Today we were blessed by a visit from some friends--a supporting pastor and his wife drove several hours to come see us. They were an encouragement to us. One reason is because they have faced a similar battle against cancer so we felt a certain comfort in the knowledge that they understand the struggle. But the greatest encouragement was their desire to let us know that we are not alone. Just knowing that others are with us in the battle brings courage.
How much more vital to our spiritual well being is the knowledge of the Lord's presence! I love this promise from Exodus spoken by the Lord to His servant, Moses. And I love Moses' reply. He said, "If thy presence go not with me, carry us not up hence!" I feel that way too. There is no way I want to face the days ahead without the presence of the Lord. He must go with us! And I know He will. I claim this promise as my own.
Over the weekend we traveled down to Pensacola, Florida to attend the "Winging" ceremony of our Marine son, Richard. We are very proud of him and his accomplishments. As he continues his training and serves our country, we are depending on the presence of the Lord to be with him too.
Tomorrow Malcom will see the doctor and we'll know the results of last week's CT scan. Hopefully he will be able to continue the chemotherapy treatments.
Waiting and trusting is the order of business for this week! Malcom's chemo has been delayed again due to an elevated white blood cell count. He will take a week of antibiotics, have a CT scan done on Wednesday, and hopefully next week be able to have a chemo treatment. Again there is some apprehension at not being able to continue the treatment today, but we reminded ourselves of the fact that God is in control. Since He is the one we are depending on, we need not worry about what seems to us to be a "delay." Trusting that God's timing is perfect, we wait upon Him. This verse promises renewed strength.
Today is our wedding anniversary--33 years! A great number and it reminded me of Jeremiah 33:3, one of my all-time favorite verses. I began to wonder what was going on in Jeremiah's life when God said this to him. I found the answer in verse 1. He was "shut up in the court of the prison." At one of the toughest times in his life, God's servant was given an amazing promise! Prison walls couldn't block the line of communication. He had the assurance that not only could he cry out to God, but God would answer!
I'm comforted by that knowledge too. I remember 33 years ago I was preparing to go all the way over to Taiwan to marry the most wonderful man in the world. The only obstacle was lack of money for the plane fare! The plan was to sell my car and use the money for the ticket. But my reservation was only a week away and it still wasn't sold. That day I cried out to God and said, "Lord, if you want me to go, if you want me to marry Malcom, YOU sell my car. I give up trying." God heard me and answered me. My car was sold by the end of the day!
33 years later God still hears and answers. Like Jeremiah, we are facing some tough times. But cancer cannot block the line of communication, and we are still anticipating the great and mighty things that God will show us in the days to come.
Please continue to pray for Malcom. He has not felt well this week. The next chemo treatment is scheduled for Monday morning, Jan. 23rd.
This is a strange concept: the trial of my faith is more precious than gold that has been refined. I tend to equate trials with pain or discomfort which in turn translates to my emotions as "bad!" But as a teacher I know that trials (or tests) are the proof of the learning and is a necessary tool to aid both the teacher and the student to discover the level of learning that has occurred. So it is the same on a spiritual level. I may dread the trials, even devise ways to escape them, but the wise Master teacher is preparing something precious for me. I cannot understand why or how that can be so, but then I'm not the master!
I think my faith is about to be tried again.
The result from the CEA test (tumor marker) taken on Wednesday came back today. It is a bit higher: 22.5 (up from 18.5) This is even with Malcom having had 2 chemo treatments since the last time it was tested. The doctor doesn't seem too worried about it. He says sometimes the cancer cells get "smart" and figure out how to resist the chemo.
So, what do I do with this information? I'm going to do just what I've determined to do all along. I'm going to trust the Lord, once again consciously put my husband in God's hands knowing that He is in control.
Often when I pray for someone who is undergoing medical treatment of any kind, I pray "Lord, give the doctors wisdom to know exactly how to proceed." More than ever I am praying that kind of prayer for Malcom's doctor. Today he decided to delay the chemo treatment for two more weeks due to the possibility of over-toxicity. There is a certain "comfort" in knowing that as long as he is receiving chemo the cancer is being held at bay, so it seems just a bit frightening to accept a delay. But we have repeatedly prayed that God would give Dr. Goodwin wisdom in knowing when, how, and how much to treat. I'm going to trust that today's decision is an answer to that prayer. This morning's lab work included a CEA (tumor marker) and we will know the result of that on Friday. For now, Malcom will enjoy a break from the chemo and trust God to continue the healing process.
Throughout the recent holiday season I often heard the phrase, "the gift that keeps on giving!" If a product could provide endless hours of entertainment or usefulness, it was highly desired. That makes sense to me and in fact I'm enjoying several gifts that remind me of the givers each time I use them. So how about a spiritual principle keeps to this standard of giving? This proverb is good advice. Simply stated, be a blessing to another when you have the chance! The New Testament counterpart is found in Galatians 6:10: "As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith." In these verses lie our mandate for a meaningful life, one that focuses on the needs of others and brings joy in the doing.
I praise the Lord that recently He has given me several opportunities to "do good," to be a blessing to others. I realize once again that it is my privilege to be on the blessing end of things, rather than just being the recipient of the blessing.
It may be noted that it's been about a week since my last posting. Please forgive the lapse, and I hope it didn't cause any unnecessary worry. (I did receive a few phone calls!) I'm still fighting off the respiratory virus turned sinus infection, hopefully on the mend now. Malcom is doing well, having just come to the end of his two-week cycle, today being his last"good" day. Tomorrow he starts the 11th chemotherapy treatment.
For those continuing to pray for our friend, Mike, I want to give you an update. He has been transferred to the Barnes Hospital in St. Louis where he is undergoing advanced treatments for his leukemia. I spoke with his father today and they are impressed with the doctors and facilities there. If the treatment is effective and he can achieve a remission, hopefully the next step will be locating a match for a bone marrow transplant. Thank you for your prayers for Mike and for his family. God is using the prayers and the "good deeds" of Christians to touch this family in an extraordinary way.
A new year. I've managed to cross this line quite a few times now, more times than I care to admit! There have been times when I approached the new year with eagerness, thinking of it like an empty tablet yet to be written on, eager to use my best handwriting, wondering what I might accomplish. I would joyfully charge into the new year expecting to do something great. But this day as I contemplate 2006, I wish I could conjure up that kind of excitement. Circumstances of the last few years have taught me that "I" am not going to accomplish anything outside of God's plan for me. I don't approach the year with fear and trepidation, because I know firmly where my hope lies. It is with HIM who is ever faithful and full of love. This time, I view 2006 cautiously. My heart is full of questions, wondering what God is planning to write upon the empty tablet of my life. This year it will be His best handwriting, not mine. I do have my part, however. It is summed up in Colossians 1:10:
- Be pleasing to Him
- Be fruitful in every good work
- Increasing in the knowledge of God
Verse 11 tells me what I can expect from this attitude. There will be strength (according to His power), patience, endurance and joy even in hardships.
It's only the 2nd day of the new year. Malcom is suffering through the chemo effects, his discomfort more evident with each treatment. As for me, I have caught a nasty virus that is making me feel miserable. My main concern is that I don't pass it on to him. Thank you for your prayers.