*Thanks to Brawny® paper towels for sponsoring this inspirational post about unsung heroes!*
I count it a high privilege to write to you about an amazing woman in my life. She is definitely an unsung hero of our time, but in my eyes, she has worn an invisible medal around her neck for many years now.
As a younger wife, mom and missionary I have watched her fulfill all those roles with a smile.
I met Alison Stephens 12 years ago on a missionary trip to Southeast Asia. She was there living with her husband and four kids.
When I came to this third world country, my immediate thoughts were, “How could someone be happy here?”
Compared to my American homeland, this country was very dirty, crazy hot and didn’t have any of my favorite restaurants or shopping spots anywhere in sight.
But, Alison greeted me with a smile and her four kids were near her — all happily living in this foreign land.
Fast forward several years and I am living in that same country with her. And you know what? Her smile still hadn’t faded — and neither had her children’s.
Her family took several trips back to America to visit churches, family and friends. On one of these trips she went in have a routine mammogram done. She came out with unpleasant and unexpected news. She had breast cancer.
She was planning on returning back to Southeast Asia with her family, but the cancer diagnosis sent her into exhausting and seemingly unending rounds of chemotherapy. However, through it all, she still wore a smile.
In fact, I met with her just a small period of time after she received her diagnosis, and before she started chemo. I felt so awkward broaching the subject of her recently diagnosed cancer, but I also wanted her to now I was praying for her and cared. And you know what that unsung hero did? She put me at ease.
She was so thankful the doctors had caught it in the early stages and shared with me a story of a woman with many young children who had also been struggling with breast cancer, but was given only weeks to live. But Alison was given the hope of a more promising outcome — and we all prayed to that end.
Weeks and months passed as I watched her photos on social media about her battle with cancer. In each photo, she still managed a smile and was always talking about the bright side of things.
Today Alison is cancer-free, but she still has hardhips because she works alongside her husband in a distant land — far away from family and friends. In fact, she now has had to leave her children in America as they have married, graduated college or are attending a university. Her husband and her still have an important mission to do, so she tearfully has to say goodbye to her own children way more often than a mother’s heart could seem to bear. But she still does it all with a smile.
Alison doesn’t hide her struggles or pretend to be a superhero, but she always brings a smile and contagious thankful attitude to each group of people that is blessed to engage her presence for any period of time.
Alison, you may not be famous or considered a hero, but in my opinion, you are one of the best examples of a wife, mom and missionary. Thank you for being my unsung hero — and keep smiling!
Want to read more about unsung heroes, visit Brawny® paper towels to see how they’re encouraging others to highlight unsung heroes in their communities!
Who’s your unsung hero? Let’s chat about that person on social media!
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Brawny® paper towels. The opinions and text are all mine.