Harder Family

Harder Family

Wednesday, January 31, 2024

Update 1/31/24: Endurance

 James 1:2-4 “My fellow believers, when it seems as though you are facing nothing but difficulties, see it as an invaluable opportunity to experience the greatest joy that you can! For you know that when your faith is tested it stirs up in you the power of endurance. And then as your endurance grows even stronger, it will release perfection into every part of your being until there is nothing missing and nothing lacking.”

Endurance is an interesting term. The definition is: the ability to withstand hardship or adversity, the ability to sustain a prolonged stressful effort or activity-a marathon runner’s endurance; the act of an instance of enduring or suffering.

This definition reminds me of Hebrews 12:1   “Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.”

The feeling of running a marathon is what many days feel like lately. We have to take one day at a time and have had to endure some very difficult tasks. If I dwell on things too long, I feel very overwhelmed. Matthew 6:34 rings so true! “So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.” It’s probably why I have not been consistent in posting updates. Some days feel so overwhelming, and it’s all I can do to just make it through the day.

I have been trying to find positive things to focus on when I start to feel down or discouraged. A few days ago, my friend sent me a sweet picture and text about Wayne, which encouraged me so much:

“Somethings been on my mind ….when u had posted on fb u were collecting memories or funny moments of Wayne…..and I think today my memory was created...I cried writing this-so I apologize in advance for making you cry!!  🤣🤣

This month I’m in the children’s wing working with two little boys who have special needs (high spectrum autism). Today when I was leaving that area I looked down toward the fellowship hall and there sat Wayne in his wheelchair alone, he & I exchanged waves. We headed to walk down and talk to Wayne. When I got down I said “are u waiting on ur ride”. He chuckled & said “it might come today!”  We both shared a laugh and I said “well….they may have figured u have wheels u could head on home”. He laughed and said “not in this weather, they will need to comeback and get me”. 🤣 then of course I see joella running to the van then she turns around and comes running in the church. Wayne looks at her and says “ummm u have the keys go start the car”. The look on her face of “really - I need to go back out in the cold” and then Wayne’s look on his face. We all just shook our heads and laughed. 

When I got home and got in FB I was looking at the pictures on the churches page which is something I do every Sunday when I get home from church. 

I came across this picture of Wayne…I immediately had this wave of emotions & tears. Standing on his 2 feet was a man, a son of God who has been given his life sentence of 3-6 months to live due to brain cancer lifting his voice, his heart, and his praise to Jesus!!!!  A man of God who in every waking moment of his journey, whether it’s a good day or a bad day, he praises & thanks God for every one of those moments. 

It makes me think, if I had to walk in his shoes would I do the same? I don’t know …. But what I do know is that I have the forever memory of a friend, a brother in Christ who fought and prayed that his journey would be an inspiration and bring others to Christ. A legacy of Christ’s love for us.  

It’s amazing how much one picture can speak to you or make you feel.  ❤️❤️❤️

I just needed to share this with you!”

Her words rang true in my mind. This is a picture of someone who is enduring and persevering! Someone who continues to praise and glorify God despite all the hard things he faces. This is a man who abides with Jesus. Abiding in Christ pictures a close relationship, an intimacy with Jesus, not just a superficial relationship. I truly believe that suffering and trials prove the genuineness of our faith!

As I was driving to radiation, this song came on and made me think of how Wayne and I endure each day. It is a total dependence on Jesus! There is no other way to face the difficult trials we have without Jesus by our side as He carries us.

Abide by Aaron Williams

Wayne Update: Wayne continues to remain stable and nothing much has changed. He has weekly therapies from home, which has been such a blessing. Anything we can do to help Wayne feel as normal as possible, we are doing. Wayne insisted on getting a few things in order this week. We had spent time working on his service, his burial plans, etc. This has been a rough week trying to balance his wishes and not getting too sad thinking about losing him. I am thankful for those who have walked along my side and helped me with these tasks. Once again, it’s only by God’s strength that I have been able to accomplish some of these tasks.

Visiting cemeteries and choosing a plot. Wayne also wants to be buried in a plain pine box. A very sweet friend of Wayne’s is making this for him.

Rebecca Update: Radiation has been much easier to endure then chemo, but it still hasn’t been easy. I have to travel daily to Lexington, which has been exhausting. Today, I completed 40% of my radiation treatments. I have had to celebrate the little things to get through the long six weeks. I decided to break down my radiation like I used to tackle my half marathons. Instead of focusing on how much I have left, I celebrate how much I have completed. Friday will be a long day of doctor appointments. I have radiation, blood work, meet with my oncologist, and then I have my next immunotherapy. 

Celebrating little things to enjoy: $3 chai tea after radiation on Thursday.

My dad and some friends have helped with some of my trips to radiation. It helps break up the monotony of traveling alone 5 days a week. 

We survived some cold days in KY. It reminded me of Chicago. Bo loved the snow.

Cuddling in bed with the two youngest. We got to enjoy a movie with them while the oldest were busy.

We love our counselor. She is such a blessing to our family and helps all of us navigate all this heavy stuff.

Micaela finally had her science fair. She did a great job and I’m proud of all her hard work. Once again, we learn something as a family that impacts us all. For example: Naomi did her science fair in hand dryers. Needless to say, we have never used a hand dryer since her experiment. Micaela’s science fair taught us that plant based cleaners are safe to use, but normal chemicals don’t appear to be safe for our health. 

