Tuesday, May 19, 2020

The Real Deal

Psalm 6:6-7 "I am weary with my moaning; every night I flood my bed with tears; I drench my couch with my weeping. My eye wastes away because of grief."

Job 16:16 "My face is red with weeping, and on my eyelids is deep darkness."

Emotions can be tricky. Some people are very in-tune with their emotions and can express them freely, while others struggle to reveal how they are feeling. The other night we picked I Still Believe for our family movie. We had all heard great things and the girls wanted to pick a more sentimental movie instead of our normal action or cartoon selection. I probably should have been more conscious of my children and the theme of the movie. We all really enjoyed the movie, but it was also difficult to watch. During the end of the movie, all you could hear were sniffles in the basement. After the final credits, Joella and Micaela just broke down sobbing. They hugged me and told me how hard it was to watch the character die from cancer and that they don't want their dad to die from his brain cancer. As I hugged them in their vulnerable state, I realized I was jealous of the freedom they felt to express their emotions so openly. 

I struggle to be transparent with my emotions. My natural tendency is to bottle it all in. Unfortunately, difficult circumstances in my past has lead to this self-preservation mode. Although I did spend many months as a young adult having to feel many bottled emotions, my natural tendency is to flee crying. As you read throughout the book of Psalm, you read of David's weeping and grief. Sometimes he sounds like he is in great distress, which I believe he was in and he was openly pouring his heart out to God. I have experienced moments of weeping that were so distressing, I thought I would rather have Jesus take me home than experience the pain. When you are done crying and you cannot see because your eyes are swollen, you cannot breathe because you nose is clogged, and your chest aches from the deep groaning, that really isn't something you want to experience again. 

I share all of this because I am trying to be more transparent in my life. I know that I cannot be the only one to struggle with bottling emotions or having to face difficult memories from the past or current battles now. Maybe you feel alone in your struggles. Know that you aren't alone. I know that in this turbulent time in our lives many more people are experiencing struggles in their life. This is the best time to be transparent and open with others. We are all struggling and it is good to know that we are not alone! The Bible says that we are to be like iron sharpening iron...we should be building each other up and helping others run this crazy race of life to the finish line.

At the beginning of the year, our church shared about a ministry called Celebrate Recovery. Each week people would share how this group helped them in different ways. I found it fascinating to learn that Celebrate Recovery isn't just for those recovering from alcohol or drugs, but it was for anyone who has a hurt, habit, or hangup that they need help and support. Each week, I felt like God wanted me to go. I fought God the entire time because I am someone who cares too much what other people think of me. I was worried people would find out that I was going and wonder what "issue" I have that would drive me to Celebrate Recovery. I finally surrendered and attended my first service with the group. It was so hard to walk through the doors, but I am so glad that I did. I have found some amazing friends in a short time who are real. It is comforting to know that there are people who are willing to pray for you when things are good, and when things are hard. God's timing is always best! If I had not attended when I did, I wouldn't have been able to get plugged into a Step Study and meet some amazing women who have encouraged and prayed for me throughout this ordeal. After attending even just a few weeks before all this COVID19 hit, I firmly believe that every believer should attend. We all have issues, whether big or small, that we can share and work on. Maybe you have thought about attending Celebrate Recovery, but maybe, like me, you have been intimidated. Let me tell you, there is so much freedom in just going! Just go and see what God has in store for you.

Please pray that I continue to trust God with the pain of the past, trust Him with Wayne's future, and that I can freely express my emotions instead of bottling them up. There are other things going on that I will share at a later time, so please just pray for me and our family. If you are struggling with anything, feel free to contact me and we can pray for you and walk along you too!

Sunday, May 3, 2020

Intentional Living

Ephesians 5:15-17 "Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is."

