30 years and 30 days

30 years ago:  In a small town at a local hospital, a 32 year old mother of four lies in a bed, fighting for her life.  She is a pastor’s wife and there are people from her church that have come to pray for her, as well as countless others praying from their homes across the country. Doctors have done all they can, but the situation is grim.

30 days ago:  In a small town at a local hospital, a 32 year old mother of four lies in a bed fighting for her life.  She is a pastor’s wife and there are people from her church that have come to pray for her, as well as countless others praying from their homes across the country. Doctors have done all they can, but the situation is grim.

30 years ago: This mother of four has been diagnosed with cancer.  She has a tumor at the base of her esophagus, which is making it harder and harder for her to swallow.  Her husband, friends, church members, and even strangers prayed without ceasing, begging God to heal her body.  Surely, God wouldn’t want these children to lose their mother.  They prayed believing that God would heal her disease.

30 days ago: This mother of four just gave birth to beautiful twin boys.  After the birth, her body began hemorrhaging and doctors were unable to stop the bleeding.  In addition, she had developed an often fatal disease called DIC, which made her blood unable to clot.  As she laid on the operating table, she was given enough blood to replace the full amount of blood in her body.  After doing everything they knew to do, one of her doctors came out to tell the husband that although much-needed plasma and platelets were on their way, they were still 45 minutes away.  She went on to say that unless something changed, his wife wouldn’t live another 45 minutes.   A day of great joy and celebration had quickly turned into a day of uncertainty and suffering.  Her husband, friends, church members, and even strangers prayed without ceasing, begging God to heal her body.  Surely, God wouldn’t want these children to lose their mother.  They prayed believing that God would heal her disease.

30 years ago: God, in his goodness and mercy, healed this mother of four.

30 days ago: God, in his goodness and mercy, healed this mother of four.

30 years ago: God healed my mom, Becky Welborn, when she entered into heaven.

30 days ago: God healed me, Erin Mashaw, when He used incredibly talented doctors to think creatively and work tirelessly to give me my own life back.

It’s easy to look at these two similar, but different situations and form questions and opinions about whether or not God is truly good.  Why would one story have a “happy ending” and not the other?  How could it be God’s plan for children to lose their mother? For a husband to lose his wife?  We wrestle with these questions all the time as we work through a million different scenarios in our lives and the lives of others.

I think it depends on how we understand the word “healing”.  I think, sometimes, our definition is a little narrow.  I am absolutely confident that God healed my mom.  The Bible tells us that in heaven, there is no more sickness, no more pain, and no more crying there.  Her body was sick and eaten up with cancer.  She was in great pain.  And, as Christians, we know that the very best thing for us is God.  She is with him and there is nothing in the world that is better than that.

The great tragedy in these two situations would be to look at them and say that God was good 30 days ago, but not 30 years ago.  Most of us are probably not gutsy enough to say that, though.  We’d probably say that God was good in the healing that took place 30 days ago, and then try to ignore what happened 30 years ago.

As someone who had a front row seat in both situations, I’m telling you that God was no less good 30 years ago than he was 30 days ago.

Of course, I am so thankful and happy that God chose to let me continue to live with my incredible husband and our 4 kids.  When I think, even for a moment, of what I could be missing, it’s absolutely gut-wrenching.  It would have been incredibly sad if I had died 30 days ago, but it would have been ok.  How do I know?

Because it was incredibly sad… even gut-wrenching, 30 years ago… but it was ok.

When we lost my mom, it was awful.  It was hard in ways I’m sure I will never fully understand.  But we were never alone.  God was with us every single step of the way, guiding our steps, showing us how much he loved us.  He stepped into our lives in new ways that we would never have experienced otherwise.  He brought us a “new mom” (I don’t like the term “step-mom”) when my Dad got remarried and a few years later, I got another sister.  God made our family complete in ways that we could have never imagined.

30 years ago: It wasn’t what we had asked for or anticipated, but God brought healing to our family.

