When I was contemplating the word ‘integrity’, I told God I was wide open to His thoughts on what I should write and then I decided that I should probably start with defining the word. In the dictionary, Integrity has 2 meanings:
1.) the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles; moral uprightness.
2.) the state of being whole and undivided.
At this point, I waited on God and then He told me very clearly that I needed to share this story from my life with you.
About 10 years ago, my family had just moved to Florida and I was trying to meet some new friends. The church we were going to at the time announced an upcoming women’s bible study. I thought this might be a great gateway to get to know some of the ladies there so I went to the sign up table and picked a class that was using a book I already had. (In case it was lame. Just being real!) I signed up for the class and on the first day I met a lady about my age whose name was Denise. She seemed friendly and as we told a little about ourselves, I found out that Denise’s 2 year old, Haley, was fighting brain cancer and had been since she was 4 months old. The next 3 weeks Denise wasn’t in class because Haley had landed in the hospital.
The next 3 weeks for me would be God tapping me on the shoulder and saying, “You need to be friends with her.” Finally, I gave in and sent her an e-mail that went something like this:
This is Julie from your bible study class. You probably don’t remember me and this is going to sound crazy, but I really feel like God wants us to be friends. If this just sounds crazy, my feelings won’t be hurt if you just ignore this e-mail. Hope things are going better for Haley and that she is improving enough to come home soon.
The next morning I would wake up to an e-mail from Denise that in a nutshell said, “I’m in!”
Over the next few months and then years, we would become the best of friends and I would learn her story. When Haley was 4 months old Denise and her husband, Corey, would take her in to the doctor because something was off and find out that their baby had brain cancer. The doctors gave them no hope, but they chose in that moment to begin declaring that their God is bigger and that He would heal Haley. I met her 3 years down this road and none of her conviction had changed. She had seen the amazing hand of God over and over in good ways and the tender compassionate hand of God in hard times. They would cry out as Haley got sicker. Through surgeries, a secondary cancer diagnosis, radiation treatments, chemo, being away from family during treatment, fighting for her life, and being ready to let go if it was time, she never lost the hope and solid belief that God is Haley’s healer.
I had no idea when I became Denise’s friend that God was asking me to climb with her. She was facing an overwhelming sheer rock wall and God was saying climb with her! Can I do this?! I would find out that I could. With God’s help I began to climb with Denise and I began to come into unity with her for Haley’s healing. Our friendship would not only carry the integrity of being honest and strong principled, but it would also carry the integrity of being whole and undivided for Haley’s healing.
It has been 10 years and this past December Denise sent me a text. You see, every December/January is when Haley has her annual MRI to check her tumors. We have always believed in integrity for full healing. Haley is now 13! She is a survivor! And the text that I got on December 10, 2015 almost brought me to my knees. The texts were pictures of Haley’s MRI from before and the current MRI.
THE CANCER IS GONE! Not shrunk, not barely there, not stable as we had heard in the past, but GONE! Amazing God, Thank YOU!
After 10 years of walking in integrity in this friendship, I got to witness a miracle! A miracle that I believe was brought about as they surrounded themselves with those of integrity who would climb and come into agreement with them for this day.
A few scriptures that speak to walking in integrity:
A friend loves at all times and a brother is born for adversity. Proverbs 17:17(NKJV)
“As for you, if you will follow me with integrity and godliness, as David your father did, obeying all my commands, decrees, and regulations, 5 then I will establish the throne of your dynasty over Israel forever. For I made this promise to your father, David: ‘One of your descendants will always sit on the throne of Israel.’ I Kings 9:4-5 (NLT)
Let integrity and uprightness preserve me, for I wait for You. Psalms 25:21(NKJV)
By myself I have sworn, my mouth has uttered in all integrity a word that will not be revoked: Before me every knee will bow; by me every tongue will swear. Isaiah 45:23 (NIV)