Harder Family

Harder Family

Wednesday, September 20, 2023

Update 9/20/23: Dark Moments

Isaiah 43:1-3a "But now thus says the Lord, He who created you, O Jacob, He who formed you, O Israel: 'For not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you. For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior...'"

Darkness. When we hear that word, I believe many of us think immediately of a dark night sky. Maybe driving out on a backroad where you need your brights on in order to see the road. But darkness can be so much more than something we physically see. I think darkness is something that we can experience as well. Sunday was a dark day for me. I woke up feeling nauseous and the physical pain reminded me of all the pain I had been trying to process since I heard the words, "Your cancer was not contained in your uterus, and we actually found another rare cancer in your pelvis." On Thursday night, in my post-anesthesia brain, I could hear my family talking about me in hushed whispers and I could hear crying. I figured I must be dying in the next few days and I felt physically ill to think about that. I wanted to grow older and hopefully meet future grandchildren. I had a million thoughts floating through my head as I drifted off to sleep that night...darkness and fear threatened to swallow me.

On Friday, I felt a little better and my mind felt more clear. After meeting with the doctor, I felt a little more confident and not like the walking dead. I mean, don't get me wrong, I have a huge battle ahead of me, but I felt like there was some hope in our conversation with her. But fear and dark thoughts kept creeping into my mind. 

But Sunday was when I felt the waves of darkness completely drowning me. I didn't feel well, I allowed my fearful thoughts to take hold, and I was questioning God at this point. Why would He allow so much hard in our lives? Part of my dark fearful thoughts I think also stemmed from a support group I had joined. I was reading other people's stories and felt overwhelmed by the "what ifs". It was a difficult morning and afternoon. But then God stepped in...

Corrie ten Boom once declared, "If it's dark everywhere, you can become so discouraged. You might doubt whether light still exists. But even if you can't see the Lord, He sees you and me. Jesus said, 'And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age' (Matthew 28:20). When it's necessary, He suddenly says, 'I'm still here!'"

God showed up and revealed to me that none of this has surprised Him and He was with me. He encouraged my heart and strengthened my faith.

First, one of my sweet friends dropped by after church to check in on me and visit. It was nice to have my mind taken off of my nausea and focus on someone else instead of wallowing in my own self pity. I'm not saying that I can't and shouldn't have times of pity and fear, I am human after all. But when we can take our eyes off of ourselves and our own burdens, it helps not get stuck in a dark rut. 

After she left, I still had these waves of fear coming and going. My phone rang, but I didn't want to pick it up at the moment because I was engrossed in a movie, which was keeping my mind busy. After the movie ended, I listened to the voice message and it was one of my long time friends from Chicago. She left me a long message where she prayed over me and my family. She prayed that the peace of Jesus would surround me, that He would protect me from fear overwhelming me, and that I would know that He is with me through this dark trial. Slowly, the darkness and fear started to subside.

Not long after that, another sweet friend texted me and told me that the Holy Spirit was asking her to walk along side me in this journey. Not only was she called to pray for me, she wanted to join me in my "eating adventures" so that I wasn't alone in this. She asked if I had a moment to speak and I called her right away. Before I share what she told me, I want to explain how God weaved this friendship together. Amy and I were in the same support group on Facebook for families with adopted children from China. I remember seeing a prayer request in the group by another friend. She mentioned that Amy's husband had just been diagnosed with brain cancer. I knew that God wanted me to reach out to her and offer her support since I had walked that same road. That was the beginning of our friendship. 

Amy is the one who told me about Inheritance of Hope (IOH) and encouraged us to apply for a family trip, which was the beginning of our family's involvement with IOH. Unfortunately, Amy's husband was healed on the other side of heaven. We were finally able to meet Amy in person in July of 2021. God continued to weave our lives in unimaginable ways. I was able to share with Amy the difficulties of adoption that we had experienced with DJ's mental health issues. Throughout the last two years, we have checked in with each other and have prayed for issues that we were each facing with our families. It was comforting to have a friend who understood some of the really hard issues with a husband with brain cancer. As you can see, God had a plan and a purpose when He crossed our paths years ago.

Back to Sunday...Amy asked me if she could share verses that God had given her to encourage me. She shared with me Psalm 34 from the Passion version. It is a little long, but it was exactly what my soul needed to hear.

God’s Goodness

A song by King David composed after his escape from the king when he pretended to be insane

Lord! I’m bursting with joy over what you’ve done for me!

My lips are full of perpetual praise.

I’m boasting of You and all Your works,

so let all who are discouraged take heart.

Join me, everyone! Let’s praise the Lord together.

Let’s make Him famous!

Let’s make His name glorious to all.

Listen to my testimony: I cried to God in my distress

and He answered me. He freed me from all my fears!

Gaze upon Him, join your life with His, and joy will come.

Your faces will glisten with glory.

You’ll never wear that shame-face again.

When I had nothing, desperate and defeated,

I cried out to the Lord and He heard me,

bringing His miracle-deliverance when I needed it most. 

