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  • Jane Wheeler

My Friend Liz

This past Thursday we lost a couple of spiritual giants. God chose this day to take home Billy Graham and my dear friend Liz Dunsdon.

I have known Liz for over twenty years. While I moved away in 2004, I would try to squeeze in a visit with Liz whenever I traveled over her way.

Liz was one of the greatest encouragers I know, it figures she was a school teacher. She was always quick to point you to God and to try to see your circumstances with a God lens. I was there when Liz was first diagnosed with breast cancer. My friend Sheila and I made a deal to shave our heads with Liz if she lost her hair. (we never had too and I am not sure why, maybe because I moved shortly after). But Liz lost her hair and the only way I remember her now is with no hair.

I was not in her city when she found out her cancer came back for a second time, she was not given a reassurance that she would be cured, instead she had her hope taken from her. The cancer has metastasized in her bones. There was more chemo and radiation.

And then, the third time it raged back into her life I remember in September, 2 ½ years ago Liz was told she would probably not make the day, and certainly not the week as more tumors than they could count had appeared in her brain. They gathered her family around her to say their good byes. But what they did not know was Liz is a fighter and even more than that she had a God who numbered her days, not the doctors.

One time I went to see Liz and she talked about being afraid of some of the side effects of those brain tumors and she did not know if she had hope. We prayed and God gave me some words for her, He called her “His miracle girl.” The smile that adorned Liz’s face when she heard those words was priceless. Anytime I chatted, or emailed with Liz – I was always sure to call her “God’s miracle girl.”

In spite of her years (more than a decade) of fighting with cancer, Liz wrote a book “Stones of Remembrance”, I picked it up to re-read it again today, just to remember. Liz wrote the book in spite of severe pain, headaches, brain farts, and memory lapses and at the end her coherence made even choosing the book cover too hard. Her sidekick and constant companion, husband Dave did that part.

She wrote the book about her cancer journey to remind others that God loves you, has not forgotten you and will always walk with you on whatever journey you are on. So like Liz to bring comfort and healing to others as she walked her long dark road. I would like to quote a passage from her book:

“Many people in their lives will face daunting challenges, tragedy and hurts that rip their hearts apart. We live in a broken world and should not be surprised by these circumstances. Unfortunately, it is part of the human condition. These trials will dent us, bend us, and leave us with scars, but they will not destroy us unless we allow them to. While writing this book, I listened to countless stories of human pain. There is so much in life that is beyond our control. What we can control is our attitude, our determination, and our choices. These three attributes often determine how we live.”[1]

Liz lived her life with determination and a positive attitude, battling debilitating pain daily, facing numerous life threatening side effects and the whole time declaring the Praises of God. I know that she is hearing the words “Well done good and faithful servant,” from her heavenly Father.

For those of us who know her, we can echo that same sentiment: Well done Liz, well done.

[1] Liz Dunsdon, Stones of Remembrance, ©2017, Westbow Press

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