Together - Because of HIM

The first thought in my mind when the doctor said "cancer" was that we needed to get James home.

I had been thinking that I really needed my son home with us during this time.  I thought about it when I was cleaning the house, when I went to bed at night and when I got up in the morning.  "I want James to come home" was a thought that occupied a lot of my thinking.

But when I heard the word cancer - the thought changed to "We have to get James home!" 

When we got home from the doctor appointment we started looking up the cost of plane tickets to fly him home.  The price tag was amazing!  Several friends had called and offered to help with the ticket - or to even drive him down here themselves.  I was overwhelmed with the many offers the help us out with this; but I also could not justify someone having to pay *that* much money for a ticket. 

The other problem that we had was that the prices we were looking at were prices posted on online travel websites.  In other words, they were discounted rates.  When we looked at the fine print we saw that we could not purchase a ticket for a minor without also purchasing an adult ticket to go with it.  That left us with having to purchase the ticket directly through the airline.  I also knew that meant a higher price tag.

I started checking into ways to drive half way and get him; but I also knew that driving was not going to be easy.  We are tired - and have doctor's appointments that need to be made.  Putting and 18 hour road trip into the schedule - while possible - did not seem ideal.

While having my devotions on Thursday morning I poured out my heart to God and told Him the need.

I decided to call the airline directly and see what the ticket price would be - I KNEW it would be astronomical!  BUT GOD!!!!....

When I told the lady at Delta about the situation - that my son was in Wisconsin and that his Dad had just been diagnosed with cancer and would be having surgery in a couple weeks or so - she told me that he would qualify for a medical emergency discount flight.  (I still was sure it would not be what we could afford!)    I heard her hitting the keyboard and then she said, "I can get him home on Saturday afternoon.  Is that soon enough?"

I was thinking that it would be wonderful but would probably cost us 3 months worth of rent.  "I told her that date would work fine - then inquired to the price.  $166.00.

I sat there speechless  - then quickly said, "Ill take it!"

James is coming home*this* afternoon!  God is so good to us - DAILY HE LOADS US DOWN WITH MORE BLESSINGS THAN WE REALIZE.

Tonight we will eat dinner together as a family  - I am so thankful for a God who gives me everything I need! 

Good News / Bad News Day

We met with the new surgeon today and found out that they have ruled out Anaplastic Thyroid Cancer.  Praise the Lord!

We did find out that we are dealing with  Medullary Thyroid Cancer another rare form of cancer in the thyroid.    There are indications that the cancer is not contained and has moved into the lymph nodes.   Because of these indications  - Rob underwent another biopsy today of the lymph nodes.  We are waiting on those results.  They also are running tests to see if there are indications that it has spread to other places of the body.  We are waiting for those results to come back.  We are looking at some CT scans of the body to see if we have cancer in other places of the body.  They are looking at the liver, pancreas and brain as those are the areas where this type of cancer tends to move towards. 

We will be scheduling surgery as soon as they know the full scope of what we are looking at and all the places where the cancer is located. This cancer is not as fast moving as the Anaplastic would have been - so we have a little bit more breathing room to make sure we locate all the cancer before they put him under.  After surgery we will be having to monitor blood work for years to make sure the cancer does not pop up in other places - as this type of cancer is known to do.  This will be part of our life for years to come. 

I cannot express into words the uplifting difference in our hearts when we got out to the car to head home from the appointment!  We know that God (not *just* the diagnosis) lifted our spirits; because we are still dealing with some tough roads ahead of us.  He just ministered peace to our hearts.  We are so blessed to have a Heavenly Father who cares about us in such a deep way. 

Thanks for all your prayers and continue to pray as we search out if and how much this cancer has spread and seek treatment that will be the best for long term recovery and health.  We covet your prayers for us! 

God is Good - All the Time

Photo Credit:  Rachel Spurgeon

This week has been a week of waiting.  I have decided that the most physically demanding and labor intensive work a woman can find to do is not has hard on a person as when we are put  to the task of waiting.

Life has lots of waiting rooms; and in those waiting rooms we have a lot of time to think.  I know, I have spent quite a bit of time this past week in literal and figurative waiting rooms.  Waiting is hard.  In the past I have waited for many things:  offers on homes to be accepted, college tests to be returned with a passing grade, babies to be born, babies to be adopted, a strong willed child to repent, job offers to be extended…  The list could go on and on:  All times of waiting.

