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Monday, January 19, 2015

Faith in the Face of Cancer


About a year ago, I felt God was pressing me to step away from blogging for a while. I didn't know exactly why or for how long, but I wanted to be obedient. So I walked away. I was in the early stages of my 4th pregnancy and ended up having a lot of sickness for the first half of the pregnancy. I began to focus more on my children (especially my spirited 2 year old, who needed mama's attention), homeschooling, my husband, my home, my church. It was nice to take a break. A few months later, my dad had a bad fall and broke his femur, requiring surgery. My husband started helping my parents out with things around their house and yard, and we were spending a lot of time at their house. Then, on August 5th, 2014 we welcomed our newest blessing ~ Clementine Hosanna ~ through a beautiful homebirth (story to come soon). We were settling into life as a family of six, when one night in November I received a phone call that took my breath away. Now seems like a fitting time to start blogging again and share part of this story. 

I was half asleep, but adrenaline was pumping - I knew something was wrong if my mom was calling me in the middle of the night. On the other end of the line, she was telling me that my sister - who had recently moved out of state - had a seizure, had been taken to the hospital and they had found a brain tumor. I was in shock. We had just gone to visit her 2 weekends before that and had a wonderful time Christmas shopping together. She was fine then. I had just spoken on the phone with her that previous evening. She was fine then too. She is only 27 years old - she is healthy. She has a husband and son. She cannot have a brain tumor...but I found myself rushing around the house, packing bags for Clementine and myself as quickly as I could. My parents were on their way to pick us up and then drive four hours to be with my sister. 

The next week was a whirlwind. The doctors were confident that tumor was benign, but it needed to come out. It was the size of a golf ball. The surgery was scheduled for the following week. My dad and I traveled back home so that we could both be at our respective churches for services that Sunday (he is a Pastor, I lead worship), and then drove back to my sister's a couple of days later for her surgery. My brother and his wife also traveled to be there for the surgery. The night before her surgery we enjoyed a beautiful time of worship together.





Check out my sister's husband's blog to see more videos of our worship time and read more about their story! My sister went into her surgery trusting God, and we lifted her in prayer throughout. Many friends and family members joined us at the hospital during the surgery - we took up an entire family waiting room! She came through the surgery beautifully. The surgeon achieved a gross total resection, which means all of the tumor that he could see was gone and Sarah was 100% herself! God was so good during this time. He took care of every detail , even providing breastmilk for Sarah's son (Gideon) who turned one the day after her surgery. 

Sarah came home for Thanksgiving one week after her surgery and we all rejoiced that God had brought us through! We thought the hard part was over, we thought Sarah was just on the journey to recovery. But when the pathology report came back a few weeks later, we learned that Sarah's tumor was a Grade 3 Anaplastic Astrocytoma - that means cancer, aggressive, scary. Everything changed. But Sarah's faith never wavered. 


"Light a candle, light the dark. Light the world, light a heart or two. Light a candle for me. I'll light a candle for you." My sister and I sang this song countless times over the past 15 years. But today it spoke to me more than ever before. Thank you to every single person that has "lit a candle" for me over the past two weeks. Thank you for your prayers, strength, and encouragement. Words can't fully describe how deeply you've blessed me. Although life is full of unanswered questions, I am promised Gods faithfulness. His relentless love and constant presence is every reason for the smile on my face.. Oh and this perfect little boy;)
 

Sarah is my best friend. I may have bitten her a few times when she crashed my perfect toddler world by being born. And we may have had our years of fighting and teenage hormones, but God could not have created a better best friend for me than my precious little sister. She is the exact opposite of me in most ways. Where I am quiet, she is loud. Where I am passive, she is assertive. Where I am unsure, she is confident. But we share love for music, chick flicks, Leaves candles, motherhood and mamas no-bake cookies. We found our friendship there - in duets at church, planning of weddings, phone calls about pregnancy symptoms, up all night with new baby exhaustion. She is my perfect sidekick - she was always the baby to my mommy, the face to my makeovers, the silly to my songs. She is beautiful - I mean truly breathtaking on the outside - but if you could see her heart, you would know that her external beauty is only a glimpse of her full loveliness. Watching her walk through hard times has made me come to know her in a new and special way - losing a babe from her womb far too soon, hours of hard labor to bring her son into the world, and now, cancer in her brain. Through it all, God would find her faithful. She has a strength that I cannot even put into words. I hope that I can be like her someday.




Sarah is trusting God for her healing. God has led her to an alternative cancer therapy through nutrition and herbs, along with radiation, The treatments are expensive, and will be an ongoing cost for years to come. I am stepping outside of my comfort zone here and swallowing pride, to ask if you would consider donating to Sarah's treatment fund. Of course, I am trying to do everything I can for her! You can follow Sarah's journey on facebook and donate on this GoFundMe page. If you give $5.00 or more, you will receive a "Be A Vessel" wristband in support of Sarah! Even if you cannot give, please share! The best way that you can support Sarah, is through prayer! 




Story behind the wristbands:
Throughout the entire journey Sarah has felt God speaking to her very intimately - and what He has told her from the start is that He wants her to "Be A Vessel". We know that cancer was not part of God's plan for Sarah, but we believe that He can use this trial to grow her faith and the faith of many others. We are asking that you join with Sarah and "Be A Vessel" - in prayer for Sarah, and also in your own life. You can purchase a "Be A Vessel" wristband for $5.00 to support Sarah (anyone who gives $5.00 or more will receive one). 
"Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from these things, he will be a vessel for honor, sanctified, useful to the Master, prepared for every good work." 
2 Timothy 2:21

Thank you all for the blessing you are! 

1 comment:

  1. Dearest Emily, this is a very beautiful tribute to your precious sister. I think you may be a lot more like her than what you know. God WILL supply all of her needs according to HIS riches in glory by Christ Jesus. <3 Sue B.

    ReplyDelete

I really appreciate your comment! I read every one and try to reply in a timely fashion. Have a blessed day :)

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