One year later…

pink-ribbonIt is hard to believe that is has only been a year.  Both Beautiful and I were amazed when we realized that today is the day.  So much has changed and we have grown in so many ways that it feels like a lifetime ago that this journey began.  We all have milestone events in life like that, some big day that changes everything.  I think every high school graduate feels that way at the time (I did not, but I understand many do).  For me the closest was getting married to Beautiful.  I remember all of the planning and excitement leading up to that special day.  It was a whirlwind, but I still remember it clearly.  Our lives changed completely that day and within no time, I could not remember what life was like without her.  Having children was similarly life transforming.  Our world changed with the arrival of Coco 28 years ago and we have had children in our home ever since.  All of these blessings are easy to recognize and almost everyone understands them as such.  There are Hallmark cards, and songs fill the charts  for every one of those milestones.

This one is different.  There are no Hallmark cards and there was no eager anticipation.  No sparkly eyed speculating about what the future will hold.  This one came down like a hammer.  I remember when I was in Junior High , and it was close to the end of the school year.  Our whole grade was headed to the gym to watch a movie.  I remember running across the gym to get a good seat in the bleachers. I also remember that one moment I was running, happy and carefree and the next thing I remember, I was lying on my back looking up at the ceiling of the darkened gym with my head pounding.  I was nauseous and dizzy.  I remember trying to sit through the movie with a huge welt on my head that was throbbing with each heart beat.  I remember being delirious throughout the movie, not understanding what was happening or how I got there.  To this day, I have no idea what happened.  Obviously I hit my head somehow, but I am still clueless as to how that happened as my last memory I was 20 feet from the bleachers.  That my friends is the closest experience I have ever had to sitting in that room and having the doctor tell us Beautiful had cancer.  We were hurt.  We were delirious.  And we had no idea how we got there.

What follows is not a complaint or whine session, and I hope you understand that we are exceedingly grateful for the Lord’s grace and blessings over the last year.  He has grown us and we are grateful for the opportunity to trust Him all the more.  I write this to give a voice to those that won’t speak and to give you a glimpse into what it is like to live with cancer.

We never ceased trusting our Lord through this process, but I remember Beautiful’s agony in those early days as she struggled to understand all of the implications.  She has always been a strong woman and she has always walked in great faith, but this process has also helped show both of us just how much iron she has in her.  The days of the big questions are behind us, but the reality of cancer continues to live with us every day.  Most days, it is like a third wheel whenever we spend time together.  Sometimes it is like a jealous lover that wraps her up and pushes everyone else away.  On good days, it is quiet and seems almost content.  But it is with us every day.

Beautiful has been through a lot.  Surgery after surgery after surgery.  Chemotherapy and hormone suppression infusions.  Prescriptions so complicated we had to get an App just to keep them all straight.  If we add up all of the days that she was unable to function and just needed to stay in bed it would have been months of time.   Making family decisions was a mess.  Beautiful wanted to participate like she always had, but her reasoning was frequently chaotic and she would come to heartfelt, passionate conclusions that didn’t make any sense.  Then 2 days later, she would feel completely the opposite.  Even  with all of that, I think the thing that bothers her most is not being able to do what she used to for all of our children.  When you go from being the primary care giver, to the primary care receiver, it is a humbling and identity crushing experience.  That is the thing that weighs on her the most.

It has been a growing experience for me as well.  We used to joke that I had 7 children and Beautiful had 8.  Those of you that know us, know that I have never grown up.  I just hide my childishness a little better than I used to.  This year, I had to grow up.  With Princess and Coco “off the payroll” we have 5 children in our home.  With Beautiful’s cancer, for much of the year I had 6 children, a job and a household to try to hold together.  Our plans for quality time and quality of life were completely abandoned for raw survival.  If the kids made it out the door for school with shoes on their feet, then we were good, they didn’t even need to match (yes that happened – more than once).  Eating together was replaced with just making sure everyone ate (no, you cannot have cookies for dinner).  My days were filled with “firefighting” whatever was right in front of me in hopes of ending that crisis before the next began.  When everyone was in bed, it was time to catch up on laundry, bills, dishes, email, whatever I had set aside to get us through the day.  I remember several nights working through a pile of laundry praying to God to give me strength to make it through this next load and because I could not handle one more thing on my plate at the moment.

