…the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good… Romans 8:26-28
On the eve of this Thanksgiving, reflecting once again on that mental list of good things to be thankful for, perhaps it is best to say that this year we give thanks in faith, trusting the Lord we love that all things, especially the bad things, will indeed work together for good.
I’m tempted to give thanks for the things we like and hold them up against the things we don’t like as little spots of peace in the middle of the storm. I’m thankful for skilled doctors, the ability to “buy some time” with Alice, I’m thankful for the support of family and friends, the outpouring of affection from the family of God, thankful for my sweet wife and dear children and the fact that they still smile and laugh in the face of the darkest days of our lives so far. I’m particularly thankful for every time Alice’s little voice falls on my ear.
But I don’t want to simply give thanks for the things that give me joy now, this year more than ever I want to be able to give thanks for the thing that I hate now but know will bring me joy someday. I’m thankful for a God who works cancer for good – for Alice, for me, for my family, and for everyone who has cried along with us on this rough road. So we give thanks in faith – “Lord, someday we will give you thanks for this, and really mean it!”
That doesn’t mean we expect this trial will end how we want it to – growing old with all our kids healthy, wealthy, and wise. It does mean that no matter what happens in the next months or beyond, we expect this trial, like every other one we have and will endure, ends around the throne of our Good King, offering our heartfelt thanks for a love that gave us sorrow for a night, but endless joy for a perpetual, eternal morning.
My wife and I often ask each other one question: What do you think God is going to do with all the prayers offered up for Alice? We are amazed, encouraged, strengthened, and sometimes a little confused as to the sheer volume and weight of prayer lifted up for her, from all corners of the globe. I can only say one thing for certain – God Himself has moved His people to pray. To what end? That remains the mystery we are curious to see unfolded. Indeed, we don’t know what to pray for, because we don’t know all the options God has available to Him, and which one He’s choosing to bless us with. We hope that all the tearful pleas for Alice’s complete restoration are answered. Yet if she’s not, surely God has heard those prayers He inspired, and will not let them fall uselessly to the ground, will He? Surely not! So we are thankful that we love the God who works all things for good for Alice, and us. We give thanks in faith, even in the face of what seems right now to be an ugly “sight.”
Radiation is done. MRI is set for December 19th and we’ll see what the monster looks like after 27 blasts against it. In the meantime, time marches on. We’re finding our new(est) normal, but don’t know what that is or how to live it yet. We’re happy, we’re sad, we’re relieved, and we’re anxious. But as best we know how to be, we’re thankful, in faith that someday we really will be thankful for the briefly unspeakably bad things that were worked together for our eternally unfathomable good.
picture taken at Fleet Farm. Alice is really into Christmas trees the last couple of weeks, so I set her amidst the displays for a quick photo shoot, and managed to crop out the price tags, ha!
lastly, if you’re able, please join us for Alice’s spaghetti dinner. It’s a fundraiser, but I’m treating it from my perspective as a chance to finally get out a little and say thanks and embrace so many of you who have been so supportive from day one.
November 22, 2017 at 11:04 pm
Seeing Alice so joyful in front of that Christmas tree absolutely broke me. In a good way. And in a bad way. One day God will wipe away all of our tears…
November 23, 2017 at 12:22 am
Thank you for bringing us with you on this journey. We, as a family, would love to extend many hugs, big and small, to all you guys. We can’t make it in person but please know our hearts are with you.
Please continue to update us on Alice’s progress in God’s special plan for her.
More hugs 💓💓💓
November 23, 2017 at 12:33 am
We are praying for you and Alice.
Pastor Marvin Huyser
November 23, 2017 at 8:02 am
On this day of Thanksgiving we are thankful for your family coming to Lewis Lake. It has been a blessing beyond compare. We thank God for your family and especially little Alice. We are praying God work His healing power upon her. Blessings to all of you this day!!
