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I met Sharon Tarver some years ago; not really sure how we became friends but living in a small town, pretty much everyone knows everyone.  Our sons were friends, I joined her church and we have a lot of mutual friends. She was always a sweet person and I can’t say that I knew much about her. But since Sharon does not mind sharing her story, I found out that she was a breast cancer survivor. I was shocked to learn the Sharon that I knew, this woman of God, has survived breast cancer with a smile on her face.  Her story is so phenomenal, so uplifting, so powerful that no matter how many times I hear it, I still get chills.

Sharon found herself in a marriage that was not of God, went through the heartache of divorce only to be met with the diagnosis of breast cancer. She went through chemo, losing her hair, her breast, her fight and her peace. The silver lining to enduring this battle was being reunited with her son’s father who was there to help her during this difficult time. It seemed like things were turning around for her, but as life would have it, he passed away three years later from cancer. Wondering how much more she could take, Sharon fought to stay sane…only to find out her mother was diagnosed with the same cancer that took her son’s father. Talk about devastating! However, her mother survived and Sharon began to get her life back together. New hair, new breast, new happiness and a new outlook on life. Just when it seemed like the worst was behind her, Sharon was diagnosed with colon cancer. By this time, Sharon and I were pretty close and I pretty much lost it. How much could one person take? I was completely devastated.  I saw her at church and she was smiling and it confused me. Here I was, a bucket of tears and she was…happy?

As God would have it, I was not working at the time so I was able to take Sharon to doctors appointments and we were able to really talk about any and everything. It was during this time that I developed a new found respect for Sharon. Sure I always knew she loved God and would attest to His goodness at any time, but not only was Sharon talking about God, she was living Him.

Seeing Sharon battle everything that she went through with a smile and had faith people only talk about was pretty remarkable. This is not to say she didn’t have bad days. This is not to say she didn’t go through pain. This is not to say she didn’t question God. But Sharon took God at his word: He is a healer, He will never leave you nor forsake you, and He will never put more on us than we can bear. Sharon took the word of God and stood firm. She believed everything He told her. She trusted that God would not only heal her but restore her. She was able to declare that God has won the battle once again because she is also a colon cancer survivor.

This is how I came to respect Sharon much more than anyone I’ve ever met. With everything going on around her from death to sickness to heartbreak to pain…she was still living a life to honor God. People have gone through less and couldn’t find their way out of darkness. I learned so much from Sharon, I grew because of her testimony and I love her for never being afraid to share her story.

Today, October 8, 2015 marks seven years she has been breast cancer free.  As I type this, I’m smiling because she is celebrating. Actually, all of October is like a birthday for her and her family and friends celebrate with her as well. She wears her pink to be reminded of her battle and how God kept her to be a testimony to His grace and mercy. I’m hoping her story-and countless others will inspire us all to embrace life, never to take anyone for granted and to understand the depths of God’s love for us. I also hope her story inspires every woman to take their health seriously and to get checked.

Sharon is the very definition of strength. She endured something that could have easily broken her, diminished her spirit and made her bitter. Instead, she took what was meant for bad and turned it around for good. Not only did her faith grow but she has inspired so many people with her story.

Sharon, these words are meant to be your flowers while you’re living because with all that you’ve been through, these words could have easily been at your funeral…BUT GOD!!! Continue to wear your pink, tell your story and show us all how God will take care of us! I love you!