Please read this...it is amazing. This family is in the midst of every family's worst nightmare...their precious daughter is battling a rare and horrible form of Leukemia, yet their faith is never shaken, not even one iota. I've been following their story...along with thousands of people around the world, and I hope that you will not only read Brent's post that I have copied here, but please pray for them and let them pray for you too. (yes, they really want to). Hug your children tight and focus on your joys, but please read this...and you would also be blessed to start reading their blog www.riggsfamilyblog.com
Saturday, February 7, 2009
New Every Morning For Abby, Us & You
I was at the hospital with Michelle and Abby until about 5.30am this morning, then came home for a little while so SpideyLandis and the other kids wouldn't wake up parentless.
Pic: Abby usually talks MeeMaw into making cookies when we are at her house. MeeMaw makes the best cookies, and someone has to learn to carry on the tradition.
The nurses were in and out all night every few minutes. If you've never enjoyed that experience, it is a little maddening getting woke up over and over and over and over all night long. I am a light sleeper, and wake up frequently anyway but Michelle is a sound sleeper, and it is hard on her. She stays at the hospital every single night that Abby is there, so she doesn't get alot of sleep. I run back and forth between the hospital and the house. That's the pattern we've settled into since Abby got sick.
This morning, Abby is about the same. Her little tummy is so swollen, she looks like she is going to explode. The infection area on her stomach around her feeding tube covers about the area of a dollar bill... red, blistered, inflamed. Just touching Abby's feeding tube sends her into a tailspin. The sores have not begun to improve yet and she can barely tolerate even wearing a soft diaper or panties. Going to the bathroom is torture.
Michelle is really tired but patiently tends to every need Abby has... taking her to potty, changing her clothes and bedding, feeding her, putting medicine and cremes on her, monitoring her I.V.'s, getting her drinks, keeping her distracted... watching the same video over and over 50 fifty times because that is what Abby wants to watch. (when Abby is done with chemo, I'm burning "Lion King" and "Beauty and the Beast")
Michelle is the epitome of a mother willing to give up every comfort, all her time and ignore her own needs... to take care of her child. For those who hold the opinion that "adopted" kids are "not as much your child" as biological kids... well, I don't have to make any comments about that. Everyone who has ever adopted knows how absurd that is.
New Every Morning
How do we do this? How do we keep going? How can we be joyful, thankful, content and happy living the "life of cancer" month after month? People ask this on a daily basis.
Answer: the same way YOU can keep going. The same way YOU can be joyful, thankful, content and happy day after day no matter what life throws at you.
The same way that guy I just saw on TV keeps going every day. He fell asleep driving, hit a truck head-on, destroyed his spleen and liver, broke all his ribs and had to have his leg cut off. When they cut him open to operate after the wreck, they found out he had liver cancer too. How's that for a "bad deal" in life?
How do you keep going? How do you keep going with joy, hope and thankfulness? The answer is the same whether you're a parent of a child with Leukemia, a guy with one leg and cancer, a cheated-on spouse, an unfairly fired employee, or just someone dealing with the typical life struggles that conspire to rob us of joy and contentment.
The answer is the same for the couple about to lose their house to foreclosure, or the parents who are finding out how hard parenting really is. The answer is the same for healthy, active folks who don't feel loved or at peace... or the older couple with seemingly-never-ending health problems.
The answer is the same for Americans who take for granted unparalleled personal freedom and an unprecedented level of affluent lifestyle, or the multitudes of people across the globe who are hungry, poor, cold, imprisoned for their faith or beliefs, persecuted and largely ignored by the world. The answer is the same...
The answer to "how do you keep going?" and "how do you have joy and hope?" is the same for every single person in ANY situation, and here it is, my favorite passage, Lamentations 3: 20-25:
I well remember them, and my soul is downcast within me.
Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope:
Because of the LORD's great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail.
They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.
I say to myself, "The LORD is my portion; therefore I will wait for him."
