Lindsay told us about a song that we just had to hear. So I downloaded it to the trusty iPod and fired it up as I drove to work yesterday. The song is called Tough and it is performed by Craig Morgan. If you know much about our past year you will quickly see why this song had the Old Yeller/Field of Dreams effect on the eyeballs. The lyrics start innocently enough…

She’s in the kitchen at the crack of dawn
Bacon’s on, coffee’s strong
Kids running wild, taking off their clothes
If she’s a nervous wreck, well it never shows
Takes one to football and one to dance
Hits the Y for aerobics class
Drops by the bank, stops at the store
Has on a smile when I walk through the door
The last to go to bed, she’ll be the first one up
And I thought I was tough

Chorus:

She’s strong, pushes on, can’t slow her down
She can take anything life dishes out
There was a time
Back before she was mine
When I thought I was tough

That made me smile as I remembered the days when Joni juggled three active boys through school, baseball, basketball, and forced Cotillion dance lessons. I was a little too absent as I carved out my career. I finally realized how tough she really was to raise three wonderful sons while her husband traveled around the country and world. I appreciated how tough she was while sacrificing weekends with our friends because sports teams insist on playing on the weekends and sports television was my job. So a mixture of fond memories and some regrets filled my mind when I got ambushed by the next verse.

We sat there five years ago
The doctors let us know the tests showed
She’d have to fight to live, I broke down and cried
She held me and said it’s gonna be alright
She wore that wig to church
Pink ribbon pinned there on her shirt
No room for fear, full of faith
Hands held high, singing Amazing Grace
Never once complained, refusing to give up
And I thought I was tough

I am not ashamed to admit that those words turned on the waterworks. That is my bride and that has been her journey. She has been full of faith from diagnosis day till this moment. No room for fear because she believes that faith in God casts out fear as you rest in His Sovereign hand. I have probably complained more about my knees aching than she has about cancer. And she has refused to give up because she wants to live and serve the Lord. If I thought I was tough that misguided notion fell by the wayside as I watched Joni battle cancer with the courage that a young shepherd boy challenged a Philistine giant. Now we have passed the one year mark, the scans have been clear and the treatments are nearly done.

How can I thank all of you who have prayed so faithfully over the past year? Many of you have prayed so diligently and I don’t even know you. We may never meet this side of eternity. Yet you have cared enough to pray for us throughout this long journey. Amazing. Joni has retired the wig now and is wearing her very own hair to church. Here is a picture from Easter weekend.

                                                                

Joni’s strength and dignity have humbled me. There was a time before she was mine when I thought I was tough. No more. But there is one other thing I have learned during this difficult year.

I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength. 

Yet it was good of you to share in my (our) troubles.  Phil 4

Thank you. It really was good of you to share in our troubles. And we are so grateful and humbled.

Dave Burchett is an Emmy Award winning television sports director, author, and Christian speaker. He is the author of When Bad Christians Happen to Good People and Bring'em Back Alive: A Healing Plan for those Wounded by the Church. You can reply by linking through daveburchett.com