This Day Arrived

On February 13, 2013 I was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, cancer in my lymph nodes, and on September 16, 2013 I was granted remission. If you would have asked me  back in February if I thought I would ever get to this day, I am not certain, in the shock of those early moments, I would have believed this day would arrive. In February this day seemed so far away. During my panic attack that night I wasn’t certain I was going to make it. I knew the Lord had revealed to me that this would be a “journey for His glory,” but I could not see the light in the tunnel.

It is such an emotional blur to think back to February. As I have really processed things today it is amazing that I have been sick for a little over a year – my first lump showed up on September 7th. Today I am so thankful. I can proudly proclaim the truth I have know in my heart for quite some time – I am CANCER FREE because Jesus Christ is Lord and a mighty, mighty healer! Remission is such a powerful word.

Glory to God!

Glory to God!

Clearly, Roy is a little bit happy about the results…

Pure Joy!

Pure Joy!

Despite our fantastic news of the day, it was amazing to see the destruction of the rising flood waters 120 miles from the source. Sterling and the surrounding areas are really being impacted by the raging river. It is such an opportunity to pray. Thank you Lord for reasons to lean on You!

The raging river

The raging river

A local family. A local business. A local prayer opportunity.

A local family. A local business. A local prayer opportunity.

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It’ll be alright

Jeremiah 29:11 states, “I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” I declare that as truth in my life. I am amazingly confident going in to tomorrow’s visit with the oncologist that I am CANCER FREE. There is not even the smallest seed of doubt. I have had numerous friends and family call/text/facebook with questions of how I am doing. I am doing great. I believe that Jesus is a mighty healer, a might redeemer and will set me free. No matter what happens tomorrow, those statements will never change.

To truly understand the significance of my peace you need to know a few bits of my childhood. I was a horribly anxious girl. I feared going to school. I feared missing school. I feared getting to my locker. I feared getting from my locker to class on time. I feared being made fun of. I feared Mom and Dad leaving me at Girl Scout camp. I feared messing up a play while on the basketball or volleyball court. I was mostly an insomniac throughout the duration of middle school. I couldn’t sleep because my fear was so extreme. I can’t quite remember getting over that, but as with most things, it just seemed to fade away. I think even as an adult there are bits of fear that creep up on me. I sleep perfectly fine now though… Just ask Roy. One of the things that is amazing me is that there is not a drop of fear within me regarding hearing the results of my PET scan and blood work tomorrow. I do think I will be shocked if Dr. Stone says that I still have cancer, even more so than when I was first diagnosed. Back in February I knew there was something wrong. I knew I hadn’t been feeling well for months. When the Lord spoke to me that this would be a “journey for His glory” I pretty well knew there was going to be a rough road ahead. I now believe the Lord is giving me peace beyond my understanding.

I believe one of the greatest gifts that God has ever given us is the gift of time. That divine gift of time is so wonderful. It is such a tool that is used in healing. When I lost one of my sisters in a car accident on November 16, 1994 I truly thought time stood still. I desperately wanted it to stop moving forward and in fact, I only wanted it to go backwards. Back to a time when Heather was still with us. Back to a time when the road travelled that autumn night ended with a different result. Time standing still or going backward are not options. God allows us to continue to move forward despite our desperate attempts to stay right where we are. The Lord gave me an awesome opportunity to move forward over the past year. He did that over time and I am thankful for that gift.

After the boys prayed tonight, I explained to them that I would be going to the doctor tomorrow to get the results of my recent tests. I asked each boy what they thought the doctor would say. Matt stated a long string of jibberish and Jake followed with, “It’ll be alright and you are going to live  a long life.” Yes sir! Thank you very much for the vote of confidence! It will be alright. No matter what is said tomorrow, it will be alright. Thank you for your prayers, because despite the results of tomorrow, the journey will never be over. The Lord will continue to refine my character and for that I am incredibly grateful. He will provide opportunities to witness to people in all situations and in various circumstances. Until tomorrow…

I survived!

