Thursday, December 30, 2010

The Ultimate Solution to Our Struggles

For the past week I have been overwhelmed…not by my cancer, but by thinking of the countless expressions of love, help, and encouragement I have received from friends, family, and even total strangers. It is a strange thing to be the object of special attention because of an illness like cancer. It’s hard to describe, but it is a combination of being encouraging, humbling, and sometimes just bizarre. Why do people go out of their way to visit me, make me a meal, help me financially, care for my children, or eat dinner at Chick-fil-a? Sure, there are plenty of days when I need help in those ways. But there aren’t any days when I deserve it!

It seems to me that having a serious medical issue (like cancer) is just one of a number of struggles people have. Telling people you have cancer evokes a certain amount of shock and sympathy in today’s culture, but it isn’t necessarily a more “important” struggle than the others. People struggle with loneliness, financial difficulty, strained relationships with a spouse or family member, the loss of a job, separation from a loved one in the military, and the list goes on. It’s easy to think about people who are struggling in those ways, but never really contemplate what it is like to be in their shoes walking through their struggles. Every person has his or her own battles that they are fighting day in and day out, and to a certain degree those battles go unnoticed by those around them. Part of what I have been learning through my struggle with cancer is that I need to be more aware of the struggles of those around me and show them the same compassion and love that others have shown me.

But in the end, the support and encouragement of others can only go so far. Everyone needs an ultimate, permanent solution for their struggles. You can ignore or distract yourself from your struggle for a time, but eventually you will come back to realizing that your struggle still remains unsolved. I know this may sound simplistic in a way, but I believe there is a single solution for every struggle people face. It is trusting and hoping in the God who is made heaven and earth (Psalm 121:2), who loves us and has freed us by His blood (Revelation 1:2), whose faithfulness reaches the clouds (Psalm 108:4), who provides for all our needs (Philippians 4:19), who never leaves or forsakes us (Joshua 1:5), and who powerfully holds onto us no matter what happens (Romans 8:35-39).

The band Third Day has a beautiful song called, “Cry Out to Jesus,” that portrays this truth very powerfully as it points to Jesus as the ultimate hope for all those who are hopeless in the struggles of life. You can watch the video for “Cry Out to Jesus” below.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Six Wonderful Years!

I am so very thankful for my husband. I could not go through this journey with out him. He has taken on the roll of Mr. Mom when I am sick and has been such an encouragement to me. Today we have been married for six years.


These six years have been very full and wonderful. We have lived in three states (Missouri, California and Georgia), five apartments, two houses, moved across the country twice, had three kids, and over ten jobs between the two of us. God has blessed us tremendously.



Some of the words I would use to describe Matt as I have known him these past six years are: patient, servant-hearted, joyful, wise, kind, encouraging, and thoughtful. The best way that a husband can love his wife is by imitating Christ’s love and Matt has done that. 


Mattie, thank you for all your hard work and sacrifice as we walk through this journey together! Thank you for your dependence on God and pointing me towards Him!


Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good;
for his steadfast love endures forever!
Psalm 118:1

Monday, December 20, 2010

Medical Update

Last Wednesday (12/15) was Erin's third chemotherapy treatment, but her first treatment using the drug Epirubicin. This drug belongs to a class of chemotherapy drugs called anthracycline drugs (or "A-Class" drugs) which is believed to be the most powerful class of chemotherapy drugs. However, this also means that this drug's short-term and long-term side effects are more intense.

While Erin experienced a certain amount of nausea and fatigue for a couple days following her previous two chemotherapy treatments, it was significantly less severe than what she has been dealing with for the past five days. She got her treatment on Wednesday afternoon and was in bed by 6:30pm Wednesday evening. She remained in bed all day Thursday, Friday, and most of Saturday. She made some improvement Sunday, finding the energy to care for Samuel and to help get the kids dressed for church and preparing lunch. But by the late afternoon she was more than ready to go back to bed. Today she is stronger still, but is continuing to navigate the delicate balance between doing the things she wants to do and allowing herself the rest she needs to recover fully.

Please pray for Erin's continued physical recovery from this treatment, as well as for her personal endurance as she seeks to trust in God's sustaining care for her in the days, weeks, and months to come.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Chemotherapy Treatment #3

Another benefit of the Chick-fil-a night that I didn’t mention before was that it served as a great distraction from thinking about my impending chemotherapy appointment and from my cancer in general. But after the event was over and I laid in bed thinking about the coming days I could not help but think about my cancer. I knew it was a “dangerous” road to go down, but my mind was reeling. I was thinking about how this is a very small cancer and has not appeared to spread. But they can’t simply take the cancer out and be done. I have to get these dangerous, toxic chemicals put into my body that will cause short-term sickness and possible long-term problems. If you think about it, it’s really pretty bizarre…yes, chemotherapy treatment is “high-tech” in a way, but at the same time it seems like such a “primitive” method of treatment (“Oh, you have a strange mass in your body? Here, let me inject some poison in you - that‘ll take care of it!”). Oh well, all I can do is to trust that God is giving my doctors wisdom and to pray for peace of mind for myself.

For the rest of this post I’ll keep a play-by-play diary of my chemotherapy treatment…

11:15am

I am in the waiting room getting ready to go back for my blood tests to see if my counts are good enough to get my chemo today…

11:30am

Action in the waiting room…a lady is having a seizure and the nurses are giving her some oxygen.

11:45am

The lady who was having a seizure is doing much better now. Thank the Lord.

12:00pm

I was just talking to another patient in the waiting room and told her I live in Pooler and have three young children. She said, “Oh, I read about you in the newspaper last week!” Another man overheard the conversation and said, “Hey, young lady…that was you on the TV last night, wasn‘t it?” By this point several people in the waiting room were looking at me and talking about seeing me on TV. It's kind of embarrassing, but I guess it's also a good conversation starter…

12:15pm

Waiting, waiting, waiting. It has been an hour and I still have not gone back. This could be a LONG day!

12:45pm

I finally got back to see my doctor. He walked in and said, “So, you’re like a rock start now aren’t you?” Oh boy…

1:00pm

I am finally back in the chemo room. I am about to get my new drug, Epirubicin. This drug is so toxic that it will give me third degree burns if any of the fluid leaks out of the IV onto my skin! Most people who get this drug avoid this risk by getting a port (basically, a semi-permanent internal IV connection that a surgeon installs). My doctors said I have good enough veins that I might not have to have the port. I guess we’ll see how today goes. I also have to take a medication along with this new drug that costs $100 per pill…yikes! Good thing the Chick-fil-a night was a success!