The LORD is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him;
Notice that the Bible does not ignore the "negative" realities of life, or pretend that it should never be talked about or acknowledged. King David, the only person ever labeled "a man after God's own heart" penned dozens of Psalms full of lament, struggle and pouring his heart out about life's hardships. David would not be very popular in much of our modern church or culture. But you know what friends... the honest admission and lament of heartache in the Psalms has spoken deeply to and soothed the heart of legions of hurting souls throughout history.
Acknowledging Is Not the Same As Being Consumed
Acknowledging the hard realities of the human experience is not the same as being consumed by them, or having a "negative" outlook. We are to be positive people who also see the blessings (positive) that come when we depend on God during the "negative". We remember (accept, acknowledge) there are frequent times in life when our "soul is downcast" but that the proper response is:
"... I will call to mind and therefore have hope"... what?
I will call to mind that God's great love is NEVER consumed; it never ends; there is always more
I will call to mind that God's compassions NEVER fail; His compassions always WIN; in other words, if we avail ourselves of God's compassion, it is ALWAYS enough to overcome our sorrows no matter what they are
I will call to mind that God's love and compassion is NEW every morning...
Why does God emphasize "every morning"? Does His compassion wear out by the end of the day and then overnight God gets back in gear and puts out a fresh batch when the sun comes up?
"New every morning" is a point of reference for us. We all live day by day. The sun rises on every person, every day, in every situation. It is a guidepost, a marker, a timestamp that we can all relate to, count on and understand.
So God uses that inescapable reality to give us a common ground that leaves none of us being able to say "I didn't understand, I wasn't aware..." We all understand that the sun rises every day. We all understand that morning comes each day no matter WHAT WE ARE STRUGGLING WITH.
Every morning, for every person, God's love, compassion and mercies are "new" and available. Not "new" in the sense that they got "old" or "worn" the day before but "new" in the sense they are waiting for us, without fail, with the dawn of each new day. They are "new" in that they are totally sufficient for whatever that day holds for us, even when our "soul is downcast"... in fact, I would say ESPECIALLY when our soul is downcast.
When is God's compassion sweetest? When life is great or hard? When does God's mercy seem most real? On the mountain top, or in the valley? When is His love feel the greatest? When we already feel loved by others, or when we feel lonely and abandoned by the world? Mercy, love and compassion are particularly precious when we feel "downcast".
I Will Call To Mind And Say To Myself
God's mercy, love and compassion is there no matter what we do, even if we ignore it. But God calls us to action if we want to benefit from it. We have to get our mind right. We have to deliberately focus on this Truth. We have to "call to mind" the Word of God and tell ourselves:
"God is enough. God is my hope. I will wait on God."
Wait on God? The meaning here is that we will look to God, focus on God, depend on God, keep our eyes on God. It doesn't mean He will delay His love ("wait"); it is the picture of us putting our full attention on God. The Lord God is GOOD to those who seek Him. Isn't that a marvelous truth? Do you truly believe it? If yes, are you daily seeking Him?
I like to summarize things for easy recall, so let me wrap up with this...
Are you downcast? Is life hard? How can you be joyful, hopeful, content and loved despite any hardship?
Focus your mind on God and tell yourself the Truth
God's great love means your troubles will not consume you
God's compassion NEVER fails us
God's love and mercy is waiting for you every morning, every day, every time
The Lord is ENOUGH for ANYTHING you are going through
God is good to everyone who puts their hope in Him
God is good to everyone who seeks Him
Because of all these things you can say...
"Therefore I have hope".
If you have hope, then you can keep going. No matter how hard life is, no matter what dark valley your journey has you in, you can keep going because you have hope.
That is my answer to "how do you keep going?" and it can be your answer too.
Are you encouraged by this message? Do you know someone today who is struggling and could use some hope? Do you know anyone who needs mercy, compassion and love? You have an answer for them now.
Tell your friends, Put this post on your blog. Send it out to your email list Copy and paste the whole thing. I don't care about getting credit for the writing. I care about helping people.
We'll post an update about Abby later today. We have been reminded of God's compassion every day because of YOU. Your notes, comments and prayers are the manifestation of God's love.
What are you hurting about today? How can we be a blessing to you?
3 years ago