I'm not sure how I expected her to answer, but these sweet questions were so much more than I expected.
After pausing for a moment to think about her questions, I told her that those were good questions and started to explain.
How, how did I get cancer ...
I put one hand into an 'O' shape and said that our bodies are made up of cells (something we've discussed previously) and that each cell is an 'O' and that they multiply into other 'O's (holding up the other hand). I told her this process happens every day from before we're born to when we die, and that it usually goes perfectly, but for me, somewhere along the way, one cell snuck past the checkpoints and went from an 'O' to a 'claw" (holding up a claw). Holding up one claw I said that instead of making an 'O', that cell split and made another 'Claw' and that process repeated and that was how I got cancer.
(I was honestly shocked and humbled that I was able to so easily and succinctly describe the how to my six-year-old.)
Then we discussed the why.
I told her I didn't know why and that sometimes sad and bad things happen, but then I told her that what I did know was that through this experience I could be an example and a light to others, and that I was grateful that Heavenly Father trusted me enough with that responsibility.
As those words came to my mind and out of my mouth, I was humbled with the weight of that realization and buoyed at the same time.
God does not allow us to experience trials without also giving us the strength, tender mercies, and miracles to overcome them, and reasons that we may or may not see.
While I have only scratched the surface of this challenge, I have received countless acts of kindness, hundreds of prayers (and fasts), and more-than-my-fair-share of miracles. They have showered me daily.
How often do you have hundreds of people praying and fasting on your behalf?
How often do you have hundreds of people, all over the world praying and fasting on your behalf?
How often do you have hundreds of people, all over the world (including General Authorities) praying and fasting on your behalf?
How often do you have hundreds of people, all over the world, from a variety of faiths praying and fasting on your behalf?
I have had Mormon, Evangelical, Non-Denominational, Seventh Day, Catholic, Jewish, Muslim, agnostic, and even atheist friends tell me they're praying for me.
I have had friends (and congregations) near and far fasting for me.
And these prayers and fasts have sustained me.
They have helped me feel God's love.
They have helped me face the diagnosis, surgery, the ICU, and chemo and its horrible effects.
And I know they will continue to do so.
Heavenly Father loves us and hears our prayers. I know he hears those on my behalf.
Today I went to church. I had made the plan of going to church one last time before the effects of chemo really kicked in and I become too immune-compromised.
As I sat in the very back, I was unaware that my congregation was holding a special fast for me, and as I listened to testimonies and prayers given and heard people mention me by name from the pulpit, I felt an overwhelming love.
Love from friends.
Love from family.
Love of my Heavenly Father.
Even now, as I write, I feel his love.
I clicked over to Facebook when a notification popped up and sure enough, another sustaining miracle.
I know the road ahead is steep, and demanding, and ugly, but I am grateful for the prayers. Please continue to pray as I battle physically and mentally; I will need them.
They will be my strength, tender mercies, and miracles that will help me as I face this trial.