|This is what Josh and I felt like when Adam was diagnosed,|
almost a year ago now
Luckily we had two chances. I have no idea what I said the first service. But after one time, we knew exactly how to handle the next talk. The Holy Spirit really took over, and when you are so nervous and mind goes blank, you can really feel that! Josh started out and talked about the diagnosis and the (kind of dark) first two days of Adam being admitted to Children's Hospital, and I took over to summarize the journey from then til now (much brighter and positive). I broke the past year up into three phases and the summary (probably more articulate) follows:
1. Faith: You don't really know how strong your faith is until it is really challenged. There are doctors explaining a serious cancer taking over in our son's body and they are speaking from medical terms, treatments, side effects, outcomes - there is terminology, percentages, decisions needing to be made. It is pretty overwhelming. But at the same time, God is allowing this to happen, He knows the outcome, He is going to use every step of the way for His glory, and the only thing we need to trust in is if we couldn't handle it, it wouldn't be happening. And with these promises, Josh and I were really able to tackle the initial fight to get rid of the cancer, nights at the hospital, drugs/IVs/surgeries, and help Adam stay positive and stay strong. We took one day at a time (Matt 6): 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
2. Prayer: You also don't really know how people love you until you are going through a trial. We had so many wonderful visitors at the hospital to spend time with Adam (and bring gifts!) - the time flew by and in one way or another each person brought a different something positive. Post-hospital we found out how many people were praying for Adam and us from locally, different states, different countries even! How God's people come together is amazing. A powerful army are we :) And therefore, we had no time to be anxious, worry, stressed, or sad because we knew, without a doubt, we were in good hands. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. Phil 4: 6
3. Isolation: And then there was doubt. It was a roller coaster, really. About December, the newlywed phase wore off. My tank was a bit empty. I went through some dark days where I struggled with the questions - why Adam, is God really going to take care of us, what if there is no God, why would He allow this? Etc, etc. I was grumpy, tired, and hopeless for the first time, really. It's hard looking back to explain the thoughts and emotions that I was feeling because I am so not in that spot right now, but I know I had a lot of questions and poor me's. It was on a run though that I started to grasp where I was at in this journey. God speaks to you in isolation. He reveals the depths of your heart and challenges you to work on it. I was 1) not proactively seeking Him. I was starting to rely on visitors and phone calls and Facebook messages to remind me of Him, instead of opening my book or hearing a sermon or even praying myself! I was all dried up. 2) Doing things that I could not do in my own strength. Adam was going through another induction-like phase where he had a hospital stay, we administered chemo in his line at home, and to top it off, we all got sick! It was a time of need and we weren't seeking any help. This time, author, Max Lucado spoke to me (or at least he was the vehicle). It's like when your body is dehydrated, your skin gets dry, head aches, energy is low. When your spiritual tank is low you get moody, anxious, guilt-ridden, and sometimes desperate. If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water. John 7:37
4. Rejoicing! Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. (Romans 12:12). Hope is what we have. Regardless of the outcome of Adam's diagnosis, we were focused on these messages. We bound to one another, clung to the word, and received our friends and family. But we knew there were many things that could come from cancer - side effects, re-growth, and even death. But we rejoice in the trial that God gave us in the hopes that He will be glorified. We have hope that Adam will be able to use this in his life. We hope that Rachel will have this to use in her life. We also have nothing to complain about. Adam has been in remission for 9 months. There has been no regrowth. There have been no signs of serious side effects. He has been able to take every medicine/treatment they've thrown at him. He has been positive and easy going through the whole process. And he has been able to be a normal 5 year old - going to Gilroy Gardens, the beach, Disneyland, piano lessons, and now Sunday School, swim lessons, VBS, etc, etc... I, most of the time, feel like we have just had a really bad flu. Praise God. We can only be thankful. Praise again.