To Live is Christ…To Die is Gain

Last night, we participated in an all night prayer meeting at our church. The Lord had impressed on our Pastor’s wife, Carla Shipp, that our church needed this time to pray. We have many members who are dealing with significant afflictions and we are desperate, as so many of you are, for God’s presence and direction. We had times of worship, times of corporate prayer and times of personal prayer.

It was really a wonderful night. We stayed from 7:30 pm – 3:00 am. I was so excited to see that Clay made it that long! I would offer to take him home so he could rest, and then someone else would come pray with him and he would get encouraged to stay a while longer. That happened several times. Finally, at 3, I could tell he was getting pretty exhausted, so we came home.

At one point, everyone came to pray for Clay. He was sitting on the step at our altar, just like you see him sitting there with Ben in the picture above. Everyone came around us and cried out to God on our behalf. It always amazes me to listen to the prayers of the people in our lives. I know God heard the cries. When the prayer came to a quiet moment, Clay started talking. (I love when he does that!)

He has said the same thing probably 100 times since he’s been sick, but I never get tired of hearing it. As he was speaking, I looked around and people are just so focused on what he’s saying. There is something VERY powerful about listening to a man who is dying. His words are powerful. He just thanked everyone for their prayers and then he made sure they knew that he is ok.  He often says, “To live is Christ, to die is gain.” He believes it. It is very real to him right now. The truths he has known all his life have moved from his head to his heart and he has learned a new reality of Christ as he faces death.

“It’s Jesus, y’all. I’m telling you, it’s all about Jesus! You’ll never regret serving Him. He’ll never fail you. His peace is so real.”

I think the most convicting thing about his faith, is that he is not clinging to this world. Now, if you know Clay, you know that he LOVES some things in this world with a big love. He has always loved sports, movies, music, people, coaching baseball, friends, family, and me. He really loves me. But, as soon as he accepted that this disease could take his life, he willingly laid it down for the will of God and he never looked back. He has never said to me that he is going to miss the world. He’s not asking God if he can watch the Dodgers from heaven.

He worries about me and the kids, his parents, my parents. He wants us to be taken care of and loved, but he isn’t clinging to this world. He means it when he says that he is excited to go to heaven. Don’t mistake this for giving up. He has never given up. He has done everything the doctors have suggested and he has lived life for 15 months. He is vibrant and he looks so healthy. He is not giving up…he is just content to accept whatever the will of God is. It is very inspiring and simply amazing to see.

I challenge you to really ponder your own faith. Do you trust God this much? Is Jesus this real to you? If not, He can be. You can know Him in this personal way. Come visit Clay and he’ll tell you all about it!

We have had some really good visits the past few days. I love to see how Clay perks up when people come see him. This is Steve and Penny Loving. We met them through Facebook and mutual friends just after Clay was diagnosed. Statistics say that only 2-3 in every 100,000 people get Glioblastoma, but it seems like it is much higher than that. We’ve met so many people who have it, or have lost loved ones to this disease. Steve was diagnosed with Glioblastoma in March of 2016, and Clay was diagnosed in May. They have shared many resources with us and Penny and I have become friends.

This is Dan Dix. He was Clay’s pastor when he was in college. Clay talks so often about people in his life. God used many people to shape him and help in his relationship with the Lord. Dan was one of those people. We visited for a while and we talked about the goodness of God.


I have some wonderful friends in my life. This morning, Christy (Chenevert) Mac came to see me. We grew up together, and although we don’t see each other often, she has blessed me many times during the past year. She came to share some things the Lord showed her for me. There were two specific prayers that I was praying at the prayer meeting last night. I was asking the Lord to show me what He desired in two very specific decisions I need to make. The Lord confirmed His answer to me for both questions this morning while she shared her heart with me.

He hears our prayers, y’all. He is listening. And, He loves us and wants us to have his guidance in our lives. Thank you, Christy. I’ll never forget our sweet conversation. God really used you today. I love the sign in the background, and the words are so fitting. His grace abounded to me today.


The Mullins’ visited today! Clay always says he had 2 sets of sisters. On his mom’s side of the family was Kellie, Emily and Amy Mullins. On his dad’s side of the family was Joanna, Jessica and Jennifer Janet. He has two brothers, so it’s kind of cool to think of how they all had each other growing up. He is so loved by his family. I love to watch them just look at him while he talks and I love to listen as they tell him how special he is. He tries to shrug off the comments, like he’s not anything special, but I think it is so evident by the outpouring of love over him while he’s been sick. He is so loved. He is a unique person.