2:00pm

Matt and I brought our Christmas card project to chemotherapy today, so we’re putting stamps and address labels on the envelopes. It’s a little tricky with an IV in my right arm, but I’m managing okay…

3:00pm

Well, the "poison" is all in and I‘m getting topped off with one more bag of saline solution. The nurse that helped administer my chemo drugs turned out to be a member of Providence Presbyterian Church (which belongs to the same denomination as our church), so we had a good time talking about friends we had in common, etc.

7:30pm

[Matt] We finally got home from chemo at about 5pm. After helping me give the kids dinner and baths, Erin was pretty exhausted and starting to feel nauseated. She ended up taking some nausea medicine and going to bed for the night at about 6:45pm. Compared to her previous chemo treatments, those side effects seemed to come on pretty quickly this time.

While Erin’s cancer treatments aren’t nearly as severe as those some other people must deal with, it is still a serious disease that has effected her body and her life in countless ways and it will continue to do that for years to come. As a husband, it is hard to watch all of it unfold. But it is times like this when theology (what you believe about God) gets practical. I believe God is sovereign over all, so now I have to trust that He is in complete control of my wife’s cancer. I believe God has unlimited power, so now I have to trust that He is fully able to heal Erin completely. And I believe God is faithful and good to His people, so now I have to trust that these hard days are not in vain because He is faithfully working for her good. I’m not sure how all the pieces fit together…and at times I wish the pieces were different…but I must believe that God is fulfilling His perfect purposes in all of it.

“I believe; help my unbelief!”

Mark 9:24

Thank You!



Praise the Lord! The Chick-fil-a night was a huge success! In just three hours we raised enough money to cover all of my chemotherapy costs! Thank you to all of you who took time out of your evening to come support me and my family. I am so thankful that I was able to be there for the whole evening to meet and catch up with all of you. I was excited to have the support of “celebrity servers” like Jamie Dean (from Lady and Sons), Mike Lamb (Mayor of Pooler), and Alice Massimi (WSAV), but I was just as excited to see my friends and all those who had never met me before!

Being interviewed by WSAV (NBC).

What a treat to meet Jamie Dean (Paula Dean's son)! Thanks for the cookbooks, Jamie!

Talking with Mike Lamb, Mayor of Pooler.

Eat mor chickin!!!

“I thank my God in all my remembrance of you.”
Philippians 1:3

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

See You Tonight!

Sermon: Faith and Obstacles

Why does God put obstacles (sickness, persecution, financial difficulty, relational struggles) in our lives? Some people think obstacles occur because God is not powerful enough or good enough to prevent them. But the Bible repeatedly teaches that God's power is unlimited and His goodness is perfect. So why do the obstacles keep coming?

This past Sunday the pastor of our church, John Fender, preached a very clear and encouraging sermon on this subject based on Hebrews 11:23-31. In his sermon, he suggests that God puts these obstacles in our lives to strengthen "the flabby muscles of our faith." As hard as it is to admit it, we need these obstacles to reveal the weak areas of our faith and to strengthen our confidence in God alone.

For obvious reasons, this sermon was a great reminder that Erin's cancer is not outside of God's control and should not cause us to question God's goodness. Beyond the medical explanations, we know that God is ultimately in control of all things and in His perfect wisdom He has allowed this obstacle to come into her life as an opportunity for her faith to be strengthened and, Lord willing, for the faith of many others to be strengthened as well. That reality doesn't mean the day-to-day struggles of chemotherapy and surgery are fun or easy. But it does mean those struggles are not purposeless. They are all a part of God's work in our lives to draw us ever closer to Him by faith.

You can watch a video of the sermon below.

Faith and Obstacles from John Fender on Vimeo.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Still, Be Still My Soul

Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful to me, for in you my soul takes refuge;
in the shadow of your wings I will take refuge, till the storms of destruction pass by.
I cry out to God Most High, to God who fulfills his purpose for me.
He will send from heaven and save me; he will put to shame him who tramples on me.
God will send out his steadfast love and his faithfulness!

My soul is in the midst of lions; I lie down amid fiery beasts—
the children of man, whose teeth are spears and arrows, whose tongues are sharp swords.

Be exalted, O God, above the heavens! Let your glory be over all the earth!

They set a net for my steps; my soul was bowed down.
They dug a pit in my way, but they have fallen into it themselves.
My heart is steadfast, O God, my heart is steadfast!
I will sing and make melody!
Awake, my glory! Awake, O harp and lyre! I will awake the dawn!
I will give thanks to you, O Lord, among the peoples;
I will sing praises to you among the nations.
For your steadfast love is great to the heavens, your faithfulness to the clouds. 
Be exalted, O God, above the heavens! Let your glory be over all the earth!
Psalm 57

I have been meditating on Psalm 57 for the past week. The author of the psalm is crying out to God in the midst of sorrow and trials. God responds by pouring out his steadfast love and faithfulness. The psalm ends with singing and rejoicing. This is how my heart feels so often. I will cry out to God in my suffering…He hears me and responds with a gentle whisper: "Be still and know that I am God."

He makes wars cease to the end of the earth; 
He breaks the bow and shatters the spear;
He burns the chariots with fire. 
“Be still, and know that I am God.
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth!”
The Lord of hosts is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress.
Psalm 46:9-11

I enjoy listening to Keith and Kristyn Getty. As I have read these Psalms I was reminded of their song, "Still, My Soul Be Still."



Still my soul be still, and do not fear though winds of change may rage tomorrow.
God is at your side, no longer dread the fires of unexpected sorrow.

God You are my God, and I will trust in You and not be shaken.
Lord of peace renew a steadfast spirit within me to rest in You alone.

Still my soul be still, do not be moved by lesser lights and fleeting shadows.
Hold onto His ways with shield of faith against temptations flaming arrows.

Still my soul be still, do not forsake the Truth you learned in the beginning.
Wait upon the Lord and hope will rise as stars appear when day is dimming.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Local News Story!

