my friend Mary

mary

My friend Mary lost her battle with cancer and passed away 2 weeks ago.   I only knew Mary for a few years, but I always looked forward to the time I got to spend with her.  Mary’s daughter was in my youth group and when we began a ladies basketball group at the church, she came and brought her mom. Mary could outplay everyone who even thought about showing up and I often felt bad for not providing enough competition for her with my limited skills.  But Mary came every week.  In the beginning, she didn’t talk too much . . . but she laughed alot at the rest of us (some of our players spent a lot of time on the ground or with the ball hitting them in the face . . . there was a good mix of skills in our group!)  And she always smiled at us and listened to our stories and encouraged us – – and we never felt like we didn’t belong on her team. 

As Mary opened up to us and began to trust us, she began joining in our conversations and we learned what was important to her.  Mary got a lot of enjoyment and satisfaction from playing hard and playing well, giving 100% when only 50% would have been needed.  Though she loved to join us any time we had an athletic event or game (and she helped lead our adult team to many flag football victories over the youth team!), she would stay home if our event fell on a day that her husband didn’t have to work.  Mary loved her family and she valued the time she got to spend with them.    She went to all of her daughter’s basketball, volleyball, and softball games and she often helped the coaches with records.  She placed priority on raising her daughter to be a tough athlete and person of character.

And then about a year & a half ago, Mary developed a cough that she just couldn’t shake.  For a couple of Monday nights, she continued to come and play basketball thinking it was just a cold.  But I still remember when she called to tell me she had gone to the doctor and they decided to do a chest scan.  And I remember when she called to tell me they had “found something” on the scan.  The doctors told Mary that she had cancer in her lungs.  Within a few weeks, we learned that she also had cancer in several other areas and she was scheduled for surgery on her colon.  Little did we know that this was only the beginning of a painful struggle.  Throughout the last year & a half, Mary went through a variety of treatments for multiple types of cancer . . . lungs, colon, bone, brain . . . her whole body was affected.  Mary and her family struggled.  They struggled physically. They struggled mentally.  And they struggled spiritually. 

Two weeks ago, my friend Mary died quietly in the middle of the night with her family by her side.  Five days before that, Mary placed her faith in Jesus Christ as her only hope for salvation.  Mary died resting in the grace of God that comes through faith in the risen Christ who died on a cross in OUR place, taking the punishment for OUR sins.  Though I wish my friend Mary had found enjoyment in the glory of Jesus throughout her living years, I praise God that He called her to a new life in her death!  That’s Amazing Grace!

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~ by kentuckyfaithful on September 6, 2009.

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