Last weekend our family was blessed to participate in an e-retreat by Inheritance of Hope (IOH). We were supposed to be in Florida for the retreat, but the retreat was postponed until the fall. The amazing leadership at IOH decided to hold part of the retreat online so that families could benefit from the resources they offer. Not only that, the sad truth is that many families attending the retreat have loved ones with serious terminal cancer. It was gut-wrenching to hear some of the stories of others and hear their children share of their fears of losing their parent. There were two specific parts that spoke to my heart. Although I am not the parent facing a terminal illness, I am walking along side a spouse who is, and two speakers spoke to me the most. The first was a young woman who lost her mom to glioblastoma, the same brain cancer that Wayne has. She poured out her heart about how she had wanted to ask her mom to make her a video, but she didn't want to add to her mom's plate since she was so sick. Then she said it became too late to ask her once her mom couldn't speak anymore. She told us how her heart broke when her mom passed and how she told her dad that she regretted not asking her mom to make her a video. She then went on to tell us that her dad told her that her mom had made a video for her at the IOH retreat they had attended. She said that the video is such a precious gift to her from her mom. I hate showing emotions, which I know isn't healthy. It was all I could do to keep from bawling on our zoom meeting when I heard this girl's story.

The next speaker that spoke to me was actually the woman who started IOH. It was an old video of her speaking at another IOH retreat right after she had traveled to NY to hear from her doctors that after eight years of fighting, there was nothing else that could be done for her. Here this brave fighter stood encouraging other fighters about what gave her hope during this time. This amazing woman was INTENTIONAL with her time here on earth. She took her last few years to make sure that her children had letters from her, gifts tucked away for future special events, and so much more. Not only did she think about her family, but she thought about so many other families who would be in the same predicament as her family. She wanted to help them be intentional in their lives as make special memories with their children and document their love for their children.

Sometimes we will hear the term intentional and think that is a great idea, but what does that mean? The definition of intentional is done on purpose, deliberate. I think that intentional means that we need to do something on purpose or deliberately make a plan to do something. I walked away from the retreat with a new be even more intentional with my kids. If I were to die, what do I want my kids to remember? Again, I was not a participant with a terminal illness, and yet, aren't we all terminal? How many of us have heard of a loved one or a friend that passed in a tragic accident or freak illness? The daughter who shared about her mom made me stop and think. I decided the next day to take a few hours and write each of my kids a letter. Lord willing, I can pass on the wisdom and counsel I gave in those letters in person, but just in case, my kids now each have a little gift from me. 

Wayne was able to make a video for the kids with IOH. I know for many of the parents it was hard to make the video and think about what they wanted to say to their loved ones, but what a gift! If something happens to Wayne, the kids will each have a special memory of their father taking time to speak to them and tell them important things about his childhood, his life, stories from their childhood, and most importantly, about his relationship with God that has sustained him through all of life's difficulties.

We are choosing to be even more intentional than we already had been. When the kids ask us something, instead of being busy and shooing them away, we take time to listen and be involved. We not only have to be intentional with our time with them, but also in the words that we pour into them. We want to be intentional in modeling and teaching them about loving God with all of their heart. We want them to feel loved not only by us, but by a heavenly Father who loves them more than we ever could!

I also think being intentional extends to other areas of our lives. As believers, we are commanded to love others and share the good news of Jesus Christ with them. That takes being doesn't just happen. Wayne and I have been talking about ways we can be more intentional in sharing about Jesus with others. It isn't always easy, but God asks us to do it and there is such joy in being obedient. 

What about you? Are you being intentional with your children? Are you being intentional with your walk with the Lord and sharing that joy with others? I think all of us can benefit from being more intentional every day of our lives. I know that I don't want to get to the end of my life and regret the time I wasted on invaluable things instead of making the most of my time here on earth. 

Thursday, April 2, 2020

Quarantine Quandary

Psalm 55:22 "Cast your cares on the Lord and He will sustain you; He will never let the righteous fall." 

James 1:2-4 "Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work os that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything."