A few weeks ago, Clay and Sam found Clay’s old Atari in his mom’s attic. Caleb took it home and cleaned it and got it working. He brought it back today and we all played Space Invaders and Donkey Kong. Clay kept telling me to give Caleb $1000 because he fixed it. Um…..I didn’t do that. But, we did tell Caleb how great he is several times.

Many of you have asked me how he’s doing physically. I give thanks everyday for his strength and the life that is still in him. You can see it in the smile on his face in these pictures.

His biggest struggle is fatigue. He sleeps a lot and he’s tired most of the time….unless he’s visiting with people or at the all night prayer meeting! Most days, he sleeps until noon and then naps in the afternoon. He sleeps very well at night.

He has occasional headaches, which seem to be coming a little more frequently lately. But, they usually only last a few minutes and they are not too painful.

His short term memory is terrible. But, he knows it and he laughs about it a lot. Every now and then he’ll get a little frustrated because he can’t remember something, but most of the time we just laugh. He asks the same questions over and over again, and he gets easily confused. I find that topics that cause deep emotion are harder for him to remember. It took him over a week to remember the diagnosis from MD Anderson, and he still asks me for clarification on it sometimes. Every time I remind him, he first asks if I have told the kids. Then, if I’ve told his parents, and he wants to know how they responded. He’s always thinking about everyone else.

His eyesight is still really bad. It is worst when he’s tired. He can’t read very much and he doesn’t see things at a distance very well. But, he’s been to a few baseball games and found a way to enjoy himself. He watches TV with us sometimes, but he’s never really “into it.” He just enjoys being with us.

We have so much to be thankful for. He is able to do most things for himself. I have to remind him to do things, but as long as I guide him, he can do things for himself. He doesn’t have pain. He hasn’t been nauseated and sick. He doesn’t have difficulty with his speech. He hasn’t lost a bunch of weight. He can walk, and talk, and eat, and do almost everything that we do. Every time I’m tempted to be sad about his side effects, I just remember how blessed we are.

It’s hard for me to type these words, but we are meeting with Hospice on Monday. It is an introductory meeting, and we know that it doesn’t necessarily mean the end is here. It really just means that we aren’t going to be receiving treatment from his doctors any longer. They will help us manage his symptoms and any pain, and they will help us prepare for what is ahead. God has comforted me greatly during these past few days. His peace has covered us and I know that He is directing our footsteps.

I believe that God can heal Clay at any time. We all do. Our faith is strong. And, the Bible says that all we need is the faith of a mustard seed, if we are believing God for something He desires to do. (Christy reminded me of that this morning.) We have the faith of a mustard seed. I’m sure of it. So, we will continue to pray and believe God. He is able to do far beyond what we ask or think.

God is still using Clay and working through him. He’s not finished, yet. Stay tuned because I fully believe there is much more the Lord desires to accomplish. Much love!

Only God…

We have known since Clay was first diagnosed that this moment would come. I wondered so many times how I would feel, and what I would think. And, now I know. It’s here.

You know…that moment when they tell us that the doctors and medicine can’t help us anymore. The end of man. The end of treatment.

But, not the end of hope.

Our hope is in Jesus, and He never changes. He never fails. He is never surprised. He is never confused. He is never dependent on medicine. He is never dependent on man. He is never dependent on me or Clay. He is in control, and always has been.

When we saw Dr. Weathers last week at MD Anderson, she told us the full truth about where we are in Clay’s treatment. Because the cancer has spread to his spinal fluid, there is no more treatment available. She recommended we call Hospice. Even though we both knew this day would come, if God did’t heal Clay, we had to catch our breath. When you receive news like this, you don’t know what to say or what to think. You run out of questions really fast. And the room gets quiet while you try to compose yourself and talk more because you really don’t want the conversation to end because that’s when you’ll have to let it sink in.

We drove home dazed. Our faith was sure, but our minds were dazed. We were digesting the information just a little bit at a time. It took several days for me to process and accept it.

In the meantime, Senator John McCain was diagnosed with Glioblastoma. Because of his diagnosis, this disease has been on the news, a lot. Many doctors and patients have been interviewed and new treatment options have been highlighted. This caused us to wonder if there really is something out there that can help us. One of those is CAR-T therapy being performed at City of Hope Hospital in Los Angeles. I called them. And, this is not going to be an option for Clay.

