How to Handle Life’s Curve Balls

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What do you do when unexpected curve balls in life are thrown your way? Dawn and Chris Carr know how to handle curve balls. They have always been such a precious couple in my life. They met when they were 19 years old at college and were inseparable. We as Dawn’s best friends knew they would marry.  They married right after college, in September 1997.  They epitomize–then and today– a Christ-centered marriage.

For their whole marriage of 18 years, Chris awakens daily at 6am to have his quiet time and Bible reading, eats breakfast with his family, then he leaves for work.  They pray together, laugh together, work hard together, and have fun together as a family. Life often seems so perfect in the calm before the curve ball.

Their curve ball came in 2003, when Dawn was 30 years old. While enjoying their two-year-old son Carson and pregnant with their second child,  Dawn was diagnosed with colon cancer. Just typing those words brings tears to my eyes, recalling the shock. How could someone so young have to hear the “C” word, especially Dawn who was pregnant? For that matter, why does anyone need to hear the dreaded “C” word?

A prayerful decision was made to operate. When the growing baby in her womb was five months along, anointed doctors made an incision from her breasts down to her pelvis. The nurses held that baby outside of her body while 13 cancerous inches of her colon were removed. They then gently placed the baby miraculously back into her body. Miracles never cease.

The surgery was not the worst of the battle. Her incision down the front of her body had a difficult time healing because, as the baby grew inside of her, her skin and stitches stretched tautly. Dawn could hardly stand up straight because it hurt too much to stretch her healing incision. Not only could she not stand up straight, she also was not supposed to pick up her beautiful two-year-old son Carson. Her incision healed, and Dawn, in her hilarious humor, calls her scar her “front butt.”

How did we respond as Dawn’s friends? What did we do? We prayed and rallied around her. We showed up. We all came to Charlotte, took Dawn out for a spa day with a manicure/pedicure, then rented a hotel suite to have a slumber party. She was real in telling us all the details. We were real to listen. To cry with her. To laugh with her (although it hurt her incision to laugh, she loved and still loves to laugh). To hug her. To hear her. To let her know we love her and value her and are praying for her.

Dawn, Chris, and Carson came to Charleston to visit and stay with me two months later. By this time she was seven months pregnant. I remember us going to Fort Sumter and Dawn trying to push Carson in his baby stroller, and she couldn’t stand up straight. We heard the ferry boat whistle indicating that we needed to get on the boat. Dawn ran like “ET” with baby stroller while Chris ran ahead with our tickets. We laughed so hard. We had so much fun. Dawn laughed through her pain. She is the life of the party.

Dawn delivered baby Zackary on Mother’s Day 2004, the miracle boy. We say he was “born again” on the day he was birthed. Dawn began chemo two weeks after he was born and couldn’t breast feed.  Both Zackary and big brother Carson have hearts of gold. They are good boys, good students, are good role models. I love them as I would my own children.

Dawn and Chris  go on date nights often, and go on “Celebration of Life” cruises each year on the anniversary of her cancer surgery. They just enjoyed their 2015 cruise last month. They savor every moment. Dawn and Chris are such an inspiration, and their marriage is one of dying to self and living for God, each other, their two sons and others. Those are the keys, my friends, to handling life’s curve balls.

Happy 18th Anniversary, Dawn and Chris!

Christian Broadcasting Network’s “700 Club” featured Dawn and Chris’s story in December 2012. Enjoy their poignant feature video clip now by clicking on the link below.

 The 700 Club–Baby Born Again, featuring Dawn, Chris and Zackary

Reflect:

–Why does it seem sometimes that bad things happen to us? Please comment.

Renew with One of Dawn’s favorite verses:

–“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” –Joshua 1:9

–“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:13

Recharge:

–What can you learn from the testimony Dawn, Chris, Carson and Zackary? Please comment.

Resource:

— http://www.cbn.com/700club/features/amazing/Carrs121206.asp

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  1. “…for He causes the sun [blessings] to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain [trials] on the righteousness and the unrighteous.” ( Matt. 5). And, Matt. 7 says that the rain falls, the floods come, and the winds blow and slam against those who hear His words and act, or don’t act, on them – the wise who are founded on the Rock, as well as the foolish that build their “house” on the sand. Therefore, we know that we can expect the difficult trials. We may think that surely we will never go through ___, and perhaps we don’t/ won’t. But when James speaks of “every good and perfect gift”, it is in a paragraph that addresses persevering in trials. We struggle with calling cancer, financial trials, or even the suicide of a child “perfect gifts” – and understandably so. They are trials, for sure. But the lessons learned, the growth in faith, and learning the character of our faithful Savior, who redeems not only souls, but circumstances, too (Rom 8:28) – these, as well as other things, are treasures hidden in the dark places of trials. Would we love to learn these things without these great trials? Absolutely! Am I grateful that our Faithful and True Savior, the Lover of our souls, WILL redeem even the “rains”, “floods”, and the “winds that slam against our houses”! It might not be on our timetable, but He will do it! It might not look like we want it to look, but, again, He will do it! Sweet Lord Jesus, strengthen our faith, keep faith for us, sustain us, help us in our unbelief, forgive us in our unbelief! We thank You that You are still good and still enough – our Hiding Place! Thank You for telling us in Isaiah that we can expect trials (“when you pass through the waters…”), but also assuring us in those same verses that we will “pass through”! Thank You, Father!!

  2. I cannot tell you how much your blogs mean to me. They truly are pure inspiration. I am friends with your cousin Cindy Sanders. We went to high school and college together. We don’t really see each other , but we are Facebook friends. Both you you are such Godly women. You both let your light shine. What an example you both are !

  3. Wow! AMEN!!

  4. paminvirginia55 says:

    This is a very beautiful story about friendship, as well as hope, prayer and faith. Everyone could use a loving friend like you, Danya. Your writing is beautiful and brings me to tiny tears. Bless you.
    Pam in Winchester

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