Don and I have had the chance to get away together and to spend time with friends and family over the last few weeks. We even got to attend the North American Christian Convention in Kansas City where we had the chance to connect with some good friends and also talk to some people about Gail’s Girls (see previous posts and the video at gailsgirls.org if you just started reading the blogs).
I previously wrote about the importance of making memories over collecting matter in our lives, and have been thrilled that some of you have shared stories of how you have taken this to heart and are putting it into practice. We have enjoyed making new memories lately. We got to ride in a convertible in Florida! We laughed about the fact that Don’s hair would get messed up and mine didn’t even move! We took some long walks and had good, though sometimes difficult conversations. We enjoyed time with friends at the convention, and got to hike and go on a boat with friends in VA. The hike was much more steep than we anticipated. I was thrilled that I was far enough removed from the last chemo treatment that I had more energy and kept up with the crew! We had torrential rains as we hiked downhill. We were soaked, but I actually enjoyed the rain. We then spent the 4th of July at my brother’s house in DC. What amazing fireworks we saw from his roof! These times were also good distractions from the harsh realities of this disease and the prognosis. We have to admit that even through fun, great conversations, rest, and laughter, there seems to be a little black cloud that does not go away.
We have to keep our focus on Jesus and all that He is doing in this phase of our lives. He is still bringing good from a bad situation. He is so good at this, especially when we surrender our lives – the good and the bad – to Him!
This does not make it easy, but we see a purpose to suffering at a level we have never experienced before. The Bible talks a lot about suffering and the growth that takes place during those times, yet let’s be honest, none of us want to go through it. We are still praying for a miracle of healing daily! We thank all of you for praying with us. We have no doubt that Jesus can heal me. I also realize that I must surrender to his ultimate plan. We can see that through this suffering, God has opened doors to bring more people into the kingdom, and isn’t this the ultimate goal? With the 25 Gail’s Girls we are raising support for, there will be thousands of people from Southern Asia who will be in heaven due to their courageous work and passion for Jesus. We have met other patients dealing with the same and similar diagnoses I am, and we can share Jesus and hold each other up in prayer.
In Matthew, chapter 6, Jesus heals six people in different situations. Then, at the end of the chapter it reads, 37 Then He said to His disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. 38 Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.” I know He can heal me and I pray that I can continue to be one of these needed workers for many more years.
Even though we see the positive, we have to live each day fighting the negative – that little back cloud that holds the unknown, the physical issues, the racing thoughts and sometimes restless nights. My greatest heartache is for my husband and daughters while they face this with me, and how they will face days without me if I am not healed. I worry about my parents and extended family and so many friends. Once again, I have to come back to total surrender and trust in Jesus. He is in control and I know He loves us. He is also full of compassion and peace.
Yesterday when I went for chemotherapy it started out rough, as my white blood cell counts were lower than they have been, which puts me at higher risk for infections. The Dr. chose to give me 50% of each drug versus skipping a treatment. My first thought was that we would not be hitting the cancer hard enough, but then rested on the fact that I know God is still in control. He proved this to me again, as at the end of the day, we got the results of a cancer marker they are following in my blood. It dropped 11 points in the last two weeks! And that after receiving reduced chemotherapy due to side effects. God is working.
We will continue to work in His harvest field and try to open other’s eyes to our loving Savior and Almighty God. We will reach out to help support those in Southern Asia working through persecution to spread the news of Jesus to millions who have not even had the chance to hear the name of Jesus. We will fight the little black cloud by focusing on Jesus. As many of you are experiencing the little black clouds in life, we encourage you to surrender them to Jesus, too. It’s not always easy, but it brings peace. Be assured that you are growing even through the suffering.
We will also continue to build memories with each other, family, and friends. We are so grateful for you all!