Press play on this video so you can listen to this song as you read this post.
It would be so easy for me to tell you that the reason I have not written a post in several weeks is because we have been so busy due to the flooding in our home town. The flooding was tremendous and the work has been overwhelming. This is true.
But, that is not why I have not written.
From the first time I wrote a blog post, I told the Lord that this is His blog. I was not writing because I wanted to. I was writing because I had to. The Holy Spirit would almost move my fingers….I’m not kidding. It was like a burning inside of me and the words just had to come out. The Holy Spirit was so close. He was tangible.
But, Clay’s treatment ended. The flood came. My schedule got interrupted. And, I let my self motivation take over. I started doing things on my own. I stopped consulting the Lord with every breath. I became distracted and consumed with the task at hand and I left that place of intimacy with Jesus.
And, guess what happened? The same thing that happens to you when you do this. (You know what I’m talking about.)
I got sad. I got overwhelmed. I got tired. Very tired.
I got worried. I got frustrated.
I lost sight of a few really important things.
And, then, I realized that even if I had wanted to write a blog post, I couldn’t. I just didn’t have anything to give. I was empty. I was broken. I was sad.
I found myself constantly thinking about my situation. I was watching a great deal of devastation all around me, and my heart broke for my family and friends who lost everything. Then I would look back at my life and feel devastated all over again. I started looking at those walls of water on both sides of me. Remember those walls? Those millions of pounds of water that are shooting up into the air in order to clear a path for us to walk on dry ground?? Yes. Those walls.
They are loud, they are heavy, they are huge, they are completely scary. But, the God who holds them up for me to walk, is the same God that He has always been. And, He is still here. I am not alone. You are not alone.
He goes before you. He never leaves you. He loves you. Let that thought sink in. I hope you are able to listen to the lyrics of this beautiful song while you read. They are so good. What more could we ask for in this life? Than to know that we are not alone. That Jesus is with us and He is acquainted with us. He has suffered so much more than we will ever suffer. He knows how we feel.
The best part is that He is waiting for us to come back when we stray away. Honestly, y’all, I had to just repent. I had to ask Him to forgive me. I had to admit what I had done and ask for forgiveness. I had to admit that I can not do this on my own. I can not handle this without Jesus. I can’t.
Unlike me, or you, God is perfect. And when we come with a repentant heart, He is so eager to forgive us and love on us. Sometimes when we are hurt by others, it takes us a while to forgive. You know what I mean? When someone offends you and then they come apologize. They can even really mean it. But, it can take time for us to accept the apology and really let go of the anger. Ok, maybe you don’t know what I mean, but I am like this.
God isn’t like that. He was waiting for me. I can just imagine Him standing there with excitement on His face. I can see Him with His lips already forming the word “YES! Yes I forgive you!” Even before I could get the words out of my mouth….because He knew that my heart was sorry. He can see the deepest parts of my heart and mind. He knew. And He had already forgiven me. My sin was already covered and washed away.
So, I knelt and told Him I was sorry and immediately…..I’m not kidding……immediately, the words that I’m typing right now starting flooding into my mind. It’s kind of crazy. But, it reassures me that the Lord intends for this message to go out. Even if I have to admit to all of you that I am a sinner and that I’m imperfect, it’s ok because you already knew that. And, you are just like me. We are just wretched sinners who need a Savior.
So, wherever you are today. Whatever you are dealing with. No matter the burden you bear. Don’t trust in yourself. Don’t rely on your own wisdom or strength. It won’t work.
Come back to Jesus. Come close. Know Him. Be intimate with Him.
Let Him love you and forgive you. You are not alone. What an amazing thought? We are not alone.
We are also not alone in our battles because we are surrounded by so many others who are suffering, too. One of those is a very special friend of mine from high school.
I remember like yesterday when I heard that Paige Landry’s husband Graham had been diagnosed with cancer. It’s been 3 years since their fight began. They fell in love when they were 17 years old, have been happily married since, and have 3 adorable little girls. My mom says they look like the girls in Despicable Me! Ha. So cute.
I remember feeling so desperate for Paige and Graham. I laid in bed one night with Clay and just bawled while hugging him so tight. I wondered what in the world she must be feeling and thanked God that I had never known desperation like that. When I got the news of Clay, Paige was one of the first people I thought of. I know knew how she felt. Hmmmm….I never dreamed we would share the same burden. Never.
But, we do. And it was so wonderful to finally be together this week. They were in town to bring supplies to flood victims and we got to have dinner with them. This is why God created the Body of Christ – the Church. Because we need each other.
We talked about our stories, cried about our difficulties, encouraged each other and prayed for each other like no one else can really pray for us right now. It is not a bond I ever wanted to have with anyone, but we have it. And, I’m thankful to know this amazing couple who are walking across their own Red Sea with grace and love for Jesus.
I love this picture. It’s from Seaside, when we ran to the beach for a few days after treatment ended. Clay has always loved to rock in a rocking chair.
As we expected, we miss going to treatment every day. We realized that it was sort of like a safety blanket for us. We felt more secure knowing that the tumor was being radiated. And, as we expected, we had some moments of fear during the last few weeks.
The Friday morning of the storm, he woke up with a pressure headache. He hasn’t had that since before surgery. The first thought we both had was, “It must be growing back!” I know. It’s silly, but we can’t help it. He started steroids, again, and Dr. Russell told us the headache was most likely from swelling.
The flooding has been a good distraction for us, because we are in a waiting period. His MRI is scheduled for Thursday at 10:00 am. We will go immediately to Dr. Russell’s office and he will show us the results. I’m so thankful we won’t have to wait any longer.
