Thursday, October 29, 2015

Perseverance is the Word

Greetings friends and family,

There are many stories of perseverance woven in and out of the 4 Webb's adventures.  I'll focus on a few just to point out what I believe is a turning point for me personally and us individually and us as a family.

Firstly, Kendra's back brace has not been missed one second since the morning after her surgery.  I had her pick it up one last time to get a portrait of the thing she relied on and then despised for the past seven months.  We are both happy for it to be no longer needed, but like all changes, this one took some getting used to also.  When I hug her standing up, It startles me because I'm used to the hard plastic between us.  Now I get to hug her tight without anything between us or worry about causing her back pain when i hold her close.  She completed the back-healing journey with perseverance!

Ever since Easton received his Titanic model in the mail he's been working hard on it every spare second we have together.  He asked me every morning, including bright and early Saturday morning (thanks for the wake up) to complete just a little more each day.  After 7 days of tackling little bits at a time, we completed the greatest ship that ever sank.  There is so much more detail than I could show in the picture, but let's just say Easton got very good at using tweezers and steady hands to glue in tiny parts.  It was all worth it to finish strong together.

I heard a guy once describe a heartbreak during childhood.  His dad started to build a model car with him, but the dad lost interest half-way through and never had time to finish it with him.  That model car sat half-completed for many years and fed the lie he believed that he was not worth his father's time or interesting enough.  That belief caused serious issues for the man to work through later in life.  I understand everyone is responsible for their actions after the age of accountability, but there is so much of the programming of little minds and hearts that happen as a result of parenting.  That man's issues traced back to a dad who was too busy to show interest and help him learn what it means to do something with excellence all the way to the end.  My philosophy of parenting is based on what I've observed and experienced.  I make it a point to be a man of my word and to share quality time with Easton on whatever he is passionate about.  It just happens that he loves the Titanic.  I don't have to love it or agree with him or understand.  I just get to be dad and let him be Easton.  In letting him work on whatever he is passionate about, I don't have to continually ask him to finish things.  He can't wait to work on it and follow through to completion.  That's perseverance.

For my recent story I'll take you on a journey to my work.  Actually, it's after work and I'm walking through the main lobby on the way out to my car.  People are looking at me strangely.  some smile and some do a double take.  One guy gave me a "thumbs up".  I couldn't figure out why.  On my way to my car I looked down to see the Goonies lunch box swinging back and forth in my hand.  It him me that people were checking out my lunch box the whole time.  This is mine, not Easton's  Yes, i take it to my corporate job and eat my lunch from it as I sit at my desk and... persevere.  I would love to eat out more often, but the money tree in the back yard has been picked clean this year so we do what we can to adjust.  everyone makes their own choices of what to spend money on and determine what is important.  We aren't poor, just conscious of the resources we have and making sure not to go into debt no matter what happens.

My perseverance is just a story of keeping it together and taking this one day at a time.  1 - Wife, 2 - kids, 3 - job, 4 - Everything else.  This is order of priority that continually gets tested.  Every single day I make choices that either reflect the truth of who I am or go against my beliefs.

Layla is still ice skating twice per week and loving every second on the ice.  Her instructors and classmates all dressed up in costumes today as a Halloween treat.  Layla dressed as Anna from the Disney movie "Frozen" and her instructor came as Olaf from the same movie.  It was a match, for sure!  I got this great picture of the two of them, but more importantly, Layla advanced to the next level of her ice skating classes today!  She was super excited to share the news with me and I reacted like one of her seven-year-old girl friends on the playground to a Justin Bieber song.  I'm sure the other moms and kids thought I was a complete wacko, but I know it meant a lot to Layla for me to express how proud I was in a way that matched her level of excitement.  It was a splendid moment I will probably never forget and she is continuing to persevere and advance in her ice skating skills.

I've already mentioned her in previous posts about my resignation as executive pastor and all other roles at church, but for those who might come across this blog post that are not Facebook friends with me, here's the communication I posted related to the story and the "why?":

My resignation from church leadership roles and reasons for leaving this local body:  

It is with a bittersweet heart that I share this news of transition for Kendra and I. As you know, there is so much going on for our family lately and Kendra is my first ministry before anything else. After praying and listening to wise council, I stepped down as the Executive Pastor at church and my leadership positions. I deeply appreciate the incredibly pastoral, relational, and honoring way Pastor invested in me during this season of change.