With the title you may immediately think I am referencing cancer, but that is not it at all. I survived Jake’s first day (and week) of kindergarten. Cancer all of a sudden seemed easy in comparison to that day. (That is such a lie, but seemed monumental and insurmountable in that moment). On Monday, August 26th, my job description changed. After five and a half years of being the primary caregiver for my child, I sent him off to school… Oh my heavens, that was awful. Why haven’t any of you out there told me of the terribleness of that day? Actually, that too, is a lie. It is not all awful. Jake is being blessed by a “free” education. He is being blessed with new friendship and new beginnings. He is definitely blessed by the wonderful Christian woman who is his teacher. He is blessed to go to a small, rural school with only 8 kids in his class. I have prayed for this day for years. I did forget one little thing… To pray for myself. That I would survive it. I didn’t really ask for a job change and am still not certain I like it. I truly believe it is my primary responsibility to educate my children and this year I am thankful to use a teacher as a resource. Roy and I will continue to take one year at a time and pray about keeping our boys in public education versus homeschooling, and this year we feel confident in our decision to send Jake to public school.

Roy, Matt and I took Jake to school on his first day. Mom’s had previously told me of turning away and crying as soon as they dropped off their child. I was not so lucky. Tears were streaming before we even got to the school and Jake was fully aware of it. He was and continues to be so much braver than I. We got to drop off his overweight backpack and head outside for morning recess. He ran around in the chaos of the other kids and occasionally checked back in to see if Matt wanted to play. Matt clung to my leg like a leech and left Jake to venture out on his own. We all got to go in when the bell rung and take a picture of the whole class, the classroom and his desk. Still, there is no hiding the fact that I am crying. Jake also continued to be incredibly brave.

The second day came along and we had discussed the fact that Jake could ride the bus. We waited outside on our front porch, prayed over him and then continued waiting. Jake randomly announces, “The bus is at Grammie and Grandpa’s.” What? I go into hysterical panic mode. “Poor little kid. He is going to miss the bus on his first day of riding the bus!” We loaded up VERY quickly and zoomed down the back road to meet the bus. (It might be important to mention I was a horribly anxious child and had fears of about everything related to school, so this threw me back 25 years and I was frantic). I tried to appear like a duck – water running off my back, and paddling like a wild woman below the surface. We got to the bus, the driver apologized for having the wrong house and off Jake went.

After every day of school we ask him how it was and what he learned. After the first day, “It was great!” After the second day it was also a really good day. He did tell me that once he got on the bus there were kids laughing at him. I asked him how he handled that situation and he said that after a few minutes he moved seats and they stopped laughing. OH MY GOSH! Who laughs at a kindergartener on his first day on the bus? Response #1: Mama Bear was willing to get on the bus the next morning and devour any child with a smile on their face. Response #2: Talk to the bus driver about protecting my child. Response #3: Talk to Jake and see if we could decipher why the kids might have been laughing – maybe it was because the driver was at the wrong house? Maybe it was because Mommy drove up to the bus so fast? None of those seemed like the way Jake interpreted the situation. Finally, my brain got to Response #4: Pray. I had an opportunity to pray for friendships, safety and security. Why does it take me so long to get to that response? Why in the world did I want to eat small children that intended to emotionally harm my child? In the scheme of life, this will be such a minor bump, but in the moment I thought I could never send my Jake to school again, or at least not on the bus. We discussed it and talked to him about bravery and courage and without a blink in his eye, he got on the bus for day 3.

Now to the really honest part: I did go up to the school during two lunch recesses last week to check on Jake. I so looked like the creepy lurking parent, and I am so thankful I did it. My child, who I love more than anything else of this world (other than Jesus, Roy, Matt, family and friends), was doing just fine. He was running around with all the other kids just playing. Enjoying the sunshine and falling off of the merry-go-round.

For those of you who recently sent your children off to school, I would love to share some of my prayers with you:

* Lord, I come to you in Jesus name and I give my child to You. I am convinced that You alone know the best path for my child. You know his needs – physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. Please guide my child to choose to do the right thing always, even when it is not the easiest. Please help me to pray Your will for my child. Thank you for being my partner in this journey and helping me to raise my children.

* Lord, I lift Jake up to you and ask that You would put a hedge of protection around him. I ask for him to be safe from harm and feel secure in his surroundings. Thank you for protecting him from disease, injury or any other sort of abuse. I pray that he will make his refuge “in the shadow of Your wings” until these “calamities have passed by” (Psalm 57:1) Hide him from any kind of evil influences that would come against him.

* Jesus, I pray for Jake to feel loved and accepted. I pray for Godly friendships and relationships. Thank you for helping him to develop into a Godly man who will serve You whole heartedly. I pray that Jake can attract Godly friends and role models. Please help Jake to learn what it takes to be a good friend and guide his communication with his teacher and classmates. Your word says, “He who walks with wise men will be wise, but the companion of fools will be destroyed.” (Proverbs 13:20)