I got a little concerned about some symptoms Clay was having, so we went to see Dr. Russell this past week. When he walked in the room, he looked at me and I knew immediately that he knew exactly how I was feeling. He held my hand and, in the most sincere voice, said, “You are not going to make a mistake. Your instincts have been perfect and you are doing a wonderful job taking care of your husband.”
We all know that the “instincts” he refers to are the Holy Spirit giving me direction, so this has nothing to do with me. But, he could see in my eyes that I am scared. I am scared that I’m going to miss something, or mess up the medicine, or misread a symptom. And, I guess the biggest fear of all is that it is going to come back soon. I’m scared to be alone.
That’s when the Holy Spirit came and reminded me that I can’t do this on my own and that I am not alone. No matter what happens. He has directed every step and, if I remain submitted to Him and close to Him, He will continue to direct us. I don’t have to be afraid because He is the one making the decisions and watching for the symptoms. He knows the future. He’s already there.
If I trust in myself, then I have to be scared. Because I can’t do it. But, if I trust in Him, I never have to be scared. He is in control.
While we are at Dr. Russell’s, we got to see Chris without his beard and his new mustache!
We love the staff. All of them. It is such a wonderful place. I think I’ll go back to school so I can go work there with them!
This morning, Clay is still sleeping. He started his next round of chemo last night. Here’s how it works…
He took a chemo pill everyday during radiation – 42 pills
Then he got to rest from it for about 4 weeks
Now he starts a 6 month cycle – he will take a higher dose of chemo for 5 days in a row, then rest for 23 days, 5 days, 23 days, etc. for 6 cycles
We will continue to have MRI’s done on a regular basis. I think every 8 – 12 weeks, but I’m not sure, yet.
But, the first one is Thursday. So, please join with us in prayer that it is a perfect report. The goal of radiation was to kill the remaining cancer cells that couldn’t be removed in surgery and to treat the areas where tumor was removed. The goal of the ongoing chemo is to keep the cancer from growing again. We are believing that God is able to use this medicine to heal Clay completely….even though science tells us that would be a miracle.
Good thing we know the God of miracles!
Before I go, I’ll give you the Cliff’s Notes version of our life for the past 3 weeks…
In case you didn’t know, there was a big flood. A big flood. But, our house was an island in the midst of water. The hedge of protection that was prayed around our house stood firm and we did not flood.
My parents, grandmother, aunt, and cousin flooded and lost so much. My mom’s store was flooded and their building is a disaster. We worked for 2 weeks just cleaning everything out. Clay helped a lot. He couldn’t do what he used to be able to do, but he was with us every step of the way.
On the first day of clean up, he wasn’t feeling very good. Then my mom fainted. Fainted. Like totally out and hit the floor! So, we made a makeshift hospital ward in mom’s flooded bedroom. They laid in the bed together for a while. Sam got a pretty good gash on his foot, so he thought he deserved to lay down, too.
Clay’s office was a total loss. At least 5 feet of water, and we didn’t have time to go there because of all the homes and other businesses flooded. So, by the time we got there with help from Randy Currier, Hayden Shipp and Jim Furlow, it was covered in mold and stunk in such a terrible way. It was just an office, but it was a bit hard for Clay to say goodbye to it. He loves his business and his clients and he loved that office. He continues to work from home while we wait on the Lord to show us a next step.
I became a patient of the hospital ward when I almost broke my foot working at mom’s store. Ouch! When that happened, I said, “Let’s go!” and I took my 86 year old grandmother, who worked her tail off, and Clay and we let Grace drive the hospital ward home for the day. Thank you, Jesus, that it wasn’t really hurt bad. He protected us several times during all the work.
In the middle of all the craziness, I walked into Wal-Mart with my mom, and I noticed a Pray for Clay shirt on a woman checking out. I didn’t even think about it, I just started walking toward her and I realized I didn’t even know her. I gave her a huge hug and said, “I don’t even know you and you are wearing my husband’s shirt! Thank you so much!” She hugged me back like we were life long friends and said, “You are Clay’s wife?!” It was so neat. We stood there and talked and I thanked her and her husband for supporting us and praying for us. People are awesome. I’m still overwhelmed by all the love we have been shown. So, now I have a new friend – Jill. Thank you, Jill!
Clay and Ron’s friend, Jonathan, came to BR with a trailer full of supplies. We got some for my parents, and that was very sweet. But, even more special was the way he prayed for Clay. I have goosebumps thinking about it. It was so cool to see these tired, grown men calling out to Jesus on our behalf. Thank you.
Our pool is a disaster. It keeps raining everyday. Gramps is exhausted. Kayla brought me a birthday cake. And Grace started playing Volleyball again!
We made time for mini-golf with Ben. He’s gotten kind of lost in all the craziness, so he enjoyed the time alone.
Ron drove across town just to get Clay a muffuletta….just because he mentioned he wanted it. Spoiled! It was a really good one, though. He let me have one piece.
Two of our kids are back to school as of today. And, I thought it would be funny to have their grandparents in their second-first day of school pic! No, they didn’t drive here for the photo op. They live here!!!! At least for now. And, we are enjoying it. Who gets to have coffee with their parents and grandmother every morning? Me! I love it.
And, in the midst of all that is going on around us, numerous people continue to text us, call us, send us cards, and pray for us. I have had several people say, “We just want you to know that you are not forgotten in the midst of the flooding.” There just are not words to express my gratitude for so many of you who are bringing our names before the throne of God every day. We feel so loved. Thank you.