On Wednesday Matt and I were interviewed by our local NBC station, W-SAV TV, to discuss my breast cancer and to promote a fundraiser at Chick-fil-a in Pooler next Tuesday (12/14). The story aired on the 6pm news tonight. You can see the video and read the story below:



Having a child is supposed to be one of the happiest times of your life but for one Pooler Mom, it's turned into one of the most challenging. Just days after giving birth to her son, Samuel, Erin Fray was diagnosed with Invasive Ductal Estrogen Positive Breast Cancer. “I was on cloud nine, having given birth, and he (the doctor) walked into the office looking concerned and he told me that I have breast cancer," recalls Erin Fray.

Fray says she had noticed the lump several months ago, but didn’t think anything of it. Her mind was on her bundle of joy. Now all of a sudden Erin was facing cancer. Surprised and also scared, Erin's husband Matt says it's been challenging. "Going from the high of having a new baby to the low of there is this disease, and then the complication of how do we deal with both of them at the same time," explains Matt.

The Frays' answer to dealing with it all -- faith. "God giving us grace, causing us not to be overwhelmed, giving us patience and understanding," says Matt. Needed especially on the days following Erin's chemotherapy. "The days when I am laying in bed, thinking when is this ever going to be over, I can rest in the fact that I am in God's hands and he is not going to let go of me," says Erin. Even with her deep belief in God, Erin says it’s been difficult... not able to nurse Samuel... there is also a chance Erin may not be able to have any more children.

But for now Erin is focusing on the battle before her. About a third of the way into her chemotherapy treatments, Erin still has a long road to recovery ahead of her. "The plan right now is, I will finish up chemo, and then I will have surgery. Then depending on what kind of surgery I have and what they find in the surgery, I will have radiation," says Erin.

With her family, faith, and the community at her side, Erin believes she can win the battle.

To help the Frays handle some of the medical expenses, the Chick-fil-A on Pooler Parkway is holding a benefit for them on Tuesday the 14th. The event starts at five and goes until eight.

To learn more about Erin's journey, you can check out her blog at www.erinfray.blogspot.com.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

D.A. Carson - "How Could a Good God Allow Suffering?"

Here is a great message from D.A. Carson entitled, "How Could a Good God Allow Suffering?" His words about how to pray for someone who is suffering are particularly helpful (about 15 minutes into the message).

How Could a Good God Allow Suffering? - Doctor D.A. Carson from Realityla on Vimeo.

Chemotherapy Update

In the business of the past week, I forgot to mention that I will not be having chemotherapy today. We decided to delay it by a week so that I would not have to have a treatment two weeks in a row and so that I will be feeling well for Christmas. So, my next treatment will be next Wednesday (12/15). I would greatly appreciate your prayers for that treatment because I will beginning a new, more intense, combination of chemotherapy drugs. Thank you for your faithful prayers and encouragement. 

Monday, December 6, 2010

Savannah Morning News Article

When Matt and I started this blog our goal was not merely to provide medical updates on my cancer, but more importantly to use this hard circumstance to point people to our loving, faithful, all-sufficient God. Ultimately, my cancer is not a curse to be endured, but a gift to be used for the glory of God. And so it has been our prayer that God would use my cancer and this blog for His glory. By His help and grace, I believe that is happening!

Last week, Anne Hart, a reporter from the Savannah Morning News, contacted me to ask if she could interview me for a "personality profile" article. I was surprised by the request and pretty nervous for what would be my first "media interview." But I quickly realized that this was not about me -  it was simply another way God was using me to point people to Him. So Matt and I (and several others) prayed that God would give me the wisdom and grace to speak clearly about how cancer, though a difficult circumstance, is an opportunity to realize our "idols" (independence, control, body image, etc.) and turn towards the God who alone provides for our every need in Jesus Christ (Philippians 4:19). 

The article was published in today's Savannah Morning News. I just read the article for the first time and am happy to say that the article turned out even better than I expected. Anne did a great job of communicating  how God has been proving Himself faithful to me, as well as how He has been using my cancer to point people to God and His Word. I am also thankful for the "public" opportunity to praise my family, friends, church, and Pooler MOPS for their incredible help and support during this time. God has been caring for me through you - so thank you for being a part of that!

You can read the article online here.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Moments of Joy

Here are a few pictures representing the moments of joy God blessed me with this week...

Yes, that's Hudson with an apron and necklaces...what a manly man!
Samuel enjoyed his first Thanksgiving...maybe next year he can enjoy some turkey.

My sweet seven week-old boy!
Hudson the gymnast...the kid can hang on like that for at least 30 seconds!
We thought the kids might get excited learning the story of Jesus' birth by dressing up like the characters!
Lydia and Hudson decorating our Christmas tree.
Lydia and Hudson decorating our Christmas tree.
Sisters...being sisters.
It was a huge help and encouragement to have my two sisters in town this week!

Friday, December 3, 2010

Link: The Strength of a New Mom

A few weeks ago a friend from church connected us with Nicole Williams who, in addition to being a mother of six, is a wonderful photographer (be sure to check out her beautiful website, Memories for Keepsake). After hearing about Erin's breast cancer, she donated her services and took some absolutely stunning newborn portraits of Samuel as well as a few of the kids and the whole family. It was great to have these sweet family portraits taken (or "made" as they say here in Georgia) before Erin began her chemotherapy. Nicole has written about her time with us and has posted a few of our portraits in her most recent blog post here.

Thank you so much, Nicole!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

"Sammy's Mommy Has Cancer"

Lydia has been very interested in everything going on with me…especially my hair. We decided it would be good to find a creative, visual way to explain my health to her in a way that she can understand. I found a book online called Sammy’s Mommy Has Cancer. That title was just perfect considering the fact that I have my own little Sammy! J When we received it we all sat down and read it together. It is a very simple, clear story of the cancer process in a way young children can grasp. The mom in the story even got chemo THEN surgery like me! The illustrations were good as well.

A few days ago I woke up and was not wearing a hat and all of the sudden Lydia came running into the room. This was the first time Lydia saw my head with NO hair at all. She looked at me for a minute and didn't say anything. I was worried at first that she was going to be upset. But then all of a sudden she got really excited and ran out of the room. She went and got the book and opened to the page where the mom had no hat or hair. She looked at me with the book and said, “Mommy you look just like the mommy in the book!” It is neat to see just how perceptive Lydia is and to see how God is being gracious to help my 3 year-old understand and accept what is happening to me. 

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Medical Update: God's Plans - Not Mine

I went in today for my second chemo treatment. Having gone through the treatment once before, I thought I knew what to expect. But today did not go as I expected…at all.