The definition of quandary is a state of uncertainty over what to do in a difficult situation. I think that many of us have recently experienced times of uncertainty. This whole quarantine and not knowing what is going to happen next is driving my Type A personality crazy. I can only plan so much when everything changes from day to day and week to week. If I allow my thoughts to wander too much, I can start to feel anxious and fearful. I love the verse in James. It reminds me that no matter what we face in life, God can use it to produce attributes in us that He wants to work on. 

I think the big lesson God is trying to teach me is to cling to Him and rely on Him. I have been doing a lot of reflecting the past few days on God's faithfulness over the years. It is easy to slip into questioning why He is allowing all of this craziness around us and to get fearful over my family's health. God has been gently reminding me, as He has to frequently since I'm a slow learner like the Israelites, that He has this. He is still on the throne and He is still God. 

I decided that I would write down the many ways that God has been faithful to me over the years. Maybe it would be a great exercise for all of us to do to remind ourselves who He is and what He has done in our lives. Feel free to share your list with me! I love to rejoice and see how God has moved in other people's lives. When we think and reflect on all the good things He has done in our lives, it helps us trust Him with the future and focus on the positive instead of all the negative. So here are some of the things on my list that God brought to my mind:

1) How God drew my heart to Him from a little child until a teenager when I fully surrendered my life to Him. He constantly pursued me and showed me how much He loved me.
2) Wayne's cancer - I could go on for hours about how God has been faithful on this journey. If you want to see all that God has done, read our story from the beginning (February 2015).
3) God financially provided during Wayne's cancer. We knew that when he went on disability we would make it, but it would be tight, especially when it came to groceries. God provided through Wayne's co-workers to provide us with Peapod gift cards that lasted his entire treatment and recovery!
4) How God opened the door and moved us to adopt. That is another long story and you can read about it in 2017.
5) How God moved us to Chicago back in 2001 and closed the doors to moving back to CA. We had some amazing years in Chicago with friends that we made and that is where Wayne had some of the best doctors to do his brain surgery!
6) God helped me forgive those who abused me as a child and He walked me through the painful memories and helped heal me.
7) God faithfully provides each day for our needs. Sometimes it feels like the widow with her flour and oil that just kept multiplying. God faithfully provides for us on a daily basis. 
8) When God knew I was near a breaking point, God provided Wayne to be at home to help raise our kids, especially our special needs child. There was so much going on in life and I was just feeling stretched to the limit. I was crying out to Him and He answered in unexpected ways.
9) How God provided the perfect counselor for our special needs child
10) How God provided the perfect school for our special needs child and how we have seen him blossom. 
11) When God moved us to Chicago, God also miraculously provided my job transfer to Chicago from San Francisco. Only God could move a job offer to Chicago from San Francisco for a recent graduate who hadn't started working!
12) God protected Joella at birth with a perfect knot in her cord. The doctor told me God must have been watching over her because most babies with a true knot end up still born.
13) God sold our house in Chicago right before COVID19 shut IL down (literally just days before).
14) God has provided friends at different stages of life
15) God has enabled us to homeschool our kids without losing my mind
16) God provided the perfect house for us in KY (everything we were looking for, including walking distance to my parent's farm)
17) God has provided an amazing church for us to be part of at different stages on our lives.
18) How God changed the hearts of our kids after moving and is growing them in amazing ways. God answers prayers in crazy ways sometimes.
19) God provided protection when my tire blew five years ago on the freeway on our way to a field trip. God also brought the trial to a close without me having to travel back to Chicago for a week. 
20) all the little things God does but that He doesn't have to: desires that our on my heart that He works out. This reminds me that He is a good, good father!

These are just some of the ways that God has shown up in my life and revealed what a wonderful Father He is to us. 

We have been trying to find joy as a family in the midst of this crazy time. We have enjoyed the extra time together. Our kids have noticed that they don't like this kind of "quarantine homeschooling". They enjoy our weekly trips to the gym for PE, the library, field trips, community service, and going to church. They want all the other kids to know that this is not what homeschool is like. We have made the most of the time by getting our school work done, reading some great books, doing more crafts, baking/cooking, taking advantage of some free websites available, playing outside, and now we have been working on making masks for the community where they are needed. We also took an early morning hike about an hour away from our house. We didn't see anyone the entire time we were out. The kids enjoyed getting out of the house and expending some energy.

