Katie and I started this journal on August 1st, but one year ago today on July 29th, Katie and I sat in an emergency room with our 5-year old only to hear the awful diagnosis that she was suffering a form of childhood cancer called Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. Treatment started immediately and our lives were turned upside down. In the days that followed, she survived a bacterial infection, sepsis, liver failure, and a host of other complications that left us in the hospital for weeks on end. 365 days later, we are celebrating her life and all God has brought her through.
The attached picture offers a visual snapshot of the before and after of cancer and the sickness in between. In many ways, this process has felt like life, death, and resurrection for Grace. Today she is thriving. Her hair has changed from brown to blonde. Her body is growing and she is taller and bigger than before. Her attitude is stronger. Her faith is deeper. God has answered the prayers of thousands of people that have stood in the gap for her and has surprised us in the process. He has reminded us of his faithfulness through the most unlikely of people, and we have been showered with blessings.
We are so thankful for all God has done.
This past Christmas Grace started a very difficult phase of treatment called delayed intensification and knowing the brutal nature of the process and the challenge of watching her suffer, I sensed God leading me to the Psalms for encouragement. Soon after, I decided to devote the entire year of 2020 to this incredible book and I continue to meditate on at least one Psalm every day of the year.
Today it was Psalm 90.
Psalm 90 was chronologically the first psalm ever written in the Bible and the only psalm of Moses. The editors of this collection of 150 psalms placed Psalm 90 in a very strategic position immediately after Psalm 89, the national crisis that consumed Israel, and the destruction of Jerusalem, the temple, and the monarchy. Psalm 90 is written to remind the Israelites that in spite of the challenging times, God is still king. He was king when Moses was leading the Israelites and he will be king long after. The psalm begins, “Lord, you have been our dwelling place throughout all generations” and goes on to detail the brevity of humanity, the sovereignty of God, and the fleeting nature of human life. Moses then writes a concluding thought in vs. 12 in light of this knowledge. He says, “so teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom”.
In other words, life is short. Make every day count.
We’ve had 365 of them since Grace was first diagnosed with cancer and we know she will have many more. This entire process has brought incredible renewal to our lives and a new perspective on the things that matter most. Certainly there have been challenges, but both Katie and I have also experience the reality of vs. 14 that reads, “satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love, that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days”.
This is our prayer. What does the future bring? Tomorrow is Day 366. Her final day of treatment is Day 820. In the meantime, we pray we will grow in wisdom and make every day count, not only for Grace, but also for the kingdom. We live in challenging times as the people of God, but we also have great hope.
Thank you for your continued prayers!
Jon and Katie
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