We first discovered our church back in 2007 after searching for a church where we could connect locally. We immediately agreed this was our church home and began to find our place. One Wednesday night after service I approached Pastor and asked how I can serve. He noticed my wife was very pregnant with our twins and said, "talk to me in a year after you've had a chance to settle in with parenting." I respected his wisdom and after a year I approached him again with my desire to serve. Since then I've been given the opportunity to be an armor bearer, security team lead, teacher, preacher, conference speaker, mentor, small group leader, young adults leader, advisory board member, finance committee chair, Freedom Ministries director, and Executive Pastor. We dedicated ourselves to being "about our father's business" through sacrificially giving our time, talents, and treasures for the past eight years.

There are several values that drive our lives. Near the top of the list are connection and submission. We believe in relationship and we believe in authority. The vision of our church has profoundly shaped the vision in our hearts. Freedom Ministry as an overall approach to discipleship was introduced to us by our Pastor. We fully embraced the philosophy of freedom and allowed our lives to be transformed. Because of our openness to shift the way we think, God used us to shift the DNA of the church in a meaningful way. We taught the Foundations of Freedom class eight times and facilitated three conference events, which empowered over 250 people through discipleship and connecting them with God as the source of life.

In discovering who God made us to be, it became clear that what God grew in me and Kendra is a bit different than our church in some key areas. It’s not better. It’s just different. It’s not right and our church is wrong. It’s just different. But different is different and it’s been a valuable process exploring those differences in such a relational and honoring context. Healthy families release sons and daughters into adulthood with the affirmation that they need to become who God created them to be. Healthy parents raise children “in the way they should go.” I’ve deeply appreciated the way Pastor and the staff have related to us throughout with honesty, honor, and care.

Our church has a very clear and direct assignment from God. One of the reasons they are so fruitful is the willingness to steward the vision God birthed through Pastor. Our vision simply lies outside the scope of God’s assignment for our church, which limits how far we can journey together. My last day on staff was October 13th. There are still lots of questions that remain unanswered, but we are trusting God for continued guidance to step into whatever He has in store for us after an interval of rest and refocusing.

I can’t express enough how grateful I am for our Church. This was home for us. Though we are full of excitement for what the future holds, we are also grieving our departure. I understand how grief should be proportionate to the value of what has been lost. Though we are not “losing” our church or any of our relationships, we are nevertheless grieving the close of what has been a beautiful and rich chapter of our lives. I am thankful for the leaders and honored for the way they are releasing us into our new assignment wherever God leads.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Standing Up Tall

Greetings friends and family,

Kendra's back surgery to inject cement into her vertebrae is done and we are happy happy with the results.  She was understandably not looking forward to getting a needle full of cement poked into her bone but her courage and peace through all of this was nothing short of amazing.  I took the day off work to be with her through the process.  This was an extended Doctor date for us because we spent so much time together without the kids who were at school.

The surgery went as scheduled and Kendra was released from the hospital a few hours later.  She wore her back brace for the last time as she rode in the car home that day.  She says the incision part feels like someone kicked her in the back, but her bones feel much stronger and she's getting around fine without her brace.  I took this picture because it shows very well what she is like at rest.  She really is this happy and peaceful even without medication! Even with significant discomfort from the surgery.  even with the side-effects of radiation.  Even with the uncertainty.  She is joyful from the deepest part of who she is and it just splashes out on everyone around her, including me.

This was the first day in seven months where we sat together and cuddled on the couch without her back brace between us.  Made my day and I know it made hers.  Trina came by to take Kendra to her radiation appointment because she wasn't sure how she would feel the day after surgery.  I watched her walk out the front door for the first time without her brace and it was momentous.  Not because of what happened, but because it was the reality of turning a page in the book of Kendra's story.

This thing sits useless in our bedroom now and it's wonderful.  Kendra is no longer held back by the thing that helped her back heal.  She immediately felt the stability of her vertebrae when she stepped out of bed the morning after surgery.  It's given her a great amount of confidence and given me peace of mind.  I no longer have to be the enforcer when it comes to keeping her from bending lifting and twisting.  She is free to move about the cabin. and the world.

Two days after the surgery I decided to go camping for an overnight trip with the twins.  One hour from our door is a lake and campsite with water and electricity.  $20 plus snack food and gas is all it cost for us to have a memorable 24 hours together while Kendra rested in the quiet house.  It was well worth the sleepless night and added stress of herding seven-year-old twins around a lake and campfire.