Will you join me in a challenge? I am choosing joy and thankfulness today over fear and anxiety. I am going to focus on the good around me, instead of thinking about all that I'm missing out on (tomorrow I should be running in New Mexico and getting another state under my belt). I am committing to reading less articles about COVID19 and more from God's Word. Let's also use this time to encourage people around us: call a neighbor, FaceTime a friend, and keep in touch with your family. If you are stuck in fear and anxiety, listen to the cd below. It is older, I think from the 90s, but it was the music that got me to sleep during a very difficult time in my life. God used His word put to music to not only allow me to meditate on His Words, but also to bring a balm to my soul. May this bless you as it blessed me!

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Coronavirus Fear: The Proper Perspective

Luke 12:22-31 "Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat, nor about your body, what you shall put on. For life is more than food and the body more than clothing. Consider the ravens: they neither sow nor reap, they have neither storehouse nor barn, and yet God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds! And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to span of life? If then you are not able to do as small a thing as that, why are you anxious about the rest? Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass which is alive in the field today, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, how much more will he clothe you, O you of little faith! And do not seek what you are to eat and what you are to drink, nor be worried. For all the nations of the world seek after these things, and your Father knows that you need them. Instead, seek His kingdom, and these things will be added to you."

Psalm 73:16-17 "When I tried to understand all this, it troubled me deeply till I entered the sanctuary of God; than I understood their final destiny."

I have to be honest, the last few days have stirred fear in my heart. I am sure that I am not the only one who has been having fearful thoughts surging through my brain. I have had a hard time balancing being wise and being prepared to feed my huge family for two weeks, and fearing about what all of this means, or could potentially mean, to our family. I have spent too much time reading articles about this virus than reading the Bible and that is where I believe I made my first error. 

This morning I woke up with a song on my mind that I haven't heard for years. The song was "God is in Control" by Twila Paris. Check out these lyrics! These were the words I needed to hear this morning.

This is no time for fear
This is a time for faith and determination
Don't lose the vision here
Carried away by the motion
Hold on to all that you hide in your heart
There is one thing that has always been true
It holds the world together

God is in control
We believe that His children will not be forsaken
God is in control
We will choose to remember and never be shaken
There is no power above or beside Him, we know
God is in control
History marches on

There is a bottom line drawn across the ages
Culture can make its plan
Oh, but the line never changes
No matter how the deception may fly
There is one thing that has always been true
It will be true forever

He has never let you down
Why start to worry now? (2x)
He is still the Lord of all we see
And He is still the loving Father

Watching over you and me

Two hours later, we were sitting in front of our computer enjoying our church service. The message today was exactly the reminder I needed...I need to have a proper perspective on this virus. God had a theme for me today...and it was to trust Him! He reminded me how He has been faithful with Wayne and has brought us so far with his cancer. How could I worry about something outside of my control? He has been faithful to us time and time again, and here I am worrying about Wayne and my kids. 

Below are some of the key points for the sermon this morning that I needed to hear. I'll link the actual sermon at the bottom so you can listen. Maybe this will help you balance the fear in your heart and mind too. We must battle this fear because fear is not from God. He is the author of peace not fear!

When we worry, we aren't trusting God. By not trusting Him, we can be filled with doubt, which could lead to disbelief if left unchecked. Worry is toxic to our souls. It keeps us from experiencing the power, presence, and peace of God. It also robs us of the joy and peace that is available to believers. Worry cannot coexist with joy and peace. Worry also neutralizes discipleship and spiritual growth. It also removes any gospel witness in our lives. As believers, if we are out ransacking the stores for supplies and constantly sharing fearful news, than the world is not going to see anything different in our lives. We have a hope that extends beyond our life here on earth. People around us are desperate. They feel out of control because they are having to face their mortality. I read that the purchasing of goods makes them feel like they have some semblance of control. As believers, this is our chance to rise and be beacons of hope to the world around us. 

