A strong woman knows she has strength enough for the journey, but a woman of strength knows it is in the journey where she will become strong.
“You fight like a girl!” The boy laughed as he ran away after delivering that statement like a rock to a pane of glass. And, like glass, I was shattered. It laid waste to my belief that I could do anything that my young male classmates could do, and my innocence faded into the blackness of nonexistence.
Through the years, I pushed that memory into the crevices of my mind as life replaced it with tasks, goals and accomplishments. Days melted away, and my life became a welcome movie that replayed daily. Then my movie reel snapped, and the film flipped out of control as I was met with the news: “You have cancer.”
A grueling year and a half of surgeries and complications kept my happy ending at bay. Then came periods of calm intertwined with interruptions of relapses. Three times in my life, I have heard those horrendous words spanning nearly a half-century of battles. And their power never waned. But through my faith in God, I never allowed them to leave me in darkness.
Every instance becomes an opportunity to explore new avenues in life. To meet new people. To remind myself how strong and determined I am. To show myself and the world that nothing is impossible. Nothing is final. Nothing is predetermined.
After one of my battles, someone asked me, “How do you keep going and not give up? How do you do it?”
Instantly, I was taken back to that playground of my youth. Suddenly, those stinging words held new meaning in my heart. A sly smile formed upon my lips as I turned to face my friend.
“I survive because I FIGHT LIKE A GIRL.”
— Pastor Wanda Christy-Shaner —