Thursday, March 24, 2016


Romans 5:1-5  Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.

I have a feeling that 'bittersweet' is going to be the true north emotion for many milestones to come.

Today marks three weeks. Three whole weeks since the last time Ruby was in a hospital bed. (That is lifetimes longer than any other home stay we've had since last summer.) Three whole weeks since Ruby had her central line taken out, adding a much needed step in the direction of what her life was before leukemia. Three whole weeks that have included preschool and baths and public play spaces and almost nothing medical.

But this amazing three weeks is also a harsh reminder of the difference between Ruby and so many other kids with cancer. Our time at home has included the passing of one child that was on the cancer unit with us. These three weeks have found another little boy who shared the AFLAC nurses and doctors with us on a few occasions back in the hospital again at least twice, this most recent time with infections that are giving him a fight bigger than his body seems able to handle.
So there is the bittersweet part: the part that makes it difficult to celebrate Ruby's remission. I've never met a parent going through an illness that doesn't rejoice in the health of others, that doesn't cheer on healing. But I have to think it's hard to see someone else's child get through treatments without much pause, only to move on with life when yours is still in the throws of the hardest moments you could ever have imagined. I can't even wrap my brain around what it feels like to make decisions no parent should ever have to make. It absolutely breaks me to think about the conversations that must be had. Between spouses, with the sick child, with other children... Anything we've faced pales in comparison to that type of suffering.

So I go back to these verses. 'Glory in our sufferings because we know that suffering produces perseverance, character, and hope'. I do not think God chose for Ruby to get leukemia or Grant to get neuroblastoma. No more than I think He chose for Ruby to be healed as anticipated and Grant to still be fighting. So I can only rest in this truth: God is with them both. He will use any suffering to shape the character of those involved; He will use the suffering to foster a home for hope.

And He will heal both Ruby and Grant; whether on this earth or in heaven remains to be seen.

I have to believe that because it feels crazy to celebrate three weeks of 'nothing' when that three weeks held so many life changing moments for so many others.

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