On the Eve of Another First Day of School, Grateful to Live It


This morning John and I received news that a friend had passed from the Shadowlands into Wondrous Glory. Just 50 years old, this wife and mother had fought a valiant battle against her cancer and this difficult, tumultuous journey had mercifully and finally led her to eternity’s gate. She is now with her Savior and released from her physical suffering.

John gave me a few extra hugs and kisses this morning before leaving for the airport to pick up our teammates from their US furlough trip. My cancer journey has taken a different path than my friend. John and I both understood.

I’m still here.

I still remain in this body on earth.

I have been offered more days to live, breathe and embrace life with my husband, my children, my family, my friends and yes, you, too.

I relate to Paul’s words to the Philippians when he wrote, “If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me” (NIV, Philippians 1:22).

Such words are particularly poignant for me as our family anticipates Micah’s first day of high school tomorrow. How grateful I am for this significant first day!

I remember Micah’s first day of preschool.

I remember his first day of kindergarten in the US and then his second first day of kindergarten (grade R) in South Africa.

First Day of Grade R in South Africa

First grade firsts followed and then a second grade year.

First Day of First Grade

Third grade, fourth grade and fifth grade all taught invaluable life lessons and also caused Micah a degree of suffering too.

First Day of Fifth Grade

Then, another first, Micah joined the Happy Blue School for two years. This juncture served to encourage, build confidence and return his joy of learning. And, gratefully all of that happened. Micah’s joy and love of learning is healthy, strong and vibrant. Micah is ready to enter high school; eager, excited, a little nervous, but full of anticipation for what his God will show him, strengthen him, and teach him.

Happy Blue School Cricket Fun

And I am here to observe, to cheer, and to embrace Micah’s next first step.

More fruitful labor is ahead for me too, as Micah’s mom. Our relationship is continuing to evolve, grow and change as my first born matures into a young man. Already, he towers over me. Most days now, Micah gently puts his arms around me, aware of his height, his size and his strength when we hug.

Words actually fail me as I consider this next milestone in Micah’s life. More than any other school year, it is this one (so far) that has me realizing how fast time is passing and how soon he’ll be on his way to university and a life of his own one day. We’re still a handful of years away from that next significant life event, but it will come before we know it. And it is my prayer that I’ll still be here when that next, incredible day comes.

Having cancer, surviving it, and being allowed more days to live is a blessing and privilege.  More days of fruitful labor are ahead.


One of those fruitful days is tomorrow, when my firstborn son begins high school. How grateful I am that I am here to experience it. Yes, how grateful I am.

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