Nikki – Being Courageous

My name is Nikki Moore.  I am married to the love of my life and best friend, Brent. We are blessed with three precious kids…Mia is 10, Marley went to be with Jesus in 2011, and Micah is our favorite surprise and just turned 4! Brent and I have been married for 12.5 years and let’s just say that I am 100% blessed in the marriage department and married up, for sure! We live in Kansas City and plan to never move, we love it here! We love our church and serve as small group leaders, and I serve in the elementary discipleship program, with Mia. I was a first grade teacher for 9 years, but am blessed to now work from as a consultant for Rodan+Fields.

Back in 2009, when Marley was just 18 months old, she was diagnosed with a cancerous brain tumor. Talk about turning your life upside down. Our life had been pretty “normal” and “boring” up until that point. Brent was in the middle of his dissertation for his Ph.D., so up until that point, him being a full-time working-doctoral student had been our biggest stressor. We were told, from day 1 of knowing her type of tumor, that she would not win this battle. To add salt to the wound, she suffered a major stroke after her first brain surgery. So, not only were we dealing with a terminally ill toddler, she was also now very handicapped both physically and mentally. The list of emotions we felt were quite extensive. The feeling of disappointment seemed to be the one that I kept coming back to. I don’t know if I was ever angry at God, I felt more let down by Him, to be honest. The phrase that kept running through my head was, “I know horrible things happen to people, even Jesus-loving Christians, every day, but good grief I really wish it wouldn’t have happened to her.” Our supportive and sweet community were diligently praying for absolute healing, and while I KNOW that God is capable of ALL things, I knew in my heart that she would be heading to Heaven way before anyone else in our family.

At the time of her diagnosis, we hadn’t become very involved at our church. We allowed the stress of Brent’s long commute/working 40+ hours a week/being a full-time doctoral student and me often feeling like a single mom and a full-time working mommy of two girls control our spare time. And, despite our lack of connection to our church family, from the moment Marley was diagnosed they rallied around us, loved us, and supported us in more ways than I can even remember! About six months after Mar’s diagnosis, I can remember very clearly, our pastor calling and very directly saying, “There’s a new small group starting and I really think you and Brent need to be a part of it.”  Immediately, I thought it was the craziest idea ever! Brent needed to study on Sunday nights and who would take care of Marley and administer her time-sensitive medication through her feeding tube? It seemed impossible, BUT God provided a way. After the very first meeting, I KNEW that God had brought us into that group and surrounded us with the most amazing community and friends that you could ever dream of having. Those people loved us, prayed for us, supported us {emotionally, spiritually, financially, physically}. They were the perfect example of what the church is designed to be. They were Jesus to us, exactly when the He knew we would need it.

There were days that were very, very hard. Watching your daughter’s health deteriorate and knowing that her time was very limited was the most painful experience I could’ve ever imagined…and, hopefully, the hardest experience of my entire life. But, God’s love and peace was always present. I knew we would make it through that experience and I knew that eventually we would come out stronger. It was ONLY by the grace of God that we had the emotional and physical strength to make it through those 27 months, from the time of diagnosis to her death. There were many times that I didn’t have the strength to pray {or the desire, let’s be real}, but I knew that God knew my heart. He knew exactly what I needed and He always showed up. The Lord’s strength helped me to remain the best kind of mom that I could be to Mia. This was such a difficult experience for her, the last thing she needed was a depressed and emotionally disconnected mom. I look back on those years and I’m in complete awe of the Lord’s presence. I may not have always recognized it then, but I sure do now!

I love the verse,
“Be still and know that I am God” Psalms 46:10.
I also love that it’s a song I used to sing at church as a little girl. I would find myself singing it to myself and it was my constant prayer. God is bigger than cancer. God is bigger than our deepest sorrows and struggles. This world is so very temporary. The best thing we can do is keep our eyes on Jesus and know that Heaven is going to be way more amazing than this temporary home. Thank the Lord, right?!

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