Tag Archives: hope

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.

Shadows And Love

During the Christmas season, I attended the most wonderful wedding – it was just what such a celebration at the holidays should be, yet as I sat in the dimly lit auditorium, I felt out of place. Weddings are joyous occasions and even as I truly entered into the happiness of the bride and groom I couldn’t completely escape the shadow of Chase’s cancer. …and so I sat, taking in the beauty and feeling vaguely guilty lest my shadow burden be apparent to anybody but myself.

Words broke through my distracted thoughts as a woman in a beautiful gray dress stood to do a reading. As she spoke, my shadow seemed to grow stronger. I couldn’t hear the words she spoke with anything other than cancer ears…even though I knew that they had been chosen to reflect this marriage love at the moment of commitment, but as she spoke the familiar words, my heart was soothed by the fresh reminder of the Gracious Provider…and then she began to cry…and I cried too because I had needed to hear those words.

Much later in the evening, Providence ordained that I meet the woman who read the verses: a divine appointment if ever there was one. I learned that she too carries a horrific cancer shadow. I, my baby boy…she, the spouse ’til death do they part. We talked and cried and felt helpless together in the middle of the beautiful reception and though I had never met her before and may not see her again for some time, she is my sister because of that night.

Many times since then, I’ve pondered the strange mixing of the celebration and the sadness, and the family relationship with a complete stranger because of the pain. In my mind, pain and joy belong in different universes, yet from birth to death we cannot separate them any more than we can separate ourselves from the Sovereign One who created us.

Here is an excerpt of the words she read that night…

For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:38-39

Of this I am sure, there is a mercy in the shadows of pain – a severe, but present one nonetheless. I do not even pretend to know what it is, but I know it is there because I, and she, and all who walk a painful road walk it next to the Everlasting Love who has known us always and will know us still and what is a dim shadow now will be crystal clear when we see Him face to face. Even so, come soon, Lord Jesus, come soon.

Moment by moment.

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Days With No Answers

There are some days that I long for answers.

After being re-admitted to the hospital in Sunday’s early hours, Chase is driving me to that place. Why are the fevers so high when he still had white blood cells? Why is he so visibly ill when his tests are coming back negative? Why is his blood pressure so low ….does he need platelets …does he vomit even after anti-nausea drugs …why, why, why??

It’s days like today that I hear Tennyson in my head:

“Theirs not to reason why, theirs but to do and die…”

Is that the reality? To do and die?

Even as I question, I am reminded of the verse in Jeremiah:

“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” (Jeremiah 29:11)

If this life is full of God’s plans for me that give both a future and a hope, and I’d prefer not to face it like one of the six hundred riding silently to death, I ask myself…how should I respond to weary days with no answers?

Give thanks.

Give thanks even when it hurts. …when it aches …when there is no human reason for the pain and suffering.

“Give thanks in ALL things…” (1 Thess 5:18)

So this is my answer for today. I may not get the answers I crave for the child lying in the bed, but believing that whatever my God ordains is right and for His glory and my good can free my burdened heart for thankfulness.

Moment by moment.

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What’s Next?

We have had the most wonderful break over the holidays!  In truth, the longest break Chase has had since being diagnosed.  We’ve completed 14-16 cycles of chemo and 30 days of radiation.

So, now what …?

At the end of January, there will be an official evaluation to determine whether this treatment is working.  Right now, Chase’s brain is still too swollen from radiation to be able to get a good “read” on how things look.  However, we will have a small preview of the direction things are headed…

On Monday, Chase will be admitted to the hospital for three days of chemo which get started with a spinal tap and interthecal chemo (they inject it into his spine).  When they inject the chemo into the spine, they also remove a small amount of his spinal fluid and test it for abnormal or cancerous cells.  So, even before the big scans and tests at the end of the month, we will probably have an idea of what’s worked based on the content of the spinal fluid.

These evaluation sessions are …I can’t even think of an appropriate word to describe them… important to say the least.  These are the times where we will sit down and talk through all of this working…if we will continue on with the 54 week chemo protocol, or try something else.  These are the times that we will confront this ugly and stubborn cancer in the face and begin to know who is going to win.  As you can imagine, these are the times we simultaneously hasten and dread with the question of which is worse – the knowing or the not knowing?

“I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in his word I hope.” Psalm 130:5

And so, we wait with hope

Moment by moment.

Nuts and Bolts

Thursday morning, from the surgery floor

I just passed my nearly unconscious son into the arms of the medical team. Have I ever mentioned that this is my least favorite part of procedure days? They give Chase a small drug to relieve “separation anxiety” before they take him back to the OR and he immediately relaxes, but I still hate watching them wheel him away from me. I just do.

After almost two weeks, Chase is back in the hospital today. Right now, he is in the OR to get a new central line, remove the picc line in his arm, get a spinal tap, and receive his spinal chemo. After post-op recovery, he will be admitted for about four days of chemo infusions.

Many times, my thoughts and prayers are more general in nature, but today I have a couple specific requests: Please pray that this new central line does not infect (as his first one did) and please pray that the cancer is no longer present in his spinal fluid.

Thank you.

Hoping and believing outside the OR room…

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Cancer Days

Lake Michigan

Most days, the fact of Chase’s cancer is recessed behind the reality of simply caring for him and the rest of my family. However, there are some days when the cancer is heavy on me. Days where no matter how I think, pray, reason, or verbalize, my heart and mind are unshakably heavy with the weight of this awful disease and it’s toll on the ones I love.

This last week, I had a bad cancer day. On Tuesday, we found out the results of Monday’s spinal tap – that there were still cancer cells in the fluid. We had not expected them to be gone, but we had hoped. There was no status change in Chase or his treatment, but that news put the cancer back on me.

The heaviness stayed with me for some time and when I was finally able to escape the room, I took a walk and sat by the cloudy, windy lake – which seemed to mirror my mood.

As I sat, I opened the Bible app in my phone to Psalm 27 and read verses 13 and 14…

“I believe that I shall look upon the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living! Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage. Wait for the Lord!”

What incredible words in a moment for which there was no explanation! Yes, I can wait…I WILL wait….why? Because I believe that I will see God’s goodness. Whether His goodness manifests in healing my son is for His mind alone at this time, but I know that He is good, and so I wait …

Moment by moment …