I was four years old when Jesus saved me. Our church, St. John’s Missionary Baptist Church in Bakersfield, Calif., was a bigger version of my current church [Creekstone Church in North Richland Hills]. Tyree Toliver was our pastor. I came down the aisle one day and told him I wanted to know Jesus during an altar call—and I knew what that meant. I remember going up the stairs at the front and I remember being baptized. My family was very involved in church—my dad was a deacon and my mom was in the women’s ministry. They helped me come to the Lord.
I grew up and raised a family, and we moved to DFW about 11 years ago. I now have two grown daughters and our household is multigenerational—my girls, me, my mom and dad, and my grandmother. My husband is currently living in another country, but we’re doing OK, taking care of each other as families should do.
I’m currently a teacher in Arlington. I teach English to 9th through 12th graders. Since I started teaching, I’ve earned two master’s degrees. As I got up one morning about the time I was finishing my second master’s … something wasn’t right. My ear was kind of numb and my face was weird, and it ran down the right side of my body down to my knee.
I was like, “Hmm, that’s not right.” I called my mom to ask her about it. She told me to call 911, but I just asked my dad to take me to the hospital. … It turns out I was having a little stroke. As they were doing the MRIs and the CAT scans and stuff, they saw that I had a tumor at the base of my brain and they told me the tumor was pressing on my spinal cord, where the cord connects to my brain. I had been having pain that I now learned was from the tumor pressing against the nerves. I had been going to physical therapy for years to manage that pain.
They were able to remove the tumor. There’s none left on my brain, on my spine—nothing there. It was malignant, but now there’s no cancer in my body.
I really do love our church. I was pretty new to Creekstone [when this happened], but the hugs that I get and the genuine love, and just the realness from everyone checking up on me and asking how I’m feeling has meant a lot. My pastor [Kason Branch] came and told me everybody was praying for me. He brought me this really nice devotional book. I needed that because … the devotional just spoke to me each day that I was in the hospital. The words for each day were very specific and they were very much needed. We just prayed that pain away. Even though it was kind of scary, I just really wasn’t worried.
I actually finished my master’s in the hospital. I was nearly done and couldn’t see waiting another semester. I’m still recovering, doing physical therapy to restore movement as the nerves wake back up. I’ve been able to kind of get back to being myself. I’m back at work and starting to work out again. I haven’t started dancing yet, but I’m going to get back to it. God is good.
As I recover from this, and an earlier Achilles tendon injury, I’m asking God for discernment, wisdom, peace—just reminders to get in bed on time and get enough rest. Sometimes I struggle to sleep. I’ve found Psalm 4:8 to be of help: “In peace I will both lie down and sleep; for you alone, O LORD, make me dwell in safety.” It’s what I do when I’m anxious in the middle of the night. More than anything, I am asking the Lord to help me heal. I’m asking the Lord to help me heal inside and out. I’ve been through quite a lot, not just with these surgeries, but some other things in my life.
So, what’s my story? While I’ve been through big and little crises over the past few years—and I do get anxious sometimes—with God, I just feel like it’s no big deal. It’s going to be alright.