Of course, not every day was like that.  There were times when we were able to enjoy relaxing as well, reading a book, watching HGTV or playing on the XBOX.  We had many days where life seemed pre-cancer normal again, but those were a little oasis in the seemingly unending desert.  The reality of how our life has changed always returns to remind us, that it is still there, still with us.

These days Beautiful is able to get around, but slowly, and painfully.  Her hair is growing back in (much curlier than before), and she remains in good spirits.  She has also been able to get back to some of the things she did before.  I haven’t done laundry in weeks now and it is great to see her back puttering in the kitchen, baking up something we all love.  We all love what the Lord has wrought through this process.  We are stronger as a family and we have a better appreciation for what matters.  We enjoy little things as the Lord brings them and continue to celebrate everything we can – we do love our cake around here.  God is good.  He has changed our world.  It has been hard, but it has also been a journey I would not change.  Would I ask for it?  No.  But, I still wouldn’t change it.

One year later, cancer is still a reality for us, but God has brought us to this point and we know He will continue to bring us through.

1 Week–1 ?

One

Beautiful’s journey with the harsh Chemotherapy has almost come to end.  We have 1 Week left (then 9 months of much milder chemo – every three weeks).  It also means the theme of this week is ‘1’.  Beautiful decided she wanted to write this week’s post so I will be turning the keyboard over to her after the update.

Chemotherapy builds and each week the effect is progressively more pronounced.  The effects that people feel vary, but her in her case, we have seen some consistent trends.  She is tired, nauseous and she has neuropathy,  all of which have been more pronounced.  Throughout her treatment she usually had a couple of days where she felt like normal (or closer to normal than the others), but not this week.  She has been tired all week.  The neuropathy has also been worse.  Friday she woke up and was unable to move her thumbs.  That improved over the weekend, but we expect it to be a little more severe for this last dose.  Despite her physical ailments, her spirits have remained in a fantastic place.  Once she was able to accept this “curveball” from the Lord, she has embraced it as her journey to better serve.  That spirit has remained and become stronger throughout.  I have been blessed to be here, in the front row, for it all.  We look forward to the end of her treatment, but we also know that our lives will forever be transformed by this path.  We are excited to see where the Lord will take us from here.

Beautiful Takes Over

This post of ONE is dedicated to MY number ONE.  My FIRST husband and my seven children’s Daddy.  First, I have to say up front I am NOT an eloquent writer like my husband, so here you have it.  ALSO a huge disclaimer I HAVE chemo brain and it is a real thing, so read with understanding and patience knowing that I am not fully here (in mind).  Smile Here is an example of chemo brain. . . I was talking with a friend the other day and I was trying to say the name of a horse.  I couldn’t remember the name, so I could only describe him with adjectives.  Fortunately, she does not have chemo brain was able to finally figure out who I was talking about.  Yes, this has been my life for a long time now.  I sometimes feel like I am on a game show trying to figure out the words to complete a puzzle, but I am only trying to say a sentence.  So reader be aware. 

First, I want to give glory to God for giving me such a dedicated husband that has been here for not only me, but our children too.  He has taken on pretty much the household chores and keeping the house running.  It truly has been a journey for him too, and he has done this without complaining, and even joyfully.  I have to admit we have really had a different perspective in life, as to what are the major things and what are things that can slide a little.  It has been so freeing to not have to stress about the little things and REALLY put priorities into perspective.  I have to admit that this journey has been a great time of growing for all of our family, but especially for John and I. 

I look forward to the Tuesday mornings we go off to chemo together.  He gets just as spoiled by the nurses at chemo as I do.  They have all grown to love John too.  I mean who would turn away a warm blanket, sweet or salty treats and drinks offered numerous times throughout the day by the nurses.  OK he has never taken them up on the warm blankets, but you can guess they know his favorite snacks and will go digging to make sure they have his favorites on hand for him each week. 

