A mother’s love has the ability to create a strong connection and bond in her family. Michelle Wood and her family have such a bond, but it’s one that has been severely tested. It was her mother’s faith in God and a Bible study called Treasured that helped them persevere.
What makes Michelle’s family unique is not just the trials they’ve overcome, but also the way they are unified in their faith. In fact, Michelle’s entire immediate and extended family all attend Saddleback Church, and Michelle and her mother serve together in the Treasured study.
Seventeen years ago, at just 26-years-old, Michelle’s sister was diagnosed with bone cancer. Eight years ago, her father battled prostate cancer. Both now live as cancer survivors.
Then the struggle hit even closer to home for Michelle—she and her husband dealt with years of infertility as they tried to start their own family. They were finally blessed with two sons and that’s when Michelle began attending Treasured. Treasured is a Saddleback Bible study where moms from all ages and life stages come together to grow in community and to grow spiritually.
“I felt the need to connect more with other Christian moms,” says Michelle. “I started going to the meetings and I just fell in love with these women who have the same desire to grow closer to God.”
“This is now my seventh year in Treasured. It has helped me grow in my marriage, and as a mother. I can honestly say I’m a better wife and mother because of it.” Michelle is now a leader at Treasured, and serves alongside her mom, June, who is a mentor mom, offering counsel to the younger women. Treasured offered a place for both Michelle and June to grow and find community, and help other women do the same.
Last year, the family’s faith was tested again when June was diagnosed with a rare form of Leukemia. But her diagnosis didn’t temper her faith, it just strengthened it.
“We have seen, through her treatments and everything, that my mom has actually brought us closer to God because we truly have trusted that God works everything together for good.”
The Treasured group has also been there to support the family. “My treasured group has just come together and united us . . . helped us. My mom had to step down from being a mentor mom this year because she’s in and out of the hospital. But I have seen how my mom’s faith has gotten stronger. She actually has been ministering in the hospitals. When the nurses come into her room, even with her bald head and beautiful face, they see that there’s something different about her. And my mom tells them, ‘It’s because Jesus is with me. I don’t feel alone.’ She has even prayed with some of the nurses.”
June had a mild heart attack last Christmas and came down with pneumonia. According to Michelle it was one of the scariest moments they’ve experienced. “In the hospital,” recalls Michelle, “she held my hand and my sister’s hand and said, ‘Girls, I want you to know how proud I am of you. When God does call me home, I’m going to be okay. I know we’re all going to be together forever.’”
Michelle credits Treasured and small groups with keeping the family focused and united. “Our whole family goes to Saddleback. And that’s the one thing that’s helped everyone. We can all come here, and pray together in the same place, and feel united that way. Even though Saddleback is such a big church, we still have our small group of prayer warriors. My mom said you can see the power of prayer when you go through something so difficult.”
Despite a bleak prognosis, June is now nearing the end of her treatment. “She finished chemo. Once they confirm she’s in remission, then she’ll get a bone marrow transplant and we can start a new chapter.”
June plans to return to Treasured. “She wants to share how she never felt alone, how God gave her faith and hope through prayer.”
If you would like to learn more about Saddleback's Treasured groups, click here. To learn about Saddleback's cancer support groups, click here.
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