1 Peter 3:15 explains this, "But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who ask you to give the reason for the hope that you have." We need to be ready to share the HOPE that only Jesus can bring." This tumultuous time is the perfect opportunity to share the hope that we have in Jesus with others.

There are two things we need to remember: 1)we need to keep God in mind and 2) we need to keep the end in mind. 

Just remember this, God is sovereign, omnipotent, merciful, majestic, holy...the list goes on. He has this! Don't worry, but keep Him in mind and the end in mind. When your mind starts to worry and fear, remember that you are the child of the King and that He is still sitting on His throne and is in control. 

Friday, March 13, 2020

Bigger Than Our Fears

2 Timothy 1:7 “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and a sound mind.”

Psalm 94:19 “When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought joy to my soul.”

1 Peter 5:6-7 “Humble yourselves, then, under God’s mighty hand, so that He will lift you up in His own good time. Leave all your worries with Him, because He cares for you.”

Today was Wayne’s 5 year MRI. After experiencing so many anxious MRIs, I can honestly tell you that today I felt no anxiety. I have been allowing God to work on my heart to trust Him and His plans for our surrender my will to His and fully trust Him. It is amazing how God will work in your life when you allow Him full control. I still struggle, but it is amazing to see God slowly working on transforming my heart. 

We just met with Wayne's neuro-oncologist who informed Wayne that his scan is once again clear. The praise can only go to Jesus who isn’t done with Wayne yet. I’m light of all the fear surrounding everyone right now with the Coronavirus, this is a reminder that God is in control. He is bigger than a terminal brain cancer diagnosis, and He is bigger than a deadly virus. After walking this journey of faith trusting God with my husband’s health, I need to remember that I can trust God with my health and my kid's health. When I wrote my previous post, it was a reminder to myself that God is still on the throne and I can rest in His plan. Whether I live or die, I want my life to bring glory to Him. Worrying will not accomplish that. God is bigger than any of my fears.

Unfortunately, due to all the crazy things around us, we have canceled our trip to Omaha. We need to be with all of our kids during this scary and uncertain time. We also don’t want to spread any potential germs on to Emily. Please continue to pray for Emily, our country, and the world. Pray for those who are sick and dying that they will know the love of Jesus! May we bright lights and beacons of Hope to the lost and hopeless around us. 

Wednesday, March 11, 2020

Walking Dead: Coronavirus

1 Corinthians 15:53-55 “For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality. When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written: ‘Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?’”

Coronavirus is a word we are hearing on a daily basis, sometimes on a hourly basis. My Facebook is inundated with posts from all extremes: those who say it’s all media hype on an election year to others saying we are all going to die.

I have breaking news: we are all dying! What?!? Why would this crazy woman claim that we are all dying? Does she have insight on this virus that we don’t know about? Calm down. No, I do not know anything more than any of you. In fact, if I am honest, I am daily surrendering my fear to the Lord. What I am talking about is the fact that since the day we were born, our bodies are in the process of dying. Apart from Jesus, we are all dead. Yes, the world is full of walking dead. I think this is partly what is causing this mass hysteria...a sense of hopelessness and fear. As believers, we need to first of all stop living in fear. Should we be wise? Absolutely! Even Joseph prepared for a famine that hit Egypt. But what we shouldn’t do is live in fear to where it debilitates us. As our brothers and sisters in China did, this is an amazing opportunity to point people to Jesus who is our hope! He is the only one who can give people hope. I don’t care if you have 200 rolls of toilet paper, thousands of wipes, and bottles of hand sanitizer. Do you have Jesus?