We sat quietly on the edge of the rocks overlooking the lake and sunset.  I requested a sixty-second block of silence.  No moving, no speaking, just observing and relaxing.  It was fun to pick them up from school with the van already packed and surprise them with the trip.  They were shocked and excited about our camping adventure because it was so spontaneous.

I taught them how to build a fire.  We each built our own little fire in the rock ring and lit them together to produce a big inferno.  The highlight of the trip was lighting little sticks on fire and watching them curl up as they burn.

The second favorite part was the electric lift at the marina.  We stopped by for some fishing worms and rode the lift up the hill from the marina.  They thought it was like a disneyland ride even though it moved at a snails pace.

My favorite part of the trip was laying in the tent with one of them on their own blowup mattresses next to me.  We had so many laughs and creative fun times.  The extra stresses of loading the car, setting up camp, and cleaning up were all worth it for those memorable moments that money could never buy.

See you soon!

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Just the 4 Webbs

Greetings friends and family,

This is a huge week in the Webb house.  There is newness and life happening in new ways.  The most obvious sign of newness is Kendra's hair.  As we waited together between doctor's appointments in the hospital patio I looked up at Kendra and saw the sunlight illuminating the new hairs sprouting from her head.  I've noticed the changes every single day since they starting showing up as fuzz.  Now it's really starting to come in dark and wispy.

We stood around one of the fish tanks in the hospital to pass the time.  The lionfish is Kendra's favorite.  She spends so much time around the hospital I'm surprised she doesn't have them all named by now.

Today marks the first church-less week for us in the past eight years.  We are not running from anything, but we are unsure what we are running towards.  On Saturday we met with our 20-person leadership team and said our good-byes along with blessings.  They are taking the ministry we developed and continuing forward.  We led 250 people during the eight classes we taught and built the team of leaders slowly over time.  It's a living, breathing organization of people who are excited about their own freedom journey.  It's so difficult to step away in the middle of what God is doing, but this is the real test of leadership.  What happens when leaders leave?  If it falls apart and can't function without us, then that doesn't prove our value.  It proves our lack of leadership skills to really call out people into their own place of leadership.  We are grieving the loss of our connection with what we were so intimately involved with.  At the same time we are grateful for the opportunity we were given to be a part of this.

This is the last picture of the 4 Webbs at our church.  It's been our home for eight years.  It's the only place the twins have ever known as church.

All of us are working through this realization in our own way.  It's not a sorrowful, hopeless sadness, but just dealing with the uncertainty of not knowing where God will lead us.  Also, the feeling of being disconnected from the local church body is foreign.  We are in the "season in between" and it's entirely OK.  I'm not worried about the future or frantically trying to figure everything out.  Every week and every day for the past few years was filled with work at my career and then church related activities on the nights and weekends.  I didn't realize how many hours per week I spent on church stuff until this past week without any of the responsibility.  Now we get to just be the 4 Webbs for a while.  Not leaders or teachers or directors or any role outside of the house.  We are down to just the bare bones of life and focusing on our priorities.  Easton and Layla went to church this past Sunday knowing it was our last time there.  The children's leader took time to have the kids pray a blessing over the twins.  The act of sending them off with gratitude warmed my heart so much.

Back at home, much of my free time is spent helping Easton with his Titanic model.  He has bulldog-like tenacity when his passion has something to focus on.  He begs me every morning to work on it.  We're almost done, thank God.  Layla is feeling a little left out, but she understands the give and take of being a sister and a daughter.  I will make it up to her in the next few days through special time with her and I.  At first I didn't know if Easton would be steady enough to glue the tiny pieces, but I let him prove his skills with the glue and then turned him loose to put it together.

This week includes a full list of challenges and potential successes.  Can't wait to see how things turn out for Kendra ad our family.

See you soon!

Thursday, October 15, 2015

The Weight of MInistry

Greetings friends and family,

I've been suspiciously absent from social media and the blog for a while now because of the massive amount of change going on for the 4 Webbs.  The short version is that I've resigned as executive pastor at our church and we are ending our involvement with ministry for now.  It's been difficult for the past few months to be juggling so many balls and I came to the conclusion that some things have to change.

My first ministry is Kendra.  When I am successful as a husband, then I can be a father.  Easton and Layla are my second ministry.  When I am successful as a father, then I can help others.  I discovered there is only enough of me to be a husband and a father right now.  The ministry to others will have to wait for another season.

