God’s runway

This summer I was asked to participate in the 2nd annual Couture for a Cause benefit that raises money for the American Cancer Society.  All fashions are made from recyclable/repurposed materials by super creative designers. 

 I was paired with Tasena Renner and met with her four times for measurements and fittings as she worked to create my outfit for the night.  When we met for the first time, she asked me what I envisioned and I truly had no idea.  It was after cleaning out Jett’s closet and coming across blue jeans that he’d outgrown, that an idea came to mind.  How fun to have a skirt made from his cowboy jeans?  I shared my idea with her, found some inspiration pictures, and she began sewing.  

The shirt was made from an old set of curtains with a camisole created from a bathing suit cover-up.  The button that she used on my skirt was a 2017 penny, symbolizing the year I was diagnosed.  And then I rocked my cactus Junk Gypsy boots as a reminder of the cactus that pricked me.  Tasena put hours and hours of time into creating this outfit and it’s something I’ll treasure forever.  
So on the day of the event, I opened up one of my favorite Christine Caine devotionals to find the reading was entitled “fear, trust, repeat”.  Whoa!  Fearful.  That’s a little bit of how I was feeling as I prepared for this event.  Being a model in the Pumps and Pearls event last year, eased my mind a little, but still being on a runway in front of lots of people is intimidating.  After a full day of teaching, I made the trek to Taylors for the benefit, arriving tired and a little weary.  Giving my name, I entered the backstage area which was full of make-up and hair artists, tons of clothing designers, and 17 survivor models that would walk the runway with their “one of kind” recycled outfits.

 A sister of a friend from high school did my make-up, a hair designer quickly styled my hair to look like the singer, Pink, and Tasena, my designer, added the finishing touches to my outfit.  Fear of walking the runway kept creeping in, especially when we lined up as a group.   Pressing forward was just what I had to do.  

I quickly found my friend Jenny and her precious daughter Amelia and seeing them took the anxiety away. Sweet Amelia, 9,  was diagnosed at 6 months with retinoblastoma.  I taught with her momma and remember the moment she found out about Amelia’s cancer.  We were all devasted for them but rallied around this family and prayed many prayers for this sweet girl.   Amelia told me last night that she doesn’t remember any of her treatment (thank the Lord), but only knows what her mommy has told her about her journey to become cancer free.  Twirling around in her gorgeous purple gown, no fear whatsoever, and a huge smile on her face, reminded me just what the night all about.  Through fashion and fun, this event was a night to revel in the celebration of the gift of life.  The 17 women involved in this event have fought different battles of cancer, walked many tough paths, and are thriving today.  The stories of each of them were great to hear, giving so much hope to all.  The crowd, the lights, and the music pumped us all up and helped make the walk down the runway lots of fun.  It was the moment when I looked to my left on my individual walk during the show, when I saw a blue eyed little boy that I call mine.  

He was sitting in his daddy’s lap, waving and when our eyes met, he reached out and said “mommy!”  All the tears in the world poured out of my eyes, staring at his sweet face, ever so proud of me.  

This event truly was one like no other.  I’ve never seen such unique, innovative outfits like the ones designed by these amazing designers from across the country.  The “People’s Choice” award went to the precious daughter of a young mother that lost her cancer battle a few years ago.  Sweet Amelia was so excited when that trophy was given, and squealed for her “new” friend that she met just hours before.  Watching her clap and congratulate her, beaming with pride, took the cake.  Amelia was truly tickled that this little girl won and not a jealous bone was in this little body.  That’s what it’s all about.  Cheering others on and loving them through their journey.  

Meeting another young breast cancer survivor, Phaedra, made this night super special too.  We talked about how God’s plan for our lives includes sharing our journey as a platform to help others have hope.   She gave me the prettiest pair of earrings and was just so inspiring and gorgeous.  Her sweet spirit reminded me, once again, of all the amazing people God has placed in my life over the last year that have had such an impact on me.  Her designer ended up being a young lady that went to my high school and lived within 2 miles of my parents.  

What a small world?  
So as the evening wrapped up, $45,000 was raised and went directly to the American Cancer Society.  Their mission is to save and celebrate lives, and lead the fight for a world without cancer.  And what more can we ask for?  Oh how I wish it could be taken away completely.  Oh how I wish we could find a cure.  Just this week my mom’s sister was diagnosed with colon cancer.  My heart has been so heavy as I know the feelings that she’s having right now, scared to death and fearful of what’s to come.  We have to remember that God’s plan is perfect and just.  He’ll carry you all the way, with a firm grip on you each day.  He proved that to me and is still right by my side.  The song that comes to mind when I think about the hard times we endure, especially after that word, “cancer” is mentioned by a doctor is “Great Are You Lord” by All Sons and Daughters.

“You give life, You are love
You bright light to the darkness 
You give hope, You restore
Every heart that is broken
Great are You, Lord.
It’s your breath in our lungs
So we pour out our praise
We pour out our praise
It’s Your breath in our lungs
So we pour out our praise to You only. 

I closed my eyes several times last night praising Him for giving me another day and to thank Him for these fun opportunities to be with others who have been through hard times and are thriving.  It’s really helpful and reassuring to see that there is life, a good life, after so many painful days.  I also reflected back on this time last year and how I was in full chemo mode.  

September 6 was one of my big A/C days.  I’ll never forget the sick feeling that would take me down for the weekend after these treatments.  And September 6 will always be a day of celebration too, as it was my Grandaddy’s birthday.  He loved with his whole being.  On his dying day, he told my mom to “love one another”.  Isn’t that what life is all about?  Loving one another through this crazy thing called life.  
Before walking down the long runway last night, I was super nervous, as I said earlier.  I couldn’t help but think…
Would the lights blind my eyes?  
Would I fall?  
Would I look silly?  
What would the judges think of me?  
I had to take several deep breaths and ultimately trust God, knowing that He walks with us daily, comforting us in ways beyond our understanding.  So believe His promises and rest, knowing that His love is enough.  
Walk tall, and know that you are on His runway and He’s the only judge at the end.  
With Him, through trials and happiness, you’ll win in the end.  

“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever.”  Hebrews 13:8


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