If Wayne’s terminal cancer has taught us anything, it is the fact that we should live each day to the fullest for Jesus. Do I want to catch Coronavirus? No. But even if the worst case scenario happens and I die, want to say like Paul in Philippians 1:21 “For me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” This reminds me that every day I have here on earth is a chance for me to live for Christ! If I die, I win because I’ll be with my Savior! 

Where are you at? Are you in need of the hope that only Jesus can give? Nothing in this world will fill that hole in your life but Him! If you are a believer, do you believe God is sovereign? God has a plan for each of our lives. Can you trust Him I’m the midst of these unknown times? Can you even go a step further and reach out to your neighbors, co-workers, classmates, and family with the good news and hope that God offers? Many of us have been praying for a revival in this country. Maybe this is the catalyst God uses to draw hearts to Him. I doubt the early church thought that their persecution would help spread the gospel and yet God used that time in history to spread the good news. What will your choose to do? Trust God and allow Him to use you or hide in your home surrounded by 200 rolls of toilet paper?

Prayer Request:

 * Friday is Wayne’s next MRI. It is almost exactly five years from the date the doctor walked in and told us the genetics came back and showed that he had GBM, not a grade 3 Astrocytoma. We are trusting God with the results, but the hardest part is waiting for the doctor to walk in give is the results after his MRI. There is something nerve wracking to wait in an office for results like these. Just pray that we rest in God’s peace!

* Please pray for us as we travel to Omaha after Wayne’s appointment to see Emily, the young girl we have been praying for. Her brain cancer is back and I am uncertain if her mom has found any doctors with additional treatments to try. Pray that this meeting is glorifying to God!

Friday, March 6, 2020

Month of Memories

Psalm 77:11-14 "I will remember the deeds of the Lord; yes, I will remember you wonders of old. I will ponder all your work, and meditate on your mighty deeds. You way, O God, is holy. What god is great like our God? You are the God who works wonders; you have made known your might among the peoples."

My Facebook "On This Day" memories have resulted in a mix of emotions. We are celebrating 5 years since Wayne's diagnosis with brain cancer, which means that there are so many pictures from that time. Pictures of Wayne at surgery, Wayne in recovery, family photos, and more. Seeing these pictures transports me back to that time as if it just happened. Isn't that weird the way the brain works? It makes me more understanding of the trauma kids experience who are adopted or are in foster care. One smell, sound, or picture can trigger such an array of emotions. I think this is true for our girls as well. As much as we "move on", there is still a piece of you stuck in 2015. 

There are other memories from March that pop up on Facebook. These pictures trigger great memories. It was 3 years ago that I was in China adopting our two sons. Yesterday was DJ's family day and Sunday is Shan Chen's family day. Our lives have been so enriched by these two boys. Although it hasn't been all rainbows and unicorns, we can see God's hand in it all. We are so thankful that God called us to adopt.

Whenever I see this crossover of memories, it reminds me of God's faithfulness and the importance of obedience. God asked us to adopt just a year after Wayne's diagnosis. I still remember asking God, "Seriously? It doesn't make sense at all to adopt NOW! We tried before and you shut the door and NOW you want us to adopt? That is crazy!" This was just another lesson in my life that God doesn't do things the way WE think He should, He does things for a purpose beyond what we can comprehend. It is crazy to think that on Wayne's 2 year anniversary of his brain surgery, I was in China with our two boys finalizing our adoption! Who does that? Who takes on two more kids when you have a spouse that has a cancer with a diagnosis of 12-18 months? Crazy people, that is who. We have actually heard that a lot in the last few years...You are crazy! But you know what, we aren't crazy just to be crazy and get "attention". We are so enamored with our Savior, who we know has numbered Wayne's days, that we want to follow Him wherever that leads, even if it is to crazy land! Where will He lead us next? Only He knows. But wherever He calls us, we will follow. How about you? Do you feel God calling you to do something but it feels crazy? Why not completely surrender and trust God to lead the way, even if it is to a place the world would call crazy. Being in the middle of God's will is the safest place to be! Never be afraid to step out of the boat and follow God.

