Being a Mom · Cancer · Caregiver · Childhood Cancer · Faith · Life · Lymphoma · Sophie

“Peace is not the absence of trouble; it is the presence of Christ.” [June 5th]

If you randomly found this post, let me explain the title. I’ve had a Facebook update page for my daughter and her cancer journey for the last 2 months and I’ve decided to go back and post them here with the dates until I’m caught up with the current updates. 

June 5, 2017 

“Peace is not the absence of trouble; it is the presence of Christ.”-Sheila Walsh 

   This quote has been stuck on my heart for a week now. My sweet best friend gave us the 5 minutes with Jesus devotional by Shelia Walsh and the very first day was about finding peace in your circumstances. In it she talks about John 15 & 16 where Jesus is telling the disciples about the persecution coming for Him and for them. He tells them that people will hate, mock, and even kill them and that they will grieve His loss the most. He also tells them about the Holy Spirit entering the world in His absence and how their grief will turn to joy through Him. John chapter 16 ends with verse 33:

“I have told you these things so, that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

   Jesus wasn’t talking about the kind of worldly peace that so many of us base our happiness on. He wasn’t saying, ‘You’ll have perfect health, an abundance of money, new cars, new houses, perfect relationships, yearly vacations, and die in your sleep at the age of 105.’ Are any of those things bad? Not at all. They do, however, become a hinderance to you when you base your sense of worth and peace of mind on them. 

   Being at this hospital for almost 3 weeks has shown me this in action. So many different stories unfold here on a daily, sometimes hourly basis. Our story is just beginning but, already God has shown us grace and mercy. There’s so many other stories here that aren’t as positive as ours. That’s not saying that God isn’t showing those families grace and mercy too…their story just looks different than ours. I believe that God is showing himself to them in big ways too. I also believe that He’s using those stories to comfort us in our shock and worry. Yes, our baby has cancer. Yes, it’s still really hard to say that out loud. Yes, we are stuck in this hospital another week. Yes, we know the medical bills are piling up each hour that we are here. BUT oh how much worse it could be. 

   In the past week alone we’ve heard stories much harder than ours. There’s the mom that’s 8 moths pregnant and has been here for 3 of those months with her 3 year old with AML Leukemia who has had complication after complication leading to multiple ICU stays and infections. There’s the 14 month old that’s already spent 7 months of her short life in and out of this place with a mom that only has help from her mom. There’s the extremely healthy 10 year old who had a headache one day and was in a month long coma with a tennis ball sized inoperable brain tumor 3 days later. There’s the 3 year old who’s ending 7 months of intense chemo and radiation from a brain tumor that left her blind. There’s the 18 month old hemophiliac that will practically live in and out of hospitals his whole life. There’s a family 2 doors down that got here 2 weeks before us but, won’t be leaving for at least 3 months. The boy next door is so weak he hasn’t gotten out of bed in 3 days. Finally, there’s the 4 month old baby girl with leukemia who is taken care of by the nurses all day because her mom has no help and has to work. 

   Those are just a handful of the stories that make up the world of childhood cancer. How can we not get on our knees and thank the Lord for an ‘easy’ diagnosis? Our doctors have told us that they see T-Cell Lymphoma tumors the most often, it’s easily treated with chemo and not radiation, the full remission rate is high, it’s not surgical, and it’s not anywhere else in her body. They’ve basically told us the next 2.5 years will be tough but, then they’ll just be a distant memory. How can that not give us peace? It may sound strange to be thankful for cancer but, that’s what I feel. So very thankful for THIS cancer. Is it the worst thing that has ever happened? Without a doubt yes. Do I wonder why my baby after we fought so hard to even get her here? Yep, I’ve ranted to God about it for 18 days and It’s definitely on the list of things we’ll discuss when I get to Heaven. 

   I’m daily struck with the overwhelming sense of grace over this whole situation. If I hadn’t been giving Sophie 3 breathing treatments a day for her ‘asthma’ Shonda could’ve been so much bigger and so many other places by the time we found her. If the albuterol hadn’t sped her heart up and caused her to stop breathing…we could’ve gone weeks or months and something horrible could’ve happened. She could’ve stopped breathing in her sleep or in the car in between Athens and Tyler or on the way to Nacogdoches! When I think about that I just say Praise God for his timing. This hospital stay is terrible, but it’s happening in June, when I can be here without getting docked for missing school. My mom can be here to help us for that same reason. Jonathan works for his dad and doesn’t have to worry about losing his job or feel like he has to be away from us here. We live 10 minutes from my in-laws who can be there for us as quickly as possible and can keep stuff running at home while we are gone. My sister works for herself and can make her schedule to be able to be here for us. We both come from close knit families and our siblings are our best friends that will come at 4AM if we call and listen to us cry when we need to. I’m married to one of the most patient men alive and he’s handling this like a saint. I’ve always known God made us for each other, but it’s on display in a huge new way to me each day. His selflessness as a father and husband would take up a whole other giant post. We even finished a marriage Bible Study about loving each other better through tough times right before all of this happened. How much of the last 5 years of marriage has God been using to prepare us for this? It’s incredible to think about and line it all up in my mind. 

   We have an army of friends and family already invested in Sophie because they prayed for her when I was pregnant. That same army has jumped into action is a way that I didn’t know was possible. I can’t even talk about the amount of support we’ve gotten in 18 days without getting emotional. The GoFundMe account alone is enough to put me in tears for an hour. Then there’s the countless cards, envelopes, gift cards, goodie baskets, presents for Sophie, snacks, pjs for Sophie, mowing our yard, cleaning our house, cleaning our carpet, buying t-shirts, asking to host fundraisers, visitors, people offering their homes and hotel rooms to us, offers to do anything we need, so many messages I’m still not caught up replying to them all, and the extreme amount of prayer being offered up for us. How can we not credit the Lord for all of these amazing people in our lives and this huge blessing? There’s no way we can take credit for this. It’s all Him and THAT friends is where I’m finding peace. God has shown us in just 18 days that He’s got this. That doesn’t mean we are skipping and happy all day every day. I have a crying corner and I’m not afraid to go use it when I get overwhelmed. We don’t understand or like this version of God’s Plan for our lives, but we are accepting it as good because He is good. He’s good when we are scared. He’s good when we worry about money. He’s good when Soph has a bad day. He’s good while we wait. HE. IS. GOOD. He will get us through this and He will use this for His Glory. 

In this world [we] will have trouble. But take heart! [HE] has overcome the world! 

[And we will overcome cancer and come out stronger.]
#BTHOshonda #SophieTheBrave #GodisBIGGER #LymphomaSucks #cancermom #ChildhoodCancerAwareness #GoGold #NoOneFightsAlone #Overcomer 

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