Tag Archives: faith

Chase On His MRI [VIDEO]

The sun is only hinting pink when I feel another presence on the edge of the living room.  This is what he does, my early-rising boy… He wakes before it’s light, tip-toes out to wherever a parent can be found, and stands quietly, thumb in mouth, waiting for someone to see him and call him into the light.

Still rumpled and rosy from sleep, mismatched in his Lightning McQueen bottoms and a shirt that announces “I fight cancer. What’s your superpower?”, he jumps onto the couch and snuggles close.  His talk turns to the subject that has been plaguing him for about a week now: the upcoming MRI.

The questions come as they do every day; several times a day: …When is my MRI? Will there be ‘beeping’? Will I have a needle? Can I eat? Who will go with me? Will you come back to me?…  They come with heartbreaking regularity and the answers are always the same.  In a life that’s anything but predictable, he can at least rely on the same answers to these small questions that are so very big to him.

In a day, he’ll wait in pre-op for almost two hours after having gone nearly half a day without food or drink.  They’ll lull him and then hold a mask over his face while he lays on the threshold of the machine with no parents in sight to say “It’s okay, sweet boy.” And while he sleeps, they’ll put a needle in his arm to keep him hydrated and inject dyes and he’ll be in the machine for nearly two hours – the only blessing: he’ll be mercifully unconscious.

You hear from me on this subject early and often, and in the last part of the last year, it was often-er than not.  My words hardly change…we can’t, we must, we wonder, we shouldn’t, God is good.  Always.

So today, hear Chase.  He’s about 24 hours away from a big MRI and he’s scared.  He also wasn’t sold on the idea of a video until I promised him that he could hold his father’s tape measure.  This is what the early morning and late nights look like…the twisting mouth, the working to remember words, the thinking about mosquito bite scars on top of his skin rather than the potential of cancer growing under it.  He’s part boy, part wise far beyond his years, part broken by his treatment and tumor…and he’s all Chase.

Moment by moment.

*Note: His last words are “I want Mrs. Schneider to pray for me.”  That is the name of a dear friend who -because Bob needs to work tomorrow- will be accompanying us to the hospital so that I don’t have to be alone on MRI day.  Chase knows that while we can’t be with him, Janet and I will be praying for him in the waiting room while he’s in the MRI. 

Like A Child

Long before his birth, the adults around him had prayed for a building in which to have their church.  Now, the prayer was answered.  The old building had been stripped and tooled, fashioned and made new by the loving hands of the community, all but ready for the gathering.  The flooring has yet to be laid and the pastor gathered them and challenged… Write.  Write a prayer on the floor before it’s covered.  Write your heart in faith for what God will do in this place.  And so the 8 year old boy crouched on the cold stone and wrote the prayer that came to his heart…

"Dear Lord, I pray Chase Ewalt survives his canser and they will find a cure - Life in God."

“Dear Lord, I pray Chase Ewalt survives his canser and they will find a cure – Life in God.”

They say that love can heal the broken, they say that hope can make you see.  They say that faith can find a Savior if you would follow and believe…with faith like a child.  -Jars of Clay

Moment by moment.

Day One: A Reflection

With his backpack and IV bag preparing to leave in the early morning…

One day down, twenty-nine more to go…

I’ve mentioned before how very much I hate separating from Chase before a procedure and today was no exception.  I left my unconscious child in a full body mold in the middle of a huge radiation machine, turned my back, and walked away.  With this heavy on me, I cried the whole way back down the hall (much to the chagrin of the nurse escorting me, I’m sure…).

Snug on the ride home; sleeping off the anesthesia

This entire radiation decision feels like a step down the path of destruction.  The doctors (and we with them) must tear and ravage his body with everything there is in the hope of once and for all eradicating this terrible thing that is greater still than the near deathly salvation they’ll put him through.

And yet…

I thought again today about the words of Psalm 139 and realized, no, this is not a road to destruction, but to perfection!

I thought I had a healthy and perfect baby boy one December afternoon.  I still remember the first pink tinge of life effusing his skin as they laid him in my arms.  How beautiful he was.

And yet…

My mind cannot fully grasp this, yet my heart cries out that it is true: that December afternoon was but the beginning of a journey to perfection.  Chase is only now becoming who his loving Heavenly Father desires him to be!

We don’t know now.  But one day we will.

So we will endure that we may be complete.  Lacking in nothing. (James 1:2-4)

Moment by moment.

Rubbing lotion on his head and back to protect against burns

Is There Another Way?

This time period of intense wondering was exhausting.  Before I could tell anyone about my pregnancy, including my parents, I felt driven by the need to understand. Where did my life go wrong?

Did it start with petty childhood disappointments?

Was it years upon years of a Christian upbringing that seemed to me to only to be a set of actions? …another list from an exacting head who promised death and destruction if I didn’t deliver?

Then, much later, there was the fervent prayer that seemed to go unanswered —

Macular degeneration and congestive heart failure … a cruel death.  One slowly suffocates while going blind.  I sat by her bed almost every night my first year of college.  She was the lady across the street, my German grandmother.  She was dying painfully from the disease, and my family helped as we could.  I remember one night in particular–the nights were the hardest as she struggled for breath–I read to her to comfort her, to take her mind off her suffering.   This particular night, she’d asked (or I’d offered) to read to her from the Bible, from the book of Luke:

“Now there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon, and this man was righteous and devout,waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. And he came in the Spirit into the temple, and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him according to the custom of the Law, he took him up in his arms and blessed God and said, “Lord, now you are letting your servant depart in peace, according to your word; for my eyes have seen your salvation that you have prepared in the presence of all peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and for glory to your people Israel.”

As I read these words, she stopped me, and asked me to read the passage again.  When I finished, she sighed and said, “I wish I could have faith like that.”

“You can, Oma! God will give you strength to have faith!”

She shook her head and turned away. “I’m tired now. I will try to sleep.”

“Please, God! Please save her! Please show her! She wants faith! Please, God!”

Within a few short weeks, she was dead … to my knowledge never having understood faith.

I had prayed! She had even said she wanted faith!  Why, God? Why didn’t you answer me?

Anger.

I searched for some kind of clue, as if a single life experience could unlock the entire mystery of my rebellious heart.  It had to have been that moment with Oma.  There was no other single event that I could point to.  But, truly, there was nothing. Though I could dredge up countless instances of deep hurt and anger–See, God? Look how much I was mistreated here!–there were no excuses.  I had no excuses.

I had made my choices.  I had used circumstances to allow the anger and resentment to grow.  In light of this, it really didn’t matter how I’d gotten to this point.  All that mattered now was what was still ahead.

Was there another way for me?  Another road that left the resentment and anger behind?  And if so, how do I get on that road after all this time spent in rebellion?

The only road before me was God, the very One I’d been running from.  There was no flash of light, but only a strength of silence, a single conviction: there is no other road.

“I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”  

Confess.  Repent.  Change.

“God, I’m broken before you …”