Manda Strong

It’s with an extremely heavy heart that I’m writing this post.  As many of you may already know by either knowing her or by reading another blog this morning, our sweet, sweet friend Manda went to be with Jesus last night. There are so many incredible things I could say about Manda so today I just wanted to share with all of you a little of the Manda I knew, and will see again in heaven one day!  The Manda who, above all things, loved the Lord with all her heart and showed His love to everyone she knew. The Manda who was such a fighter.  The Manda who never let her eyes stray from Jesus, despite what she was facing or the odds.  The Manda who didn’t always understand but trusted God anyway.  

She was such an inspiration to so many people and I want her legacy to live on in others’ lives…her kiddos, her husband, her family, her friends, and all those who were touched by her story.  

The words below were the words we shared in 2014 when Manda began her third battle against cancer. 

“Manda first had cancer at the age of five and was in remission until it resurfaced again one week after giving birth to her son at age twenty-eight. Only two weeks after having her son, Manda made the brave choice to have one of her legs amputated in order to completely remove the cancer from her body. After that, Manda held strong as a brand new mommy and spent the first year of her son’s life undergoing treatments to ensure the cancer was gone for good. Now, almost five years later, it is back for the third time. Manda’s family is full of hope and joy knowing that God has big plans for Manda’s life and the testimony he has given her as a fighter.”-2014

It was devastating news, but  Manda put on her armor and was ready to fight this battle head on with hopefully a bit of peace knowing we were all right beside her every step of the way.  Manda experienced countless rounds of chemotherapy, a variety of different trial drugs, and anything else the doctors recommended that could possibly have an impact on this cancer.  She was so courageous and fought the good fight for as long as her earthly body would allow her to without ever losing heart.  The Lord showed His mercy by taking her when he did so she doesn’t have to fight anymore.  Today, with no more pain and no more sorrow, she is standing face to face with her Savior and I know he’s telling her “job well done!”

There are so many things I want you to know about our Manda that I could go on for days but I will mention a few…

If you met her, you’d walk away saying she’s one of the sweetest people you’d ever met.  Manda truly had an infectious heart of gold. She was one of those girls I could call crazy late at night asking for her help and she would have been there as quickly as she possibly could.

Manda was an unbelievably great mama.  She was fighting cancer all while being a dedicated wife and raising two kiddos, doing everything she could to teach them about Jesus.  

For the most part, Manda was more quiet and reserved, but every once in a while her Mama Bear came out.  The love for her family was so easy to see.

She was truly an inspiration that is beyond words.  To believe how big of an inspiration, you would really have had to live it with her.  In the midst of the normal strains of life and everything else she had going on, she made time to serve others so graciously. 

She brought the calm and rationale to our group.  She was the voice of reason, the fighter in each of our corner, and the one always seeing the good in others, no matter what.  A better wasy to say it is that Manda was the best at seeing each situation with the same grace we would expect God to see.  She truly was an angel among us…and we know she’s still with us and we will see her again someday!

My life, and my testimony, is so much better because sweet Manda was in it.  I wish you all could have known the Manda I knew (know) and loved (love).  Nothing I could ever say in a few words on a blog post could do Manda’s life journey justice but hopefully by sharing how amazing she was, her life song has made a lasting positive impact on you.  

Despite her odds or obstacles, Manda always chose faith over fear throughout her entire battle.  Why, or how you might ask would she have the courage to choose faith through it all?  To Manda, that answer is simple, Jesus!  Jesus didn’t will this for her, but He used her through it.  If Manda were writing this today, she would want you to know that no matter what you are going through, God loves you and He is using you to help change lives and encourage others.  She would also tell you our time here on earth is extremely fragile and temporary, but the work we do here on earth and the legacy we leave behind is eternal!  She would tell you to make the most of each day, love big, forgive big and make the time you have count!

As her friend, I’m heart broken for her family, her friends, and selfishly myself.  The pain of her leaving is hard and will continue to be tough, but I have peace in knowing the second she left this earth her body was fully healed.  She was in the presence of our Savior.  She WALKED through those great gates.  I also have peace in knowing I will see her again in heaven.  Even if it’s 50 years from now, compared to eternity, it’s no time.  The earthly part of my heart is breaking but is rejoicing at the same time for a dear friend who is pain free and in the arms of Jesus.

Manda, we love you big and are missing you dearly.   XO

“As for me, my life has already been poured out as an offering to God. The time of my death is near. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race and I have remained faithful.” 2 Timothy 4:6-7 

“Please be in prayer for Aaron Maxwell, their children (Aiden and Miley) and the whole family as they spend their final earthly moments with beautiful Manda. She has run the race and fought harder than anyone we’ve ever known…but now, we graciously await her homecoming with Jesus. Thank you so much for the love, support and prayers as she’s battled so bravely this third bout with cancer.”-From Manda Strong FB

I thank you from the bottom of my heart for all the calls, texts, and e-mails I’ve received letting me know you were praying for this family.  It means the world.

In honor of our friend, Manda, I’ll be taking the week off.  We’re going to move our What’s Up Wednesday link-up to March 20th.  If you post this week, just make sure to link-up on the 20th.  We’ll be skipping Friday Favorites this week.  Next week is Spring Break so I’m off that week as well, but Andrea will be hosting Friday Favorites on the 10th.  I’ll be back here on the 13th.  Hope to see you then.  XO

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