One of the best things about having a husband that understands is being able to just go lay down and take a nap ANYTIME you need one.  Sometimes it is just for a short time and other times I am out for the day or night.  I used to struggle with needing to do this and needing to take care of my family at the same time but I was always lovingly reminded that MY job is to rest and heal and to listen to my body.  THAT is a husband who loves his wife.  I do love my naps, but I look forward to the day when I am blessed  with the energy I once had to take care of my family.  I DO think it will take some time for all of the energy to come back.  I think I will take it slow to just make sure. Smile   Remember, I DO love my naps.  As we come to a close of this part of our chemo and start on our new chemo journey I want to say THANK YOU to my loving, caring, entertaining and most of all understanding husband.  We could not have made it this far without you.  May God bless you ten fold.

I LOVE YOU JOHN GUYER

2 Weeks–2 Grandchildren

2 Grandchildren

This week’s post Beautiful wanted devoted to two people that bring her incredible joy:  Our grandchildren.  Even on her down days, her spirits and energy can rally to visit with these two little people.  Please allow me to introduce them.

Mini Gogo is the young man on the right.  He is very much like his father was at that age, but he is still very much his own person.  Like his father, he is very bright, curious and loves tech.  He seems to be more active (hence the Mini Gogo name, rather Mini Coco), but it could also be that I have slowed down.  He has his own preferences and he is a beautiful blend of Sweetness and Coco.  It has been a joy to share time with him for his almost 2 years of life.

Cheeky is the young lady on the left and as you can see, there is no question why she is named accordingly.  She is very generous with her smiles and her cheeks get even larger when she does.  It is one of the most heartwarming sights you can experience to see her happy.  As she gets more mobile (rolling over now), her personality is beginning to immerge more.  We are looking forward to many more years together getting to know her better.

While we have always loved Psalm 128, it has even more special meaning now.

4 Behold, thus shall the man be blessed who fears the Lord. 

5 The Lord bless you from Zion! May you see the prosperity of Jerusalem all the days of your life!

6 May you see your children’s children! Peace be upon Israel!  Psalm 128:4-5

A Week of Thanksgiving

This week was challenging.  Beautiful’s Neuropathy continued, but it did not worsen.  She will likely experience it for the rest of her Chemotherapy and then during the period where her body recovers.  It is hard to say how long that will be.  Buttons and zippers are tricky but manageable.  Cooking is out.  And opening Soda cans is PAINFUL.  She did well getting the children through the last days of school before Thanksgiving break, but has crashed much of the time since.   “Chemo Brain” seemed to be in full swing and led to some very funny situations.  She had fun with it, which is always a good sign.   Those of the particulars of her days.

Her spirit is an entirely different matter.  It was a great week of Thanksgiving here.  We have so much to be grateful for that I am writing this post with bleary eyes as I hold back the tears.  Our Lord has been so generous that I find it hard to comprehend.  He has enlarged our family again this year with a great godly young man that is everything I prayed for for my Princess.  He added to our numbers with another beautiful grandchild that brings the world so much joy.  He has been healing, encouraging and transforming us through Beautiful’s trial.  And, He continues to show us, each and every day, that His love is real, and efficacious. 

Why Lord?  Why are we so blessed?  How can we possibly repay your kindness?

The simple and somewhat unsettling answer is we do not deserve it and we cannot repay it.  But that is also the beauty in it.  We give Him the glory for what He has done, and respond as He requires:  To live His way, and that includes paying it all forward to those that are hurting and those in need.  Not to earn or repay His kindness, but to honor what He has already done.  We are not saved by our good works.  We are saved for  His good works.

I am excited to see what great things He will bring this new week!

3 Weeks–3 Horses

Yes, you read the correctly, I wrote “horses.”  This post Beautiful wanted dedicated to her hairy boys.  It was not that long ago we had none.  In fact, my bride did not care much for animals at all.  They are messy, smelly, and germy (I realize that is not a word, but you get to read it anyway).  She is, or was, all about neat, tidy and clean.  She is now the embodiment of a 180.  Yes, she still likes her neat, tidy and clean, but she also appreciates the meaning of Proverbs 14:4

“Where there are no oxen, the manger is clean, but abundant crops come by the strength of the ox”.

