The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

May 2, 2013

Walking across the stage with a classmate in mind

By Sarah Thompson
Enid News and Eagle

— Next week, I will be graduating from college with my master’s degree. They say very few people get their master’s degree. So, I guess that makes me pretty lucky.

My classmates and I will gather together one last time to celebrate our achievement. But, this graduation ceremony will be different. We will all be wearing the color teal for our classmate and friend who is battling stage four ovarian cancer.

Against all odds, she will be walking across the stage to receive her diploma with the rest of us. And, because of her, we, who once complained about a five-page paper, will no longer see our problems the same way again.

She recently posted on her blog: “I tell you all of this not only to recount how faithful God has been in the midst of suffering, but also to share this truth with someone who may need to be reminded of His faithfulness.

“We have heard it before, but once again, God doesn’t always act as quickly or in ways that we desire. This testimony, however, hopefully gives tangible evidence that even when we are doing everything right, when we are surrendering ourselves to Him, He may require us to fully rely on Him to a point where we almost can’t take it anymore.

“I have been to that point on several occasions, but I, and I hope you will find that once we reach that point, is often when God does His biggest miracles and carries us through what is left to endure.”

She is a big Thunder basketball fan, so I know she will appreciate the following story.

Jimmy Valvano, who coached North Carolina State to the NCAA tournament title in 1983, once gave a speech where he shared an experience he had while attending a youth basketball camp at age 16.

Bob Richards (an Olympic gold medalist in the pole vault in 1956) gave the opening remarks. He looked around at the group and said, “God must’ve really loved ordinary people, because He made so many of us.”

That doesn’t sound too encouraging, but then he said the words that would change Jimmy’s life. Bob told the crowd: “Every single day, in every walk of life, ordinary people do extraordinary things.”

 My classmate is one of the bravest people I know. She knows what it means to celebrate and then be disappointed again. She knows what it’s like to attend graduate school and endure rounds of chemo. And, she knows what it’s like to be completely dependent on God every single minute of every single day.

Thank you, Tarah, for your courage and strength. You are truly extraordinary.


You can read more of Tarah’s story at Follow Sarah at or email her at uncom