Psalm 43:5 NKJV - Why are you cast down, O my soul? And why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God; For I shall yet praise Him, The help of my countenance and my God.
Many a friend has asked the question "Matt, do you even notice that Randi is sick? It seems impossible to tell." Indeed, even Randi's Oncologist has said that Randi is the "healthiest, sick person" she has treated. I recall the doctor stating that even on her best weeks, Randi should do her best to get outside and walk around the block even though she would not feel like it. Now, 4 months into treatment, it is not uncommon on a sunny day to find Randi walking 2.5 miles with our daughter and our dog to the park and back. On her best days, she even does a work out that would be a challenge to any healthy person (including myself)! Some might say that it’s unbelievable! Actually it’s totally believable, because it is not her strength, it's The Almighty's. Throughout this entire process, Randi still energetically leads her sophomore Young Life girls every Monday and cooks dinner for 10-20 high school boys every Tuesday night. Through the Grace of God, His energy overflows in her to make every person feel welcomed and loved. And praise be to The Almighty, for as much hair as Randi has lost, she still has her eyelashes and eyebrows, which to her is a big blessing! To me, she is as beautiful as I have ever seen her. All of this undoubtedly begs the question, what has sustained us through this trial, what has carried us through this pain? I would submit to you that what has allowed us to not only survive but thrive through such a period has been, among others, these three things: Promises, People and Power.
The Promises of God
A Promise is a powerful thing, only as powerful as the One who gives it and only as fruitful as the one who believes it. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 ESV - All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work. In the darkest of moments I have seen my wife hold up the light of truth: the Promises of God. Fresh on my mind are the nights of sleeplessness of my precious wife. As the hot flashes have come and gone (but mostly come and stayed) sleep has been a rarity. It has been in those moments where I have found Randi downstairs in deep study, leaning not on her own understanding of things but trusting in the Promises that The Almighty has given. Oh, where would we be if we had no Promise! All hope would be lost, life would lose purpose, and love would lose its luster. The Promises that we hold true have been the lamp that has lit our path during this dark night. Promise procures faith, produces hope, pounces fear, and pummels lies. What promise is it today that you are trusting in today? Proverbs 24:10 NIV - If you falter in times of trouble, how small is your strength!
The People of God
We have been absolutely astonished at the outpouring of love, encouragement, prayers, phone calls, letters, emails, and support from so many people. We had no idea that so many cared about us. Hebrews 3:13 NIV - But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin's deceitfulness. Through this time, I can see how easy it would be to feel as though we are being cheated, that God doesn't care, or that life is hopeless. As thoughts similar to these have been whispered, even stronger reminders of truth has been spoken over us by the People of God. Proverbs 17:17 NLT - A friend is always loyal, and a brother is born to help in time of need. We cannot thank you enough for your continued support, love, and prayers. Truly, we would not be able to do this without you. Ecclesiastes 4:8-10 NIV - There was a man all alone; he had neither son nor brother. There was no end to his toil, yet his eyes were not content with his wealth. "For whom am I toiling," he asked, "and why am I depriving myself of enjoyment?" This too is meaningless--a miserable business! Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work: If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up! If you had not been there to walk with us through this, there is no telling how trying and painful the depths of despair would be. We are so grateful for you!
Just a few weekends ago, Randi was in tears over the sleeplessness that had settled in. She was so tired and yet completely unable to get a full night's rest. As we were there together, this comment came in from Nancy, a stranger. Right at the moment of tears, exactly when we needed it, God had used one of His own to reassure us of His love and our purpose. Oh, where would we be without our Savior? Where would we be without His Body, that is His People? Who is it today that you can encourage? You never know how you may be the hand that God uses!
The Power of God
As wonderful as a Promise is, it is useless without the Power to carry it out. As helpful as People have been, they would be of no good if they had not the Power to help. Psalm 68:34 NIV - Proclaim the power of God, whose majesty is over Israel, whose power is in the skies. Ultimately, it is the Power of God that has carried us through such a trial, and what an amazing Power it is! The Power of God is limitless, because God is limitless; it is Omnipotent, because God is Omnipotent. Oh, to think of what God could do through anyone whom He would choose to do it! The Power of God is found in the Person of the Holy Spirit. This is the same Spirit that hovered over the waters at Creation, made Samson a strong man, Job a patient man, Solomon a wise man, Joshua a courageous man, Paul a new man, and Jesus a Resurrected Man! And to see Him dwell in my wife as she walks through the valley of the shadow of death has been an amazing sight indeed! Job 27:11 NIV - "I will teach you about the power of God; the ways of the Almighty I will not conceal. This was what Job said in the midst of his pain; this is what I have seen in my bride through this journey we are walking. Do you know this Power? Have you met this Person? Have you seen His Promise? He has been the help of her countenance, He has been the wind in her sails, He has been the strength in her weakness. Proverbs 18:14 NIV - A man's spirit sustains him in sickness, but a crushed spirit who can bear? I thank God for the incorruptible Holy Spirit, and the work He has done through my wife and her corruptible body. In the end, we know she can't lose. Although the doctors are very optimistic that Randi will live a long, healthy life, Even if death takes her body, it is The Father who has her soul, and The Spirit that will raise her again one day! Ephesians 1:18-20 NIV - I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is like the working of his mighty strength, which he exerted in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms. I am inspired and in awe at my bride because to her, death has lost it's sting; she has no fear in death. Rather, she is excited, for she knows that whenever that day comes, she has full confidence that she will be with her Savior for all of eternity.
1 Corinthians 2:9-12 NIV - However, as it is written: "No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him" -- but God has revealed it to us by his Spirit. The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the man's spirit within him? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. We have not received the spirit of the world but the Spirit who is from God, that we may understand what God has freely given us.
Randi was supposed to start her 12 weeks of Taxol chemotherapy treatments two weeks ago, however her neutrophil counts have been too low. (Neutrophils work with the white blood cells to eat the bad bacteria). Yet, through all of this, He has been the help of her countenance, it is an amazing sight to see. Please join us in praying that Randi's neutrophil count would be high enough today and going forward for Chemotherapy treatment and that the side effects would be minimal.
We love you all and are so grateful for you!