“What mommy? What?” That was my response to my mother’s 7:30 a.m. call this past week. She doesn’t usually call me this early in the morning so it didn’t take long for me to size this up. She breaks down in tears and says, “Delisa has cancer.” That was the gut punch.

Delisa is my mother’s best friend since high school; she is my Godmother; the woman who knew me before I took my first breath. She is the one that stuck by my mom (a teenage mom) while other people turned their noses up. She is the friend that sticks closer than a sister.

So I am sure you can understand why Mommy was distraught and so was I. “It’s going to be OK mom,” I said. I had to talk her through her tears and certainly it was not easy but I had no other choice. Isn’t that what we do? We get a bad report that feels like we were just punched in the gut and we go right to our go-to girls, our BFF’s, and there is usually one of two responses: Either we go down with our sister friend, mirroring her reaction and cry together or we stand strong, lock elbows and hold them up. While my mother is my mother, we are also girlfriends. We are friends. She and Delisa are my girlfriends.

In that moment I had to hold my mother, my Girlfriend, up. Cancer is a diagnosis not a death sentence, and I choose to believe everything is going to be fine. I said “Mommy, this is why we’ve been praying.” Actually this is why and how I started Girlfriends Pray Ministries so we could stand in the gap for women when they can’t stand up for themselves. Bracing yourself for the “gut punch,” whether it is a diagnosis, terminal illness, divorce, breakup, job loss, death… whatever the situation it is the reason why I say, “you better know God Before you need Him” or you better know some source before you need it. It is in the time of trouble you need something you can depend on. So I share the following tips in how to hold YOURSELF up in a moment of despair:

BREATHE: It sounds simple but I promise you one big deep breath in and out will help you. We know the impossible happens in a breath. Every girlfriend reading this right now knows it was one breath that helped you get through the pain of pushing a 6, 7, or 9 pound baby through your birth canal. If you haven’t had that experience yet, know that there was one breath that created man. My point is if you don’t breathe you may go down immediately but when you are intentional about breathing you proactively guide your emotion.

PRAY: It is universal no matter what your faith or spiritual beliefs are. When you get the bad news I say remember what you were taught to do in a fire: drop to your knees, turn to your source, lean on the source and depend on your source for strength and comfort. Cling to your source. It is the place you turn to first and remember there is a source that is more powerful than you.

TAKE A STAND: This is about making a choice. When you get a “gut punch” make up in your mind where you stand and what you believe the outcome to be. You have the freedom to choose your position and speak to the situation. If it’s illness you come up against, believe and speak healing. If it’s divorce, believe and speak reconciliation. If it’s job loss, believe and speak promotion. If it’s overwhelming financial loss or lack, believe and speak of your increase in your life. During that first conversation with my mother, I declared our united position out loud. We choose to believe in healing, wellness and long life for my Godmother.

DON’T CARRY IT ALONE: It goes without saying for some of us but I’ll say what we already know— there is comfort in sharing your moment of despair with a trusted girlfriend. Don’t suffer in silence. Share whatever it is you are going through with your confidant.

STAY POSITIVE: While I don’t know the medical benefit, I certainly am a witness that a turnaround is possible just by being optimistic in your time of trouble. This is about choice; you can choose which colored lenses you wear in your situation. I recommend you choose the rose colored glassed because it is that energy to cause vibrations to tap a positive frequency in the earth. Whatever you put out to the universe comes back. It is the law of attraction that says thoughts become things. If you think positive you will attract back positive. 

Dee Marshall is an international speaker, certified coach, TV lifestyle personality, founder of DeeCMarshall.com and Girlfriends Pray. Follow her on Twitter at @DeeCMarshall.