While we are not talking about crops or oxen, were are talking about animals and benefits.  Yes, animals are messy and a lot of work. You can avoid all of that work without them, but what benefit they bring!  Without them, we miss sooooo much in life.  Give me a dirty trough any day!  We will take the work and the joy and you can have your clean, sterile spaces.  So without further ado, here are the boys, in order of appearance:

Oreo.JPGOreo

He is the first hairy boy added to the family.  Oreo is a rescue that was severely underfed when he was rescued.  Princess found him and they bonded pretty quickly.  He loves to please, but he is also a lazy boy and don’t even think about getting between him and his food.  That is serious business!  He has some  training, but he will benefit from more regular work, once we get things started (more on that later).

SundropSundrop

He was a gift, and a princely one at that.  We cannot ever repay the kindness we were shown when he was gifted to our family.  He brings Beautiful so much joy it is a blessing to see.  Sundrop is a Tennessee walker and he loves to do anything but walk.  He will make sure you really are serious about wanting to ride, when you try to mount, but once you are up, he is a big show off.  He loves to run but he loves to please as well.  The whole barn knows when Beautiful has arrived and is NOT at his stall, because he will let EVERYONE know.  The boy has serious lungs!

FerdinandFerdinand

A mini, and the latest addition to the family.  He is co-owned with two other families and it has truly been a great experience.  Co-owning anything can be a “challenge”, but everyone has been fantastic and I honestly think it as brought the ladies even closer together.  More importantly owning a mini is a bit of a gamble.  Like dogs, horses can have attitude in inverse proportion to their size.  Not Ferdinand.  He is very much like his namesake Ferdinand the bull. A sweet, quiet boy that will put up with just about anything.  His first month at the barn seemed like it was the opportunity for grown women to play “dress up the doll,” but with a horse.  He was, and is a great sport and puts up with it all.    This boy is something special.

Beautiful’s Week

One of the things I love about my bride is that, just like her mother, she always makes life about others.  Despite what she is going through, and it is a lot, she continues to remain steadfast in her desire to make like life about others.  She constantly helps me reorient on what is truly important in life: people.  It is truly amazing to press on with our efforts to build a therapy farm, despite this trial.  I don’t know many that would continue to take on this ministry when their own needs are so great. The world needs more people like her.

This was a different week for my Bride.  One of the issues with Chemotherapy is a condition known as Peripheral Neuropathy.  Essentially, that is the drugs doing damage to the nerves in fingers and toes.  It can be a subtle as tingling or as severe as the inability to use the fingers for simple things like, buttoning buttons, etc.  Cooking is completely out for obvious reasons, which are not so obvious until someone mentions that cooking is out.  Fortunately, hers has not been too bad.  The pain was manageable and the numbness not severe enough that she cannot function.  Because it is not debilitating, and we are getting close to the end, the doctor recommended we press on, and so we did.

This week was also special because my Beautiful had another birthday.  I know at our age, they seem almost silly, but we don’t take anything for granted.  It was a joy to celebrate her birth again. We look forward to as many the Lord will give us!  She was able to enjoy her favorite cake and had a visit from Sweetness and the grandkids, and Princess.  It was a great day for all! 

Celebrating another week with you all, while we celebrated another birthday of life is a tremendous honor.  We look forward to sharing about next week.

4 Weeks–4 Girls

IMG_0550

Eight weeks of Chemo have passed so that means the number of the day is 4.  Four weeks of chemo and 4 girls is the theme for this post!  The picture to the left is the four girls a couple of years ago.  We haven’t taken pictures yet this year, and last year we just did one group shot.  So…a couple of years ago will have to do.

Beautiful was blessed to have all four at our home today, albeit not at the same time.  We woke up to the the normal routine of getting the kids off to school so Curly Girly and Bright Eyes (middle left and right respectively) were part of the primary focus to get things rolling.  Curly Girly can turn anything into a task 10 times longer than you thought humanly possible, but she is also the first to volunteer to help.  It is a unique combination.  If the task is for her, she will take all day (e.g. 20 minutes to eat a child’s yogurt – what are you chewing?  there is nothing to chew in plain yogurt!?).  If it is helping someone else, she will shift gears and move faster than I am usually ready for.  Bright Eyes must share an exciting story with you that will include copious amounts of detail that might cover such important aspects as what type of braid was in the ponies mane, but it is not a normal braid it is a braid that wraps around other braids and it makes a braid out of braids and it shakes when the pony canters and each braid had a different color bow …(well you get the idea).  But the story will also be delivered in rapid fire (and a little bit monotone) so you better be on your toes because she KNOWS when you are not listening and feedback is always required.

