Journal entry by Staci Daniels —
It’s been quite some time since I’ve written a heart-pouring post. I can’t even count how many times I’ve started to write and deleted..just staring at the blinking cursor. My personal struggles lie in the area of negative self-talk, believing what others have to say about me rather than what Jesus has to say, and the pulling of my heart strings as I try to be all that I think I should be to others. Let me just say, when I try to “control” all of that on my own, IT JUST DOESN’T WORK.
One would think that on this journey of family illness, insecurity, undiagnosed anxiety, exhaustion, and stress that the first life lesson would be “I am not in control.” Well, duh. Why is it that we forget this lesson so quickly when our eyes focus on the problems?
I am reminded of Peter walking on the water in Matthew Ch 14. (My ask- please follow through my ramblings…I have updates to share, an invite for you to join us, and vulnerability to release as I try to open up to where I sense God moving.) Back to Peter…as I studied this scripture more closely, keep in mind the journey that unfolded prior to Peter’s water encounter.
Jesus has just been informed that John the Baptist (his cousin & friend) was beheaded. (Of course He already knew, but Matt. 14:12 shares that John’s disciples buried his body and then went to tell Jesus. (They longed to tell Jesus of their sorrow.)
When Jesus found out, he withdrew from the crowds by boat to a solitary place. The crowds followed on foot and Jesus had compassion on them and healed the sick. (He longed for solitude, but served with compassion.)
As evening approached, the disciples noticed the crowds in this remote place. Send them away to find food, they said to Jesus. (The disciples go-to response was to send away the crowd)
Jesus replied, “They do not need to go away. You give them something to eat.” (Their response was “we have here only…”-focus was on their inadequacies)
Jesus gave thanks to God for what food (provisions) they had. (God multiplied what to them seemed like not-enough.)
The crowd was satisfied. The disciples picked up the leftover broken pieces. (*Why is it that the exhausted stay till the end continuing to pick up the mess?)
Jesus immediately sends them in a boat to the other side and dismisses the crowd. (The Savior recognizes their need for solitude while yearning for it Himself.)
Jesus went up on the mountaintop by himself to pray.
As night fell, Jesus was alone. He walked on the water out to the disciples in the boat. They were terrified and thought He was a ghost and were fearful.
Jesus immediately said, “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”
Let’s focus on where we see God at work in the rest of this passage.
28 “Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.”
29 “Come,” he said.
Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. 30 But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!”
31 Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?”
32 And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down. 33 Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.”
34 When they had crossed over, they landed at Gennesaret. 35 And when the men of that place recognized Jesus, they sent word to all the surrounding country. People brought all their sick to him 36 and begged him to let the sick just touch the edge of his cloak, and all who touched it were healed.
What can we learn through this?
Keep my eyes on Jesus even when I’m exhausted, fearful, and grief-stricken. Although my go-to response is to retreat (not necessarily solitude with the Savior), God will multiply what seems to be not-enough in my eyes as long as I ask Him to provide. He longs for us to have total dependance on Him. He recognizes our need for Spirit-filled solitude and provides those moments…I have to be willing to get in the boat even surrounded by storm clouds. Faith and trust in the One that holds out His hand to me when I doubt and focus on my inadequacies is key to not sinking. This act also prepares me to continue serving with compassion.
Here’s what I know:
Medical related- Since our posting in December of 2021, Kiley has continued to have MRIs every 3 months (Jan., April, and will have one in July). These MRIs have continued to reveal stability. No changes. Other than an obvious post-surgical site from the golf-ball sized tumor removed on July 2, 2020, her scans look good. Praise the Lord! She has also been off Temozolomide (chemo) since early Jan. 2022. She was tired of feeling cruddy & tired all the time. Her doctor encouraged this decision to stop chemo because she had been on it for over a year and often the negative impacts of chemo on the body outweigh any benefit it may have long term. Although we did not see her body fighting against the chemo, her energy level said otherwise. I think she was starting to forget what it felt like to feel good when she had been feeling cruddy for so long. It’s been a blessing to see her feeling soooo much better.
Life related- Cole just finished his freshman year at the University of Missouri, majoring in Broadcast journalism. God has been gracious as both Cole & Kiley had opportunities to plug into a college ministry at The Crossing called Veritas. They have connected in the community through men and women’s Bible study as well as Kiley connecting with others at a cancer support group within their church. They’ve also worked part-time, Cole umpiring high school baseball games with his certification through MSHAA and Kiley working at Flat Branch, a local restaurant, as a hostess and food runner (taking time off this summer to serve and be with family).
Serving related- Kiley had the opportunity, thanks to your investment, to go on a mission trip to Jamaica in March 2022. I asked her where she saw God working and what she felt He was teaching her. Her answer:
Asking for help
Listening more to others’ stories
“In the lives of the people of Harmons, Jamaica they didn’t have the things we have, but they still praised God. They didn’t worry about where their food was coming from the next day and they said “God will provide” and He always did. They were so happy. The whole community reaches out to help members of the community while another lady in the neighborhood makes food with food provided. It was good to see “it takes a village” in action as they trusted God.”
More recently, Kiley & Cole both served at Summerfest (a camp sponsored by our local church). Kiley served 8th grade girls. Cole served 6th grade boys. Kiley shared, “I saw God working in drama and conflict. I hate drama and that’s saying something.” For those of you praying for endurance and energy, Kiley went on a 3 mile hike to what they call “the goat cave.” She climbed over wet rocks, a steep ladder on the edge of a cliff, as well as having to climb back down. At the top, she was enthralled by God’s beautiful creation. Love how God gives us opportunities to trust Him through rocky terrain.
Next week, Kiley & Cole will be serving at Ponca Bible Camp in Ponca, Arkansas. They will both be working with incoming freshman and sophomores. This week, Cole was at Ponca serving with juniors and seniors. Kiley stayed home for much needed rest between camps and because of her dear friends, Jay & Regan’s wedding on Sat.
Upcoming, Kiley made the decision to create a team for Relay for Life KC North taking place on June 25, 2022. Here’s where we are inviting you to join us. She says it better,
I will say I was hesitant to participate in this. I didn’t want to make my cancer and sickness known to everyone. I didn’t want to be known as the sick girl. I also didn’t want to remember all the traumatic events associated with my dad and me. Watching my dad die was the hardest thing in my life. Watching my hero lose his strength. But you see then I thought about it. He didn’t lose his strength, he gained a lot. Cancer is the hardest thing to fight through. Mentally and physically. It makes you stronger as a person. I’ve been fighting cancer for almost 2 years and I’m winning right now. I’ve had my struggles, I’ve fallen into depression because I know there is not a cure yet, but that doesn’t mean a miracle can’t happen. Will you help the American Cancer Society find the cure and do research? If not for me, for you… anybody has the possibility of getting cancer. I'm participating in Relay For Life of KC North to raise money for the American Cancer Society. Could you support me by making a donation?
So here’s the deal, I’m including the links to:
Kiley’s team (I know she would love for some to donate a luminaria- these will be on display in front of our tent the evening of the event, names being read in a meaningful ceremony.)
T-shirt link please read details, this is a fast turn-around and local-pick up only!
Lastly, you all know we love to connect to the Lord through worship. This song has given me all the feels as we trust the Lord on this journey. Hymn of Heaven
Much love to you all.
The Daniels’ & Lemasters’ Families
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