Monday, March 28, 2011

It is in God's hands

Just a quick update to let everyone know what is going on:

Mike was released from the hospital on Friday to come home. The doctors have done all they can do and everything is in God’s hands. He will not be returning to Moffitt. We have the option to set up hospice if we would like to.

I feel a fire building on the inside of me – more intense each day. I cannot explain it or understand it completely, I am only confident that God is about to do something really big. When I heard the doctor’s report I was torn. I know God’s Word over our lives, but I also know that sometimes His Word is misunderstood, and His plan and thoughts are not our plan and thoughts. I wanted to stand in faith in my spirit but I was physically & emotionally devastated. I cried all night. By the morning, my faith had been renewed. I know it came from all of the prayers going up for us. Each day that has gone by I have felt stronger and more convinced that this is not the end for Mike. Some people may call it denial or a coping mechanism – but I know exactly what it is; it is the faith in the unseen. These are the kinds of moments that define true faith and I refuse to fail. Mike has determined in his mind that he is going to declare the Word of God over his life everyday and not give in to sickness. I am so proud of him. I know how hard it is for me to stand and keep believing, but how much more for him whose body has been trying to convince him daily otherwise. I am so honored to stand beside him during this time. For anyone that may be worried that I am not facing “reality”, I want you to know that I have accepted that God’s plan may be different from what I am expecting. I have full confidence that God will carry me and my family, no matter what and I will continue to praise Him for all that He is. Please do not mourn for us. Stand with us, agreeing that God is the author of life – He counts every breath and nothing can come to us unless it has passed through His hands first.

We love you all and are so thankful for your prayers and support. Now, more than ever, pray for God’s will to be done and for His glory to be revealed. It takes faith – and all of us coming together in agreement. (Matthew 21:21-22 So Jesus answered and said to them, “Assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith and do not doubt, you will not only do what was done to the fig tree, but also if you say to this mountain, ‘Be removed and be cast into the sea,’ it will be done. And whatever things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive.”)

Mike’s declaration:

I declare that I am a child of God, co-heir with Christ and I have been given all power and authority over the enemy. (Luke 10:19) I am clothed in the righteousness and the spiritual armor of God. (Eph 6) My struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. I stand firm with my mind covered with the helmet of salvation and I will receive only thoughts that honor and glorify God. I tighten the belt of truth around my waist that I will not receive lies, but God’s truth alone. I have the breastplate of righteousness fitted firmly against my chest, protecting me from the arrow that flies by day and the pestilence that stalks in the darkness, and the plague that destroys at midday. (Psalm 91) A thousand may fall at my side and ten thousand at my right hand, but it will not come near me. My feet are prepared with the peace of knowing the gospel of Jesus Christ and the readiness to share it with all who will hear and receive. I am holding up my shield of faith as the assurance of everything I am hoping for. I am not moved by what I see and feel physically. Everything that will be seen in my life will not be made from anything that is visible. My faith is stronger than my circumstances and everything that is physical, logical & tangible. (Heb 11) I take up the sword of the spirit which is the Word of God. It is life to my bones and health to all of my flesh. (Prov 4:22) The word of God is quick and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of my soul and spirit and of my joints and marrow. (Heb 4:12) I get all of my energy from His Word. I will use it to defeat the enemy, conquer him and show him powerless against the children of God. (Col 2:15) I will dwell in the shadow of the Most High and rest under the shadow of His wings, making the Most High my dwelling place. I will say of the LORD, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” Because I love Him, He promised He will rescue me; He will protect me, because I acknowledge His name. I will call on Him, and He will answer me; He will be with me in trouble, will deliver me and honor me. With long life He will satisfy me and show me His salvation. I will pray without ceasing, alert and persistent in my prayers for all believers everywhere. I boldly declare that I will live and not die and proclaim the works of the Lord! (Ps 118:17) So shall my word be that goes forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it. (Isa 55:11) He is the LORD, the God of all flesh. There is nothing too hard for Him!! (Jer 32:27)

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

grab your tissue box...

