Wednesday, October 12, 2011

A Year ago today (this week)

As promised, I wanted to share with you the testimony I wrote to present Tuesday night with my Bible Study group.  Most of the ladies had no idea this was our last year but all were incredibly supportive and just further confirmed I'm in the right place when I go there! 

I pray any time I get to speak about Sophia's battle with cancer, two things will happen:

1. God will be glorified.

2. Someone will be comforted in their pain.

He is the supreme God of Comfort, the bearer of our pain.  It doesn't mean we won't feel pain, but as I heard in the movie Courageous, which I saw on Monday, those who walk through the valley of the shadow of death experience a level of comfort and intimacy with The Lord that most people never will.  I don't want to waste that.  In my own experience of God, but also I hope what we've been through brings others to Him.  It's my way of evangelizing, I guess.

This is not the end of our story - not by a long shot.  Cancer never defined us, but it changed us.  And because we know God, we will let it change us for the better.  I hope you can say that in your own walk of faith.  It's what He wants - it is what any good relationship does.  And that is a promise from His Word - we will all be changed.

Be Encouraged - thank you for the precious treasures of prayers you have given us.  We would not have been able to do it with you.

Nearly 1 year ago – God conceived a good work in me.  No, it was not a baby.  It was a ministry.  It started with a simple prayer, prayed in a quiet hospital room, staring at the stars rushing by on a screen saver.

It was then that I told The Lord I would praise Him no matter what.

I told Him I would praise Him even if the mass behind my 4 year old daughter’s eye was cancer.

It was in that moment that He put a desire in me that I didn’t realize for many months – a desire to comfort others in the same way that I was comforted.  He chose that moment to start the creation of who He is leading me to be – a bringer of comfort and a bearer of peace to those in need and in pain.

It’s like that line in Laura Story’s song, “Blessings.” 

He loves us way too much to give us lesser things.

The reality of our situation took shape over the next 45 weeks.  On October 13, 2010, it was confirmed that the mass behind Sophia’s left eye was malignant.  Her tumor that had presented itself as a bulging, lazy eye - was so rare, only 1 in 11 million people get it, even rarer in children and for it to manifest in the eye orbit.  It started off the size of a marble. 

God is great. He worked through her doctors who gave her the chemo to shrink it to a pea size in the first 12 weeks.  She then completed 5 weeks of radiation and another 12 weeks of chemo – concurrently.  The next scan in March 2011 showed it was either dead or dying – still the size of a pea.

The final stretch of weeks went on, with her reactions to the chemo ever worsening because so much chemo and radiation was in her system.  In April, my Mom’s colon ruptured and she was in the hospital after emergency surgery at St. Luke’s while Sophia and I were across the street at Texas Children’s because Sophia had her one high fever, as a result of her treatment.  I called my friend Gindi and told her I didn’t feel a thing – but I knew I couldn’t take anymore.

Sophia received her last chemo round on July 26th.  That same day, my Mom had her colon reconnected.  A week later, my Dad left his job.  We had to wait 4 more weeks to get the word that my Dad was going to be a successful consultant, which he has been called to for years.  We also got the news that Sophia’s tumor has not grown so they marked her as officially in remission.  The pea still shows up on the scans, and my husband calls it a scar.

I call what remains a reminder for me to be totally dependent on The Lord.

Sophia is good.  She started Kindergarten the day before we got the results that she was clear.  We are fully immersed in normal life.  She will continue to receive scans every 3 months for several years – her next is the last day of November.

God wanted to reveal something to me through this process.  It was to prepare me for the birth of this new ministry, which came nearly 9 months into Sophia’s treatment.  It is now only in the infant stages. 

What He made clear to me and wants me to make clear to others is that He is always knitting our hearts.

He was always knitting my heart closer to His. 
·         Even as my faith waxed and waned.
·         Even on days when I was full of praise or full of fear.
·         Even as my mustard seed grew and shrank.
·         Even on those days when it was all I could do to just survive.

He was always teaching me something about Him and wrapping me in the comfort of His arms.  He was constantly and will always be, my safety blanket.  He proved that over and over again over the last year.

He was always knitting our family tighter.
·         He made me a better wife and mother.
·         He made Dave a better husband and father.
·         He helped us not just say our priority was family – but to live it.
·         He revealed to me who He has created my children to be and given me a surety of His plan for them.
·         He tightened the bonds of my parents 44 year marriage; removed a heavy burden from my Dad’s shoulders and revealed to my Mom His power and His love for her.

He was always knitting us closer in to the Body of Christ.
·         Sophia has thousands of people across the world who prayed her through her treatment.  As a result, not one of the four of us ever had any outside sickness.  Not a cold, not a sniffle. 
·         They continue to pray for her complete healing
·         They now pray for other children afflicted with cancer every Tuesday morning in a cyber-prayer group I lead on my blog.

Knowing all of these things – and so much more – means that I can live & speak & write & act about something I know.  This ministry is focused on comforting others who are walking through the darkness of cancer – whether pediatric or adult.  I don’t know where or what The Lord will do with it, but I’m submitting every day to His path.  Submission feels more natural to me now, than it did a year ago. 

So far He is starting me off in this service to others with very small acts, here and there.  This talk is part of the baby steps, to let people know I want to hear their story.  I want to pray for them.  I want to let them know God loves them and He will never leave them, no matter how it gets.  He wants their hearts knit with His, just as much as He wanted mine.

This is my story; designed by God to tell His story.  I pray you have heard Him in my words and in my experience and I look forward to hearing Him in yours.

1 comment:

Gindi said...

What a wonderful testimony your story was last night, and how brave you are to tell and let God share (and shine) through you.