During my first treatment (11/9) I had a slight reaction to one of my chemo drugs (Taxotere). The reaction was painful (lower back pain), but overall it was fairly mild. Today was a different story. After only a few minutes of being hooked up to the Taxotere IV I began experiencing chest pains and difficulty breathing. I thought it might pass, but when the pain went to my back, abdomen, and throat I knew something was really wrong. I told the nurses about the pain and difficulty breathing and they immediately disconnected the IV and administered Benadryl and steroids to counteract the reaction.

About 20 minutes later my oncologist, Dr. Taylor, came to discuss the situation with me. We discussed my options and determined that I need to switch to a different chemo drug (the "A" drug). The new drug is much stronger and will most likely cause more severe short-term side effects (nausea, exhaustion). There is also a slight chance the drugs will cause more serious long-term complications (heart problems, leukemia).

Despite the difficulty of the situation, it was neat to see God’s hand in everything today. When we talked to the doctor just before my treatment today he indicated that I would likely need to have this more intense chemo drug (the "A" drug) after my surgery. But now that my body has rejected this first drug, I will just have the "A" drug now and will not have to have additional chemo after surgery. So as long as my white blood count is okay next week I will begin the new drugs next Wednesday (12/8).

Once again I am reminded that I am not in control…God is. In the last week or two I began to feel like I was finally in somewhat of a routine and knew what to expect with the chemo process. I even had all my chemo days marked on my calendar and thought I knew exactly when I would feel well, when I would need help with the kids, etc. But once again, my plans have changed. God has simply given me another opportunity to trust in Him. 

Many are the plans in the mind of a man,
but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand.
Proverbs 19:21

Monday, November 29, 2010

He's Always Been Faithful

One of the songs that has been very encouraging to me in recent weeks is a beautiful song by Sara Groves entitled, "He's Always Been Faithful." You can read the lyrics and play the audio below.



"He's Always Been Faithful" by Sara Groves

Morning by morning I wake up to find
the power and comfort of God's hand in mine.
Season by season I watch Him amazed,
In awe of the mystery of His perfect ways.

All I have need of his hand will provide.
He's always been faithful to me.

I can't remember a trial or a pain,
He did not recycle to bring me gain. 
I can't remember one single regret,
In serving God only and trusting His hand.

All I have need of his hand will provide.
He's always been faithful to me.

This is my anthem, this is my song, 
The theme of the stories I've heard for so long.
God has been faithful, He will be again.
His loving compassion, it knows no end.

All I have need of his hand will provide.
He's always been faithful to me.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

New Every Morning

This past week has been a rough week for me as I have dealt with very bad hives (an allergic reaction to MRI dye), continued back pain, and my hair falling out. But every time I have felt overwhelmed with my body I remember God’s faithfulness. Nothing that happens to me is out of His sovereign control and loving care. Not even one hair can fall from my head apart from His knowledge and will (Matthew 10:30).

Last Sunday my husband, Matt, delivered an excellent sermon at church on the faithfulness of God. He pointed out that one of the hardest, most difficult times in the entire Bible comes in the Old Testament book of Lamentations. When the author (possibly Jeremiah) wrote Lamentations, he had not only witnessed the destruction of Jerusalem, but he had also suffered great hardships during his ministry. Yet it is in Lamentations that we have the clearest and most beautiful description of God's faithfulness in the entire Bible: 
But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; His mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness. "The Lord is my portion," says my soul, "therefore I will hope in Him (Lamentations 3:21-24)."
The circumstances of this coming week are not very hopeful. I will be going in for my second chemo treatment on Tuesday, which means I will be dealing with significant pain, exhaustion, and sickness for several days. But, like the author of Lamentations, my hops is not in my circumstances but in God. So as I enter this week, please pray for my health. But most of all, pray that I will continually be reminded of and have hope in God’s faithfulness to me.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Like a River Glorious

Some truthful and encouraging words penned by Frances Havergal in 1876...

Like a river glorious, is God’s perfect peace,
Over all victorious, in its bright increase;
Perfect, yet it floweth, fuller every day,
Perfect, yet it groweth, deeper all the way.

Stayed upon Jehovah, hearts are fully blest
Finding, as He promised, perfect peace and rest.

Hidden in the hollow of His blessed hand,
Never foe can follow, never traitor stand;
Not a surge of worry, not a shade of care,
Not a blast of hurry touch the spirit there.

Stayed upon Jehovah, hearts are fully blest
Finding, as He promised, perfect peace and rest.

Every joy or trial falleth from above,
Traced upon our dial by the Sun of Love;
We may trust Him fully all for us to do.
They who trust Him wholly find Him wholly true.

Stayed upon Jehovah, hearts are fully blest
Finding, as He promised, perfect peace and rest.

You keep him in perfect peace whose mind
is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.
Isaiah 26:3

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Fundraising Events

A couple local businesses have contacted me about coordinating fundraising events to help with the medical costs related to my cancer. While the most important and encouraging thing folks can do for me is to pray, financial help is certainly also a need.

The first fundraising event is today, November 25th. Hailey Mae, a website (also on Facebook) that sells hair bows, clips, aprons, and other accessories for girls, will donate $1 for every item sold tonight after 6pm. They will also donate $2 if you purchase a tutu bow holder or holiday clothing. Shipping for all items is just $2. This should be a great way to get a little early Christmas shopping done! (Note: If you miss today's sale, they will repeat this fundraising event for us on the evenings of December 2nd and 9th.)

The second fundraising event is a couple weeks away, but it's worth marking your calendars now! On Tuesday, December 14th, Chick-fil-a of Pooler will donate 10% of their proceeds from purchases made between 5pm and 8pm. In addition to their always-delicious food, Chick-fil-a is making plans for other fun family activities for that night, so keep an eye out for more details in the coming weeks.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

"Magical" Day Fourteen

Apparently there is something special about the fourteenth day after chemotherapy begins. I was told by the doctor that my hair should start falling out sometime between the tenth and fourteenth days after my first treatment. A few ladies I talked with who have gone through breast cancer thing told me that day fourteen seemed to be some kind of “magical” day that hair falls out. So in the middle of the night last night I woke up in a panic realizing that today was day fourteen! Would my hair begin to fall out today!? I woke Matt up (or at least I tried to wake him up) and he promptly told me to go back to sleep…

Well sure enough, the next morning there the hair went down the shower drain! Not all of it, but it was definitely the beginning. It really made my cancer feel much more real. So I decided to get out all my hats and scarves so that I can try to keep my head warm during this holiday season. It is one thing to have to try to match a shirt with pants, but when you have to try to coordinate an outfit with a hat…well, let’s just say I might be mismatching for a while J

I went in for yet another MRI today. The MRI was to look at my spine which has been causing pain in my back for a while. It is hard for me to distinguish what pain and symptoms are caused by postpartum pregnancy and what could be related to the cancer or chemo. The doctors are not very concerned that the back pain is another tumor, but it is protocol for them to check it out if I am experiencing pain. So I went in for my third MRI in a month. This time was better because I was able to take some medicine to help me relax while in “the tube.”

