The following is an update for our Caring Bridge followers. If you aren’t up to speed, you can contact me on Facebook about a link.
Throughout this impossible journey that started on the last day of April, our mantra has been: Just get through the next step. Focus on the next thing and get it done. Don’t worry about what’s coming, just make it through the step in front of you. It’s how we’ve had to live to make it to this point. One foot in front of the other, only ever focusing on the next step.
In three days, exactly eight weeks after the first seizure, we take the last step. As Tuesday looms, it feels like I am standing on the edge of a great precipice. The last step is here and it feels like the biggest leap of faith in our lives.
God knew His people would need reminders of His almighty power to work salvation in their midst. There was an annual feast to remember how the angel of death passed them over in Egypt. The people placed memorial stones commemorating God’s faithfulness. They raised their Ebenezer in 1 Samuel 7:12 because “Till now the LORD has helped us.” Psalm 105:1-6 says:
1 Oh give thanks to the LORD; call upon his name;
make known his deeds among the peoples!
2 Sing to him, sing praises to him;
tell of all his wondrous works!
3 Glory in his holy name;
let the hearts of those who seek the LORD rejoice!
4 Seek the LORD and his strength;
Seek his presence continually!
5 Remember the wondrous works that he has done,
his miracles, and the judgments he uttered,
6 O offspring of Abraham, his servants!
As the last step looms, let us make known His deeds among the people and tell of all His wondrous works. We have seen God in so many ways. Here are but a few:
- He blessed us with a great staff at the kids’ school. When Addie had that first seizure, the team at St. John’s jumped into action to care for our baby. Not once, but twice. And they’ve continued to work with us through tests and tests and more tests.
- My amazing teammates in ministry have walked through this with us as they organized meal trains, prayer, help with the lawn, snacks and gift cards and so much more. They have encouraged us through this ordeal and supported us even when we couldn’t express what we needed.
- There have been so many “random events” that aren’t so random… A therapy dog showing up in Radiology when we were waiting for the first MRI. The Tumor Review Board happened to be meeting hours after we met with the neurosurgeon to discuss treatment. They only meet every 2 weeks. Running into a member from church that works at Oishei before the spinal MRI a couple days ago. She bought a candy-coated apple for Addie—the same apple Addie desperately wanted on the way into the hospital for the MRI.
- He has provided a great medical team: Dr. Reynolds, the surgeon. Dr. Fitzpatrick, the oncologist. Jessica and Tara, the child life specialists at Roswell and Oishei who have helped Addie (and her parents) understand what was coming and feel better about it. Dr. Katie, the child psychologist who came to the house to meet Addie and talk with her about all this crazy stuff.
- Our earthly family that have walked this road with us, feeling the pain just as deeply as we do.
- Our spiritual family, the people of God at First Trinity and all around the country. So many prayers and notes of encouragement and packages have arrived that it’s crazy.
God describes His people in Hebrews 12:1 as “a great cloud of witnesses”. What I love about this picture is that the people of God are not limited to those we walk with here and now. God’s people are connected in this great cloud of witnesses across space and time. We stand not only with His people here and now, but His faithful people from the past who have gone to be with Him in Heaven.
We stand with God’s people on the shores of the Red Sea, fearing death at the hands of the pursuing Pharaoh. We watch as the pillar of cloud and fire becomes our rear guard, holding the armies of Egypt back while God makes a way through the sea.
We stand with God’s people as they stare down the impossibly imposing walls of Jericho. We join them in marching around the city and blowing the trumpets. We lift a thunderous shout in unison, looking on in awe as God causes the walls to crumble and bring victory to His people.
We stand with God’s people cowering in fear as Goliath the giant mocks and taunts us. We wonder with them as God’s faithful servant David goes forth to do battle armed only with a sling and stones. Our hope rises as David defiantly declares that he comes to defeat Goliath in the name of the LORD of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel that Goliath defies. We rejoice as David prevails over the giant.
We stand with Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego as they defy the king, refusing to bow down and worship him. Under threat of being burned alive in the fiery furnace, still they are confident that their God could deliver them. We are cast into the fire with them, only to find a fourth in the fire whose appearance is like a son of the gods, keeping us safe from the fire.
We stand with the people at the foot of the cross as Jesus breathes His last. We stand outside the sealed tomb, the place that holds all our hopes and dreams for salvation. We leave with great sorrow. But three days later, we return to find the stone rolled away, revealing an empty tomb. We tremble as the Angel speaks, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. He is not here, for he has risen, as he said. Come, see the place where he lay.” With Mary and Mary, we rush to tell the disciples this great news when encounter Jesus on the road and fall at His feet and worship Him.
In three days, we will take the last step off the precipice into the hands of Jesus, the one who conquered death on the cross and rose three days later to bring everlasting life to His people. We are grateful for the cloud of witnesses who have been walking through this with us. On the other side of these three days, we look forward to joining with King David in Psalm 145:6-7, as we “speak of the might of God’s awesome deeds, and declare His greatness. We will pour forth the fame of God’s abundant goodness and sing aloud of His righteousness.”