Nov 26, 2020 Latest post:
Jul 13, 2021
The Butler Family had a house fire the evening of November 25th. We will be updating with needs and ways to help as their family navigates the next few weeks to months, and there will be updates from the family as Davis battles cancer. Click on the "Ways to Help" link above to see the Meal Train sign-up. You can also reach out to Graham Pifer 404-558-4010 or Kelly Hall 678-770-0693,
In the summer of 2008 while running, my disk at L5-S1 ruptured resulting in intense back and sciatic pain down my right leg. Just a few days later, I was having emergency surgery. While I was in recovery, the neurosurgeon told Janie that that my S-1 feeder nerve to my right sciatic nerve had been partially severed by the material from the ruptured disk. This type of injury cannot be repaired and these nerves do not heal. So, I have suffered with sciatic pain in my right leg ever since. The suffering has been terrible for sure, but the nearly constant pain has pushed me closer and closer to God and helped see how being in good physical shape was an idol that needed to be torn down.
The sciatic pain meant no more running, so I increased my biking. I have always loved being on two wheels even though biking in Atlanta can be risky. In 2010, I was again getting into better shape and losing weight gained after all my back and sciatic issues. Honestly, I think the physical fitness idol was rearing its ugly head again.
On my way up into the North Georgia Mountains to camp in the fall of 2010, in an instant I could no longer see. I pulled off the road immediately to let someone else drive. For the next week I could not quench my thirst, and I started having horrible leg cramps at night. A few days later, I was diagnosed as a Type 1 diabetic and put on insulin. (Yes, adults can become Type 1 diabetics.) In an instant, I could not live without insulin every hour of every day. Again, I was reminded of the frailty of life.
I begged God to please help me understand why the sciatic pain and why Type 1 diabetes. Laura Story wrote a song called "Blessings" that amazingly changed my perspective. She asked,
"What if your blessings come through raindrops? What if your healing comes through tears? What if a thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know your near? What if trials of this life are your mercies in disguise?"
The sciatic pain, the Type 1, all the other normal life challenges we face, at least for me have been God's sweet mercies – God loves me way too much to give me lesser things. Through all of these trials, I have been drawn to the creator of the universe and the pain reminds me that this earth is not my home. Laura ends her song by saying, "What if my greatest disappointments or the aching of this life is the revealing of a greater thirst this world can't satisfy?" I now have this greater thirst, which has now been highlighted again by the events of the past couple of weeks.
On October 31, 2020, I was told that I have a neuroendocrine cancerous tumor on my pancreas. Several days later I learned that the cancer had spread to my liver. So, I have stage 4 cancer in my abdomen. It is shocking. This cancer was found because of an unrelated sickness that was diagnosed by a CT scan that also showed a suspicious shadow on my pancreas. The cancer has caused no symptoms at all. Only by God's grace was this caught in time for me to have a shot at surviving, and my prognosis is good. The road to recovery, however, is brutal including two challenging abdominal surgeries and chemo.
I had my first abdominal surgery on November 17th, and it was tough. While I was asleep around midnight one week after surgery (the night before Thanksgiving), Benjamin, my oldest son screamed for everyone to immediately get out of the house yelling that our house was on fire. I was helped down the stairs and outside and turned around to watch our house and just about everything in it be destroyed in about 30 minutes. Everyone was ok, but nearly everything I had worked for during the past 30 years was gone.
Janie and I are suffering for sure. We want everyone to see, however, how God works in and through the hard stuff in miraculous and unexpected ways. Our neighbors are loving on us in ways that I never dreamed would happen. Our church family is incredible, and my discipleship guys are just amazing. We have lost just about every worldly thing but we are so incredibly blessed. I would not trade this community of people and their love and support for anything. God is using people to love on us in ways that I did not even think possible.
I will share more about the hard stuff along the way, but I will always end with thankfulness and praises to our creator and king. May he be glorified in all things. If that means that we must suffer, then so be it. Though he slay me, I will praise him for all eternity. He is worthy!