The MRI itself went well, but as soon as I came out I had hives covering my head to toes. Matt said my ears were as red as fire trucks! I explained to the nurses that I had hives after the last MRI and all the doctors told me it was probably caused by stress (though I really didn’t feel stressed at all). They gave me two large doses of Benadryl through an IV on top of the sedation medicine I took for the MRI…needless to say, I was a bit loopy. The nurses finally came to the conclusion that it was the MRI dye that had caused my hives. I didn’t say it out loud, but I wanted to say, “Told you so!” At least next time I get an MRI I can take something to help prevent the allergic reaction.

With the Thanksgiving holiday this week, we may not hear the MRI results until next week. At this point, I am not as worried about the MRI results as I am about going in for my second chemo treatment next Tuesday. I think Matt is going to have to drag me there by my “hair” now that I know what is coming! But as I am tempted to worry or despair about this process, I must remember that God will be faithful to help me escape that temptation as He comforts me with His truth, goodness, and love. As I continue on this journey, my prayer is that Matt and I will be able to remember and speak of those realities faithfully. 

P.S.  I just found out that there was nothing of concern on my MRI!! Praise the Lord.

“No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.”
1 Corinthians 10:13

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Soaring on Wings Like Eagles (Excerpt from My Father's Cancer Diary)

I have been blessed to have the diary that my dad wrote and published during his journey through cancer. It is neat to read and see the ways his journey relates to mine. And it is so encouraging to see his love for Christ shine through his words. There is one section of his diary that I was reading tonight and wanted to share. 
Tonight we had a session meeting.  I led the devotion on Isaiah 40:31, “Those who hope in the LORD will…soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”  I have soared on wings like an eagle knowing the love of a wonderful wife whom God graciously provided, though I did not deserve.  I have been there to see the wonder of my three children being born.  My heart has soared to watch them grow in Christ and take leadership in His kingdom.

I have known many other times in my life where I have experienced soaring on wings like an eagle.  I have known the thrill of leading someone to Christ and watching them grow in the Lord.  I have known the excitement of planting a church and the thrill of watching it grow.  I have seen the amazing provision of God for our facility at Twin Oaks Presbyterian Church.  I have been to conferences that have made my heart soar.  I have experienced missions trips that have given me a whole new outlook on life.  I have been to the Holy Land three times and led a tour to Greece to follow the footsteps of Paul.  I have known what it means to “soar on wings like eagles.”

I have known what it is to “run and not grow weary” in the fast-paced schedule of a pastor.  Many people tell me to slow down, but I love what I do.  Getting up at five each morning to prepare a sermon or plan a worship service, spending the day talking with people, visiting the sick, meeting with staff, discipline men, sharing the gospel with the lost, and running the ministries of the church is very gratifying.  Coming home late at night and crashing, knowing that eternal things have been accomplished that day, is a most rewarding experience.  Sure, I am running fast, but by God’s grace, He has kept me from becoming weary.  I have known what it meant to “run and not grow weary.”

Now I am living in the third phrase of this verse.  I am learning to walk step-by-step, day-by-day, uplifted by the Lord so that I do not “grow faint.’  He has sustained me through the thirteen days in the hospital.  He has kept me from fainting during the additional three days in the hospital.  Starting December 20, I will be getting radiation every day.  That means that we will drive thirty-five minutes to Barnes Hospital.  We will wait in the lobby and then get our treatment, which will take another ninety minutes, and then drive thirty-five minutes home.  This will be a big chunk out of every day when there are many other things I want to do.  But now I must walk, walk with Jesus.  Two to four hours out of the middle of every day for six weeks will not be easy.  I am learning the joy of a slower pace, the joy of walking with Jesus by my side instead of running with Him by my side  It too, is very rewarding.  I am smelling the roses and seeing the sunsets.  It is great.
Though I am much younger now than my dad was when he wrote those words, I feel like there are so many ways in which I relate to them:
  • I have “soared”: I grew up with godly parents who taught and modeled the importance of God’s Word. I have two sisters who are my best friends. I have a wonderful, servant-hearted husband who loves me unconditionally. I have been blessed with three healthy beautiful children. I am a part of a healthy, Christ-centered church. And I have wonderful supportive friends. This list could go on…
  • I have “run and not grown weary”: Like my dad, I tend to be constantly on the go - even in my own house! Being a mother of three young children, it is hard not to be “running” all the time, but God continually keeps me from growing weary.
  • I need to “walk and not grow faint”: In  this next year there will be so many unknowns answers, so many medical tests, more chemo, surgery, possible radiation…all of that while trying to keep up with my life and my family. If I try to look at everything right now, I will grow faint. Like my father said, I need to learn to walk step-by-step, day-by-day , uplifted by the Lord so that I do not “grow faint.”

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

I Did It...It's Gone!

I finally decided it was time to let go of my hair. My doctor had told me it should start coming out in the next couple days and suggested shaving it before that starts to happen. I kept putting it off because in the back of my mind I kept wondering, “Will it actually fall out? What if I am the one exception to the rule? What if this whole thing is just a dream and I wake up and find that I have cut all my hair out?”

Well…a rational voice (my husband) whispered in my ear and told me to stop worrying and just do it. I spent the afternoon with a good friend who helped me to prepare me for this event (and took these great pictures). And Matt, wonderful and thoughtful husband that he is, set up a "beauty salon" in the garage. He wanted to make sure that the atmosphere was right for this occasion. Lydia, Hudson and Samuel took their seats so they could watch as mommy got a really cool hair cut. I do hope that they don’t decide to play barber shop tomorrow!



