and 1 Thessalonians 5:18- give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
because an attitude of gratitude is the only way to keep our heart and minds fixed on Him... His heart, His character, His faithfulness, His relentless love for us, not the mess in front of us. In the face of this disappointment, we have so much to PRAISE the Lord for:
-they changed up his pain medication in Iowa (not even at our request, God just knew the hope of our heart and orchestrated it) which eliminated Ocycodone and Hydrocodone from his pain management regimen and the result has been that our boy is back. The personality changes we had seen in Andrew that were really difficult to understand and know how to address have improved substantially with the change in pain medication. PRIASE THE LORD!!! We also have a better understanding that the reason Andrew is so much harder on Abigail than he's ever been before is because she is the closest person to him. You know the saying that you take things out on the people closest to you? Well, Abigail is his best friend and the one person (besides us, as his parents) he knows will take anything he throws at her because of her unwavering love and commitment to him. But boy, it's hard for a 10 year old to grasp such a huge concept, but we have seen the Lord move in big ways in her heart and even more so in Andrew's heart as we have been covering this situation in prayer as a family.
-David came to me last week in Iowa and said he felt like he needed to quit his job as a teacher this upcoming school year. He said that his first ministry/priority is our family and he didn't think he could give our family what we needed through this storm while continuing to work, since Andrew has a ton of Dr appointments, scans, may need to do school at home on days he is unable to physically go to school or stay at school all day, etc. His school has been more than supportive, but he also didn't want to put a strain on them constantly having to get subs, etc. After much prayer, the decision was pretty simple and clear that for this season, quitting his job was the right thing to do and I have to say I feel like the luckiest girl in the world to have a man that is sensitive to the Lord's leading and puts his family first without a second thought. A man's job is to provide for his family without question, but what does that provision mean exactly? I think the world tells us that means bringing home the biggest paycheck possible, but I would argue that providing for your family's spiritual, emotional, and physical needs/health trumps any amount of money (assuming the family's basic needs are provided for financially of course, which by God's grace my job takes care of that, especially that critical component of great health insurance). There are so many facets of this journey that can take us out at the knees on a daily basis, but David is diligent and steadfast in leading us as we stand firm, putting on the armor of God and going to battle daily. In addition to leading our family, David not working will allow him to spend more time serving at church, maybe put some time into training for some up coming races, etc.
-So many of you have shared stories about how your faith has been strengthened by our journey, it is those stories that fuel us to push on. If God uses our journey to draw even just one person to the Lord, then it's worth it. We pray you will hold tight to Him with unwavering hope as you consider how deeply loved and treasured you are by your Heavenly Daddy! Please continue to join us in clinging to hope beyond hope that He is able and has a perfect plan that is for our good and His glory.
-Each of you, each member of Andrew's Army, are a gift as you continue to carry us by providing for seen and unseen needs and by faithfully lifting us up in prayer privately and corporately... even showing up on our front lawn to pray with us as we headed out to Iowa. That evening of prayer and worship was something we will never forget!
One of our pastors reminding Andrew of God's truth and promises...
In case you didn't see it on the news or on Facebook, we had the most amazing surprise pep rally for our homecoming from Iowa on Sunday. You can check it out here and fly Southwest Airlines for every aviation need you have because they have demonstrated time and time again that they are a passenger/customer first airline. They are in the business of making travel easy, affordable, and have a servants heart the size of Texas.
One of the coolest things about this surprise was as we all exited the plane, absolutely exhausted from a loooong day of travel and the week we had in Iowa, we walked off the plane and into the arms of some of our dearest friends... each one of our kiddos had special friends there, Gracie included!
-We praise the Lord for His promises...
-When you see God writing a story that can only be explained by a perfect author... For those of you that don't know Andrew's almost 82 year old best friend, meet Mr. Alan! These two are always looking forward to their next playdate where they could tell stories, illustrate those stories, go on adventures, share tears, and tell more stories for endless hours. God has united their hearts (as well as his precious wife, Mrs. Kathy and Abigail) for such a time as this. Praising the Lord for godly men and women who know both suffering and the goodness and faithfulness of our God intimately and who are committed to loving and discipling our children like they are their own.
Meet Scar Neck the Encourager (Alan had surgery on his carotid artery earlier this year) and Scar Belly the Brave proudly displaying their battle wounds.
I can only imagine the story being told here...
-How cute and perfect is this shirt?!?! I absolutely adore it!!! Thank you Elise from Charm and Grace!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
***Now that we have given thanks, here are a couple immediate PRAYER REQUESTS:
-Lord willing, Andrew will start his next round of therapy on Monday (tomorrow). It's a therapy called Everolimus. He has to take it for 3 months straight without any breaks, unless he has unbearable side effects and needs a break. The most common side effects are mouth sores, hair can turn white, increase in cholesterol, nausea/vomiting, fatigue, etc. Will you please pray this medication goes to war with this wretched cancer, causing the tumors to stop growing and tumor regression (shrinking) that is so incredible the only explantation would be God? Please also pray the side effects would be minimal and totally tolerable. It is such a blow to find out that the poison your baby took for 4 months didn't touch the cancer and it continued to grow in spite of it. Please pray that is not the case with this therapy.
You would think we are due for a routine well check where we are told that everything looks good, see you next year. Yeah, well, once again God showed us He has a sense of humor... At Abigail's 10 year old well check she failed her hearing test due to fluid on her ears (we are praying it's just allergy related and will clear on it's own), she had protein in her urine (nurse said that can happen to kids that are really athletic), so we retested the next day and it was fine (praise the Lord), and the Dr checked her spine and sent us for an x-ray to see if she has scoliosis. The Dr said she's seen in kids that swim that on their dominant side they can have bigger muscles which may make it look like scoliosis. The X-ray revealed she doesn't have scoliosis, but she does have Spondylothesis (and something else) which is where one bone in your back slides forward over the bone below it. Praise the Lord it hasn't caused her any pain and it doesn't sound like there is much they do except physical therapy, but we have to see a spine specialist on July 31st. Will you please pray that somehow it was a misdiagnosis and that her back never gives her any trouble because as you know Abigail is a super athletic kid. She would be devastated if she couldn't play soccer, basketball, etc some day. Trusting God's got it because well, He does and He knows we are fresh out of energy and the mental and emotional capacity to handle any more shenanigans.