This week we have waited to see if my husband has cancer. 

I have been challenged these past couple of weeks to keep my mind from wandering during this time of waiting.  To stop the ping – pong ball from hitting all corners of my mind with doubt and questions that I cannot answer.  The only way I can do that it to focus on TRUTH.  It is the only thing that has made the waiting bearable – in fact, in some ways it has become a sweet time because I have been drawn into time of meditation on God and His goodness to me .

Waiting has become bearable this past week as I have focused on the faithfulness of God to me.  God has been so good to me.  His mercies are new every morning.  He never stops loving me.  He has given me everything I need to live the Christian life.  He never leaves me.  He is always FOR me – never against me.  He does not base His acceptance on me based on how I perform – I’m always accepted and cherished as one of His children.  Oh, I could keep going on and on.  Ever faithful! 

There is not a waiting room or a period of waiting that will leave me with more time than blessings to review. 
I have also found these past couple of weeks that the waiting has been so much easier knowing that others are praying for us and are holding us up in prayer.  I cannot even begin to tell you what a blessing it has been to read messages sent to us from friends telling us that they are praying for us!   I have been amazed at how God has used cards, texts, messages, phone calls and many other things to let us know that people are praying for us and that we are not alone.    Here is one example of how God used another sister in Christ to minister to me during a difficult time: 

While we were in the surgeon’s office she made it very clear that she was very concerned about what the symptoms that had arisen in just a few days.  She went on to explain that she had concerns that not only could the tumor possibly be cancerous but that we could be dealing with one of the most deadliest cancers on record.    My hands were shaking and my thoughts were racing as we made appointments for the biopsy to be done at the hospital.  I was disappointed when I walked out of the building because I had wanted to leave that visit having the worst case scenario checked off the list.   Not only was it not crossed off my list – it had been added to the doctor’s list as something to check for!   I sat in the car stunned and staring off into space trying to take it all in.  My phone was in my lap and when it buzzed I was brought back into reality with the following text message: 

 “Praying, Martie.  For you and Rob and the kids.  For God to guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.  For him to take every overwhelming thought and protect you in His peace.”

That text was as much from God as it was from my friend living miles and miles away and not even realizing what we had just learned and the disappointment of my heart at that very moment!  God was using another sister in Christ to minister to me at the very moment I needed it!  My God is an awesome God! 

It has been a blessing to me to have friends praying, calling and sending me verses – just when I needed *that* verse.  It has been a challenge to me in my own everyday life to make sure that I follow the Holy Spirit’s leading when I am impressed to call someone, or send an email or a card.  God uses us to bless and minister to those whom He knows are hurting and in need of encouragement.  The bond of Christ has been a source of great encouragement to me – and has made the waiting room we are in at this time bearable.

Perhaps the source of greatest encouragement that has made the waiting bearable has been the focus on the eternal and not the temporal.   Waiting causes us to see life for what it really is.  In a moment the blinders can be taken off our eyes and we see how vain and empty so much of what we view as important really is.  This has happened in the last two weeks.  Heaven seems so much closer than it was a month ago.   It’s not, you know, our focus has just been adjusted. It’s been a good adjustment to see how fragile life can be – none of us is guaranteed tomorrow.  It’s been good for us to think about Heaven and all the wonderful things that await us there 

God is so good!  SO GOOD!  We will praise Him no matter what.  Today we will go into the surgeon’s office and we will get some type of news.  This part of the waiting will be over.   Decisions and treatments will be planned (even if there is no cancer – there is still a health crisis that needs to be addressed).  Today will mark the day when we look back to either the bump in the road – (when we had the big cancer scare) - or it will mark the day that cancer became a part of our lives.  God will be as good tonight when we go to bed as He was this morning.  He is good all the time.  We are going to praise Him no matter what the outcome; and we are going to thank Him for the blessings He brought along the way of waiting.  The time we have had to view His faithfulness to us, the blessing of being in the family of God and the wonderful promise that this life is not the end – this world is not our home and Heaven is just around the corner. 

Thanks for all your prayers – notes and encouragement through this time.  They have been a blessing to us.

God is Good – ALL THE TIME!

God Never Changes

I don't like change.  I like things to stay the same.  The same thing for breakfast, for lunch...  - you get the picture.