The first snip was the hard to watch (the fateful moment is pictured to the left), but then it was kind of fun to see my new hairstyle evolve. In the end, Matt trimmed it down to the recommended length of a mere ½ inch.

All in all we had a fun time. Taking this step in the process just makes me remember that true beauty is not on the outside. God looks at the heart and that is what matters.


  
“Man looks on the outward appearance, 
but the Lord looks on the heart.”
1 Samuel  16:7  

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Be Still and Listen

I have had more quiet time in this past week than I am used to. My days are usually filled with constant cleaning, dressing kids, feeding kids, playing referee, playing, driving, organizing etc. I have had some wonderful help in this past week since I have not been feeling well. It has just been me and Samuel for most mornings. He does not talk to me much so I have had a lot of time to just think and read and pray. One of the ways I see this cancer as being a blessing is by making me realize how important it is to just be with God and listen. He has given me this cancer and though it is hard and makes me weary, I know it is for a good reason.  I must take joy in it because I do not deserve any better.

I have been reading a great book by Sally M. Knox who is a breast cancer doctor. She shares the thoughts of a breast cancer survivor at the end of her journey:
Cancer taught me I didn’t know if I had a tomorrow. Cancer taught me that true hope and love were based on confidence in God and on faith, not on egotistical plans for the future. Cancer taught me not to be overly optimistic about what I could do and what I could control. Instead it taught me to expect tribulation. Because cancer is tribulation -- but it’s a tribulation that taught me character. Cancer taught me to walk with God by involving my mind, my heart, and my will in that relationship. I learned that even though previously I had the Lord as my Savior, I had missed the best part, the relationship.
In these words I see a woman who was able to surrender all to God and truly listened to Him, and that is my prayer for myself as well.

“Be still and know that I am God; I will be exalted 
among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”
Psalm 46:10 

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Chemotherapy: Week One

Thank you all so much for your prayers and words of encouragement to Erin this week. I want to give you a quick medical update so that you know how Erin is doing and how you can pray for her.

Erin received her first chemotherapy treatment on Tuesday (you can read about it below). She felt alright on Tuesday evening and Wednesday – she was up and about, but was just a little tired. By Thursday the fatigue and nausea she had been warned about began to set in and she spent more time in bed. On Friday her fatigue and nausea reached their peak and she also experienced side-effects like sensitivity to touch and a perpetual metallic taste in her mouth. Even though she was not feeling well, she did still have the strength to continue caring for Samuel, to eat meals with the rest of our family, and to do some reading over the past few days.

Today (Saturday) she is doing significantly better – much more energy, less nausea, and eagerness about feeling “back to normal.” Even though Erin may be feeling better within the next few days, she will not be able to do many of her normal activities – especially activities that require her to be around other people. The chemotherapy drugs severely decrease her immune system, so she needs to use discretion about everything from what food she eats (no raw fruits or vegetables) to how often she is around other people (at home or in public As much as she would love having visitors at the house and attending events at our church and Pooler MOPS, she will not be able to enjoy those things very regularly for the next several months. So as you continue to pray for Erin’s recovery from this first chemotherapy treatment in the coming days, please also pray that she will not grow too weary of being “housebound” in the coming months.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Chemotherapy: Day One

I am going to write throughout my first chemotherapy appointment today…not because I have anything particularly wonderful to write about, but because the Glee episode I was going to watch didn’t download in time. So I guess my loss is your gain! 

1:00PM - Waiting Room
I have always liked the saying, “the simpler the better.” Details are usually good and necessary, but sometimes they are unhelpful. In many ways, that is the case for me today. If I start thinking about the details of what this treatment will (or will not) accomplish or what my side affects might (or might not) be I will definitely start to worry. But I will be just fine if I think of this process as I explained it to my three year-old daughter last night: “Mommy has an owie and is going to the doctor to get medicine that is going to make me better, but it might make me sick a little at first.”

2:00PM - Treatment Room
I met with Dr. Taylor and several nurses, got my blood work taken, and now am waiting in the chemotherapy treatment room. Walking into the treatment room for the first time was a bit strange. There are about a dozen recliners throughout the room. Most of them are occupied by patients who are sleeping or reading while getting their chemo drugs through an IV. It’s sad to think that all of these other people are dealing with some kind of cancer as well. I do feel pretty out of place here, though…I’m easily 20 years younger than anyone else in the room. As much as I wanted to bring Samuel with me today, it is good not to have him in here. He is in good hands with his Aunt Kristin. But I still miss him…this will be the longest we have ever been apart! 

3:00PM - Treatment Room
I am finally getting my first drug: Cytoxin. They will give this to me for about an hour and then I will get another drug for an hour. Most people are already finishing up their IV, so I will probably be the last one here. It has been interesting people watching in this room - I wonder what all their stories are.

4:00PM - Treatment Room
I just started my second drug: Taxotere. Most of the patients have left, so Matt is raiding the snack table. Hopefully he'll share some with me...

4:15PM - Treatment Room
Just a few minutes into my Taxotere I started getting strong back pains throughout my lower back. The nurse had told me to tell her if this happened, so I did. She immediately stopped my IV and a couple minutes later Dr. Taylor was in the room deciding what to do. He decided to give me a dose of steroids and then try the Taxotere again. Hopefully that will work - otherwise I’ll be coming back tomorrow or Wednesday to finish the Taxotere.  

5:00PM - Treatment Room
I am taking the Taxotere again and am not having any more back pain. Hopefully I’ll be out of here in about an hour.

6:20PM - The Car
We’re finally on the way home. In the future my treatments should only take about two hours. I’m feeling fine so far - just a little tired. The nurses said it would probably be a day or so until I start feeling the true side-effects of the drugs.

9:00PM - Home
Though this has been a long and busy day, it has been so encouraging and humbling to know that many people are praying for me. God has given me an overwhelming sense of peace and joy that can only come from Him. My prayer for the remainder of this week is that I will continue to trust in His perfect peace and rejoice in His all-sufficient strength - even though I might not be feeling well.
 
"The Lord is my strength and my song, and He has become 
my salvation; this is my God, and I will praise Him, 
my father's God, and I will exalt Him (Exodus 15:2)."

