Laura Stephenson: A story of positivity, hope and faith when faced with cancer – an extract
Mike Barnes, Laura Stephenson's dad, writes: I guess the unusual thing about this book is that the words were written by Laura as she underwent treatment for stage 4 bowel cancer, just 12 months after giving birth to twin girls.
Sadly on 28 December 2019 Laura's body could no longer sustain her life. I use those words carefully. Laura's diaries were called Warrior Diaries for a reason. She was in a battle; she knew she was. She wasn't a lone warrior, she had support from a huge army of family, friends and most of all the support of her faith, her belief in God, as they all battled against the cancer that was enveloping her body. It was through this faith that she won the battle. Her faith stayed with her until her body breathed its last breath.
Laura's positivity for life was inspiring. It rubbed off on all she met. I don't think in the twenty months of her battle did I ever hear a negative comment about her illness.
Never an excuse; never 'if only' comment; never a 'why me?' Yes, she would get cross but as in 'I'm going to fight this' attitude. Yes, she had times when she questioned things but without doubt something would come along that would reignite that spark of hope, be it small or a blinding light, every time she felt unsure of her path the spark was there. She was constantly willing to share this light with everyone.
Her writings absolutely portrayed her life; positivity, hope, faith, caring, thinking of others. All of them are a true testament to her life.
Below is a short extract of her book 'Nobody said it would be easy':
9 September 2018: Positivity
People keep telling me that I am so positive about things and I am never quite sure how to respond. I can say that I don't feel like that every day and some days I have to work hard at it. The thing is with being positive; it is a choice. We have the freedom to choose how we approach something. Now don't get me wrong I have days just like everyone else where our stresses and problems seem like this huge weight on your shoulders and we just can't shift it, and so it affects our mood too.
But being given the freedom to choose how we face those things in front of us, is something that I wouldn't swop for anything. It allows me to FIGHT and to make sure that each day, regardless of how I feel, I am standing steadfast in the promises that are given to me.
How amazing that I get to choose how I want to deal with something!
And every time I choose faith over fear, hope over worry and belief over doubt.
18 September 2018: It's not what you know
So there are two posts I have in my head to write that I think God has placed on my heart this week through things I have listened to. Please excuse any spelling issues as the skin on my thumb has cracked and it’s hard to type! (That's my excuse and I'm sticking to it.)
My first post this evening is that through all of this I am being taught about relationships. Now my whole job is about relationships so I wasn't sure how much more there could be to learn but once again when I think I know best I get a gentle nudge to say 'have you thought about it from this angle' and my mind gets blown to a new way of seeing something!
I love being social, chatting and catching up with friends. God knows this and uses it totally for his glory!
He has placed in my path recently some quite amazing friends, family that are constantly there for me all times of the day or night and through work there are people I would never have encountered encouraging me positively forward. I can ask all of these people questions, they challenge me, encourage me and are on this track of healing with me.
When you start off on this path, many people find it hard to understand or comprehend that I am not falling apart, fearful or scared. The idea of healing is so foreign to us that some people don't know how to handle my response 'I have a God that will heal me', so they look at me with sad eyes and ask 'How are you really doing?' I find this really tough to handle as it makes me feel fearful and uneasy. And it's not that they don't care about my feelings or are even aware they are making me upset by asking. In fact, I think it's their way of showing me love and I love them for that.
The relationships that I have at the moment in this with me, whether they have a faith or aren't quite there yet, are what keeps me going. They are extraordinary and I know God uses every single one just when I need it most!
Thank you from the bottom of my heart to all of you that are praying for me, encouraging me, making me laugh, inspiring me, letting me rant, serving me and being the amazing group of people doing life with me!
God is using you in the most wonderful way so I thank you for letting him and loving others in such a way that it makes you shine.