Sweetness (far right) is Coco’s bride and brought over the grandchildren for Beautiful to enjoy (I of course benefited as well – it was great to be able to see them without competition).  What a treat to be able to share the day with all of them.  We get to enjoy hearing about what is happening in her, equally large family, and visit with the little people all at the same time.  Princess (far left) came and joined us for a bit and it rapidly became a little impromptu party.  They all love Aunty Guh and of course we all always happy to have a visit from any of the kids, but Princess always bring the sunshine with her.

Back to my bride.  Beautiful is definitely feeling the affects of her Chemo.  Her hair is almost completely gone now and that has created some funny scenarios.  I don’t want to say she worries about things, but she sure puts a lot of thought into situations that never even register with me.  For instance, she actually put thought into what she would do if she were pulled over.  To her, the wig doesn’t look like her license (although most people can’t tell it isn’t her hair) so she was concerned that a police officer might think she were disguising herself.  She was trying to decide if she should remove her wig to show she was going through Chemo.  I had to gauge my response very carefully.  I wasn’t sure if I was being punk’d or if I was dealing with “Chemo brain” (yes that is a real thing).  I took the safe course and just asked what she decided.  She hadn’t so I guess we will cross that particular bridge if we find it in our way.

We had a little extra help this week.  Thanks to the 5th grade Moms at Wake Christian Academy.  They made a bunch of freezer meals so we are well prepared for impromptu dinners when Beautiful is not up to it.  My meal repertoire is limited to about 4 and is very heavy in the meat and bread departments.  That would get old in a hurry.

We are looking forward to wrapping up another week.  While we do have some fun things planned (pictures, a birthday party, etc.) the real special sauce is knowing that we are one more week closer to getting Beautiful through her chemo.  We will continue to press on knowing that not only are we getting closer, but each day and each aspect of this challenge is shaping us.  We are being refined for a purpose.  It may be that purpose is to reach one other person (Beautiful meets someone new at chemo each week it seems), or it may be something bigger.  We don’t need to know, we just need to continue on and let our God and Father take care of those details.  He knows and He never stops caring.

Please continue to remember us in your prayers.  It is a source of great strength and it is a blessing to all.  Until we meet at the blog again.  Go Fourth!

5 Weeks–5 Boys

Before

Beautiful decided that the updates I was providing were not nearly complicated enough and we need to make them more challenging.  Well, okay, that is not what she said, but it makes a better story.  She wanted to have some fun with the numbers as we hit the home stretch.  So, here goes.

We are down to 5 weeks of Chemotherapy.  That also coincides with the 5 Boys (4 of them our children and one recently married to one of our children – who by the way does not yet have a nickname for this space).  So this installment will be sort of like a superhero story arc without the superheros.  To be specific, a story about one of our boys and Chemotherapy fun.

What you see in the picture is what we call “Before.”  Yes, that is Beautiful’s  hair before she puts it on.  Occasionally, she decides not to wear it and goes with a hat or such.  And so begins our tale.

Yesterday, while we were at her Chemotherapy session, we received a text from Thunder with that picture.  Apparently, he was walking through our bathroom to get to the overstock pantry (that is another story for another time), and freaked because he thought there was an animal on our counter.  I have seem him spook once in a while and it is pretty dramatic.  I wish I could have seen that one, but I have a pretty good idea what it looked like.  Imagine this massive young man sauntering along and then yelping out a “WOAH!” as he makes an unplanned evasive maneuver (e.g. jumps out his shorts).  Yeah.  It is pretty funny to see.  Mind you he is not the shrieking type, like his younger brother, but he does startle pretty well.  Needless to say, we all got a kick out of that one.

Beautiful is doing great.  They take blood before each session to make sure everything is functioning properly and based on where we are at, the Oncologist believes we shouldn’t have any complications through to the end.  We are hopeful, but we are also mindful that God knows what is best for us.