Resigning and leaving the church are two of the most difficult choices I've made in a long time.  It's painful.  It's sad.  It's lonely. It's relieving...  So many emotions filled the past 24 hours that I'm exhausted and I still don't have adequate words to describe.  Eight years of serving in various roles. Six years of teaching. Two years as executive pastor.  Two years as ministry leaders.  Hundreds of real relationships and friendships.  It all came to an end in one single meeting.  There are many reasons, but they all fit in the same bucket:  There is a gap between the senior pastor's vision and what I am willing to follow as a member and executive pastor.  He is not right.  He is not wrong.  I am not right.  I am not wrong.  It's just a difference of direction and timing.

I also learned there is a weight to ministry.  It increases little by little over time as influence increases.  I haven't felt over-burdened or burned out at all, but with all that weight being lifted off my shoulders in one moment, I can feel its absence.  I never felt like my responsibilities were too much to handle.  I was never pressured into doing anything either.  Every role and position was a new opportunity to impact people's lives in a greater way.  and now I am in the transition.  I've spent so much time and money and effort on building God's kingdom, but now all of that is done.  I don't regret a single hour or dollar or moment I gave towards ministry.  The only regret is that I didn't contribute more of my resources.  I could have used more of my temporary resources to impact people's eternity.  There is no better way to invest who I am than to pour into the lives of people who are seeking a connection with God.    

In the middle of our church transition, Kendra started her 40 days of radiation.  I'm not sure what radiation is like, but I imagine they strap a microwave oven to her mid-section and turn it on high for 60 seconds.  The goal is to kill the cancer cells and we are believing this will be effective.

And just to keep things interesting around our house, Kendra had her consultation about her back surgery and gave the green light for surgery on the 21st, six days from now.  The neurologist said if all goes well that Kendra will be able to throw her back brace away that very same day!    

Anyway, enough of the grown up stuff...  there is also a bunch happening in the world of twins.  Easton's Chewbacca pajamas are getting some serious wear even though it is still 100 degrees outside.  The bag he is holding is for his martial arts classes. I found it in Craigslist for a steal and decided to piece his equipment bag together one item at a time.  He was super excited to get it as a reward for earning his two stripes.

There were a couple of cooler days stuck in the middle of the near-record heat.  I showed them what "carpe diem" means by taking them and their scooters to the skate park.

Even though we went in the morning, it was still hot enough on the pavement that the twins sought out the shade and laid on cool concrete during a break time moment.

Easton is growing taller so quickly and maturing right before my eyes.  He has a kindness about him that I am very grateful for.

we always find minutes every day and hours every weekend for quality time together.  He went swimming with me for a while because Layla says 80 degrees in the pool is too cold.  No big deal...  We'll just use this opportunity for some boy time!

Easton's baby teeth are falling out at a rapid pace.  We went to Hobby Lobby for something and he decided to use his tooth money on a model...  of the Titanic.  His obsession knows no boundaries.  He is so fascinated with the Titanic that he was willing to part ways with his entire spend money container so that he could buy the model.  I thought it was a snap-together version, but when we pulled it out I realized it is glue-together version.  wow, these are small pieces!  It's going to take us a few weeks to tackle this detailed of a model, but he is patient.

The weather is almost cool enough to hit the hiking trails again.  I convinced them to wait for sunset so it wouldn't be quite so hot.  Their backpacks were loaded with water and some trail mix.  That's all we need for an evening of quality time together!  I'm eagerly awaiting the cooler weather to get on with our outdoor adventures.

See you soon.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Piggies in the Sun

Greetings friends and family,

Someday in the next few months I'll be able to share the details of what's going on in the Webb house, but for now all I can say is that I'm stepping into a level of influence that is absolutely crazy.  madness.  it doesn't make sense and I don't even want to be a part of what I'm about to be involved in, but none the less I'm accepting my role in affecting change.  You could call it reluctant leadership, but in many ways I've been preparing my whole life for what's about to happen.

Anyway, there are much bigger things going on in the world, such as Easton's wiggly tooth that just won't come out.  It's been days now where it flaps in the wind, gets in the way of his eating, and completely grosses me out when he flicks it with his tongue.  He knows there is big $ waiting from the tooth fairy (he knows it's just me) but he also dislikes pain on every level.

