The Phone Call No One Wants

Reflects from a Difficult Year

Today marks exactly one year since my wife got the phone call that everyone prays will never come. I remember her calling me crying and all she could say was “come home.” I drove and prayed and asked God to do a miracle, and he did not in the way I would have done it but a year later I can say that I don’t understand, but we’ve learned to trust more. This year has been difficult because walking through cancer was difficult for everyone in our family in very different ways. It has been hard because we have lost some very dear friends a few of them to cancer. Every time I think of them my heart aches a bit because this isn’t how it was supposed to be.

To be clear, I hate cancer. I also don’t believe that it is a gift from God. I do believe that God works through our greatest pains for our good and his glory (Romans 8). While I would never wish for Cancer to come. There are things in my life and in our family I would have never known existed both good and bad if it wasn’t for the trial that took the form of cancer in our family. At the moment we were rejoicing from the good news that my wife was Cancer free a few of our friends discovered they had Cancer in their bodies. With the freshness of the pain from what we had walked through I can’t tell you how this pained my heart. Yet having just walked through something so similar and watched God move in my wife’s life and in several others I had a faith to believe and pray in a way I wouldn’t have before.

One of those friends of mine was Jeremy Lee, a guy I had recently met in person but have known online for some time. As my wife was receiving her joy-filled news 6 months ago he was received far worse news. Since the day I found out he had Cancer I began to pray with new wisdom and fresh hope for healing. This week he received a clean bill of health, to God be the Glory. I wanted to share his Facebook status with you because I found it personally helpful and profoundly true.

Why is this happening…

Why is this happening to me? Why me? Everyone of us at some point has asked “why”? When I think of someone crying why I for some reason always picture Nancy Kerrigan grabbing her knee after it was hit by a thug with a club as she was leaving an ice skating rink in 1994. The camera crew covering the event showed Kerrigan grabbed her knee and saying over and over again “Why,Why, Why…?” You don’t have to be a Christian to know this world is not as it should be. There is something inside of us that sees the the injustice, pain and inequality of this world and knows that we were made for so much more. We instinctively know that this world is broken and falling apart. As Christians we are not immune from the effects of this pain and the brokenness of this world. What we do have is living hope. We have a light that shines in the darkness of our darkest days. We have a hope that whispers to us in the beauty of a perfect day and screams at us in the darkness of our worst “Behold I make all things new.”

Kindness Matters

Update from Sandra

Did you ever wonder if your kindness matters? It can and it does. My friends, church family and relatives have been so kind to me during this time. My friend Stephanie  came and prepared a roast for my family, put it in my oven so the house smelled wonderful when the kids came home from school. Melissa matched a full basket of socks. We all gasped! That doesn’t always happen.

So many people sent cards, gave, sent text and prayers and it all has meant the world to us. Whether we know you well or not your kindness has mattered. This time has shown me how to care for others and that our friends are more generous than we deserve. In this post, I want to gently remind you to have courage and be kind to those around you. It matters more than you know.

I want to thank you for your prayers. Last update I asked you to pray for me because my white blood cells were very low. I was going to have to have a steroid shot to boost them. I wasn’t able to get the shot due to circumstances and this visit my blood counts were up significantly. I know that is the power of prayer at work. Our kids are also doing well I know is an answer to prayer as well.

We are so grateful for your support and prayers. Here is how you can be praying for us:

  1. My blood counts continue to stay high.
  2. That my kids maintain their health.
  3. Daily grace.
  4. That I would see a decrease in my nausea.
  5. That God would be glorified in our family through this trial.

Thanks so much and Happy New Year.
Sandra Luce

The blessings in suffering

Update from Sandra

I want to start by sincerely thanking everyone for all you have done for my family and me. I will not forget your kindness. Every card, prayer, donation and helping hand has helped us more than you know. Thank you.

This time has been challenging for me and my family. It has been the hardest thing we have faced together. I have not felt as weak and as helpless as I do right now. Every day I have to trust God for his help and strength to take things one day at a time.

But even at this time I see the blessings in the midst of my pain. I see my oldest son so strong and stable like we have never seen him before. I see the heart of my second son willing to drop everything to make me toast or simply pick up toys laying in the living room. I hear my oldest daughter pray for me and tell me she loves so much and my youngest who is two, turns to me and says “your going to be fine mom, don’t be scared” then hands me her favorite blankie. I can’t help but see that as God at work in the lives of my kids. That is a blessing to me. It’s a blessing that has to come through hardship that wouldn’t have been seen any other way, and I’m thankful. There is blessing in suffering, I see it and I feel it.

Things you can pray for with me:

  • That my nausea will subside that my strength would increase daily.
  • During Christmas, my blood counts will be at their lowest pray that I will be healthy and strong.
  • Health for my kids.
  • I have to take shots to increase my white blood cell counts – They produce achy bones and flu-like symptoms
  • Most of all pray that at the end of these three months I won’t need any more treatments or radiation.

Merry Christmas,

Why we praise even in bad situations

Update on Sandra.

One of the things  we are grateful for is what the writer of Lamentations knew about God. He has new mercies for us every morning. His love is steadfast and unchanging. It seems each day has a new challenge to it, but each day is met by grace that far exceeds anything we could provide.

After Sandra’s first Chemo treatment she responded better than we had expected. It’s hard to know what to expect when your expectations for chemo are set by Hollywood movies. The next couple of days Sandra was tired, but they were mostly uneventful, as the week progressed Sandra struggled quite a bit with tiredness and various other symptoms. The past few days have been much much better. Your prayers are felt and are doing more than you know. Sandra today felt good enough to get out of the house for a few hours. We have much to be thankful for.

One of the prayers we pray is we don’t want to waste this season on self-pity and trying to understand the incomprehensible. One of the things we are learning is how God turns bad thing into good things. In the Dec 8th section of Tim Keller’s devotional on Psalm he has you read Psalm 135 and says this about it:
Why should we praise God? We should praise him…
1.  Because He is good
2. Because it is good to praise him
3. Because in his grace He finds us
4. Because he works all thing together for good.