Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Be Still

Do you remember as a child feeling very independent?  Your mom or dad may have been there but you just wanted to do it by yourself??
Well… my parents said I was like that a LOT.  Ha!  . . .   And then there were those times when you were so thankful they were still there to lend the helping hand or help clean up the big mess you made. Well...

This day a year ago was when we got the unexpected results from Elaina's routine MRI.  It was our last one before we were going to get the release to go to "yearly" scans instead of our "6 month" ones.  I was blindsided with the report and shaken.  I literally could only say one word. . . It was a cry really, "Jesus!"  I was so confused ... thought after thought raced through my mind.  I was coming up with several ways to battle this. I didn't want to waste any time! I wanted to suit up and start the fight!. . . And then it happened. . . I read the words BE STILL.  I instantly felt the comfort that only comes from God.  I had forgotten that He is everywhere all the time . . . ALL THE TIME! He had never left me I was just trying to "do it myself"
I was brought several times to the Bible story of Jehoshaphat. .. He was up against a HUGE army … and He prays...
Lord, the God of our ancestors, are you not the God who is in heaven? You rule over all the kingdoms of the nations. Power and might are in your hand, and no one can withstand you. Our God, did you not drive out the inhabitants of this land before your people Israel and give it forever to the descendants of Abraham your friend? They have lived in it and have built in it a sanctuary for your Name, saying, ‘If calamity comes upon us, whether the sword of judgment, or plague or famine, we will stand in your presence before this temple that bears your Name and will cry out to you in our distress, and you will hear us and save us.’ Later he says, "We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you.” 2 Chronicles 20

I am clinging. . .hoping to never forget the power of our loving God.  
so I sit here now asking that the Lord will go before us . . .
Tomorrow we will have another MRI  to check the "questionable" area in Elaina's lower back.  I am bolding asking that we will finally see the restoration we've been wanting all along…Hopeful! 

 “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you;

    I have summoned you by name; you are mine.
When you pass through the waters,
    I will be with you;
and when you pass through the rivers,
    they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire,
    you will not be burned;
    the flames will not set you ablaze." 

Isaiah 43: 1-2

As you pray for us will you please also pray for Ethan. He's a strong boy up against his own big battle and I know his family would appreciate all the extra prayers too.  They are a wonderful family and need to continue feeling the strength and peace from the Lord . . . Thank YOU!

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Renewed Strength

September is a month filled with memories. . .
It is crazy to think about this time four years ago.  Thinking about the memories brings emotions on like a Tsunami. . . And if I'm not careful I can be overtaken by them quickly. 

 It was in September 4 years ago when we realized Elaina was going to have to have a second major brain surgery. . . 
it was in September 4 years ago, when we embarked on our first year of homeschooling. . . 
it was in September 4 years ago when we got the phone call that shook me to my core, that Elaina had an inoperable brain tumor that was actively shutting down her nervous system, . .  
it was in September 4 years ago when we had our first official Oncologist appointment. . . 
it was in September 4 years ago when we met the crew of nurses and staff from ETCH that would care for us and love on us in new ways. . . 
September is also awareness month for pediatric cancer. Needless to say, LOTS of memories . . .

 tears. . . 

many moments of wanting to play but not finding the energy. . . 

new battle wounds. . .

too many pokes to count . . . 

friends we can't wait to see again . . . 

missing spending time with the other smalls

I was the hardest Month of my life, but don't misunderstand.  I would not be who I am today without the trials, heartache, tears, fear, etc. There were so many good moments too. . . 

Witnessing the power of prayer. . . 

soaking in all the moments of "play" . . . 

outpouring love from friends

constantly reminding me to not lose hope. . .

and most importantly we were blessed to feel the presence of the Lord reminding us. . . 

"but those who hope in the Lord
    will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
    they will run and not grow weary,

    they will walk and not be faint."

I remember several times struggling to put one foot in front of the other, feeling weaker than ever. . . those were the times I took my eyes off Jesus and tried to do it myself.  