Dr. Weathers mentioned that there was one chemo pill, Lomustine, we haven’t tried, yet. But she spoke with great caution, so not to give us hope. The potential for side effects is much greater with this medication. At best, it would slow the progression slightly, but not significantly.

Clay’s deepest desire is to enjoy quality of life while he is still here. He has made that very clear from the beginning. This medication could cause a drop in white blood cells, which increases risk of infections and it usually causes flu-like symptoms with nausea/vomiting. But, we decided to take at least one round of it. We planned to take it this week and just see if the side effects were manageable. If not, we would stop it right away. Well, we had multiple issues getting the medication. Each time there was a problem, I felt more and more unsettled about it.

I became more and more restless in my spirit about all the options. I was restless about even the idea of trying find an option. It is so difficult to know how to continue to believe God for a miracle, while accepting the truth. Am I giving up if I face reality and begin to prepare for the worst? Am I letting Clay, his parents or our kids down if I can’t find a cure? Am I making the right choices? What will people think of me if we accept the diagnosis and stop trying to find an answer?

I grew more and more unsettled, until this morning, when I was on my swing just praying and asking the Lord for wisdom. He spoke to me from Psalm 27:

“One thing have I desired of the Lord, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to inquire in His temple.”

The same Psalm speaks of the protection of God from our enemies. It reminds us that He alone is our salvation. We don’t have to fear. We can remain confident and assured because our God is stronger than our enemy. He will hide us in His sanctuary when troubles come. Surely, God will not leave us now, if He has been our help and strength all along the way. Then, this. I love this verse….

“I had fainted, unless I had believed to see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.”

God is not going to leave us. He is going to continue to direct our steps and we are going to continue to see His goodness NOW…in the land of the living…today. I was so encouraged as God gently reminded me that this uncertainty, fear and all these questions are not from Him. He is my peace. So, I gave it to Him this morning, and I set my heart and affection on Him. I inquired in His temple and purposed in my heart to continue to do so.

We were scheduled to see Dr. Russell, to get his opinion. He is so gracious and we’ve always felt so comfortable with him. We told him at the beginning of the conversation that we feel unsettled. We don’t have peace about the options with which we’ve been presented. He agreed and highly recommended that we NOT take the chemo. He believes it is going to make Clay sick and that it won’t help.

There are other treatments and experimental things being done for Glioblastoma, but we have now had several doctors confirm that the worst case scenario has happened. Cancer in the spinal fluid is not treatable. We are at the end of man. Dr. Russell’s team came and stood in a circle to pray for us. These people have meant so much to us during this time. I’ll never be able to express it. Clay got choked up several times today trying to tell them.



When we left Dr. Russell’s office today, Dr. Gummadi (our dear friend from church who has walked with us the entire time) came to see us. He said, “This is the first time I’ve felt peace in a while.” I agreed. Clay agreed. We just know in our spirits that God has brought us here. He is continuing to direct our steps and He wants us to be in His hands. Only His hands. He is the ONLY answer, now.

The answer to our need is in Him. He has used medicine and doctors to give Clay a really wonderful 14 months. Y’all, we have LIVED. Clay has enjoyed his life for 14 months. We’ve had great family time, incredible visits from friends and loved ones, great vacations, opportunities to minister and share our testimony. The list goes on. We have lived life.

And Clay has been a shining example of how to live a life submitted to the will of God. He has never been afraid. He has never wavered in his faith. And God has blessed him abundantly for it.

Why is God allowing this? I don’t know. And, I don’t ask. I just trust Him. He sees what we can not see. He knows what we can not know. And He loves us more than we can comprehend. So, the only logical conclusion is that He is using this trial to accomplish something that He couldn’t accomplish any other way. And, He chose a very willing, very capable servant through which to accomplish His work. I’ve been amazed to be by Clay’s side.

I want to thank all of you for your prayers. Thank you for your love and support. It has been life changing for us. I truly believe we could not have remained strong without your prayer and love.

Now, please press in and help us continue to pray. We are desperate. We are praying for a miracle. But, we are also praying for endurance, strength, and willing hearts that will allow God to do whatever He wants to do. We are praying that our faith will be strong to the end and that God will receive tremendous glory through our lives. We are praying for the faith of our children. God is ministering to them, but please help us pray for spiritual maturity and strength.