In the past couple of weeks there have been several changes in our lives.  Our normal schedule has been changed to accommodate doctor appointments, a biopsy and an trips to the hospital.  Our thoughts have changed from "What are we going to do this summer?" to "Will cancer be part of our everyday life for a long time?".

Life has changed.

I did not see this change coming.

Oh, I forgot to mention - I don't like surprises either - *almost* as much as I don't like changes.

So, yesterday while sitting in the van watching my daughter practice softball I started thinking about all that has changed - I felt overwhelmed.  Then the Holy Spirit reminded me of what has not changed.


My God is the same today as he was the week before the mass showed itself.  My God will be the same tomorrow when we get the results from the surgeon.  A year from now when we look back at this trial in our lives - God will be the same then as He is now.


So many truths this week to which the Holy Spirit has drawn my heart to think upon!   I meditate upon this and I am strengthened once again.  I can rest - because He will not change.  

Be Still

As we sit in on the edge of the unknown I find my thoughts wandering.  So many questions for which, at this time, I have no answers.  So many questions that in a few days will be answered.  Our whole life could change in a matter of days. 

The reality hangs there - overshadowing the everyday; and I am left with the so many thoughts I don't normally spend a lot of time dwelling upon.

I feel as if I have been thrust from the security that comes with normality - only to find that all along it has been a false security.  Normal can change in an instant, or in a trip to the store, or in the morning after a good night's rest. 

It can shake one to the core to realize just how fast life can change - I know I have lived through it before. 

And I wondering if that is how THIS will turn out.  The questions come in pairs - and groups.  They file in through my brain - question after questions. 

The will questions:  "Will it be cancer?"  "Will we still be together as a family a year from now?"

The how questions:  "How will I do this?"  "How did this happen?"

My mind is like an escalator that continues to move - each ascending step holds yet another question.  Like a revolving door - each question leading to another question.  Always moving... over and over again.

Then I hear the voice deep within my heart.  I know the voice I have heard it many times before and it says quietly, gently sweetly:

 "Be still and know that I am God..."

The escalator of question slows a bit as I listen to the quiet voice of the Holy Spirit.  He repeats:

 "Be still and know that I am God..."

I think about God  - and the escalator stops it's movement.

God is sovereign.  Always in control of everything that happens upon this earth.  Always in control of what happens to me.

God is faithful.  He has always taken care of me.  Provided for me.  Assured me of His love for me as His child - the best Father I have ever had.

God is love.  Never doing anything to me that will bring me hurt - and always making sure that everything that happens to me turns out for my good.

I focus on Him and I am still.  He is God.

I do not need to know if it is cancer.
I do not need to know what our lives will look like six months from now.
I do not need to know how I will get through this if the results are not what we want to hear..

I just need to know that He is God.  He is enough.

He is bigger than cancer
He is strong enough to handle anything - tomorrow - or six months from tomorrow.
He is wise enough to know how it will all turn out  - because He can see that far - He knows exactly how this will all unfold; and He has promised EVERYTHING will work out for good in my life.  EVERYTHING.

"For I the LORD they God will hold thy right hand, saying unto thee, "Fear not, I will help thee." 


Resting in Him

It has been a long week.

Ten days ago we celebrated 24 years of marriage.  It was a wonderful getaway and I loved it very much!

Three days after we got home he noticed the lump; and for the past seven days we have battled fevers, long restless nights filled with cold sweats and more fevers and extreme fatigue. 

It' been hard for me to watch. 

Finally today we went in and they ruled out an infection, a torn muscle and a scan confirmed that what we were dealing with was a tumor.

A biopsy will tell us if it is cancer or not.  We will make that appointment tomorrow morning.

We left the hospital and it felt surreal - and as we sat across from each other at dinner - Rob looked at me and said, "They told me I might have cancer..." 

That is how you will find us right now - surprised and unsure of what the days and weeks ahead of us will hold.  

I do not know what the road ahead holds for us - but I do know this that God knows and He has everything under His control. 

I'm reminding myself of that as I go through my days.  Our lives are in His hands.

Last night at church a verse was read - it was the same passage that our Pastor read to us right before he pronounced us husband and wife 24 years ago.  It brought tears to my eyes as I heard it again last night.  I have read it over again several times today: 

"The LORD bless thee, and keep thee:
The LORD make his face to shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee:
The LORD life up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace."

Resting in this trial with a peace that He has given - trusting that He does ALL things well.