You’re invited to peer inside as we share the journey of our 21 year old son’s battle with Hodgkins Lymphoma. Daniel was diagnosed in December, just two weeks before graduating from the University of Florida. He graduated, chemo began, and in the same month he got engaged. I’ve not known what day of the week it is since then. As his mom and primary caregiver, I can say that I’ve completely enjoyed extra time with him and upping my homemaking skills. I’m not naturally inclined towards details or research, so this has been a huuuuuuuuggggggeee stretch for me and I’m learning a lot on so many levels.. like… keeping organized medical records, understanding medical terminology, replacing table salt with himalayan salt, the many uses of coconut oil, the benefits and uses of essential oils, and so much more that I was not planning on doing at this particular time in life.
We hope our story will help educate, bring awareness, reduce fears, give visuals to what a cancer journey and its treatment look like. We want to encourage, cast a vision of serving right where you are, and shout from the mountain top about an unexplainable peace possible even amidst a journey through the unknown. We want to proclaim God’s faithfulness to meet every emotion and need, and be used by God in specific ways that are only known to Him, unique to each one who reads this.
Be sure to scroll through these photos and read the journaling accompanying each. They collectively tell our story of Daniel’s fifth chemo.
God could have chosen any means to draw us to Him. Yet for us He allowed cancer. My perspective was immediately anchored in “He is sovereign. He is not surprised. He is worthy to be trusted.” No matter the unexpected waves that hit or the crashing emotions experienced, we could immediately find rest for the journey… a peace that passes all human understanding… when we release the desire to be in control, cast our burdens on Him knowing (not hoping) He cares for us, and long to know Him more through this “crisis.” So, that was my prayer from the get go. “Lord, may we (those in my family and directly involved) not simply get through this, but may we press on with all endurance, seeking to know you more intimately, desiring our hearts to be changed. May we be different because of this.” #dontwasteacrisis
Our immediate trust in God upon hearing this news has a back story.
A few years back, our then 8th grade daughter had a concussion which resulted in what I’d say was hell on earth. I realize others go through things far more challenging, but this is my story… and that phrase is how I referred to it. This brain trauma caused irrational thinking and bipolar behavior where the switch in her brain would flip on or off. It was frightening. It was exhausting. This lasted a few years. She is healed now. You can read more about this story on my website cultivatingahome and watch the video “A Mother/Daughter’s Journey through Suffering” on the website or at https://vimeo.com/96245126. Or watch this quick video of her high school graduation speech of not wasting a crisis.
It was during that time, those two horrific years, that I came to know my precious savior more deeply. I learned through studying the Psalms with fervency that every emotion is recorded in there and that we are to cry out to God, emptying ourselves and in return for this release of our emotions there would be a point where a “turnaround of my heart” would take place. Each time this increased my faith in Him, my trust in Him, and my love for Him. That scary experience gave me a deep, unshakeable trust. My suffering was met with His sweetness. I was transformed. I saw first hand that something so ugly – like a traumatic brain injury (TBI) was actually a beautiful gift available to me if I just accepted it and moved forward with the mindset to know Him more and to desire to be changed. That time of releasing every crippling fear to the all-powerful, loving God prepared me to easily trust in this next outwardly ugly gift – called cancer.
On Day Two of this journey, the Lord said, “Rhonda, do you not see? This is a privilege. A gift.
That right there, unbeknownst to me at that time, would end up being the vantage point, my lens through which this journey was viewed. Anticipating God to be working on more than just the cancer itself. He longed to know us and for us to know Him. His work was far greater than the tool (cancer) that He chose. He was about the heart, about relationships. Yes indeed this ugly gift of cancer held within it beautiful gifts, more than I could even know to ask for or imagine. #bringit
I received a card from my friend Kim last week. She had written James 1:2-4 from The Message. “Consider it a sheer GIFT, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way.”
Yes indeed. A gift. This would result in hearts being transformed as only God could do in his infinite wisdom. I welcomed and accepted this. Thank you Lord for the work you are doing. I trust.”
And with each small-as-a-mustard-seed act of faith, our faith grows. God is worthy to be trusted. Do you trust Him with the situation you are in now? See the situation as the tool He chose to use to draw you to Him. Then seek Him with your whole heart. Give every emotion to Him and watch the transformation that takes place over and over. You’ll see that God.is.enough.
Look at what’s available to those who truly believe in God...
- Isaiah 61:1-3 The Holy Spirit and the good news of salvation:
- Healing for the brokenhearted,
- Liberty to the captives,
- Release for those who are bound
- Comfort to all who mourn
- Beauty for ashes
- Joy for mourning
- Praise for heaviness
May we truly “live out Christ,” glorify Him, and proclaim His faithfulness no matter the setting of our lives. May we trust Him and press on with all endurance to know Him more fully and be changed in the process.#doyouknowHim
Grab a cup of coffee and scroll through these pictures – like pages in my photo album as I share about Daniel’s Chemo Round Five.
Rhonda heisworthytobetrusted ellis