of A Hero
by April Osteen Simons
As we take time to celebrate Mothers this month, I can’t help but think about my mother and how special she is to me. She is one amazing lady. She has impacted my life in more ways than I could ever express. She is my mentor. She is my friend and she most definitely is my hero.
Let me explain…
In 1981, my healthy, energetic mom went to the doctor because of a pain in her side. When the doctor examined her, he noticed something abnormal. He admitted her into the hospital for extensive tests. Her “check-up” turned into a three-week hospital stay. The prognosis was shocking. The doctor told my mom and dad that she had cancer of the liver. At that time, they expressed chemotherapy and radiation would not benefit her because the cancer was too far gone. On top of all that, they gave my mom a few weeks to live.
The day daddy brought her home from the hospital was a day I will never forget. I wasn’t expecting what I saw. She had changed drastically in a short period of time. My “healthy” mom now looked like skin and bones. She seemed so fragile. Her skin was jaundiced. She looked like she was ninety-eight years old. In all reality, my mom looked like death and weighed eighty-four pounds.
I have to say the next twenty-four hours literally changed my life and made me into who I am today. I watched as my mom and dad went back to their bedroom and lay on their faces before God. They begin to speak God’s Word over her. They prayed like I’ve never seen them pray before.
I then watched as mama got up and placed her Bible on the floor and slowly put her tiny feet on the Word—she physically stood on it. With a shaky, yet bold voice she spoke out, “Father, the only thing between Me and death is Your Word…and I’m choosing to stand on Your Word.”
I was amazed. I was taking it all in. You see, I was the only child at home during this time. I was the captive audience I was watching, I was listening and oh, how I was learning.
The next morning I woke up and got ready for school. Forever etched in my mind is the picture I saw when I walked into the kitchen. Standing by the sink was my mother. Her back was to me and she was washing dishes. She had made me a hot breakfast and lunch for school.
I couldn’t believe it. I looked at her and said, “Mama, what are you doing up? You need to be in bed.” She turned around, looked me right in the eyes and said, “April, I’m not going to lie in bed like a sick person. I believe I am healed and I’m going to act like a healed person.”
It was at that moment mama became my hero. As I looked into her eyes I no longer saw death. I saw a surge of life. Her determination to live showed me how to be a fighter–not a lightweight, but a heavyweight. After all, this was her life she was talking about. It wasn’t a Bible story. It wasn’t someone else. It was my mother and it was very real.
I watched my mom shift into fighting mode. I saw her stand on the Word of God with a determination I’d never seen before. I heard her speak the Word over her body. I heard her confess daily; many times a day, “I’ll live and not die and proclaim the works of the Lord.”(Psalm 118:17) She was determined she wasn’t going anywhere without a fight. And she sure wasn’t about to surrender in this battle for her life.
After a year of intense battle and standing on the Promises of God, mama won. She got her miracle. Today, after thirty-seven years, she is healthy, strong and totally cancer-free. And she’s 85 years old!
I know mama wouldn’t be here today if she didn’t make the decision to be a fighter. It took bulldog tenacity. It took a “never give up: spirit. It took a warrior mentality…she was in it to win it.
Little did she know in the midst of it all, she was training up another warrior. A little warrior who needed her mother. A little warrior who was praying on the sidelines. A little warrior who witnessed first-hand, that God was still in the miracle-working business.
You know as well as I do that life can be hard. Bad things happen to good people. Life isn’t fair. Often times it seems like one long, continuous battle. What I have learned is it’s really about the choices you make in the midst of the battle that greatly affects the outcome. You have to choose if you’re going to surrender to your circumstances or if you’re going to stand up and fight.
Can I just encourage you with this–Be a fighter! Determine no matter how difficult life may get, you are going to fight life through. Make the decision no matter how many times you might fall down, you will get back up. Settle it in your heart no matter how many times you might fail, you will keep on trying. Don’t you ever give up! The good things in life are worth fighting for. The God things in life are worth staying in the battle for.
And listen; stop focusing on why you are in the battle. Stop focusing on how long you will be in the battle. In fact, don’t even focus on the battle. Instead, focus on the One who will get you through the battle. (Oh that’s so good…I’m “amening” myself!)
God promises He will never, ever leave you. He assures you nothing is too hard for Him and He can do what men can’t do! (Boom!) It might be hard right now, but don’t you ever give up on God, because He will never give up on you!
Do you know what the definition of a hero is? It is simply a person of distinguished courage and ability. You know what? All you really need is a little courage and God will give you the ability. Take on the heart of a hero. Be strong, be courageous—you can do it! God is on your side.
And remember this one thing–In the midst of all of the fighting, you may only feel like a worn out soldier. But in someone else’s eyes, you could very well be their hero.