Prayer Requests: 

- Wayne: please pray for Wayne as he continues his therapies and for us as we make decisions.

- Rebecca: continue to pray for my treatments that I continue to have minimal side effects and that this will kill all the cancer. Please also pray for me as I honor Wayne’s wishes and make some big, hard decisions. 

- Grace: please pray for Grace as she joins her team for the next 20 days as they serve in TN. She leaves Friday morning, so please pray for her safety.

- Kids: please continue to pray for them as we navigate all these hard things. 

Thursday, January 18, 2024

Update 1/18/24: Unnatural

Isaiah 43:1-2 “But now this says the Lord, He who created you, O Jacob, He who formed you, O Israel: ‘Fear not, for I have redeemed 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.’”

We are currently studying the book of Genesis in life groups at church. There is so much beauty and truth about God tucked in just those first two chapters of Genesis. Since most of the ladies in my class have heard the creation story many times, I am taking the approach to teach the class from the perspective of learning more about God’s names and character. Knowing who God is provides the foundation and anchor when life is hard and you experience suffering. Here is a sample of the gems we have gleaned from Genesis about God:

- Elohim    - Infinite         - Life      - Immortal

- Eternal    - Unchanging  - Creator - Order

- Omnipotent  - Omniscient  - Sovereign 

- Provider   - Protector  - Personable  - Holy

- Redeemer - Relational  - Accessible - Perfect 

- Righteous  - Kind  - Just  - Merciful  - Love

- Grace   - Promise Maker  - Good Father

Along with studying Genesis, I am continuing to read Walking with God Through Pain and Suffering. Something Tim Keller wrote in chapter 5 that struck me, especially after studying creation again was this statement, “Even a peaceful death at the age of ninety years old is not the way things were meant to be. We were not meant for mortality, evil and death were not God's plan.” Death feels so unnatural to us because it is unnatural.

Update Wayne: Nothing has changed much for Wayne. We are waiting on a swallow study and for PT to start back up. 

Wayne sporting Naomi’s hat.

I got Wayne to try a healthy soup I made him. You can see he wasn’t so sure about it, but he ate it. He said he didn’t hate it, but he wouldn’t want it again. 

Update Rebecca: I have finished three days of radiation. Although the doctor said the first two weeks are supposed to be the easiest, I have experienced some not so pleasant side effects. I can tell that I am growing weary of all these medical appointments and procedures. I am in awe of those who have endured many more months and years of treatment and how they persevere.

This week has been a mental battle. As they send me into the tube to have a current x-ray before my radiation starts, I have to cling to Jesus. Trying to lay still while scary thoughts run through your brain as a machine swirls around you making terrible noises shooting you with radiation is hard. I keep reminding myself at least I don’t have to have an IV for this part of treatment, but it’s still not fun. Some fatigue and nausea are my two side effects. 

I decided to wear the shirt my friend Stephanie made for our whole family. They have a cancer ribbon with half grey for Wayne and half peach for me. It helped me get through treatment today. 

Joella all dressed to enjoy the snow we are having in KY. I’m glad kids enjoy the snow, because I don’t.

Sophia and I hit the gym this week. It is slow going with my body feeling weak, but little by little, I’m improving.

Grace's Life Action team sent her sweet notes with her favorite snacks. She felt very loved by them. She missed her team.

Micaela had to finish up her science fair project this week. We were hoping it would be over, but weather delayed her actual science fair for two weeks. She studied cleaning supplies effects on plants. She discovered that most plant based cleaners did not negatively affect the plants, but traditional cleaners killed the plants in less then two weeks.

Please continue praying with us for amazing family memories, for our health, and that God gives me the strength to persevere.

*** I’m still collecting stories, memories, or anything you’d love to share about Wayne with our kids.***

Friday, January 12, 2024

Update 1/12/24: Anticipatory Grief

Song of Solomon 6:3 “I am my fully devoted to my beloved, and my beloved is fully devoted to me.”

On Tuesday, Wayne and I celebrated 25 years of marriage. It is wonderful and amazing to be married to my best friend. 

We celebrated with dinner at Malones.

With the joy of celebrating this milestone, there have been gut wrenching times knowing this will probably be our last anniversary. Anticipatory grief is weird. It hits at odd moments. Last night was one of those moments. One minute we are laughing and the next I am crying because I know how much I will miss laughing with my best friend. Who will understand our inside jokes? We have literally grown up together and almost all my core memories involve him. So here are some pictures that represent our lives together the last 25 years!

Right before we officially started dating (19&21)

20&22…married almost a year after first seeing him. We have a fun story! 

2003: family growing 

2004: pregnant with Grace

2005: Kevin’s wedding 

2006: Naomi

2007: Sophia joins the family 

2009: 10 year anniversary 

30th birthday 

2010: pregnant with Micaela 

2010: Christmas 

2012: pregnant with Joella



Wayne’s surprise birthday 


2017: family grew again



20th Anniversary 




Wayne Update: Wayne is about the same. We met with the palliative team and will keep them for now so that Wayne can keep having therapy. Technically, Wayne could do hospice, but we will hold off for now. He did get his cast off. His foot isn’t healed, but they said the foot will continue to heal in the boot. 

Rebecca Update: I just finished my immunotherapy infusion!! I also just found out I will start radiation this Tuesday. Lots of trips to Lexington in my future.

Prayer Requests:

- Please just pray for our family as we navigate everything going on in our lives.

- Pray for safety for Abigail and Naomi as they travel the next few days.