This ring is not much to look at now—a well-worn piece of turquoise costume jewelry, its cheap metal revealing its quality and insignificant cost. But the value of this ring, “The Ring,” rivals that of my diamond and gold wedding band. It is priceless. For me, it is tangible proof of how an unseen God orchestrates events, circumstances, and people to remind me that miracles do happen and that He hears me—especially when I hurt.
I happened upon this precious keepsake at a time in my life when things seemed to be falling apart and when I was feeling very sorry for myself. I was a relatively new breast cancer survivor, just six months out from active treatment. And I was still mourning the loss of my baby sister, my only sibling, who had died at the hands of her ex-husband in a murder-suicide. I was struggling.
Physically, my body was battered. Surgery removed a breast, chemo left me bald. Emotionally and spiritually, I was on a rollercoaster. Some days my faith was solid as a rock. On other days, I questioned God’s competence and compassion.
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But, as with most mothers, no matter how low I got, my children brought me extreme clarity and focus. I wanted to keep the lives of my three sons as normal as possible and to be present for them. So, when my husband, who had a last-minute scheduling conflict, asked me to take my oldest son to an out-of-town track meet, I put on a brave face and gladly drove the six-hour round trip. When the track meet was over, I walked past a woman whose face I failed to notice. But the large turquoise ring on her finger caught my eye. I complimented her on the ring, and then without any more thought about it, got in my car and headed home.
One month later, my son’s state championship meet was held at a high school near our home. It was a particularly bad day for me. As we pulled into the parking lot, I realized that that high school was the last place I had spoken to my late sister. On top of that grief, I was also feeling unsure of my prognosis. Would future scans reveal metastatic cancer? Could this be the last track meet I would ever attend? Would I live to see any of my sons graduate from high school?
My hair had attempted to grow back, but my head still sported baby-chick fuzz. I felt awful, and I wanted to sit alone. So, my husband settled me on the visitor’s side of the track so I did not have to be friendly to any teammates and their families. I just did not have the joy or the energy. Isolated in a small corner of the stands, I sat and sulked. I sulked that there were so many dark clouds in my life despite the beautiful sunny day. I sulked that I felt so alone and that God seemed cruelly absent. So, I prayed some too. I prayed that my son would run well, and I prayed for God to show me some sign—any sign—that everything would eventually be okay.
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In the midst of all of my sitting and sulking, I received a gentle tap on my shoulder. I turned to see a face I did not recognize. But I did recognize “The Ring.” The woman holding it explained she was astounded to find me, the admirer of her ring. She shared that after my compliment, she had tried to find me later that day at the track meet. She had a strong desire, she said, to give me her ring, but I had left so quickly. And this day, she said, she was moved inexplicably to wear that ring on the day of the championship. Moreover, she providentially found herself also sitting on the visitor’s side. And then she saw my baby-chick fuzz, she said.
I don’t remember anything else the woman said but she slid “The Ring” on my finger. As I felt the cool, metal on my hand, tears flowed uncontrollably down my cheeks. I felt anointed. She and I embraced. She knew she had brought healing to my soul. We exchanged names, waved farewell, and never saw one another again.
I wore that ring every single day for two years. I wore it to check-ups, to CT scans, and to MRIs. I wore it to work, to play, and to bed. I wore it until my body was healed, and my grief was less raw.
Today I do not wear “The Ring” often, but the times I do, I am overwhelmed with emotions of love, gratitude, and security. And I know this: God is competent. God sees me. And God hears me—especially when I hurt.
Originally published by the Randell Jones website