Grace was born in Toronto, Canada on November 20, 1989. Grace’s happy childhood days were spent in a loving Christian home, along with her two younger brothers. Her school days were also well spent, as she graduated from grade eight with honours. Grace was a beautiful, sweet-natured girl who was well loved by all of her peers. Her face always glowed with unusual warmth and vivacity and her captivating smile always brought a sparkle to her soft brown eyes. Grace’s life was in full bloom until one morning in early July 2003.
This is Grace’s story as it was published in her school yearbook and excerpts from her personal diary:
It was just after grade eight graduation. I was so looking forward to a long summer break, but little did I know that that summer would change my life. (Grace’s family was planning a summer trip to the Rocky Mountains of Western Canada). In early July 2003, I started to feel tired every day. First checkups did not reveal any problems, but I also started having severe attacks of pain in my abdomen, lower back, and legs. I still was not expecting anything serious but this time the tests showed a mass around my spinal canal.
The doctor started the arrangements to send me to Toronto Sick Children’s Hospital. In a short time, my pain increased extremely, almost to the point of my being immobile. At the hospital, many, many tests followed including surgeries as well. Then came the shocking news: I have a cancerous tumour on my spine.
I was confused, sad, mad, scared, and I was trying to realize what was really happening. I knew God had allowed this to happen but I did not know why. However, I really was not upset with God. Many people blame God for the bad things of life. Of course, I was really sad and scared, but somehow God gave me peace so that I could accept it. I had to undergo stressful chemotherapy and rounds of radiation.
Before any of my sessions with a doctor, I would pray with my mom and dad together. I have to admit that I was quite scared sometimes, even to tears; however, deep down, I always had a sense of peace.
I was thankful for being able to go to a good hospital. I was praying more than ever the following weeks. Since I was confined to the hospital the whole summer, I found much more time to read my Bible every day. I felt my relationship with God was strengthening. He and I were becoming closer. I really felt his comfort and peace whenever I prayed.
Sometimes I still asked, “Why me, God?” It encouraged me when I remembered that God has a purpose in everything (Romans 8:28).
I had accepted the Lord Jesus Christ as my personal Saviour a few years before. As a Christian, in the family of God, I wanted to be baptized when I got out of the hospital. I wanted my life to be a witness for Christ. I was consecrating my life to God.
Today I am still fighting this horrible disease. It is only with the help of my Lord that I have made it this far. He has helped me through the pain, needles, treatments, and bad reports we have received from the doctors. Right now, I go to hospital twice a week for blood tests, and I am on a special new chemotherapy.
People I know and people I don’t know are praying for me! My home church has made a difference with thoughtful prayers, caring actions, sincere love and beautiful gifts. This shows the love of the Christian family of God. I can’t imagine how difficult this experience would be without the Lord Jesus Christ. All I can do is pray and depend on the Lord for the rest!
“Casting all your care upon Him; for He cares for you.” 1Peter 5:7
“Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for Thou art with me.” Psalm 23:4
God helped me to pass grade nine with good marks with the help of my classmates and teachers. For this I am very thankful. I cannot imagine how difficult this experience would be without the Lord Jesus Christ. So, all I can do is pray and depend on the Lord for the rest.” (Written from her hospital bed for her school yearbook, late September 2004)
The title Grace chose for this yearbook article was Psalm 23:4 “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me.” While Grace walked through the valley, she was conscious of the Lord’s presence as He promised.
Shortly after she wrote her story above, the doctor told Grace that there was nothing more they could do for her medically – except to try to manage her severe pain. That was on October 16, 2004.The day after, Grace wrote this prayer in her personal diary:
Dear Lord Jesus,
I know everything is in your hands. It has always been. There is nothing left that human doctors can do. However, you are the great physician. I do not know what your plan is; but I know you! Whatever you do is the best for me. You have promised in your Word, all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are called according to His purpose. I know you have a purpose for my illness. I just do not know what the purpose is.
Of course, I want to get better; but you may have other plans. I accept whatever you do. I thank you so much for everything you have done for me. You may want me to be with you any day soon. I love You, Lord. I thank you for dying on the cross for me and for saving me from my sins. I really want to write a hymn – please help me. I also want to read the Bible and pray a lot. I know You can heal me, but Your will be done.
Thank You for giving me peace, I really need peace. I know You can take away my pain. Please do, Lord! But again, Your will be done. You say in your own Word the Bible, in 1Corinthians 10:13 – ‘There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.’
Lord, you have helped, comforted, calmed, and cheered me up. You have brought me through a whole year and about three months. Now, please let me be able to see the yearbook when it comes. I am really excited—two weeks please….”
These were Grace’s last words in her diary. God granted her prayer and gave her exactly two weeks. He also granted her simple request to see the yearbook. No one knew but the Lord.
If you were keeping a journal, would you be able to write with such confidence and assurance about your eternal destiny?
Make sure when your time comes to die you have nothing left to do but die.
Two weeks later, on November 1, 2004—just before her fifteenth birthday—Grace went to be with her beloved Saviour. Her confidence approaching death had nothing to do with positive thinking or trusting in her good life or her religion. Her confidence was in Christ alone.
Grace, recognizing that sin was the only barrier separating her from a relationship with God (Isaiah 59:2) looked to the Lord Jesus Christ by faith and trusted Him as her own personal Saviour. She realized that Christ died for her sins. She accepted that fact from the Word of God (The Holy Bible) and by faith, trusted Him, relied on Him and received Him as her Saviour.
Grace didn’t expect to receive that bad medical news. Few of us do. It always seems to happen to others – but friend, are you prepared? Grace was. You can be too.
But as many as received Him [Jesus], to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name. – John 1:12 Holy Bible
Then Jesus said, “Come to Me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens [what could be a heavier burden than sin?] and I will give you rest.” – Matthew 11:28 NLT Holy Bible
For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. -John 3:16 Holy Bible
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Pictures provided by Grace’s parents.