Let me start with last week since I never updated everyone that Mike made it through brain surgery great and all of the pathology and infectious disease reports came back clear as of yesterday. (Thank God!) Getting home last week was a bit challenging. Mike was barely able to walk to the bathroom alone and did not have much of an appetite or ability to do much of anything except sleep. One morning I took him to a lab appointment and he was so sick, it just broke my heart. Watching his feeble steps, seeing his eyes sunken and yellow, his skin flaking off in sheets all over his body, his muscles reduced to skin hanging off of his bones, the 5” wound on the back of his scalp… it was all more than I could bear. The frustration and emotion had been building but that day I just broke. When we got home I sat in the car and just screamed at God – “WHERE THE HE** ARE YOU?!?!!” I had an all out venting session about how I have stood in faith and given Him all the glory for everything and it just didn’t seem like He was coming through. Of course I repented as soon as the words left my mouth but part of having a good relationship with God is knowing that He knows my heart and He understands. I can be real about my feelings – every part of me – and not hold back. You can judge me if you dare or be disappointed in my lack of faith, but I am not going to front like I am not human... I heard a tiny tap on the window next to me, but I couldn’t even look up. I felt somebody crawl into the car next to me and place a tiny hand on my shoulder, “it’s going to be ok Mommy.” I couldn’t do anything except collapse in lap of my 9 year old little girl and cry. She held me and sang one of her favorite worship songs, “so close I believe You’re holding me now in Your hands I belong, You’ll never let me go…” and she read me a story until I stopped crying. We pulled out of the driveway together to pick up Mike’s medicine and Zack called me, “Mom… are you okay? I just talked to Daddy and he is really crying. He thinks he is a burden to all of us and I tried to tell him he’s not. What can I do? (His voice was shaking and broken through his tears) I just want to help but I don’t know what to do.” I explained to both of them that we just need to trust God and really pull together as a family to enjoy the good times and love & encourage each other through the harder ones. Jadeyn spent the whole day with me, reading greeting cards at the pharmacy, encouraging me to smile and be happy. We all spent the evening talking and laughing and playing games. Sometimes God doesn’t remove the pain – he just strengthens your ability to endure it.

Over the past week Mike has appeared to be getting better. His appetite has increased a little and he has made attempts to get out of the house and do more. He had a bone marrow biopsy Friday which would tell us whether he needed to go through another round of chemo or if it would clear him for the path to transplant. I was prepared for news for either route – but not the news we received this morning… His labs were alarming. His white blood cells were at 188,000 – a normal person is between 4,000-8,000. The leukemia had completely taken over which is what happens in the final, most aggressive stage of the disease. They are going to “cleanse” his cells with a machine which will pretty much just buy him time. They have done all they can do as far as medicine is concerned. The doctor has not spoken to me directly about time, but I am getting the impression that they are thinking days…maybe weeks.

Honestly, I have been waiting for this moment. I knew it was coming…dreading it –wondering if I would have what it takes to hold it together and to keep faith… someone gave me a message several months ago that they believed was from God - the message was that God was not going to use medicine to heal Mike – but that Mike would be healed by the Spirit of God, that only God may receive the glory. I received that word. And though we continued with the protocol recommended by Moffitt, I knew deep down that medicine was not going to be the final answer for him.

We are physical, emotional and spiritual beings. People operate at different levels for each and fluctuate at different points of their life depending on the circumstances, but I personally have made it my goal to keep my spirit stronger than my flesh and my mind. I take it all in on a physical and emotional level by what is logical, tangible and by what is felt, but I weigh it heavily against what is in my spirit. My brain is calculating time, Mike’s condition and appearance, planning ahead; My heart is broken, smashed to pieces, overwhelmed by the thought of losing my love (I have never lost anyone in my life and I have no idea what that feels like); In my spirit, I am at complete peace. It is unexplainable other than in the Bible where it says that God will give us a peace that “surpasses understanding”. I know that God is totally capable of turning this around and performing a miracle in Mike. Jesus would not have raised people from the dead if we were not to hope in such things. I tell God all the time that I am not sure my faith is that big – and He speaks back to me saying, “It’s ok because it doesn’t depend on you. I got this.” :-D All I can do is speak life, pray and continue hoping that God’s will for Mike’s life includes keeping him here on Earth with me and the kids. Mike and I have always told God that when it was our time to go, we wanted to go together, when we are old and have lived a fully satisfying life, so that we would never have to spend one day without the other. I don’t know God’s plan. I don’t have some magical insight to what is ahead of us, but I do have Jeremiah 29:11 “’For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future’”. I am standing on that.

As always, I appreciate everyone’s prayers and support. It is still very important to me that everyone speaks positive, good things about Mike’s health, or to follow up a negative sentence with “but God is bigger!!” We are blessed to have both of our childhood best fiends visiting with us this week. They have been a huge help to us already and I appreciate all of the running that the dance moms are doing on our behalf!! We love you all – and we are grateful for your love for us. I guess now, we just wait prayerfully and see what God is going to do! Keep your faith up!!!!!