By Liz Chang
I have never seen him glow with such a peaceful smile before. It was full of joy and deep reward for all the years he chose commitment and steadfast loyalty to care for her. He continues to care for her, but things have changed. She is not the same person he knew from three months ago, but perhaps he sees more of the woman he married 27 years ago.
My parents’ relationship reflects an incredible testimony of God’s faithfulness and love. While their story is not mine to tell, I will say that I refuse to believe they fearfully surrendered to fate. Rather, I believe that they daily take up their armor and press through the challenges that they face together and with each other. Each of my parents have a story of physical hardship through which the other remained faithful and persistent. The season of their engagement and early marriage was when my father was facing health concerns, and the majority of their marriage has been full of pressing through hardship with my mother’s health.
Three months ago, my mother had brain surgery and the person that I knew of for nearly 20 years of my life dramatically changed into a person I am newly discovering to be my mother. This new person is likely more similar to who she actually is at heart, prior to the multiple-year development of a brain tumor that we had no idea about until this past summer. She is a caring woman, full of dignity and empathy. She enjoys laughter and sings songs when she feels at ease. She is the mother that I have vague memories of from my early childhood; the one who sang songs to me and made funny voices with my stuffed animals. The mother who was hidden by a brain tumor for so many years, I now see glimpses of daily.
There are times when we need to accept the circumstance and persevere through the season, knowing that there is an end to the season ahead. But, there are also times when there is no end in sight and persistence is hard to maintain. I had no idea there would be an end to the season that has refined me so deeply, and I had no idea this kind of change was even an option. God’s creative possibilities are far beyond my thoughts! God saw the circumstance and knows my mother’s heart and my father’s heart. God sees each of us.
My father had figured out how to use video chat on Facebook, and randomly called to see if it worked. When I accepted his video chat call, I saw him sitting next to my mother and they were both beaming with excitement to see me. I had never seen him glow with such a peaceful smile before. I have much to be grateful for today.
Liz Chang resides in Seattle, WA and works for Navos as a substance abuse prevention & intervention specialist at a local middle school, and as a child and family therapist. She graduated from Seattle Pacific University with a Masters of Science degree in Marriage and Family Therapy, and is working towards certification as a Chemical Dependency Professional.