Harder Family

Harder Family

Thursday, February 11, 2021

The Phone Call That Changed My Life

 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God."

I love the verse above because six years ago I learned what God's comfort is like in my darkest days. Six years ago, I received a phone call that forever altered my life. It was six years ago that Wayne called me from Northwestern Hospital to inform me that he had a grand mal seizure at work. Although it has been many years, those moments are forever branded in my mind...the fear and the unknown of what was going on as I traveled on the train to get to Wayne in the hospital. Little did I know just how much my life would change in a short time. When I arrived at the hospital, Wayne told me that the doctors had found a mass in his brain and that he was getting ready to have an MRI. He said that the doctor prepared him to hear the news that it was probably cancer. When he spoke those words, I felt the air just sucked out of me. Cancer? How can this be? I didn't understand then that God had a crazy story that He started weaving that day. 

As I reflect back, I know that God was spending at least a year preparing us for this difficult road we were going to walk. God is so good to us that He doesn't just send us into battle unprepared. He prepares us, even if we aren't aware of it at the time. In fact, Facebook reminded me of some posts I wrote just days before Wayne's grandmal seizure:

"It is not enough to begin to pray, nor to pray aright; nor is it enough to continue for a time to pray; but we must pray patiently, believing, continue in prayer until we obtain an answer." George Mueller (1 Thess. 5:17 Pray without ceasing; Romans 12:12 ...be constant in prayer; Matt. 6:6; Eph. 6:18). I love studying the life of George Mueller. May I walk by faith and not by sight!!!"

"So thankful that God's mercies are new every morning and that we serve an amaing God. I LOVE the new devotional we are doing called "God's Names". So far we have studied Elohim (Creator) and Jehovah/Yahweh/I AM. Highly recommend this study to any of my friends with kids looking for a devotional. It goes deep and helps teach kids a proper view of our magnificent God."

"'My Heart is Yours' is a powerful song! God's timing is always perfect and He is enough! I was singing this song with the girls this afternoon." This post was written as I was on the train to go see Wayne at the hospital. God's timing is always perfect and I can see now how He was preparing my heart for the difficult road ahead.

Recently in my life group at church we have been talking about sharing the gospel. One thing I have discovered in sharing my faith with others is that if you share how God has moved in your life, no one can dispute that fact. They may try to argue things about the Bible and argue about other things about God, but when you share about the power of God in your life, it is irrefutable. No one can argue with you that what you have experienced isn't true. That is how I see our journey with Wayne's terminal brain cancer. We have seen nothing but the powerful hand of God every step in the last six years and this provides us a great opportunity to share with others about what an awesome God we serve!

In reference to the verse above, Wayne and I have been privileged to walk along others who have suffered from brain cancer. We have been able to point them to Jesus as our only hope in those dark days and share how He has been our comfort. I cannot explain what it feels like to be able to share your testimony of how God worked in your life, and is still working to this day, with someone who doesn't know Jesus. What can you share from your life with others that points them to Jesus?

Our family knows that every day God gives us with Wayne is a precious gift. Not only is it a gift because of his presence in our lives, but his cancer was a gift because we learned how to treasure each day. Although living with the knowledge that you have a loved one with a terminal illness is daunting, it is also freeing because you can talk about things most people don't want to talk about and you are able to prepare yourself, as much as humanly possible, for what is to come. We know that we need to cherish every moment with our kids and each other. This is a blessing in disguise. There are many people who lose a loved one unexpectedly and don't have the time to say goodbye or prepare. We have been given the gift of time to prepare.

Another special gift was our e-retreat with Inheritance of Hope last year. They gave us the special gift of providing Wayne the opportunity to make a video for each of our kids. They also encouraged him to write letters to each of the kids. After hearing from kids who have lost their parents and the impact the letters and videos made in their lives, I wrote a letter to each child too. I want them to know how much they are loved and cherished...not only by us, but by God. That is one reason I started this blog, to document the faithfulness of God through our journey. I wanted our kids to have something to read in the future that demonstrated how awesome of a God we serve. I never want my kids to forget that it was God who gave us the strength to endure such a dark and difficult trial. Our deepest desire is to raise kids who love Jesus with all their heart and fully trust Him with everything. Life is difficult, but with Jesus on your side, He gives you hope and a purpose.

We rejoice today in the six extra years that God has given us with Wayne. It is cray how much trauma affects the brain. Even just posting about all of this and bringing up old pictures has stirred so much emotion in my heart. The biggest emotion is gratitude to Jesus for leaving my best friend a little longer here on earth. Together as a team, we want to keep living each day that we have to the fullest for Him and His glory! (If anyone is new to our story, you can click here to go back and read our story).

Wayne getting an EEG
Wayne after his biopsy
Family photos taken before his brain surgery

Wayne after his brain surgery to remove a lemon sized tumor
The girls visiting Wayne in the hospital after surgery.

 Wayne in rehab: relearning how to walk and talk



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