This is My Body

For years my mom has heard the cruel judgments of callous men when she viewed her face in a mirror or photograph. I’ve been praying that God would silence those words and reveal to my mom how He views her – how I view her.

Her journey of grace has come to a beautiful place of acceptance. When she heard that her church was hosting an art show with the theme of Overcoming, she asked me to help write her story and take a new portrait.

It was my pleasure to participate with her.

~ Chad Estes

My father was an alcoholic my entire childhood. My mother had health issues her whole life.

When her doctors told us she was dying of pancreatic cancer my father broke down and asked God to heal my mom; in turn dad promised God that he would stop drinking. God healed mom and he also took away the alcoholism. Dad never drank again. My mom lived until she was 88 years old.

I grew up too fast and had to be the adult to my parents.

As an adult I’ve learned to be a child of God’s.

My two sisters died at childbirth and I was raised as a lonely, only child.

Yet I have lifelong sisters that walk this life’s journey with me and talk with me on the phone every day.

My boyfriend and I were in a head-on collision in his Volkswagen Beetle in the summer of 1963. I broke my wrist and we both broke our noses.

 He married me the following summer and we’ve been together nearly 48 years.

I was diagnosed with diabetes at age 13 and had daily injections of insulin. Because of the diabetes my doctor was concerned about my health if I ever got pregnant.

After my first son was born my insulin level changed and I went down from injections to daily pills. During my next pregnancy I became hypoglycemic, the reverse of diabetes, and when my second son was born my insulin leveled out to normal. I have been free from diabetes for over 40 years.

The death of dreams and financial strain brought a crisis to our seven-year marriage.

It was through this dark time that we turned to God for his guidance. We have never looked back and His dreams have become our dreams.

We wanted to adopt a baby girl, but this was not fulfilled the way we thought it would be.

Instead our home has been open to many kids through the years who needed a place to live and to heal.


I was diagnosed with an acoustic neuroma brain tumor when I was 41. I lost the hearing to my left ear, some facial paralysis, eye trouble, loss of balance, and short term memory problems, and short term memory problems (Ha!). Though I was so glad my life was spared my heart was broken by the rejection I received from the doctors I worked for, as they wouldn’t let me come back to work because of my facial paralysis.

Yet a whole new area of ministry opened up for me with other people who were recovering from brain tumors themselves.

I had separate surgeries to remove my gall bladder and appendix. I also had a full hysterectomy.

My son told me this was an expensive way to lose a couple of extra pounds.

A couple of years after the brain tumor I was in a serious car wreck that left me with five broken ribs and a broken scapula, a broken neck and a serious brain concussion.

Again, the fact that my life was spared was nothing short of a miracle.

I’ve had two back surgeries, a plate added to my wrist, resection of the occipital nerve in my neck, and more doctors’ office visits and MRIs than I’d like to remember.

Though I’ve had to deal with many kinds of pain and disappointment, I’ve learned not to live as a victim.

My last hospital visit, in January 2012, was for a risky, four-level neck surgery needed to repair vertebrae C3-C7.

This freed me from 24 years of constant pressure headaches brought on from my brain tumor surgery. I am excited for what tomorrow will bring. 

My body, though broken, is beautiful.

I am an overcomer!

~ Judi Estes