This last week has been quite the whirlwind. Randi received her first dosage of chemotherapy Tuesday, January the 10th. The actual infusion itself, although somewhat scary with its bright red color and awful nickname, was easier than expected. It was just a long day of labs and doctor's appointments. I was so proud of her, her strength in the Lord is so evident that even the nurses had to comment. Peace pervaded her heart even as chaos entered her veins. Oh, how good is our God?
As we got home Tuesday night, it would seem that things took a turn for the worse. My poor bride had already been having stomach issues prior to her first dosage, but that night they got intense. After a call to the doctor and a new prescription, the night settled into a peaceful sleep. Jane, Randi's mother and herself a breast cancer survivor who had been through much of this before, was here all week. This proved to be a great blessing as she knew much of what Randi was experiencing and what could be done to help. She as well knew what foods would be palatable to my wife and was a great taste tester. Her and Randi joked that one day they might write a mother, daughter chemo cook book. The rest of the week seemed best summed up by Pat Green's song "It Came Upon Me Wave on Wave." There were moments of feeling great and almost healthy, followed by moments of utter weakness and painful nausea. Throughout it all my sweet wife just felt extremely weak and tired, and for the most part was confined to her bed. Any energy that she had was spent sneaking out of bed to play with McKinley however short lived. We had the expectation that this weekend would be the beginning of the upswing for Randi, however the intensity of the pain reached its peak last night and it was scary.
There is a pain that I have not known all too well but am becoming well acquainted with. This pain is quite different than all others that I have felt, as it is something where I cannot just "tough it out." As much as I would like to avoid it, run away even, this pain is inescapable and as much as I would like to fix it, this pain is outside the scope of my solutions. This pain is keenly felt and it's sharply penetrating; it strikes at the core of my soul and tests the strength of my character. This is the pain of watching my most beloved suffer and Oh how painful it is! In front of her I try to be strong in these weak moments, but I soon run to my Savoir with abundance of tears and cries for mercy. I am so grateful that He hears, and it seems that these tears water the soil in which His answers grow. With the depths of my soul I do not for the life of me know how someone might go through such pain without knowing Him! Many with the kindest of intentions have said to us that God will not give us more than we can handle. I have found this to be completely false, what we are experiencing is overwhelming. However, as someone has so eloquently stated here, God does give us more than we can handle. He does this to show that it is never more than HE can handle.
Randi and I have garnered much strength from the hymn written below. It was authored by Annie J. Flint in the early 1800s who herself was an invalid completely dependent upon everything outside of herself. We have found this hymn's message to be absolutely true.
He giveth more grace as our burdens grow greater,
He sendeth more strength as our labors increase;
To added afflictions He addeth His mercy,
To multiplied trials He multiplies peace.
When we have exhausted our store of endurance,
When our strength has failed ere the day is half done,
When we reach the end of our hoarded resources
Our Father’s full giving is only begun.
Fear not that thy need shall exceed His provision,
Our God ever yearns His resources to share;
Lean hard on the arm everlasting, availing;
The Father both thee and thy load will upbear.
His love has no limits, His grace has no measure,
His power no boundary known unto men;
For out of His infinite riches in Jesus
He giveth, and giveth, and giveth again.
When we have run out of things to do and medicines to take, my wife has shown me what it means to pray. When we have run out of things to say and words do not seem to satisfy, my wife has shown me the power of the Scriptures coming forth out of the wellspring of her heart. God, in the scariest of moments, has shown Himself to be most faithful and has been our comfort when nothing else can. Faith implies helplessness, for if one could do it themselves, there would be no need to trust anyone or anything else. I feel as though we are learning the true meaning of Faith as dark moments force us to walk by faith and not by sight. What is it today that you are trusting in yourself for? Perhaps what you face is much more than you can handle, but it is never more than HE can handle. He is faithful; His riches abound. When we feel as though there is nothing left, God shows up, and He Giveth More Grace...
Please pray that last night was the worst of it and that this week shall be for the better. If not, please pray that His strength would cause us to soar on eagle's wings as we wait on Him. We are so grateful for you and your friendship! Your prayers have been powerful and God has shown Himself good!