Harder Family

Harder Family

Monday, August 14, 2023

Update 8/14/23: Though You Slay Me

Job 13:15 "Though He slay me, I will hope in Him; yet I will argue my ways to His face." 

Since receiving the devastating news on Friday that I had cancer, my emotions and thoughts have been like a roller coaster. One moment I am able to joke that Wayne and I should have bought lottery tickets with our "luck", and then the next moment I'm in church sobbing through every worship song. It is amazing how the lyrics of songs hit in a different way when you face a difficult time in life. For example, yesterday we sang "Jesus Does". Verse 2 says "...feels every sorrow, carries the pain of His children? Jesus does. So we sing: Praise to the Father, Who gave us the Son, Praise to the Spirit, Who's living in us, When I was a sinner, He saved me from who I was, 'Cause that's what Jesus does." That just hit me in such a deep way. It reminded me of Hebrews 4:15-16 which states, "For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are - yet He did not sin. Let us then approach God's throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need." 

Jesus understands what I am going through and is able to comfort me in ways that only He can because He has experienced difficulties as well. Isaiah 53:3-5 says, "He was despised and rejected by mankind, a man of suffering, and familiar with pain. Like one from whom people hide their faces He was despised, and we held Him in low esteem. Surely He took up our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered Him punished by God, stricken by Him, and afflicted. But He was pierced for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on Hi, and by His would we are healed." Jesus is lovingly and compassionately carrying me through all of this. I don't understand and I am still wrestling with it all, but I trust that God has a perfect plan.

How does someone praise God with one breath and yet feel gutted the next? Rest and trust in Him, and felt betrayed the next? I think it is the tension between my flesh and my spirit. I have fears, anxieties, joys, and other emotions that I experience in my flesh as a human. But I am also a child of God, a lover and follower of Jesus Christ, so my spirit clings to my Savior and who He is and what He has done for me. So although it is difficult, I believe everything I am experiencing is just part of the difficult journey. 

On Sunday morning before church, I was completely broken. As I cried on Wayne's shoulder, I told him that maybe I didn't really want to have deep faith like Daniel, David, Esther, and other great patriarchs of the faith. In my flesh, I felt like all that we have endured with Wayne over the past eight years and the mental health issues we faced with our son a few years ago, was plenty. Why would God ask any more of me? This trial is not only impacting us, but our children, our extended family, friends, and even complete strangers. I think everything in us cries, "Not fair!" And yet, through all of this, I know that God has a plan and a purpose, even if I never understand it. 

A friend from Chicago gave me a book called "Every Moment Holy", which has laments. I read one today called "Seasons of Uncertainty". I thought it perfectly expressed how I feel today.

"In the midst of whatever follows, O Lord, let me meet Your mercies anew, and anew, and anew. In the midst of my dismay, fix my eyes again and again upon your eternal promises.

How this ends - that is up to You. If the next news is favorable, I will praise You for the ongoing gift of life. If tomorrow's tidings are worse, still will I proclaim Your goodness, my heart anchored ever more firmly in the eternal joys You have set before me. 

And when, whether days or decades from now, You finally bid me rise and follow You across the last valley, I will rejoice to Your faithfulness even there. Especially there - praying Thy will be one, and trusting by faith that it will be done. That it is being done. Even now. Even in this disquiet.

I am utterly yours, O Christ. In the midst of this uncertainty, I abandon myself again to You, the author and the object of all my truest hopes."

Finally, this evening I heard these two songs on my playlist as I was cleaning. If you want to understand where my heart is, these songs express it perfectly. Please take a moment and listen to them because I know that they will bless you as much as they have blessed me.

God has already been teaching me a lot over the last few days. First of all, He keeps reminding me that as much as I love my children, He loves them more. That was one of the main sources of my tears this weekend...my children. As much as I have tried to stay positive, when you hear "cancer", it is easy to allow your mind to go to the worse case scenario. I cried over things that I may miss in my kid's lives, but ultimately, I cried over the fear that these trials would be too much on some of them and that they would blame God and walk away from Jesus. Not only that, I sobbed over thinking about Shan possibly losing his parents who were supposed to be there for him. When we adopted after Wayne's initial cancer diagnosis, there was always the comfort knowing that our kids would have at least one parent. The thought of leaving my kids as orphans has broken me. But God has reminded me over and over that He has them and loves them even more than I could imagine. 

The lessons continued into today. I had to learn patience and waiting on His timing. I called the oncologist's office four times only to learn they had not received the referral. I called my OB's office two times and left messages, but I did not receive any call back today. So, I once again am just waiting. Since I am not one to sit on my hands, especially since every little twinge makes me wonder if my body is trying to kill me (I know a little dramatic), I did decide that if I have not heard anything by 9:30 tomorrow morning, I am driving to Lexington and will pick up the referral in person and drive it to the oncologist's office. 

Wayne Update: Thank you for praying for Wayne. He only had that little fever Friday night, and then he didn't have a fever. He was exhausted and slept almost all of Saturday, so he decided not to start his chemo until Sunday night. Tonight was day 2 of chemo. So far he is handling it okay, he is just tired. I am sure that it will get worse before it gets better like last month. He is my hero because he is such a fighter and is pushing through for all of us. 

Today I took Wayne for his first pedicure. Since he cannot cut his own toenails and he fired me, we had to take him to a professional. To see him in the pedicure chair was hilarious. He did not feel comfortable and was out of his element. I tried turning the massage chair on for him, and he looked at me like "What is that monster pushing up and down my back?" I concluded that maybe it feels different on someone tall because I know that is one of my favorite things to experience when getting a pedicure. Then when Wayne was asked if he wanted clear polish, he had huge eyes and he replied, “No, I think I am okay with my toes just like they are!” It was quite the experience! My only regret was not having the technician pretend like she was going to paint his toes pink.

Thank you to the special person who surprised us and paid for our pedicures. 

Prayer Requests:

- Please pray that Wayne's body stays strong over the next three days of chemo.

- Please pray that the doctors schedule an appointment for me and that we get my surgery scheduled; that this type A/planner girl is able to get a plan in place for the long recovery ahead; and that the cancer is slow growing and just within my uterus.

- Pray for Abigail as she travels back to Liberty for her senior year. She was having a difficult time tonight wanting to go back with all the uncertainty at home.

- Pray for all of our kids as they start back up at school, especially Naomi who is our only driver right now at home. 

- Finally, please pray for my trip to Cincinnati Childrens' Hospital with Shan tomorrow. Pray that everything looks okay with Shan and that we don't have any issues with his unique growth gene mutation.

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