Well now I sit here . . . September. . . and the next MRI is quickly approaching.  The last 2 have been better than what the doctors expected,  So, I should not be concerned. . .  my faith should be firmly planted b/c this is familiar territory. . .  right?! But to be perfectly honest, I don't know that these routine MRIs will ever be easy.  This journey has been very trying. . . So often I want to just crawl under the bed, suck my thumb and never come out. .. Trying to keep it real ;) But even now,  a verse comes to mind. . . "the testing of my faith produces perseverance and to let perseverance finish its work so that I may be mature and complete lacking nothing." "When I am afraid, I put my trust in YOU" and my strength is again renewed! God is so good!  Thank you for praying! 

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Tear Catcher

When we began our journey through the valley we had no idea what God would do with us or show us . . . and when those chapters ended we didn't know what would come next.  .  . our hearts grieve more often than ever for others walking through their valley . . . the ache is deeper, it's hard to describe. . . it just hurts. . . deep!
Tonight we are grieving over the loss of a sweet boy Joseph.  My flesh is screaming, "he's too young, this isn't fair, I hate cancer!" just to name a few.  His smile was contagious and he touched many lives.  He will be missed by so many.  

Elaina's heart broke when we told her. . . her weeping broke me. . . as her Daddy wrapped his arms around her I prayed . . .

that this brokenness would continue to mold us. . . that the love we can offer will be more like the love of Christ. that our focus can be Kingdom fixed and that we wouldn't lose our wonder. . .

Our hope is in His promises…it is our anchor!! Our desire is to seek Him. . . in every season. No matter  our feelings His promises still remain! He remains unshakeable no matter how shaken and shattered we feel He is our LIVING HOPE!

We can bring our FEARS. . . our HURT. . . our TEARS! There is NO condemnation in Christ Jesus!
God holds all our tears. . . Psalm 56:8 
    You keep track of all my sorrows.

    You have collected all my tears in your bottle.
    You have recorded each one in your book.

Lord, we pray that this family feels Your loving presence. . . that they feel the strength of your Spirit within them. . . that they are reminded of Your promises. . . . and that rivers of peace flood their hearts.

Monday, June 1, 2015

Promise Keeper

Well it is already that time again. . . I have to be honest, MRIs cause more anxiety now then they used to.  I hate the feeling when anxiety tries to rob my joy. . . 
After all the Lord has taught me along the way it's disappointing to me how quickly I can fall into fears snare. And I'm always humbled by God's grace and love he sweeps over me. . . He doesn't give up on His children. . . oh how thankful I am.  I was checking the calendar tonight for tomorrow and was surprised that I had completely forgotten that tomorrow is 
MRI day. As my heart starts to feel squeezed and my stomach turns I pray, "You  have this"  and literally seconds after . . . I see this out the window!

I don't know if you can see it but there are three rainbows. .  . the most beautiful thing!
I can't help but be reminded of Noah. . . the faith he had was incredible! To obey God when everyone must have thought he was a complete nut. . . remarkable!

I am so thankful for the seeds of faith that have sprouted along our way. . . even more grateful for God's promises.  He promises to never leave us nor forsake us and He equips us with everything we need for the storm. . . . and just look at the beauty after the storm!

Please pray along with us. Tomorrow is MRI day and we love when peace floods our hearts!  
He is our rock!

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Morning Joy

I am trying to relish each moment during these last hours.  

This pregnancy journey has truly been a unique one.  With added stress of Elaina's health making it seem to fly by even faster. . . but I'll absorb these tender moments before Little Man's arrival. 

It was this time a year ago that I was mourning the loss of a sweet baby and recovering from an emergency surgery. . . thinking about it still brings heart ache. Thankful still for God's grace and perfect will for our lives.  There are so many emotions flooding my body today! At this very moment I'm overhearing my 3 smalls talking with excitement about their baby brother and what they are going to take to Mamaw's for their stay there. . . it is super sweet. All three can't contain the joy they are feeling. 

Let's hope this lasts after several days or weeks of bad sleep and lots a baby crying . . . wink, wink!
I'm so thankful for so many dear friends that have partnered with us in praying for the delivery.  C-section recovery is no walk in the park. I can't let myself think about it for too long or panic soon sets in.   Friends are so good at helping you get your mind off things like that. . . sometimes even making you feel quite awkward. . . 

but it's great to laugh. . . Please friends, give me at least a week before you begin your good humor after surgery. . . Ha! 

