I have been thinking a lot about freedom and not just because of the holiday just past. Wouldn't it be great to be free, from the things you've stirred up in your life; from the things that plague you; from all the troubles and cares?
It would, but I know that is a selfish wish. I think about the great men and women of the early church. How they bore their afflictions, some self-imposed and some as a result of living for Christ. No doubt there were times when they wished to be done with all of that - to have the freedom that Christ had promised. The Apostle Paul certainly knew the longing for freedom. In 2 Corinthians 12 he writes,
Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me.
What that was, exactly, we aren't sure - but it was most surely a physical aliment. There is nothing worse than being faced with the limitations of your body. But The Lord had a most interesting reply:
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”
I'd like to hope Paul "got it" and found the freedom in God's grace he so desperately needed. But I know I still struggle with it. Whether it is through my own fleshly failing, the exhaustion I feel, Sophia's treatment and the limits it puts on her or just the weighing down of life in general - I need to seek the grace found only in Christ more actively.
I need to embrace - to live and breathe what Paul wrote next:
Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
It is because of my relationship with The Lord, through Jesus and all He did for me during His life, death and resurrection - I will ask again to find the freedom, despite everything, found in His Grace.
Today, as we pray for these angels and their families - let us pray they, too, will boast in their weakness, for The Lord is doing something miraculous with them. Pray they will seek, find and live for His grace and the freedom that comes with it. Pray they will find it is more than sufficient and in living through, in and for His Grace - they will find all the healing they need.
Sophia Vogel (4, soft tissue sarcoma behind left eye) - 2nd to last chemo round this week! It is inpatient, then she will have a two week break. This last, long stretch has taken a toll on her energy level (and mood) but to the outside world, you would never know it. I do though and I am praying her counts are good so there will be no delay in her schedule and that her spirit would settle to make it through these last 4 weeks of her protocol.
Anna Grace Dennis (7, cancer free from brain stem tumor) - Praise The Lord - Anna's MRI showed all clear! She is still having headaches and tired but we have a new, very likely theory - it's Mono! Her brother had it not too long ago so please pray that her tests will come back conclusive so her family can rest easy knowing it is not cancer!
Rylee Beard (5, Will's tumors in bladder/abdomen) - Inpatient chemo round this week. Pray for all to continue to go well!
Holden Underwood (1, ALL/MLL) - Was finally released from the hospital yesterday! He has a new line in and he is home after 2 weeks of fighting fever and in and out! What an ordeal!
Brennan Scurlock (1, neuroblastoma) - Home from inpatient but sick from the chemo, please pray this particular side effect from the meds will go away soon!
Courtney Pette (16, lymphoma) - continuing with outpatient chemo this week.
Addison Marshall (17, ALL) - Completed the radiation portion of his protocol last week!
Natalie Fraker (4, astrocytoma) - suffering from complications since April from the tumor and/or the process of getting rid of the tumor. Please pray she will be revived, healed and strengthened!
Kristina Barrett (9, sarcoma in lungs and arm) - No effects thus far from the new medicine she started last week, Praise The Lord! Pray she continues to have energy and strength and spunk!
Mark Ochoa, (2, Wilm's Tumor) - Met Elva, Mark's Mom last week. They are in the first month of treatment, following find the tumor on his kidney and having it removed. They have 5 months of weekly chemo and are in the weeds just trying to figure out all the specifics of a living with cancer. Mark has two older siblings. Praise The Lord for his strength though - he just keeps going and going, despite it all!
Hudson Kadlecek (4, lymphoma)
Patton Jones (3, Burkitt's Lymphoma)
Ruel Bobet (20, stomach cancer)
Wyatt (2, ALL)