Monday, May 2, 2016

He understands

Sydney Olympic Park - 6th April 2016
NSW primary schools state swimming competition

How did we get here? By the grace of God (and the train)

What a roller coaster couple of weeks we had at end of March and beginning of April. Victoria was experiencing pain in various parts of her body, sometimes so debilitating she couldn't get out of bed in the morning. We have since found out that is was likely to have been some sort of reactionary arthritis. Thank you to everyone who was praying for her during that testing time. 

Despite the pain, she managed to compete at the NSW Combined Independent School's State Swimming competition at Sydney Olympic Park in late March, complete with her support team....

Grandmothers, Aunts and ever faithful sister.
What a beautiful family we are blessed to be a part of.

My sister - who acts as a pseudo manager now at these events, sorting out where we need to be, speaking to officials on our behalf when we are not sure what is going on - such a blessing to me.

My girlfriends - who transported us as my car was not certain to make it! Again what a blessing to us.

School friends who help Victoria navigate these events. Here is one of the girls doing Victoria's hair so she can wear the swimming cap.

Victoria came second in her race - multiclass 50m breaststroke. To watch the race please click here.

Coming second in this race meant that she qualified for the next level of competition - all the primary schools in NSW. So back down to Sydney we went on the 6th April. This time with both my Mum and Dad who happened to be visiting from NZ.
And we had the rest of the support team too! What wonderful opportunities for our family to come together, so much better than the hospital crisis times of the past. 

It is really only today as I write this blog that the magnitude of these swimming days is hitting me. As I was looking back through the photos, the worship song, How great is our God, by Chris Tomlin is playing. Indeed how great is our God in the life of this little girl. 

As she stands ready to race, I wonder what is going through her mind and marvel at what God has put in her to be such an overcomer, so full of the conquering spirit. She swam so well, coming fourth and improving her personal best time by 5 seconds. This improvement was mainly due to a technique change that Victoria's new physio suggested.  And that is another blessing, the new physio is also a swimming teacher who has plenty of tips for Victoria. To see the race, please click here - If you watch it I am sure you will notice a difference in Victoria's swimming, especially in the first 10 metres.

These swimming events are so much more than swimming events for Victoria. They are part of a journey for her to accept her body, knowing that while it isn't perfect, she can still do things, and do them well. It is also an opportunity to see other children who face similar challenges living life to the full despite their disabilities. With the multi-class events the winner is not necessarily the person who reaches the end of the pool first. There is a process which can take up to half an hour after the race where the officials calculate the times of the swimmers based on their classifications. During this waiting time, the swimmers sit in a room together, chatting as they wait for the results. A very supportive and encouraging environment to be in.

On to something different .... Alexandra has watched her siblings go off to Camp Quality camps for the past five years, but this year was her turn!

She was so excited as she went on the Junior Camp down to Sydney for a night with her great companion Jess. 

Victoria went too, with her beautiful companion of the past couple of years, Naida. Note the matching t-shirts - yes that was pre-arranged!

They had a fabulous time (photo-bomber Charlotte didn't get to go), lots of archery, a visit to the Manly Aquarium and 'Wannabes'  where the children get the opportunity to dress up as 'what they want to be when they grow up'. We love Camp Quality and are so grateful for all they have done for our family. The intangible benefits to our children are indescribable.

This past weekend we had the opportunity to participate in a Camp Quality four-wheel driving day on Stockton beach, including sand-boarding. Once again it was a fantastic day, which lots of great new family memories made. Here are some photos of the day.

Marshall and the dune in the background


It was quite a trek back up the top do another ride down.

One of the best sisters in the world, Charlotte, carried both her and Victoria's boards up the dune more than once!

It was a very memorable day. So grateful to all the four-wheel drivers who gave up their day to take us out and about, and have their four-wheel drives filled with sand. Thank you.

So it has been a couple of months full of adventures in addition to all the normal life activities. But you know what? We are so blessed to have all these adventures and be able to live each day to the full. These adventures help to keep our mind off the things in our lives that aren't so great - one of those being that tumour!

People often ask me how Victoria is, sometimes I answer, 'good' or 'alright' (even if she isn't). Sometimes I say, 'she is struggling today with the pain'. But a month or so ago I felt God say to me, 'when people ask that question tell them I am holding her in my hands.' Okay, so that is quite a response. I wasn't sure if I had the emotional strength to use those words - even though they were so true. Then a month ago, in the midst of all the pain turmoil, a friend sent me an email. She wrote that she felt God was saying, 'I am here, I've got this, I have her in the palm of my hand'. 

And so I thought, okay God, I am listening, I will use that response. And I have, the first few times with tears, but each time with more and more confidence. One morning during a bike ride near our beautiful lake, I felt inspired by God to write this song / poem about how He is indeed holding Victoria in His hands.

He’s holding her in His hands
He’s holding her in His hands
And I just don’t understand

Some days it just breaks my heart
And I don’t have the strength to start
Being the mum she so needs
That’s ok, He’s all she needs
He’s holding her in his hands
And I just don’t understand

But I know He’s there
And I know He cares
And I won’t let go
Of what I know

He’s holding her in His hands
And I just don't understand
He’s holding her in His hands
But I know He understands

Victoria's next scan is on 18th May, we will get the results on the 19th May. Thank you for continuing to uplift her in prayer and believe that she will continue to know God loves her and He understands, for her continue to live her life to the full despite her circumstances and for her complete healing. He's holding her is His hands.

The Lord is my Shepherd [to feed, guide and shield me], I shall not lack. 

He makes me lie down in [fresh, tender] green pastures; He leads me beside the still and restful waters. 

He refreshes and restores my life (my self); He leads me in the paths of righteousness [uprightness and right standing with Him - not for my earning it, but] for His name's sake. 

Yes, though I walk through the [deep, sunless] valley of the shadow of depth, I will fear or dread no evil, for You are with me; Your rod [to protect] and Your staff [to guide], they comfort me. 

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my [brimming] cup runs over. 

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 AMP

1 comment:

Ken Robinson - Publisher said...


As Victoria's Dad, and Wendy's husband, even though I get to witness the grace God has given Victoria to deal with each difficult step, I know that he has also sent a guiding hand in the form of her Mum - Wendy.

God has truly blessed me as a husband with my beautiful wife Wendy, throughout this five year ordeal Wendy has played the role of coach, motivator and Mother to Victoria so well - I am proud to call her my wife.

It is a privilege to watch Wendy guide and motivate Victoria a long each difficult step she has to take as she battles with the long-term impact of her brain tumor.

And I know that what Wendy is doing is working because not only are we seeing positive outcomes in Victoria, we are seeing positive outcomes in our other children as well.

Plus, tonight when I was attending our churches men's group, the leader of the group Ivan told me how much he had been inspired by reading Wendy's blog. A blog that has impacted many hundred's throughout the past five years. Even through our families pain and suffering, God has used Wendy's words and wisdom to touch many many people.


Thank's Wendy for being part of our lives - I love you and am glad God choose you to be my wife!!!!