Our church is holding an all night prayer meeting tomorrow night. The timing was ideal, so I know it is God. We will be calling out to Him. And, His Word promises that He will hear our cry and draw near. Thank you, Jesus!

This past Sunday, we had a semi-surprise visit from 23 precious people from Victory Academy. The Lord just put in on their hearts to come and pray for us at our home. It was such a sweet time. Clay spoke from his heart and really encouraged the young people that they are not too young to know the Lord. He begged them to give their lives to Him and LIVE for Him. Everyone prayed over him and prayed for our family. It was a really special time. We love you, Victory Families.

We had several visitors last week, when we got home from MD Anderson. Every time someone would knock on the door, he would perk up. The visits are so good for him.

We spent Friday evening with my family at Amy and Jason’s house for Janet’s birthday party. It has meant a lot to me to see how much my family loves him.

We have had some incredible times of prayer with our church. Our church has prayed so hard for us, and others who are suffering right now. The body of Christ has been so important to us during this time.

We finally made it to Top Golf when we were in Houston last week. Andy and Brooke took us that evening and we had a great time. Clay couldn’t see the pins, but Andy would line him up and tell him the direction to swing. He actually did really well. Each time he would sit down and ask me, “Just please tell me I hit the ball?!” Although difficult circumstances, we managed to have a really great time together in Houston. (I love the picture of Andy watching Clay hit. They’ve always had a cool friendship.)

I know the one very difficult question on many of your minds is, “How long does he have?” That question is on our mind, too. But, I have truly learned that only God knows the answer. Our doctors don’t know. Every case is different. Statistics say that we have between 1 and 6 months. But, we believe that God only knows. And, in His mercy, we believe He will prepare us and help us.

I will continue to write and keep you all updated. We love you!


‘Tis So Sweet

I took this picture this Sunday at the end of our service. The altar had been filled with people praying and worshipping the Lord, and several had come to pray for him. But as others started to leave, Clay just sat there while Anna played. I think she was singing “‘Tis So Sweet To Trust In Jesus.” That is an anthem for him right now. 

Since his diagnosis, a little over 14 months ago, this is where he has been. In an altar before the Lord. Constantly laying down his will for whatever the Lord wants to do. Not begging and pleading for his life, but patiently telling the Lord how much he loves Him and how much he trusts Him. Just waiting on God to accomplish His will….not Clay’s will. God’s will. 

As many of you know, we spent the day at MDA. We received very difficult news. The tumor is growing, but rather than growing as a mass, it is in the spinal fluid. This means surgery will not be an option. It is no longer responding to the meds and it will become very aggressive now that it has learned how to grow again. It will spread quickly because it is in the fluid. 

I haven’t written in a long time, so some of you may not know, but he has had an increase in side effects over the past two months. His onset of symptoms have been consistent with tumor progression but the MRI had no reflected it….until today. The doctor warned us 8 weeks ago that MRI is not a perfect science. So, we knew it was possible that the tumor was growing. But, we thought another surgery would be possible. 

There is one more drug we can try but she said it would have strong side effects and add only a small amount of time. We took the information and will begin praying about taking it. Clay is very concerned about quality of life, so that will play a major role in our decision. 

We’ve always known this day would come, if God didn’t do a miracle by now, but I’ve learned you can never be prepared to hear this. We are trembling a little but God is faithful. We are in the car now, driving back to Baton Rouge. When we got in earlier, I turned on Pandora radio just to have some soft worship music playing. The first song that played was “Holy Spirit” by Kari Jobe. I love that song and it has ministered to me so many times. I thought to myself how sweet the Lord is to send me little reminders that He is with us. Then, it played again. That never happens! I know it was the Lord letting me know that He did that on purpose. 

That’s what we need. He is our living hope. We just need the Holy Spirit to come and He has. 

Clay is as solid as a rock. He never wavers. It is such a miracle to watch. I love him. What a blessing to go through this with a man of such faith. We still have a peace that passes understanding. The devil can’t take that. 

Please pray. Pray for wisdom for our next steps. Pray for our children. Pray for God to receive great glory. Pray for many more miracles to come. We love you. 
I will begin writing more often. (Many of you have asked me.) God had already been stirring me to do it and, now, I trust He will have a lot to say. Thank you so much for reading, for praying, for encouraging and serving us. Your love has meant so much to our entire family.