November 23, 2017 at 9:33 am
You are an amazing family and your faith in God will carry you through this! I will continue to lift your family up in prayer!! God Bless all of you!
November 23, 2017 at 10:14 am
Each week I read your blog with total awe. Both in awe of you and sweet little Alice. Hearing her voice in the last post and seeing pictures each week has made Alice real to those of us that haven’t met her. She is in the hearts and minds of so many. And you, Pastor, continue to teach me many lessons. Happy Thanksgiving. 🦃
November 23, 2017 at 2:32 pm
Thank you once again for sharing your journey, trial with all of us. What a privilege it is to be enabled by the Holy Spirit to pray for Alice, and all of you.. It is not a duty I take lightly and never will. much love and prayer , Jamie
November 23, 2017 at 8:52 pm
You are all in our hearts and prayers. 💙
November 23, 2017 at 11:06 pm
Thank you for sharing your journey with us. God is at work! Prayers continue from us to your family.
November 27, 2017 at 12:28 pm
As a mom living 22 years this side of the “less desired” outcome of childhood cancer, I can tell you that God indeed gives you the grace and strength just when you need it to do these hard, heart-breaking things. In Christ there is ALWAYS HOPE … no matter what our heavenly Father ultimately, sovereignly allows.
You always pray, you always hope, you always know your God does all things well and you ALWAYS give thanks in everything. Gratitude to God keeps our hearts and spirits in their proper place so that IF the Lord allows something other than what we ask for, we will not be devastated. Hurt, sorrowful, sad, empty … yes. BUT …. today is not that day. Today is a day of LIFE and thanksgiving and rejoicing that little Alice has completed those nasty old radiation treatments (Lord willing, for the last time as we ask the Lord to heal her on this earth!). And we joyfully hope and anticipate that our loving God, who is good ALL the time and loves us consistently through the good and bad, will choose to heal her from this cancer through these treatments that He has uniquely ordained for her.
Our little boy had A.L.L and one of his several relapses resulted in having to have cranial spinal radiation. He was 3 at the time and he, too, had to use a mold (complete body mold) for his radiation treatments. I remember painting Scripture verses on his socks that he wore to the sessions. I told him that although he was laying down for those treatments, he could “stand” on the Word of God and have the courage to be still, which was absolutely essential to effective treatments. You look for the miraculous among the mundane when you have a child with cancer; and these radiation treatments demonstrated to those administering it that indeed God was protecting and working within that little boy. Adam was able to lay perfectly still without sedation during each treatment. Something that was quite out of the ordinary due to his age. I chose to give God thanks in enabling him to do that. And I made sure that all around he and I knew that, too.
I will pray and our our sweet Father to be merciful in healing Alice here. And I will joyfully and peacefully place the results of that prayer in His hands. May your hearts be comforted and walk in peace as you lovingly care for your little girl. I know how difficult that can be at times. Take one moment at a time and treasure each one of them with this special, precious child! Aren’t we blessed to have a Savior Who knows our needs, our anxieties, our thoughts from a far, our human frailties and yet quiets our hearts with His perfect peace?
November 28, 2017 at 5:10 pm
Thanks be to God, I am so happy for you and your family. We are still praying for you 😉 God bless you and have a happy holiday!
-Artsyteen @ https://hearwhatsup.wordpress.com
November 30, 2017 at 4:18 pm
Hi ~ hope you all had a great thanksgiving!! Yes so – so much to be thankful for!!
I have not written for a week or so, but i have been quoting scripture – letting God know that we are aware of what His Word says and that His promises are Yes & Amen… Today I continue to declare that Alice is a conqueror!!
I speak Peace, peace meaning nothing missing, nothing lacking. Spirit of God continue to move powerfully. God break thru and acellerate – calling forth 100% healed now and for many many yrs ~ God Your Word is full of life ~ even physical life!!
Let faith arise to even greater levels ~ Valory
December 18, 2017 at 9:02 pm
We are praying for her examination tomorrow 🙏🏼