Wednesday, October 26, 2011

(Almost) Wordless Wednesday, Pre-Empted for Joy

I am in absolute awe this week, of the miracles and evidence of God's love I've seen in families around me.  I just had to share.  I know the post is (too) long, but the stories are truly amazing.  Next Wednesday I'll go back to letting some photos do the talking.

1) After 5 years of battling leukemia, including 2 marrow transplants
...with side-effects horrendous beyond imagination (Can you imagine watching your child bleed from his eyes, and face death every day, including from simple viruses to which his cancer treatments leave his life exposed?)                                                                                                   
... with a family displaced, living much of the time in separate states, as Mom stayed near the hospital, handling the medical problems and decisions, and Dad stayed near work, only able to see or support his stressed wife and ailing son in person on rare occasion
... with an older brother's life spent, going back and forth between parents, growing mature beyond his years, watching his brother suffer, and playing an essential and tough role as his bone marrow donor and cheerleader
my cousin's 9 year old son faced his second 'year-after' scan.  

From newsflash, his aunt's blog post
on Another Journey... 
Last time, following the first marrow transplant from his brother, the news was bad and the treatments started anew.  I'm sure it was a hard night while they awaited the results, knowing that if it was bad news, there were no more answers in the doctor's bag of tricks.  
But the news was wonderful... Clean marrow.  NO cancer.  Transplants can never in his life be considered a sure thing, but for now, things are good.  Life is 'normal' for this young family.  Prayers have been answered in a mighty way.                                                                                                                                           
You turned my wailing into dancing;
   you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy,  

 that my heart may sing your praises and not be silent.
   LORD my God, I will praise you forever.  --Psalm 30: 11 - 12

2) Friends of mine from high school married and opened their hearts to God's will in their lives and were blessed with 10 children.  They're an extremely talented bunch, singing, playing piano, violin, and other instruments.  They perform as a group, The Voetberg Family Band, and have won many awards, as a group and as individuals.  Their 2 eldest have now married and left the band, and their number one son and his wife joyfully welcomed a daughter of their own.  

At 2 days their little girl had some troubling signs.  It turned out she was having seizures and a series of strokes that the doctors couldn't explain or prevent.  Her brain was severely damaged, and in several places.  The doctors couldn't tell her new parents if their daughter would walk, or talk, just that it was most likely she would be "severely handicapped."  
So for the last 6 months, they, family, and countless friends and fans prayed for healing, and the young parents kept their hearts open to whatever God's plan was for their daughter.  The family cherished each milestone she accomplished, not knowing if it would be as far as her brain could take her.

This week her daddy posted a note on Facebook, reporting results of her recent brain scan... 
Fully normal.  NO residual damage.  Not even a scar or spot left to improve.  
They followed the scan with a developmental evaluation, and she scored ahead of her age level.  The neurologist was astounded, and again, had no explanation.  She asked, "Did you pray a lot or something?"  

Yes, indeed.  There is power in prayer. God's miracles are real and AWESOME.  The doctor sent them home with a "normal" little girl in whose future those strokes and seizures will play no part... Except that for all of us this story has touched, we know the power of prayer and the love of God a bit better, and her parents will never take a moment with her, or any accomplishment she performs, for granted.

O Lord, you alone are my hope.
      I’ve trusted you, O Lord, from childhood.
 Yes, you have been with me from birth;
      from my mother’s womb you have cared for me.
      No wonder I am always praising you!

 My life is an example to many,
      because you have been my strength and protection.
 That is why I can never stop praising you;
      I declare your glory all day long.   --Psalm 71: 5- 8                                                                                                                                                        

If you have a Facebook account, I hope you might be able to read the story here:  Andi Update: A time of rejoicing!

3) One of my readers is a faithful mom, providing for her family, in part, by baking their breads.  But the motor recently burned out on her bread mixer with no funds in the budget to replace it.  The kids miss the bread and the mom misses making it.  She researched mixers and knew what she'd get, but had no idea how it would happen.

She shared with me that while in church last week she felt that God let her know He would take care of the mixer situation, and that it would be soon.  She told her husband about the feeling on her heart, and they prayed.  They thought maybe there'd be some extra work for her husband that week that could help cover the price of the mixer.  But that didn't happen, and after a few days she started to feel a little silly, sharing that unexplainable feeling to her husband, and shrugged it all off... Until she opened the mail and found a refund check she hadn't expected.  Enough to cover the mixer, so it's been ordered and is on its way.                                                                                                                                                              
You will have plenty to eat and be satisfied and praise the name of the LORD your God, who has dealt wondrously with you; --Joel 2:26                                                                                                                                                                                 
A mixer is not on par with the miracle of a child's life snatched from illness.  But it shows God cares for us in the smaller things; in helping us provide for our families in the way we love.  I couldn't put it any better than she did:  
"Yes the big things are awesome, but the little things remind me that He is truly a day-to-day God, personally walking with me."  
All of these stories give me incredible encouragement, especially as a parent concerned for the lives of my children, and our family's well-being.  God can heal a baby's brain, clear a boy's body of cancer, and grant a mom's desire to feed her family all at the same time and in the same gift of grace and love.  It's nice to be reminded for ourselves, and it's a blessing to share in the tremendous joy of others.  

Is anyone among you suffering? Then he must pray. Is anyone cheerful? He is to sing praises...  --James 5:13
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