Truly a blessing these ladies are! So many more that aren't pictured here. 
This morning I woke up (for the 6th time last night) feeling peace that only comes from our sovereign Lord. One sister friend emailed me this morning telling me about an amazing prayer time she had and the flood of emotion that overcame her while praying for me.  Her message was so tender and sweet and filled with compassion.  I love it when the Lord does that kind of thing.  The past two days for me have been filled with fear, doubt, and anxiety.  I truly didn't know what was happening to me. . . I am thankful for the joy this morning and today my heart has stayed at peace. God is always with me. . . sometimes my focus is not where it should be though.  Praying it remains here throughout the night and tomorrow.  We are ready and excited to welcome our new son!

 I love this man and pray the Lord gives him all the strength he needs to help me get through these next tough days.

Psalm 28:7 “The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and he helps me. My heart leaps for joy, and with my song I praise him."

Thursday, March 19, 2015


Our hearts are overflowing with praise tonight as we hear such wonderful news.  There have been so many prayers lifted up for healing and protection over Elaina and we are beyond grateful for them all.  There's sometimes those moments when you are in the middle of a storm when you can't even come up with a phrase to utter in prayer. . . So many times I literally just said, "Jesus". . . or "thank you" I knew he hadn't left me but there's still those moments where fear was holding me hostage and I just couldn't say anything else. . . SO THANKFUL those were just moments and I didn't stay there.  The Holy Spirit is amazing like that! . . . that still, small, voice.  Your prayers overflowed and filled all the gaps.  Thank YOU!
Small recap:  back in November, the main tumor in E's upper spine showed an increase in size and the other areas in her brain and lower spine were unchanged.  That is when, after much prayer, we chose Proton Therapy to single out and radiate the main tumor.  We finished the treatment last month and were blown away by all the love and care lavished on our family during that time.  We then had to schedule the follow up MRI.  First, Checking to make sure the other areas that appeared "stable" were indeed still stable and second, seeing how the one that was treated responded to the radiation. Our main concern at this point was seeing more growth in other areas, so yes we were anxious for these results.
The doctor communicated his thoughts and was happy with what he saw.  But because he is NOT the "radiologist" we both were eager to hear the actual report.  I am so thrilled that the report showed all areas "stable" and the tumor that was treated clearly has a DEAD center. . . that is what we want to see and are hopeful that the next MRI in 3 months will show NOTHING.  The precious part is when the doctor told me he spoke with the other staff members and nurses that knew Elaina telling them the news. . . He said they were beyond excited and it was neat to watch their reaction and they miss Elaina already.

We are overflowing with joy!

Wednesday, March 11, 2015


The wait is coming to an end. . . not only will we be having Elaina's MRI soon (the 17th) but we will also be meeting our youngest prince just over a week later. . . This MRI will be later in the day so we may not be getting the results the same day like usual. . . Honestly that makes me anxious, I won't lie.  I like to know things right away. . . I don't like to wait but good can come from waiting. . . as long as my eyes stay fixed on the King!

I knew at the beginning of this chapter that the treatment plan was going to cost a lot. . . and that was before I learned that the treatment center was "out of network". . . even MORE costly! I could have easily become consumed and let anxiety dominate my thoughts, but as I lifted  this fear in prayer . . . asking God to take the burden I gained something great. . . peace.  Knowing that God is BIGGER and STRONGER than any problem I will ever face. . .

This is a big number. . . His provision is perfect and we are so thankful He knows our every need . . . even before we do.  I stray too often, but my desire is to seek the Father's loving provision for all our needs. . . including medical bills.  The amount we will have to pay is only a tiny fraction of this big number because of the intervention of so many loving people working at the center that God hand picked for a time such as this.  Their hearts are not in it for the money. We have been so blessed getting to know some wonderful people there and they clearly want the same thing we do. . . a healthy daughter/child with no tumor. . . they don't have a care in the world for the money. . .  J.J and I try, through the tears, to express our gratitude to the staff for everything. 

There were not many dry eyes in the room that day. . . seriously a humbling experience that I hope to never forget.  

We are hopeful that this year will be a year filled with many celebrations!  The next time I write I plan on having some beautiful news.  Please continue praying with us as we wait.