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Wig Shopping

Matt and I went "wig shopping" today. I will probably begin losing my hair in about two weeks and my doctors recommended finding a wig (or "cranial prosthesis" as they call it) as soon as possible. It was a very interesting experience finding out about the different types of wigs, how to wear them, how to care for them, etc. Our first stop was the American Cancer Society which has free used wigs available for cancer patients. They had a very large and diverse selection, so we couldn't help trying on a few just for fun. Be sure to vote for your favorite look on the survey to the right! Even though losing my hair will be emotionally and physically difficult, it is nice to be able to share some funny moments with my husband along the way.

I did end up getting a wig that might work (and just for the record, it is not one of the wigs in the survey). In fact, the folks at the American Cancer Society referred me to a hairstylist in Savannah that specializes in styling wigs - and he offers his services for free to cancer patients. So we took him the wig...it was pretty bizarre to sit in a beauty salon getting my "hair" done!

Lean on Me

People often ask me what kind of music I like. While some people have a favorite genre of music (or a despised genre of music), there is music in every genre that I really enjoy and music that I simply can't appreciate. Well, now that I think it, I don't think I've ever enjoyed Nortena music (the Mexican version of Polka - now playing at a suburban Tex-Mex restaurant near you). So if you looked on my iPod you would find a seemingly bizzare combination of music: from Beethoven, to Alice Cooper, to Michael Card, to the Gypsy Kings (and about two dozen U2 albums).

In fact, just this week I set one of my car radio's preset buttons to our local Gospel music station. As a Presbyterian pastor, some of the theology expressed in Gospel music makes me cringe. But I love the heartfelt and soulful qualities of Gospel music. So I thought I'd share a great song by the young Kirk Franklin called, "Lean on Me." It's been especially encouraging to me in the recent weeks as our family has had the opportunity to "lean on" our friends and family and, ultimately, our God. I hope you enjoy it (and be sure to watch for a certain sun-glass-wearing man from Dublin)!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Whirlwind of a Week

It has been a whirlwind of a week...and it’s only Wednesday! 

I started off the week on Monday by going to get an MRI biopsy on a suspicious lump in my right breast (the original tumor is on my left side). I was not prepared for what that procedure would be like. I had two other biopsies done in the past few weeks and they did not hurt too bad and they healed very quickly. I was expecting the same this time, but I was oh so wrong.  When I arrived the nurses started telling me about the procedure. They told me I would be in recovery for observation for about an hour after the procedure was over. I hadn’t had to do that for the other biopsies, so that made me begin to get nervous. I waited for about an hour while they gave me the IV in my arm. Then I went back to get the MRI. I had to lay on my stomach with my head down and my arms over my head for over an hour while they took pictures then biopsied, then took more pictures and did more biopsy. Compared to the other biopsies, this one was far more invasive and painful.

But the real pain came that evening. After I had been home for several hours, I suddenly experienced incredible pain and severe bleeding where they had done the biopsy. The nurses had told me to call if I had any substantial pain or bleeding, so I immediately called but could not get a hold of anyone. I have a pretty high pain tolerance, but this pain was so bad that Matt and I decided to head to the Emergency Room (thankfully, Matt‘s parents were visiting and were able to stay at the house with the kids). When we were half-way to the hospital, a nurse returned my call and told us I probably had a blood clot burst. While it was very painful, she said it was not necessarily an emergency and that I could stop the pain and bleeding on my own (applying warm and cold compresses for 20 minutes each). Matt stopped at a gas station to get some supplies to get the compress treatments started. Once we knew it was working, we headed home.

On Tuesday, we met with the oncologist  to discuss my chemotherapy treatment. Once again, we had a lot of information given to us. Here are the basic details. I will start chemotherapy next Tuesday (November 9th) and will return for treatment every 3 weeks for an 18 week period. The chemotherapy drugs (taxotere and cy) will take about 2 hours to administer through an IV. The week following the treatment will probably be the hardest in terms of fatigue, nausea, and a very weak immune system. The next week will be a little better and then the third week (the week before the next treatment) will be fairly normal. Then the process will start all over again for another three week cycle.

There are a few things I need to take care of before chemotherapy begins on Tuesday. One of those things is shopping for a wig/ hat/ scarf... I will begin losing my hair the week after my first chemotherapy treatment, so the nurses suggested finding a wig to match my current hair color and style while I still have my hair. I do not want to let my hair fall out a little at a time, so I will probably have someone shave my head a few days after I receive my first chemotherapy treatment. I don’t think I will wear the wig all the time, but I think it would be good to wear when I am around the kids and when I am in public. Another thing I need to take care of is getting some new glasses. Apparently I can’t wear my contacts during chemotherapy and my current glasses are several years old (so the prescription is not very accurate).   I know my identity is not in my body and in my physical appearance, but at the same time, being somewhat young and having this happen is a little disheartening.  It is always good to be reminded of God’s Word:
Psalm 73:25-26
Whom have I in heaven but You? And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides You. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.
Here are a few prayer requests that I have in light of all this:
1. Please pray that I will tolerate the chemotherapy fairly well. I am especially nervous about getting sick or getting infections because my immune system will be so weak.
2. Please pray that I will not become withdrawn because of how I am feeling and not being able to get out.
3. Please pray that my children will not feel the separation that will happen because of my health.
4. And most importantly, please pray that I will continue to use this experience as a ministry. God is good...ALL THE TIME. Please pray that I will glorify Him!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

A Wonderful Sunday

I had the privilege of seeing my husband Matt perform his first baptism - the baptism of our newborn son, Samuel. As Matt reminded the congregation, baptism is a symbol of belonging to God's covenant community (the Church) and of God's promise to cleanse the hearts of everyone who trusts in Christ alone for their salvation. The name Samuel belonged to my great-grandfather. It is a Hebrew name that means "God heard." While we did not know about my breast cancer when we chose that name for Samuel, it is fitting that over the coming months his name will be a continual reminder that God does hear our prayers. That is always a comforting truth, but it is especially comforting given all of the praying we (and many others) are doing for my health.



Speaking of my health, this will be an important decision-making week for us. I mentioned before that my doctors are recommending that I do my full chemotherapy treatment now and then have surgery to remove the tumor next Spring. Although my BRCA genetic testing came back negative (meaning I do not have a genetic predisposition to breast cancer - making the chances of it returning significantly lower), I will still need about 4-6 months of chemotherapy. So on Tuesday we will meet with Dr. Taylor, my oncologist, to determine what type of chemotherapy treatment I should receive. While I want to be aggressive in doing all I can to treat the cancer, I am also nervous about the various side effects of the chemotherapy. While some of those side effects cannot be avoided, I am praying I will have the strength to care for my children the whole time.



