Cancer! What? Oh no, not this time. My mother had been through this before and God would never allow THIS! I listened closely as the doctor's mouth moved in slow motion. "It's incurable."

I took the walk down the long hallway of the doctor's office with my mom and dad following closely behind. I couldn't bear for either of them to see the tears gushing from my eyes. As the automatic door opened slowly, I saw the nurse that had befriended our family. As I walked by her, I mouthed the words, "It's not good. Please pray." So, she did. I turned around to see mom, dad and the nurse in a circle. The only words I heard were, "Lord, we believe."

Mom had already fought the battle with colon cancer, so the news that it spread to her lungs seemed surreal. Thus began my questions--and they started with God. Standing in my kitchen that evening, I tried to remind myself, "You are a Christian speaker. You have written a book on faith. Stop these questions in your mind now!" I couldn't. The more I tried to stop questioning God, the faster the questions came. I picked up a blue plastic cup then threw it down on the counter. "Why?” I yelled. "Why, God? I don't understand! Please, take me! I don't care if you take me, but please don't take my momma!" Feeling out of control, I ran to my office and threw myself down at my desk. On my knees, I begged God to have mercy.

After several hours of crying uncontrollably, I sat down in front of my computer to research those people in the Bible who were upset with God. There was a long list. Not just the few that I was familiar with, but several I had not even thought about. The one who continued to surface in my mind was David. Psalm 13 reminds us that David cried out to God with questions and God was merciful. As I read the story of David, God spoke to my heart so loudly I looked to see if he was in the office with me. God clearly reminded me, "Shannon, I am not mad that you have questioned me about your mom. I welcome your questions. Only those who have the closest relationship we me can ask such intimate questions." Just like that, God reminded me that not only was he not mad at me for my feelings, but he understood and even "bore my sorrows and was acquainted with my grief."

Months passed, mom began her next round of treatments, and I continued traveling to speak and sing at women's events. After one of my events in Virginia, I was eating lunch with some ladies from the retreat. As we talked, I confided to a couple of the ladies that I'd been hearing the numbers "86" in my heart since mom was first diagnosed.

Before I got all the words out, the lady sitting across from me sat up in her chair, eyes wide, and shouted, "What did you say?" Shocked, I said it again. The lady then asked, "What does that mean to you?"

I told her I believed it might mean mom would live to be 86, but this lady had a completely different thought.

She exclaimed, "Do you know what ‘86’ is used for in the military and in many other organizations?"

Even though my son is in the Air Force, I humbly shook my head, "No."

Her eyes brightened, she grabbed my hand across the table and said, "It means cut out-- to do away with-- gone!” Immediately, everyone listening at the table sat stunned. I burst into tears, and soon others followed. I had never heard that term used, but I knew that God had been whispering those numbers to my heart.

I called my mom the minute I got in the car and told her what had happened. From that day forward, I have claimed "86" over my mom.  As she continues her fight with courage and grace, I hold on to those two numbers.   choose to believe that God is the "86er" of broken things - including cancer!

What would you like for God to "86" in your life this Mother's Day? Maybe it's not physical, but relational. Maybe it’s an old wound that needs healing, or a resentment that needs to be released. Maybe, as in our case, it IS physical. Don't be afraid to fall on your face as I did that night in my office and ask God for help. We serve a God who understands our afflictions, but he goes beyond understanding. He intercedes on our behalf "with groans” in Romans 8:26. Those groans are on our behalf! He will be mother, father, sister, brother, and whatever we need for our lives...and THAT is the best Mother's Day gift that any of us could ever receive.  

and motherShannon Perry is a conference speaker, author, recording artist, TV and Radio show host whose new book is entitled The Overlooked Generation. Prior to going into full-time ministry, Shannon taught for over 14 years in the public school system and holds a Master’s degree in Education and Counseling and is a Certified Instructor for Crisis Counseling and Parenting Classes. Her TV show, “Grace in High Heels” airs on the NRB Network and GEB America. Her website address is www.ShannonPerry.com.

Publication date: May 9, 2014