Soaring with eagles: a young woman’s inspirational story of faith and courage
October 22, 2015 Share

Soaring with eagles: a young woman’s inspirational story of faith and courage

By Joseph M. Morgan

joseph@southerntorch.com

“Yet those who wait for the LORD Will gain new strength; They will mount up with wings like eagles, They will run and not get tired, They will walk and not become weary.”

Isaiah 40:31

Tara McElrath has fulfilled a wide variety of roles throughout her life. She is a daughter, a sister to five brothers, a medical professional, a former stylist, lifelong athlete and former college track star. Just from her experiences in the past year, you can add fighter, survivor and role model to the list. But above all else, Tara Jean McElrath is a woman of God.

It is God she turns to during difficult times. Adversity is a part of life. We all face challenges and hardships that can be difficult to overcome. Maintaining courage and faith during those difficult times can be difficult, especially when the stakes are as high as they are for those who suffer are battling cancer. Many are unable to face such hardship without losing hope or giving up. There are some however, those like Tara Jean McElrath, who manage to rise above the paralyzing fear and despair in order to fight another day—not just to survive—but to live. After being diagnosed with Stage 4 Breast Cancer, Tara McElrath is in the midst of a battle for her life. And she is determined to win.

It seems impossible that a woman battling such a difficult illness—undergoing aggressive chemotherapy, facing a double-Mastectomy, and an eventual reconstructive surgery—it’s tough to understand how one could continue to display such unwavering strength, courage, and beauty. It is a word very rarely associated with cancer. But it is accurate in this case. Tara is truly beautiful, despite the illness and difficult treatments. She is radiant—the type of person who smiles more brightly with her eyes than most do with their entire faces. And in the weeks and months to come, if her condition gets worse before it begins to get better, or if treatment begins to wear down her body and make her weak—that strength and courage will see her through and she will remain beautiful. Because it is etched into her very soul—a permanant part of who she is and what makes her unique and has allowed her to touch the lives of so many.

Tara points to her Christian faith as the source of her strength. “It’s God,” she says. “It’s that simple. It’s God. He has been working on me for a long time, way before I was diagnosed with cancer. And one blessing in all of this is that now he’s got my attention. I couldn’t do this without God in my life. He gives me a sense of peace that calms me and the genuine belief that I am being healed. I have complete faith in God and I know that he will see me through this.“

Overcoming adversity is more than being able to get through tough times. It requires emotional, physical and mental strength of a magnitude that most of us cannot even begin to comprehend. Tara continues to face this disease with unbelievable courage and grace. Her faith in God and uncompromising determination is inspirational to all who meet her. She has become a beacon of hope and strength to those who hear her story.

Tara Jean McElrath was born and raised right here in DeKalb County. She is loved in this community and says she is grateful for all of the prayers and support that she continues to receive. We are honored at Southern Torch to be even a small part of this incredible movement that has done so very much to increase breast cancer awareness. Even more so, we are honored and humbled to have been given the opportunity to meet Tara and share her story with our readers. We would also like to thank the many advertisers who have generously given to help us support this effort. We want to assure you that every penny of your contribution will go to help Tara fight this disease—100%. If you would like to learn more about what you can do to help Tara, call Amanada Chambliss at 423-326-7410. Or you can pick up Team Tara T-shirts, Kuzies and Wristbands now at High Maintanence Salon. Tara also has a number of events on the horizon: a Womanless Beauty Pageant,  Buckets that will be set up through Fort Payne for donations and a 5 K in Januaray.  If you would like to give on line, a group of Tara’s friends have set up a go fund me account at www.gofundme.com/teamtarajean. Follow Tara on Facebook to keep up with the action.

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