I have been struggling physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Sometimes I feel like I cannot go on, my heart is breaking, and my faith is tested. We all face trials and times of pain. We are sometimes on a path that seems too difficult and we are afraid of what lies ahead. In times of weakness we have our doubts and we can feel like we are alone. However, we can take comfort in knowing that we are deeply loved by God, who knows and understands each one of us. He never leaves us and He is our strength. Whom have I in heaven but you? I desire you more than anything on earth. My health may fail, and my spirit may grow weak, but God remains the strength of my heart; he is mine forever. (Psalms 73:25, 26 NLT)
I'm so thankful that God loved us so much that He sent his Son to die for us and our sins. That because of Jesus' sacrifice, we have the hope of Heaven. I want my relationship with Jesus to be genuine and true. I want to be completely trusting and full of hope. The days have turned into weeks and weeks into months and I need His help to endure and to help me be patient as I wait and continue on. When I get distracted and don't keep my focus on The Lord but on my circumstances, I start doubting. I begin to doubt His power, His love, and His plan which then I begin to lose my hope. You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you! (Isaiah 26:3 NLT) Through all of this God is continually teaching me and growing me. He knows my thoughts and he knows my heart. He loves me and listens to me. He continues to reveal himself to me and have compassion on me. Let us hold tightly without wavering to the hope we affirm, for God can be trusted to keep his promise. So do not throw away this confident trust in the Lord. Remember the great reward it brings you! Patient endurance is what you need now, so that you will continue to do God’s will. Then you will receive all that he has promised. (Hebrews 10:23, 35, 36 NLT)
In July I completed my third cycle of chemo and I had a good week and didn't sleep as much as last time. I haven't been as tired and I have been gaining more strength.
I am certain that God is continuing to work in my life and that He cares for me. At night I don't always sleep well. However, during those times when it is quiet I read God's Word and I pray. I know so many of you are praying for me and I am so thankful for your prayers. Several weeks ago I could not sleep and so I prayed. Through the night I had the feeling of pins and needles on my left side. Even though I was in pain it was encouraging because I had more feeling in the morning on that side. I also was joyful because I was able to move my arm and all five of my fingers more easily because I had more feeling! I thanked God because He heard my prayers and He encouraged me by showing me He hears me and you and He is answering. Make thankfulness your sacrifice to God, and keep the vows you made to the Most High. Then call on me when you are in trouble, and I will rescue you, and you will give me glory.” (Psalms 50:14, 15 NLT)
On Tuesday night I was getting a towel off the shelf for Lucas and I fainted. Thankfully, he had followed me into the bathroom and was standing behind me. Even being only nine years old he was able to keep me from falling backward and hitting my head. I woke up to him calmly asking me if I was okay and if he should go get his dad who was downstairs. My doctor does not think I had a seizure but it was because I was reaching over my head which caused dizziness. The next night Lucas came in to check on me after we had gone to bed. While we were talking he said to me "Mom, I really think God is going to heal you but that the tumor won't be gone tomorrow because God is not done using you yet." I told him I hadn't been writing as much lately and he asked me why. Why? I've asked myself the same question. In the beginning of all of this I just wanted God to use me but this isn't just about me. This is about all of us. We all face difficult times. We all at times experience a situation that crushes our spirit. I know for me without focusing on God I cannot go on day after day. I may not understand and I may not know where I am going but day after day he sustains me. When I first received my diagnosis I remember thinking without Jesus I would not have any hope in this situation. He is our hope and He is the one who loves us all and rescues us when we turn to Him and trust Him.
Yesterday I went for my MRI and follow up appointment. Lucas was right that the tumor is not gone but my doctor did say that my scan looked good. The swelling has improved but there is still some swelling in a new area which is why they think I have been unable to completely taper off the steroids without experiencing migraines. Hopefully, the swelling will continue to improve over the next several weeks and I will be able to stop taking the steroids completely. The tumor does look slightly smaller and it also appears that it could be breaking apart more. Praise God because I had a positive report! Even though there are still not definite answers and I still continue to struggle physically, I am thankful that I am improving. I will begin my fourth cycle of chemo next week and I am halfway through my original treatment plan. I am scheduled to go back to John's Hopkins on October 17th for my next MRI and to meet with my doctor.
I want to encourage you that even though we struggle and sometimes feel like giving up, God does not give up on us. He is my everything! Unless the Lord had helped me, I would soon have settled in the silence of the grave. I cried out, “I am slipping!” but your unfailing love, O Lord, supported me. When doubts filled my mind, your comfort gave me renewed hope and cheer. (Psalms 94:17-19 NLT)