“The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” Phil 4:5-6
As I write this, I am in Newport Beach, California. The sun is shining. The temperature crisp but not cold. The palm trees are swaying in the breeze. Paradise. But then I remember the other part of my reality. I am here to be with my son, who despite what I have centered much of my life around for the past twenty five years… to care for and protect from harm, is hardly even recognizable to me due to the effects of the toxins being pumped into him. Poison that appears to be taking his life, is in fact the only means of saving his life.
The juxtaposition of these realities often leaves me fighting to keep my sanity. How am I supposed to go on with my life when my son is so sick and so far away? It’s a part of parenthood that we will never again have our hearts to ourselves. Parts of our hearts now walk around outside of us and outside of our control and our protection. I know that what I face now is any parent’s nightmare, but I am in fact in no different reality than I ever was as a mother. This circumstance highlights what has always been true, even when I operated under the illusion that somehow my good and faithful choices could protect those I love from harm. It makes me ask the questions I never dared ask, but now I have no choice. Where does my help, my sanity, my very life come from and not just my life, but those that I cherish more than anything in this world?
The only safe place, the only words that keep me restful even beyond clear cat scans and good blood counts, are these: “The Lord is near.” I am not alone, and my son is not either. Neither my life, nor that of my family is careening out of control. He is near. He is in every moment. He holds us– not insurance plans, employment, chemo options, and least of all (thank God) our best attempts at good choices. We are so out of our league that we have had no choice but to grasp the hope of reality…We are not, nor have we ever been in control of our lives, nor of those we love. He is over all and in all the moments of our lives. Our response to these moments then, can only be to cling more tightly to the Hand that never lets ours go. As I cease my striving, I am able to feel that hand– immovable, unchanging, strong, and warm with life and love. That Hand is always there regardless of whether I feel it or not, but when I stop striving and let truth sink in to my mind and to my soul, I am more apt to feel rest and find the sanity and sustenance for the next moment.
He has led me to the Rock that is higher than I. There is more rest here than in the ease of happier circumstances. And I am even able then to go further and to give thanks… Not for cancer, nor any other such evidence of the brokenness of this world. When I remember that even in brokenness, He is near, I am given eyes that can see His hand at work and I can give thanks. No power can thwart His purposes for me and those I love. He has made me a believer in the truest sense. And because I believe, I rest. A miracle born not of my own faithfulness, but only because He remains my Redeemer who rescued me because He delights in me.
Brent’s counts have begun to drop today, which leaves him unable to ward off infection and very weak. He has a bad cough. Pray for protection against any infection and that he will be able to get his counts back up without the aid of transfusions. He is scheduled for his seventh round of chemo to begin a week from Friday. He has still not received word from his employer in regards to his request for a meeting or to at least continue his benefits till he is through with chemo. We remain stunned at their sudden actions. Pray that God would change their hearts and lead us through the maze of decisions facing Brent. Apart from how he feels physically, Brent is also experiencing great peace that he is being cared for by his heavenly father and also by those of you who have so faithfully held him up in prayer. Words will never be enough to express our thanks to each of you for surrounding our family in prayer.