Whatever my chemotherapy brings, I know that every detail of the months ahead is in the hands of God my Savior. He was not surprised when I got breast cancer and He is in full control of every test and treatment of this trial.

This morning in church I sang a hymn during the Offertory called, "All the Way My Savior Leads Me." The text was written by the famous hymn writer Fanny Crosby in 1875. Crosby, who was blind, writes beautifully of the comfort of knowing God is our guide through every trial:

All the way my Savior leads me; what have I to ask beside?
Can I doubt His tender mercy, who through life has been my Guide?
Heav’nly peace, divinest comfort, here by faith in Him to dwell!
For I know, whate’er befall me, Jesus doeth all things well.

All the way my Savior leads me, cheers each winding path I tread;
Gives me grace for every trial, feeds me with the living Bread.
Though my weary steps may falter, and my soul athirst may be,
Gushing from the Rock before me, lo! A spring of joy I see.

All the way my Savior leads me, O the fullness of His love!
Perfect rest to me is promised, in my Father’s house above.
When my spirit, clothed immortal, wings its flight to realms of day
This my song through endless ages—Jesus led me all the way.

In 2003, I wrote a tune to go with this hymn. And in 2009, I recorded it for a collection of hymn arrangements by several members of our former church in San Diego. You can listen to that recording below and, if you are interested, you can read about and download the entire hymns album for free here.

UPDATE: The two links above have been fixed. Thanks.


Friday, October 29, 2010

More from Page CXVI

If you enjoyed the Page CXVI song "Joy" that Erin posted last week, you can listen to more of the band's hymn arrangements using the streaming audio players below. While there are many good arrangements on both albums, I highly recommend "Come Thou Fount" and "In Christ Alone" from Hymns I, and "How Great Thou Art" and "Praise to the Lord" from Hymns II. Enjoy!



Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Medical Update

Last week's MRI came back with a lot of suspicious areas on it in both breasts and in the lymph nodes, so on Monday I had several areas scanned with ultrasound. The doctors ended up doing a needle biopsy on a 2cm lymph node (which, thankfully, came back negative), but they still have concerns about the other lymph nodes. The doctors are also suspicious of a lump in my right breast. I will have an MRI needle biopsy of that on Monday morning. 

My surgeon and oncologist have discussed my case extensively together as well as with another team of doctors. While the original plan was to do surgery first and then chemotherapy, the MRI and ultrasound scans have been so ambiguous (because of my recent pregnancy) that they are now suggesting that I do the chemotherapy first - probably beginning sometime next week. That will hopefully give my body time to readjust from pregnancy and allow them to get more reliable scan results of everything - and hopefully shrink the tumor as well. So later this week I will be meeting with my oncologist to decide what type of chemo I will have.

A Hard Day

Today I cried for the first time since learning I have breast cancer. I saw a mother nursing her newborn baby and I began to feel the reality of my situation. I had been on such a “high” from Samuel’s birth, but now the practicality of what the next few months will bring is starting to weigh heavy on my heart. It makes me sad that I am not able to feed my newborn. It makes me anxious that I don’t know which surgery is best to have. It makes me scared to think about going through chemo with three young children that I want to give my full attention to. I know in my heart that the Lord is gracious and loving and will provide just what I need when I need it. But humanly speaking I am tired and in need of Christ’s supernatural strength to help me along.

I have been reading some of my dad’s book, Diary of a Cancer. He found out about his cancer in the month of October as well. His diary is filled with his daily thoughts, but is also overflowing with Scriptures that speak to those thoughts. Here are a few verses that have been encouraging to me in the past few days:

Romans 5:3-5, Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.

Philippians 1:18b-24, Yes, and I will continue to rejoice, for I know that through your prayers and the help given by the Spirit of Jesus Christ, what has happened to me will turn out for my deliverance. I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know! I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far; but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body.

Psalm 62:1-2, My soul finds rest in God alone; my salvation comes from Him. He alone is my rock and my salvation; He is my fortress, I will never be shaken.


Monday, October 25, 2010

Doctor Day

Today was a big doctor day. This morning I took all three kids to our pediatrician for wellness check-ups and immunizations. Compared to our trip to the library last Friday, this was a breeze.

This afternoon I went down to the Telfair Pavilion for several ultrasound scans of my upper body. Even though getting tests done is not necessarily enjoyable, the nurses there have been extraordinarily kind and helpful to me over the past couple weeks (probably motivated partly by compassion for me and interest in Samuel). The ultrasounds were mostly clear, with the only area of concern being a lymph node on my left side (the same side as the cancerous tumor). I had a needle biopsy done on the lymph node (which was very painful) and we should get those results by the end of the week.

Please pray that God would help me trust in the goodness of His sovereign will, no matter what the test results reveal. As Romans 8:28 promises, "And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose."

Sunday, October 24, 2010

It's the Little Things


As I fight this disease, my hope and trust is ultimately in God and His promises. He is the one who will sustain me and uphold me. But in His compassion and grace, God also sometimes gives us practical, earthly things that we can be encouraged by and take joy in during the hard seasons of life. One of those practical, earthly things that I know will sustain me through the next several months is the gift of my three precious children. 


Last Friday I ventured out of the house with all three little ones for the first time. I would have never imagined that a simple trip to the library could be so traumatic! After I was in the library for a few minutes I began getting “the look."  The look that says, "Why are your kids making noise!? Can’t you keep them quiet!? How about you try controlling those kids!?" Well, I was doing my best and we finally made it to the front counter to check out our books. I was hopeful we would conclude our trip without making much more of a scene. I was wrong...

Samuel was sleeping peacefully in his stroller when Lydia and Hudson decided to grab a hold of the stroller at the same time. As they did, the stroller toppled over on it’s side and landed on Hudson. Thankfully, Samuel was safely buckled in his seat. But the scene was still bad: Hudson was crying under the stroller, Samuel was crying in the stroller, and Lydia just stood there saying, “I’m so sorry! I’m so sorry!”
 
Being a mother of three definitely has its challenges, but I would not change a thing. It's always the little things that bring a smile to my face...even when they are hard.


“Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, 
the fruit of the womb a reward.” 
Psalm 127:3