Today we share a beautiful story from a Women Celebrate guest, Marian Clough. No doubt someone reading this today needs to hear this message. Thank you for sharing your story, Marian. God bless you!

Going home from Women Celebrate this past year, renewed and enlivened, I was so ready for my Lenten journey. At Mass on Ash Wednesday, I remember praying to our Lord, “bring it on”. And He did! On Thursday morning, we learned that my husband had esophageal cancer. “It looks very bad”, the doctor said. Let this journey begin.


Friday, a CT scan. Monday, meet with the oncology team. Tuesday, another esophageal scope with more biopsies. My prayers were focused on getting some kind of news that would bring some measure of hope. This was not to be in God’s plan for us.


The scan showed a “shadow” in the rib area and some fluid in the chest, which needed to be drained and tested before treatment began. Analysis of the fluid showed cancer cells, so the treatment plan changed from possibly treatable to we’ll proceed, but only to buy more “quality and quantity of life”.


As the focus of treatment and the focus of our lifestyle changed, so did the focus of my prayers change. I learned to be reasonable in my prayer requests. “Ask and ye shall receive” – a small request of our Lord was answered every day of the time we had left. “Seek and ye shall find” – find the strength that prayer has for you. It’s amazing what prayer can get you through. “Knock and the door shall be opened to you”. Never, at any time did I feel abandoned or alone. Our Lord was always there to let me in, to listen to my prayers, to send a Simon to help me carry this cross that He put upon my shoulders. I was on this journey with Jesus, knowing that together there is nothing we cannot handle. Total faith and trust gives a sense of Jesus’ presence, His love, His strength.


My prayers now focused on any little thing that would get us through the day. And every day, at the end of the day, there was always some little prayer that was answered – my husband didn’t fall today, he walked without a walker, he ate a dish of jell-o, he climbed a few stairs, he helped dress himself, he made it through another complication. The list goes on and on, but at the end of every day, no matter how dark the day, there was always a positive – small victories for which I was thankful.


Embrace the cross that Christ gives you with faith and trust, and carry it all the way to the vision of the Lord’s plan for you. Every day of this brutal journey made me stronger, not only as a person, but as a witness to my faith and trust in the Lord. Pray for strength when things get tough – it’ll come. Part of my daily prayer of hope ends with these strengthening words: “Help me, O Lord, to pick up the pieces, wipe my tears, face the sun, and start over again. For all is possible, when I place my faith and trust in YOU”. This works!!!