After

Until next week where we discuss the number 4.  By the way, here is the “After.”

Sing a Song of 6…

Number 6

I am sure you all remember (well those that are our age anyway) the number song from Sesame Street.  We have a new appreciation for number 6 in our house.  That is the half-way point for Beautiful’s severe Chemo.  She will have another 9 months of chemo that is significantly more mild (and we are told will actually boost her immune system), but that is the future and 6 is now.

Chemotherapy is an amazing process.  The doctors are essentially infusing controlled poisons to suppress the parts of the complicated system that is the patient’s body.  In way of analogy (because who doesn’t love an analogy), think of your body like an orchestra and Cancer is a very bad drummer.  In order to quiet that particular participant, the entire percussion section must be silenced.  The  conductor cannot call upon any of them without calling for all of them.  Chemotherapy does exactly that.  It shuts down (or significantly slows down) the parts of the body that contribute to cell growth, etc.   I know this is a massive oversimplification, but that is the point of analogy after all.

Of course when you start shutting down things in the body, you are going to have some challenges.  We are right in the thick of those.  Beautiful has started to loose her hair.  Since her hair was so thick before chemo, after a few weeks of that, she now has the hair that most ladies do.  She did cut it down to a pixie cut to help with scalp irritation, but otherwise, it is hard to tell.  Her heart is working harder now (ah the wonders of FitBit) because she has fewer cells in her blood to get the work down.  She is also taking medicine for nausea constantly (as well as a few others) but for the most part, she can still eat fairly normally.  Where we all notice it the most is her energy.  She doesn’t have the same energetic buzz that she used to have.  Thunder and I do what we can so she doesn’t have to worry about the smaller children, but we all know what a couple of guys are like as replacements for one Supermom.   It is sort of be like the difference between what we were all hoping for in this presidential election, and what we actually get to chose from.  I know, pathetic right!?

Needless to say, the entire process continues to be a faith building experience for all of us.  God has given us many new friends and plenty of opportunities to talk about what God is doing in our lives.  Most days we are all doing pretty well trusting the Lord for His provision and protection.  When one us is in a funk, usually the others are able to pick them up again.  So far, we have not had any days where ALL of us are in a funk.  That could get noisy (or nosier than our house usually is).  I pray that day does not come!

Jesus said each day has enough trouble of its own and we are learning to live that.  Yesterday’s troubles are gone with the sun and each day is a new opportunity to hit reset and give our all.  For now, we are content to be half way, so we will keep singing our song of 6 and enjoying the time we have.

Tomorrow, You’re Only a Day Away!

pink-ribbon

We have always tried to teach our children to plan for the future, but live in the present.  People waste their entire lives thinking about tomorrow and when they wake up, they find it is still another day away.  Lately, we have been in that mode ourselves.  Fortunately, there has been plenty to keep us focused on today so Tomorrow didn’t  seem so BIG.  You know, little stuff, like a wedding, children starting 3 different schools, cabinet making (okay, I only made one – it turned out pretty well, but I don’t have time for more), etc.

Well, our tomorrow will truly arrive when the sun comes up.  It is the day that has loomed large on our calendar for over a month.  It has been talked about, prayed about and planned for.  Tomorrow is the day Beautiful begins treatment.  When we wake up, Beautiful and I will scurry around getting ready, we will wake the kids for school and we will head for the hospital before they are fully awake.  She will get prepped for surgery and after an hour or two, they will get started.  Five hours later, it is supposed to be over.  It all sounds so simple and clinical when you think about it like that.  The reality is that it is far from that.

Thunder asked me the other day, why I thought God allowed Beautiful to get cancer.  Part of his question is a desire to know, but part of it is also a desire for the comfort that everything will be okay.  I explained to him that we may never know the answer while we walk this earth, but we do know that God does.  God knows because He allowed it.  He only allows things into our lives that make us more like Christ. So, I explained that what He allows either tears down the part that is not Christ in us, or it builds up the part that is Christ in us.  The good and the bad are all part of that process.  We don’t understand the how anymore than we understand how prayer changes us, but it does.  So, we are prepared for our tomorrow.

