Yes. I have a hot pink stripe in my hair. And, yes, obviously I put it there on purpose. For those of you wondering what in the world possessed me to do such a drastic thing, here it is … but first, here is what it is not.

Yes. I have a hot pink stripe in my hair.

And, yes, obviously I put it there on purpose.

For those of you wondering what in the world possessed me to do such a drastic thing, here it is … but first, here is what it is not.

It is not a fashion statement. Anyone who knows me, knows I'm way too practical for that.

It is not about seeking attention. I much prefer to stay in the background where I can people-watch in peace.

And no, it is not a mid-life crisis. Heck, most of the time I can't even remember how old I am, much less bother to act my age.

It's about showing support to the woman who's been by my side longer than any other human being on the planet.

My mother recently found out she has Stage 3 breast cancer.

As soon as she found out — though she didn't want to — she immediately called to let me know. She was hesitant to share the news with others yet — especially to my pregnant daughter. She didn't want to put too much stress on her in her condition.

So she told no one.

Not even an hour after our conversation we found out my daughter was, in fact, in labor 10 weeks early.

I share this only to say that even when faced with such a life-changing report, mom's first priority was still to protect her granddaughter.

Mom sat in the hospital waiting room for hours, eager for baby to arrive — not letting on that anything even remotely unusual was going on in her own life.

No one had a clue that she was scrambling to process how to stand toe to toe with the Goliath looming before her.

But that's my mom. She's a hard-core soldier. We even joked later that night that at least we wouldn't have to worry about my daughter going into premature labor from the news now.

Anyone familiar with my mother understands she is a force to be reckoned with. I've only ever known her to hit things head-on. She's not one to hide her head in the sand. She's determined to a fault and she's not afraid to set you straight if you're in need of it. (And sometimes, even if you aren't.)

I've often joked, Heaven help anyone who crosses my mother.

Cancer doesn't stand a chance.

She'll continue to be the fighter she's always been, with Jesus walking every step of that journey with her — and that's all that matters.

It can be challenging at times like this to understand why some things happen the way they do.

The easy answer is that life simply doesn't care if you're kind, smart, talented, generous, patient or loving.

And cancer doesn't just affect its unnerved and unwilling host. It reaches in and pierces the hearts of everyone who cares.

What we choose to do in that situation can be a game-changer for everyone. We can try to be an island — avoiding all things icky and uncomfortable — or we can look trouble straight in the eye and show it how big our brave is.

No, it's not easy purposefully parking yourself in the middle of pain — to willingly hurt with someone else. But there is no other option if you dare to apply the word love correctly.

Love's perfect model and example chose to die on a cross — not only to redeem us, but to assure us that we are not alone. He's willing to stay in the trenches with us no matter what we're going through. Understanding that can make all the difference on the battlefield.

So, every time I glance at my reflection or catch a glimpse of that cotton candy color as it falls in front of my face, I'll stop for the umpteenth time to lift mom up in prayer. Not because I adore neon pink — as she knows only too well I've never been that color's biggest fan.

I am doing it to show her, as she navigates through the weeks and months of difficult and draining experiences, that I haven't forgotten and moved on — leaving her to face her plight solo.

That I remember her journey wasn't over when the shock wore off and I went back home to my daily grind.

As she fights day after day — at times minute-by-minute — she will remember I'm still battling on the front line by her side.

She is not alone.