The angel of Yahweh stooped down to listen as I prayed,

encircling me, empowering me, and showing me how to escape.

He will do this for everyone who fears God.

Drink deeply of the pleasures of this God.

Experience for yourself the joyous mercies He gives

to all who turn to hide themselves in Him.

Worship in awe and wonder, all you who’ve been made holy!

For all who fear Him will feast with plenty.

Even the strong and the wealthy grow weak and hungry,

but those who passionately pursue the Lord

will never lack any good thing.

Come, children of God, and listen to me.

I’ll share the lesson I’ve learned of fearing the Lord:

Do you want to live a long, good life,

enjoying the beauty that fills each day?

Then never speak a lie or allow wicked words

to come from your mouth. 

Keep turning your back on every sin,

and make “peace” your life motto.

Practice being at peace with everyone. 

The Lord sees all we do;

He watches over His friends day and night.

His godly ones receive the answers they seek

whenever they cry out to Him.

But the Lord has made up His mind to oppose evildoers

and to wipe out even the memory of them

from the face of the earth. 

Yet when holy lovers of God cry out

to Him with all their hearts,

the Lord will hear them and come to rescue them

from all their troubles.

The Lord is close to all whose hearts are crushed by pain,

and He is always ready to restore the repentant one.

Even when bad things happen to the good and godly ones,

the Lord will save them and not let them be defeated

by what they face.

God will be your bodyguard to protect you

when trouble is near.

Not one bone will be broken.

Evil will cause the death of the wicked,

for they hate and persecute the devoted lovers of God.

Make no mistake about it:

God will hold them guilty and punish them;

they will pay the penalty!

But the Lord has paid for the freedom of His servants,

and He will freely pardon those who love Him.

He will declare them free and innocent

when they turn to hide themselves in Him.

After reading these verses to me, she prayed over me. When she was done, I was brought to tears over God's kindness and faithfulness to me. He saw me, He was walking along side me, and when He knew I was in a dark, fear-filled place, He stepped in by using others to encourage my discouraged heart.

I never want to give the perception that it is always rainbows and unicorns around here. I will be the first one to admit that although I trust God's sovereign plan, I don't understand it and I think it sucks. BUT, the one thing I have learned over the years walking with the Lord is that He never wastes anything in our lives. I know that He has something good planned in this hard. It is my prayer that years from now I'll be able to look back and say, "Ahhhh, I get it Lord. I see what you were doing." 

For example, although I do not want this other tumor in my pelvis, I was telling a friend that I can even see God's hand in that discovery. I literally have not had any symptoms of cancer: no weight loss or crazy symptoms. What I was experiencing could have been explained away with me just getting older - perimenopause. If I had not gone to the doctor to follow up, who knows how long the other cancer could have grown before it was beyond taking care of it. There are no coincidences in my life. I didn't want to hear any of the news that my doctor delivered, but the alternate news could have been even worse. So, I will focus on the positive - they found cancer that none of us knew was there. And I am not completely naive. I could show up to my appointment in a few weeks and find out I still have a poor prognosis, but God is teaching me things now to prepare me for whatever news I hear. And once again, my favorite song right now "Worthy of My Song" declares that no matter what we face, I will choose to say that He is worthy and deserves my praise.


Sophia attended home coming with a friend from church. She looked so beautiful! My sister Rachel was able to help her get ready since I was stuck on the couch.

We are finding ways to enjoy the beautiful weather while getting school done and I keep my feet up. Joella’s my main recovery buddy. We do our dot art and color together while enjoying some Hallmark movies. 


- I want to thank my sister, Rachel, for coming and staying with me the first few days after surgery. She was a huge help and made some amazing meals for me! I realized after she left that we never got a photo together! Micaela and Joella decided to show her some love and appreciation by giving her a back massage.🩷

- I want to thank my sister, Sarah, for being there for my surgery, for providing meals and support to my family.🩷

- I want to thank my best friend, Sue, for driving down to KY to take care of me for a few days and just love on my family. I guess she didn't get enough of me when we lived with them during Wayne's surgery and treatment. Ha!

- I want to thank everyone for their prayers, their support, and everyone who has done so much for our family. We couldn't do it without all of you!!

Prayer Requests:

- Wayne: pray for him as he continues his PT. He has been struggling with some communication issues and he also had a seizure tonight. Those things always scare me and I might have jumped off the couch too quickly to grab his rescue seizure medicine. Never a dull moment. 

- Rebecca: please pray for me as I continue to heal from my surgery. Pray that I can endure six weeks of not doing much on the couch. I have been doing what I am supposed to, but I am only at almost a week. I feel better and better, which is a praise, but I don't want to get up and do anything that will jeopardize my healing.

- Please pray over my follow up appointment on October 11th. Please pray that we receive some positive news and if it isn't positive, that God gives me the grace and strength to face whatever is coming my way. I know radiation is in my future, and that has some nasty side effects. I will do whatever the doctors recommend, plus all my natural things, to increase my chance of beating this thing. 

- Our children need prayer as they continue to walk this difficult road with both of their parents having cancer. Please pray that they lean in hard into Jesus!

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