Sunday, February 9, 2020

5 Year Miracle

Isaiah 45:6-7 "that people may know, from the rising of the sun and from the west, that there is none besides me; I am the Lord, and there is no other. I form light and create darkness; I make well-being and create calamity; I am the Lord, who does all these things."

It is hard to believe that on this date five years ago, I received a telephone call that would forever change my life. If you would have asked me five years ago if we would be celebrating five years with Wayne, I would have told you most likely not. You see, in case you are new to this blog, Wayne was diagnosed in February 11, 2015 with a brain tumor. We later discovered that it was glioblastoma (GBM), the most aggressive type of brain cancer. The normal life expectancy for this kind of cancer is 12-18 months. We have so many friends that we know and love who have lost their loved ones to this awful cancer. It is a daily struggle with trusting God with our future. 

I have experienced such an array of emotions the past few weeks leading up to this moment: joy, relief, excitement, love for Wayne, thankfulness, sadness, grief, and guilt. The last three emotions have really dragged me down the past week. I have seen many friends on Facebook lose their husbands and fathers to their children. I have a few more friends whose husbands are on hospice. My mind often struggles with "why". Why have we made it five years? Why is Wayne still here and others have been taken home? On one hand, I prayed for this miracle, so I shouldn't be surprised that the same God who parted the Red Sea, healed the lame and blind, and rose from the dead, could heal my husband. And yet, my mind can't help but think about so many other godly women who have prayed the same prayer for their husbands. I start to question why God didn't answer their prayers. Here is where the emotions of sadness and guilt start to settle. It's hard to celebrate when others have lost what you fear most...losing your husband to this dreadful cancer.

How do you juggle trusting God, while at the same time realizing that the next scan could change our story again? I don't know how to explain this paradox in which I live. Others try to understand, but until you walk this path, it is hard to truly understand and get it. On the other hand, it's hard to share with the ones who understand because most of them would love to have their husbands back, would love to have five years, or are in much worse places than us. So what am I to do? What am I to do with all of these emotions and thoughts?

I do not have the answers, only that God is sovereign and He has kept Wayne here for some reason. Our job is to daily live our lives to the fullest serving God and bringing Him glory! We leave the future in God's hands and rest in the assurance that He has a perfect plan for our lives, even if we don't understand how He always works or why He does things. That is where faith comes in...will we trust or will we worry? I can tell you from experience that there is so much more peace in the place of trust than in the place of worry. 

All of us face this daily challenge - will we trust God or worry? It may be about your job or it may be the fear of some unknown virus, like what is going on in China. We can either sit and fret about the future, or we can rest in knowing that God is in control. So for today, we will choose to trust God and enjoy the blessings that God has given us. Let's celebrate 5 years of God's healing!!

In these 5 years we have managed to make many memories with the kids, celebrated our 20th (and now 21st) anniversary, we added two more kids to our family (another crazy God story), moved closer to family, celebrated five more birthdays with Wayne, taken many photos as a family to treasure, and taken numerous memorable trips (East Coast and West Coast - Wayne has now been to 46 states). 

Wayne after his biopsy

Wayne after his brain surgery

Wayne at rehab working on re-learning how to walk and talk

Wayne's bald head from radiation side effects

Wayne's MRI which shows how much of his brain is missing after surgery

Making memories together as a couple (21 years and counting)

Making memories together as a family

In April, we will be taking a trip with Inheritance of Hope. This amazing organization sponsors families with parents who have a terminal illness and helps them make memories with their children. They also help the parents create legacy videos, take family photos, and offer support groups for the kids to learn how to express their emotions and feelings about all that they are going through. We can't wait to spend some intentional days away with our kids to make lifetime memories with them.

As a way of paying it forward and marking Wayne's 5 year anniversary, I am running a half marathon in New Mexico in April. I am trying to raise money to help other families like ours attend a future retreat. If you would like to help, please pray about sponsoring my run!