“…what He allows either tears down the part that is not Christ in us, or it builds up the part that is Christ in us.”

Our tomorrow is based on what the doctors think  they know.  They will be the first to admit, that they can’t know more until tomorrow.  That means we will go into surgery with one plan, and we may leave surgery with a completely different plan.  That will depend on what they find tomorrow.  If Beautiful’s tumor turns out to be in the state they believe it is, she only need endure months of recovery and the frustration of not being able to care for her children the way she would like, and the way they are all used to.  It is difficult to Mommy effectively when you can’t raise your hands over your head or pick up more than 5 pounds.  If the tumor is not in the state they believe it is, there will be many more tomorrows of treatment before she can consider herself on the road to recovery. 

One of those Tomorrows will be tough.  Many more tomorrows will be MUCH harder to endure.  So, we go to the Lord Jesus Christ and ask that He provide the Tomorrow that He knows is best for us.  We ask that you will pray with us.  Pray that Beautiful, and our entire family would direct the world to God tomorrow.  Pray that the children will seek comfort in Him tomorrow.  Pray the that doctors will know wisdom and will see God’s design in all that He does tomorrow.  Pray for patience for us, while we wait out what His will is for us tomorrow.  Tomorrow we will find out.  It is good that it is only a day away.   

The Weatherman Missed by a Mile

pink-ribbonWe all know the drill.  You wake up, check the weather and prepare for the day.  It used to be you had to look out the window or if you were more sophisticated, you might have a barometer around to take a check (if you knew how to use it).  Now, we just roll over in bed and check our smart gadget of choice to see what our day will hold.   Even in a place like North Carolina were the weather will be predictably, unpredictable, the weather gurus generally get it in the ballpark.  Once in a while, they miss by a country mile.  We prepare for a picnic at the beach  and it is freezing and wet.

We have had one of those weeks.  Beautiful called me on Thursday and asked me to clear my calendar because the doctor called and asked her to come in for additional tests.  He wouldn’t give us any more information.  That is always, an “Uh oh,” moment.  After arriving, they explained that they noticed some anomalies in her tests and needed more detail to be conclusive.  After the procedure, the physician explained that he suspected there may be cancer and they would need to do more tests to be sure.  That was when the rain really began to fall on our little picnic.  After a long weekend where Beautiful ran through all of the emotions one would humanly expect: fear, hurt, anger, etc., and a very painful biopsy, I continued to pray and support my normally cheerful bride.  It pained me most that this incredible flower seemed to be withering before her time.  That was when the prayers rained down.  Almost like a light switch, she went from anger and fear to peace and joy.  I cannot tell you how much of a blessing it is see that kind of a transformation.  On Wednesday we received the verdict.  Without a doubt it was the “C” word: CANCER.  But my wife wasn’t overwhelmed with tears when they told her.  She was resting in her faith in our Lord Jesus Christ.  She cried, but it wasn’t out of fear or anger.  She cried because of God’s faithfulness in friends, family and in really, really good doctors.  You see she understands this for it really is: an opportunity for our Lord Jesus Christ to receive glory and an opportunity for our faith to grow.

She has shared that she is really excited to see what God does through all of this.  It has given her an additional level of boldness to talk about her love and faith in God.  If you have been around us “bible” people very much, you have probably heard someone quote Romans 8:28 when there is a trial.  The funny thing is, that we usually get it wrong.  I have known my bride a long time, and I know where her hope is.  She gets it.  You see that verse is connected to bunch of others.  Here is the frame around 8:28:

For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. 19For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. Romans 8:18-19

Paul has a larger discussion about creation and our hope and brings it home with:

And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. 29For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. Romans 8:28-29

When you bring these together you see clearly what Paul is NOT saying.  He is not saying that our skies will always be “Sunshine and Lollipops.”  On the contrary, he is telling us that when the rain comes we need to embrace it because it makes us more like Christ. 

She is in for a lot of pain.  Our lives will be very different for at least a few months.  But, we know that there is good in the pain as there is joy in the rain.  We are all going to grow and it will be glorious.  I don’t know how much rain we are going to get and I am sure we will all be sick of it before we see the sun again.  But this much I know, our Lord will never leave us and my bride will be loved through it all.