Tuesday, October 20, 2009

The knight in shining armor

I was reading an update earlier today about one of our fellow St. Jude friends who is also battling brain cancer. Unfortunately, at the end of his treatment, his "end of treatment MRI scans" showed that his tumor had grown and spread. The family was, understandably, devastated and have gone on to endure more radiation treatments in hopes of fighting this thing. Their son is actually doing extremely well and they are just leaving his future in God's hands. A similar story to our own, only we have not received any bad news on scans in a long time...for which we are undoubtedly thankful. But what got me about the story of this little boy is their most recent update. He just had his three-month scans and they came back "stable". Although this appears fantastic news to most people, in the world of cancer, it's really not. His mom voiced her frustration with the results and I completely understood her emotion. People often comment to me after we get stable results from Chunks' scans, "Well now you can celebrate and rest easy!". Um, no. Because who could ever really "rest easy" when they know their child has a monster in their brain just waiting to attack? It's this constant feeling of wanting something to change. Let it grow so we can try to kill it, let it shrink so we can believe in something concrete, let it just disappear so we can finally claim that miracle. But instead it just sits there, flirting with your fears, toying with your emotions, constantly forcing you to face the looming statistics. Sometimes this waiting game is almost worse than when you're just in the thick of it. I can vividly remember getting this huge adrenaline rush whenever we would get bad news. It wasn't that I thrived off of the horror of the situation, it was more like I got my game face on and I was ready for battle. We were going in to fight this cancer, we were going to give it all we had and God was going to sustain us through it all. And we did.....and He did. And as thankful as we are for the dormancy of those cancer cells, I'll just be honest, I won't ever rest easy until that tumor is defeated. I always picture a knight going into a castle to rescue his awaiting princess but first he has to get past this horrible dragon. Would he be satisfied to pass if the dragon had just fallen asleep for a bit? Would he be so brave to continue on knowing that the horrible monster could awaken at any moment? This is where my struggle lies.

As I have been mulling over this, it occurred to me that God already knew my internal battle. I have a feeling He has been trying to teach me a few things for awhile now, I've just been resistant to His lessons. I'll be honest for a minute, sometimes I tire of learning these lessons because it forces me to break through my skin and grow. And growth, as pleasant as the end result might be, is just not always a fun thing to experience. But I realized something about my story that has changed my perspective on all of this. As much as I envision myself as this knight coming into a castle to rescue my precious little Chunk, that's just not how the fairytale goes. I can put on all the armor I want but I will never succeed in getting past that sleeping dragon. For it was never my role to be the knight in shining armor, I'm trying to replace Someone who is waiting for me to step aside. Jesus Christ is her protector, the valiant One that will come to her rescue and save her. And what's more humbling is that I'm not even the soldier by his side in this story, I'm the maiden in the far away room, comforting the princess as she waits for her warrior. I'm not supposed to save her. That might be such an obvious thing for most people but it's been a huge discovery for me. The problem is, I just want to fight, I want to go into this battle running and in that effort I push aside the real hero. For if I am the lead then what does that leave Him? She is ultimately His child, more than she is mine, and it is simply my job to guide her, love her, care for her and stay by her side through all the ups and downs. I can fight for her in spirit, believing against all odds that her body will be healed, having faith in a miracle that most doctors do not believe exists. But I cannot defeat this cancer, I cannot rid her body of this tumor, I cannot fix her. And for some reason that fact sends me to my knees as I realize how powerless I really am in this situation. I somehow think God wants us to embrace our weakness so we can finally understand that this life is just impossible without Him. So, as hard as it is and as much as it hurts, I'll step aside. I will treasure the role God has given me as her mother and I intend to pour every ounce of myself into it. But I can step aside with peace knowing that we'll be waiting up here for Christ to come in and save us. Knowing that He will come in running to slay that awful dragon, sending it to the pit of hell where it belongs. Finding comfort in the fact that at the end of this story, either on earth or in heaven, He will rescue her.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

What a difference a year can make

I was looking back at some pictures today on my computer and came across something that literally brought me to my knees. As much as I do remember from St. Jude's, as fresh as my memories still are about the daily battles we fought, somehow I had forgotten just how sick my little princess really was. And as sad as that memory is, it's also amazing. Amazing because to look at her just twelve months ago and compare it with today, you would have to conclude that her health and her life is an absolute miracle. I know I talk about this all the time but I'm still in awe over the journey Jesus walked with us and the light we have seen at the end of it all. For here we were a year ago at the end of September, in the midst of horrible chemotherapy, sometimes daily blood transfusions and constant sickness:



And here she is today, a year later, happy, healthy and thriving with every step.




How can you not believe in miracles after just simply looking at this picture. Look what God has done in just twelve months. The tumor might still be there, her future might still be unknown but for today, in my book anyways, she is healed!!