30 days ago: He did it again 🙂

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44 responses

    • Erin, I knew your mom from Kokomo, Indiana. The words above that you wrote would seem like the same thing she might say. Healing does come in many forms and the Almighty is the only one that truly knows how that healing language comes to the heart. Blessings and great to know you are doing well and loving on that beautiful family.
      God bless
      Geri Brewster

      • Thanks, Geri! I think its so cool that I would hear from you, especially since you knew my mom. Thanks so much for taking the time to read my blog and comment 🙂

  1. Erin, you are so gifted in so many ways. This story is so beautiful and heartwarming. What a wonderful understanding of our Lord. I know many people do not have that understanding which makes it so difficult for them to get through life. You are an amazing young woman and I know that God has so many good things in store for you. Love you,

  2. Thanks for sharing, Erin! I completely agree with you, God healed your mom when she entered heaven. I pray constantly for my mom’s healing in the here and now, because I want her with me, healthy and alive. But, even while it is hard to consider losing her one day, I know in complete confidence that God will heal her in heaven, if He doesn’t do it before then, and that He is good and loving and best, period.

    Thanks, again, for sharing. You tell God’s story well, and I can’t even imagine the countless lives that will be touched by hearing it. We love you and are so thankful you’re here with us today!

    • Thanks so much, Amy! I join you in praying for your Mom and trusting God to step in and heal her body, however he sees fit. You guys are a blessing to us and I can’t tell you how much I appreciate all your prayers and support 🙂

  3. Thank you Erin for sharing that. We have been blessed to know you and your family since you were a little girl. We don’t get to see you all much these days but continue to love and pray for you all. I was watching closely when you were in the hospital and kept you in prayer. Your family is amazing and an amazing testimony for the Lord. So happy the Lord chose to heal you here. Love you!
    Cal and Debbie Garrett

  4. Thank you for the reminder that God is always good -even when it is in ways we cannot understand at the time. You have an amazing story and I know He smiles down on you as you share it.

  5. Erin and Reese, we all love you and will be there for you whenever you need us. Thank you for opening up your hearts and allowing us to see what is inside.

  6. This so touching! And what makes it even more authentic than touching, is you being a part of the story….not Max Lucado or Chuck Swindoll telling me what happened but you who were there in the midst of it 30 years and 30 days ago – learning to trust God.
    I think the most inspirational moment for me (as I followed it via FB) was Reece expressing this same sort of faith – that no matter what happened, God could be trusted totally to take care of you, of him, of your precious children.
    Thank you for walking the walk, living your faith out loud. Love you guys!

  7. Erin, you don’t know me, but I am Pastor Brian’s cousin. (Actually his dad’s cousin…but that’s not important…) I learned of your condition on FB when Tandy asked for prayers. I prayed for you, and was so relieved to hear that you had survived! You have an incredible story, and you’re a gifted writer. Praising God for his healing, and for your testimony to the power of prayer and the immensity of God’s love for us! By the way, I have a daughter (24 yrs. old) named Erin..

    • Pam, thank you so much for praying and for taking the time to encourage us! Things are going well and we are continually thankful for all that God has done… its almost unbelievable 🙂

  8. Thank you for the beautiful story of your life, Erin! Sometimes, life’s events can seem so painful that we don’t see the hand of God working. I know that God will continue to work in so many ways, even when we see it as painful and hard. Take care and continue to be a blessing to many.

  9. Hey Girl,
    Been following your story from the first prayer request posted for you that night. Proud of what God has done in your hearts and so thankful that you are home with your family. He is always good!
    Love,
    Bonnie

    • Hey, Bonnie!!! Thank you so much for all your prayers and for taking the time to read this! God is so good!

      I heard you spent a little time with John and Ashley on the cruise- small world, huh?!? Anyway, I’d love to catch up sometime! I was missing you while I was telling John and Ashley about how I met you, working together, etc. The best story, though, was when I was telling them about how we had to sleep in the basement of a host home in Welcome, NC, where I’m certain the waterbed was filled with ice water… lol 🙂

  10. I do not even know you but was blessed by what you wrote. God is Sovereign and He never makes mistakes. God bless your family. By the way I read your story because I know Stephanie Kollack and I am friends with her on Facebook. 🙂

    • Rebekah- thanks so much for taking the time to read this and pray for us! I love Stephanie- were were friends in college and I was so thankful for her sharing our story on facebook 🙂

  11. Erin, As I read your story with many tears streaming down my face, it helps remind me that just as your mom was healed going to heaven, so was my dad whom Jesus called home just yesterday. No more cancer, pain or suffering, only a wonderful life in heaven for him and wonderful memories for us! Thank you for sharing your incredible story and thank you for the prayers for my dad and our family. We feel all of them! Much love, Michelle Franks

    • Hey, Michelle. I’m so sorry that I’m just responding to your comments… its been a little crazy around here…lol 🙂

      I am so thankful and humbled that God would use our story to comfort you in a very difficult time. We love you and your family so much and are so thankful God brought you to South Lake!

