This past weekend our pastor gave a beautiful sermon about hope in spite of the inevitable tragedies and heartache in this world. It really touched my heart and put into words what I’ve never been able to explain. We’ve been told that our family is an “inspiration.” That we’ve thrived in spite of the tremendous heart ache that has come our way with struggles with infertility, the loss of our first baby during early pregnancy, my challenging twin pregnancy and their early birth, our daughter’s diagnosis with cancer at 4 months old, her treatment, her passing, and then her twin brother’s diagnosis with Type 1 Diabetes.
“How do you go on?”
“How are you able to function?”
“How is that you still have joy?”
Because of hope!
The reality is that yes, we’ve been dealt some tough cards in our life. And no, the truth is that we don’t always handle them gracefully. There are days that we want to hole up and cry. That we want to stomp our feet, shout at God and ask why!
But we go on. We find joy in our circumstances every day and see His little mercies everywhere when we bother to open our eyes and take a look around.
We lost Olivia to cancer. That fact still causes my heart to shatter. We don’t get the privilege of watching her grow up and become the amazing woman she absolutely would have been.
But we do now have the joy of watching a foundation bearing her name bring real hope to other families.
We have the joy of seeing complete strangers be so moved by our daughter’s story that they donate time and money and tell others about childhood cancer.
We have the joy of watching her brothers grow up and see their hearts for serving others because they will grow up with a lot of opportunity to do so.
We also have the joy of seeing her story and the testimony of our family help bring other families to know who God is.
There is a hope that comes from our relationship with God that allows us to have joy during all times and all circumstances. Even if it takes awhile for that joy to bubble to the surface.
We know without a doubt that Olivia’s pain, suffering, and early death were not in vain. She is making a difference each day. And we have no doubt that fact will remain true.
Olivia Caldwell Foundation is a 501c3 nonprofit that raises money for pediatric cancer research. You can learn more and donate at www.oliviacaldwellfoundation.org.