Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Goodness, mercy and unfailing love

Yesterday as we sat waiting to see the orthopedic surgeon for the review of Ken's knee cap, we read the daily devotion from Jesus Calling. Here is a portion of what it said,

Be willing to follow wherever I lead. Follow Me wholeheartedly, with glad anticipation quickening your pace. Though you don't know what lies ahead, I know; and that is enough! Some of My richest blessings are just around the bend: out of sight, but nonetheless very real. To receive these gifts, you must walk by faith - not by sight. This doesn't mean closing your eyes to what is around you. It means subordinating the visible world to the invisible Shepherd of your soul.

It would be an understatement to say that yesterday morning we were more than ready to see some of God's richest blessings.

The first blessing came with Ken's knee cap review. The splint was able to come off, he was given the ok to drive again and will start physiotherapy to strengthen his muscles.

With such positive news we walked down the corridor, feeling optimistic about Victoria's results. As soon as we went into the Oncologist's office and sat down, he said something like, 'It's looks stable to me.' I sat there a bit stunned, while Ken and the oncologist chatted about his recent holiday.

As we walked back down the corridor to book the next MRI for January, I looked on the MRI request form and it said,
July - progression; September - stable.

Gradually it started to sink in, the July scan had showed the tumour was growing, albiet slowly. News which sent us into a spin. We had been in this position before - March 2012, and the subsequent scan in June 2012 had shown growth of 40% - and then followed 15 months of chemotherapy. 

However, here we are, now, with the September scan results (last week's scan), which showed the tumour was stable - not changing, not growing. There had been no human intervention in the three months in between.

In my mind there was only one reason that tumour had stopped growing - answered prayer. So thank you to everyone who has ever prayed a prayer for our daughter.  As we walked into the hospital that morning, I had a picture in my mind of thousands of people around the world, literally  upholding Victoria in prayer - a beautiful mind-blowing picture.

Throughout these past almost five years we have seen God's mercy, grace and loving-kindness in so many ways in Victoria's life; the successful brain surgery, the effective rehabilitation, the support of family, friends, school, church, neighbours, charities, and of course the continually growing faith and hope within Victoria herself. But this grace we received yesterday was something different again. There were tears, lots and lots of tears, tears of pure joy and relief.

On Tuesday morning, before going to the hospital I shared some thoughts on my God Girl blog, including this scripture,

But there's one thing I remember,
and remembering, I keep a grip on hope:
God's loyal love couldn't have run out,
his merciful love couldn't have dried up.
They're created new every morning.
How great is your faithfulness!
I'm sticking with God (I say it over and over).
He's all I've got left.
Lamentations 3:21-24 The Message

For whatever tough days come in the future, I will be remembering yesterday, remembering God's loyal and merciful love for us. We are sticking with Him. 

We praise God for the testimony of Victoria's name coming to pass yesterday - Victoria - victory, conqueror, Grace - Blessing and favour. We are fully expectant of further healing in her body, claiming the scripture God gave us for her dedication in October 2007.

Surely or only goodness, mercy and unfailing love shall follow me all the days of my life, and through the length of my days the house of the Lord [and His presence] shall be my dwelling place. Psalm 23:6 AMP

Thank you for continuing to stand with us in prayer, expecting to see and receive more of God's goodness, mercy and unfailing love in Victoria's life.

Friday, October 2, 2015

For I am yours and you are mine

 No stress here, praise God! 

Who would think we were waiting for the results of a brain tumour scan? Yesterday the children took the dinghy down to the lake, and Marshall, Best Big Brother in the Whole World, rowed the girls around.

What fun they had, as Kenneth Grahame wrote in Wind in the Willows, just messing about in a boat.

"Nice? It's the only thing," said the Water Rat solemnly, as he leaned forward for his stroke "Believe me, my young friend, there is nothing - absolutely nothing - half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats."

Watching the children bought back so many memories of my own childhood in New Zealand with summers of sailing, rowing and swimming. Thanks Dad, for giving us such great memories and a love for boats and water that I can pass on to our children.

Thank you to everyone who has been praying for Victoria's healing and peace of mind and sending messages of support. Monday morning some anxiety surfaced, however after talking and praying, it has not been seen again! 

Tuesday night as Victoria and I were reading the Jesus Calling devotional for kids, the devotion for that day was entitled, 'My Definition of Wonderful'. It included these words,

"I created you, not just humans in general. Every detail, every feature of yours, was lovingly and carefully formed by Me. And you are wonderful! ........ All my children are wonderful - each in his or her own unique way. Just look in the mirror, and you will see My definition of wonderful."

These words reinforced a conversation Victoria, Alexandra and I had earlier in the day. Victoria was saying when they were playing tips at school it was easy for the other children to spot her because they just needed to look for her splint. I said "yes, but your splint doesn't define who you are."

Victoria replied, "I know, and neither does the tumour."

Praise God for that understanding in her heart. We thank God for the maturity He has placed in Victoria at such a young age.We then went on to talk about being God's child, and that He defines who we are.

On Wednesday, we took the Jesus Calling devotion book to the scan and while we were in the waiting room, we read the devotion for September 30 - 'I already know'. I almost cried when I saw what it was about, knowing that God was reminding us again, that He was with us and He had everything under control. Here are some of the words.

So when I tell you not to worry - that I will take care of you - I mean it! I know what problems you will face tomorrow. I've already seen them, and today I'm preparing you to face them. So leave tomorrow's worries where they belong: in tomorrow. And when you do get to tomorrow, I'll already be there - without every having left your side today.

What grace we have available to us. I strongly believe our faith in these words is how our children can rest and have fun in the dinghy, leaving tomorrow's worries where they belong. How much can we learn from them???

The scan procedure on Wednesday went well. Victoria was the champion she normally is in the hospital environment. We will get the results on Tuesday.

The week however has not been without it's dramas - surprise surprise. We now have two people in the house wearing splints on their left legs! Ken slipped over at home and has fractured his knee cap. He can weight bear on his leg, but can't bend it and can't drive. Tuesday morning he will have another x-ray and then a review by the doctors, after which we will walk down the corridor to see the oncologist and get Victoria's results. It will be a big morning.

For me, as the mum, this week has been about making daily (and sometimes hourly) decisions to keep my focus on Jesus. Wednesday morning before going to the scan I was listening and singing to the worship song, Oceans (one of Victoria's class's favourites). The words go something like this ...

Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders

As I sang that line I thought, yes that is what I want - trust without borders, but what does it take to get there? Even now with all we have been through, my trust still waivers on occasions. 

We walk upon the waters, wherever you would call me

Do I have the courage to get 'out of the boat', believe and walk upon the water, no matter what?

Take me deeper than my feet would ever take me

Do I trust enough to 'swim' out into the unknown?

And my faith will be made stronger in the presence of my saviour

To this I can testify - my faith certainly does get stronger as I cling to the presence of Jesus.

And I will call upon your name, and keep my eyes above the waters, 

Yes, only One Name, only One way to look, UP.

When the oceans rise, My soul will rest in your embrace.
For I am yours and you are mine.

I am so grateful that I know Who I belong to - no more searching, just the privilege of knowing my saviour.

I realise that this post has a lot of 'God' content in it, and for that I do not apologise, as He is the only way we are getting through this utterly horrendous, long, potentially life destroying journey. He is our Saviour. My prayer is that by sharing how our faith helps us, it will encourage others to also draw on God's help during times of trouble.

Thank you for praying and believing with us. Thank you for encouraging us and helping us in so many different ways.  We continue to choose to trust God each and every day.