  12. Thanks Sweetie, for sharing our story. God has given you great insight and understanding and I am blessed by your expression of His truth. Many see only the tragedy and not the blessing. God IS good and we have seen His mighty hand at work in both situations. I am so grateful for God who loves us and can be totally trusted because of his promise…”And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.” Romans 8:28. I love you and am so blessed that God is continuing to work out His wonderful plan in your life. (I sure have taken to those two guys you gave me to love, too.)
    I am glad we trusted you into God’s loving hands.
    Love,
    Dad

    • Thanks, Dad. I love you and I am truly thankful for your instruction and guidance along the way. The way you handled things 30 years ago will forever shape my life and the lives of my brothers and sisters. You and Mom are a huge part of why I’m able to see things from this perspective- God is good 🙂

  13. Sweetie you know that we have always wanted to bring glory to God through our families unique story and I’m so proud of you for letting God show you the connection between what you have just experience and what your mom experienced 30 years ago. Regularly I have the privilege of sharing your mom’s testimony of faith with thousands as we travel leading our marriage conferences, but I must say God has drawn me closer to your mom in ways I’m not even sure I can express after traveling down this road with you. All through the time I sat next to your bed and watched you and Reece struggle with what was happening and what could be I couldn’t help but think of your dad and Becky 30 years ago struggling with the same issues. Our families story seems so much more real to me now….I’m not sure what God wants us to do with all these feelings, but I know one thing He wants to bring Glory to Himself and in the process use us to help others. I’m so proud of you for being willing to open up a “wound” for the world to see and hopefully take comfort from. I’m so glad God gave us more days to share together!

  14. 30 days ago, my friend Carly Sullivan left an urgent prayer request for you. My husband and I and our four children held hands together and cried out to God and called out your name before Him. After we prayed we felt tremendous sense of peace, assuring us of His control over your situation. When my friend called us back after three days she said that you were still in danger but we continually believed and held on to His healing power.

    I am so blessed to know how God work through your life and how He uses your story to tell the others that He is always in control and as we submit ourselves to Him, He truly works in mysterious ways. We can only be overwhelmed by His great mysteries and not be underwhelmed by our doubts and fears. He is faithful.
    Cielo-Pastor’s wife from NC

  15. Erin: POWERFUL! When your mom and dad left Kokomo we were not sure why but knew that it was God’s will for them to “go home”. God was in control and knew why! We were selfish and questioned him. It did not take long to understand the need to be home with family. She was an awesome woman of God. Your new mom (or bonus mom) stepped right in and filled in the gap and is also an awesome woman of God. Sandy filled in the gap and loved your dad and you kids with her whole heart and soul. Then to have a similar story in the same family, God knew who could tell the story and create such an impact to so many people, even the millions that you do not know. You have an incredible family and your faith and strength are shining. God bless you.

  16. Really was impressed with your “family story” Erin. We stepped into your lives at the end of your Mom’s life and…at the beginning of your new Mom’s arrival in Welcome, NC. You are doubly blessed to have had both of these Godly ladies in your life.

    • Are you Sandy Beutel the lady who moved from Welcome with her husband Ron to the West Coast? I’ve been wondering whatever became of you. We still remember you in Welcome!

  17. Erin, I’ve been wanting to comment for a long time. As others have been saying, you are truly blessed with the insight of God’s hand in all of your lives. Your mom, Becky was such a good friend to me in Poway, was such an example to me and an inspiration to me on numerous occasions. I was Ashley’s babysitter when she was little and your mom taught me so much about the care of a baby, I’ll always be grateful. When we came to visit in Kokomo, you were just a little thing, but of course precious! I’ll always cherish that last time I was able to see her again. I remember when I heard about her cancer and I called and talked to her on the phone in the hospital. She was again an encouragment to me, she knew her destiny and yet she cared more about comforting me! That was just amazing to me. Since I was so far away when she died, it was really hard for me to grieve and have any closure. Your blog has been very helpful in my dealing with it. In the last 3 yrs I’ve lost my sister and my dad, both suddenly. Your strength and encouragement and wisdom has helped me even come to terms with their deaths in more ways than you know. Your dad and Becky will always have a special place in my heart and I’ve loved getting pictures and updates of you kids growing up through the years. I know she is looking down and so very proud of the adult Christian men and women you have all become. Your husband and your children are blessed beyond words to have you!
    Thanks for your blogs!
    Donna

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