As for Kendra, she got a tattoo and is waiting get cement poured in her back bone and to start microwaving her guts.  The three tiny dots that were tattooed on her hips and belly were required for the radiation equipment to work.  She had a CT scan, which will be used to calibrate the radiation equipment for her 40 days of treatment starting next week.  As for the cement in her back... the consultation with the neurologist is on the 15th and they'll do the procedure on the 21st.  She is eagerly awaiting that so she can be out of her brace.  We had one of our common "doctor dates" where we get to spend time together in the car ride to and from the doctor's visits.  I stood around taking silly pictures while she got her tattoo.  Such a weird day.

The journey we have been on for seven long months now has been indescribable.  The pain, the stress, the uncertainty, the victories, the moments... It's like I'm living someone else's story from a book or a movie.  Through it all I've been as transparent as possible.  It's not something I do.  It's who I am.  I spent the first three decades of my life keeping secrets.  I hid everything except the happy, shiny details so that my life looks holy and perfect to everyone else. Then I discovered how much more effective it is to relate to people by being genuine and open.  Kendra and I both agreed a long time ago that we want to be attractional by being real.  I am happy to be me, not some false version of me that no one would ever reject.  That's hypocrisy and I've seen it way too much during my life.  We have nothing to lose and everything to gain by just being ourselves.  Here's a morning wake-up picture showing the raw, unfiltered look at what it means to be us.

I get to wake up every morning to Kendra's wonderful face and even her bald head.  I am the most blessed man in the world to have her by my side.  I choose her every single day and I will continue to choose her every single day until death do us part.

I invite the whole world into our lives.  Not because I want to be famous or important.  I do this because people are interested and they can be encouraged and find hope.  There is no monetary gain or popularity contest to win.  It's honesty, transparency, and vulnerability.  So many people are in bondage to the belief that they can only share the outward cover of perfection.  My heart breaks for those people who can't really be who they are in public or around family or at work or wherever.  Being me isn't a free license to be jerk or rude.  It's freedom to be who I was created to be according to the way God sees me.

This philosophy is also the way we parent.  Easton and Layla are best friends because we pray that and speak that and show that every single day.  I rode bikes with them to the park one sunny afternoon.  They had the whole playground to play in, but chose to play together.  If they didn't play together who would sit on the other side of the teeter totter?

Who would balance out the wobbly, spinning thing?

They spend all day long at school in separate classrooms.  That means they are excited to hang out together in the evenings and all weekend long.  We went for Sunday lunch and as we ate, the twins played in the yard outside our window. Easton came over to be silly with his piggie nose on the glass.  

Layla joined in and Easton switched to the smash face look just so he wouldn't be the same as Layla.  We cheered them on and encouraged their creative funny faces.  They are seven years old and I hope they never lose their sense of humor.  

Our ministry classes are doing super.  We are almost half way done with our 8-week class on both church campuses.  The leadership team of 20 is our main focus of attention. They are so awesome and we are grateful for the chance to join with them in leading people into true transformation.  

Kendra only has three doctors appointments this week. One vitamin C treatment, one blood work, and one bone building shot for her back.  That's a full week for some people but for Kendra that is a really light week.  She's spending the rest of her free time playing with the twins while they are on fall break. 

See you soon!

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Seafood and Sea Shells

Greetings friends and family,

Fall is sorta here.  The first day of October brought with it 107 degree temps.  The only positive side of this "100 days of 100 degrees" marathon is that the pool is still in prime swimming condition!  We are ready to get back outdoors and have some adventures in hiking, bike riding, and geocaching.

Kendra's update is finally clear after weeks of MRI scans, insurance squabbling, and uncertainty.   The tumors in her vertebrae and liver are officially cancer-free and in full remission!  That's great news.  The not-so-great news is that 5 new potentially cancerous spots showed up in her hip bones.  That really sucks.  No way around that bit of data.  However, there is good news in the midst of the new ones.  The good news is that there are no other spots or concerns anywhere else in her body.  All of the issues are localized to her pelvic area and none of them are in her organs.  The localized area of concern also means that the 40 days of radiation treatment starting around October 12th has a high probability of killing all the cancer cells completely.  This is what we are believing for.

Secondly, the test results show the vertebrae is healing very well, but is "settling".  That translates to "slightly collapsing".  It means the tumor deteriorated so much of the inside of her vertebrae that it is potentially unsafe for Kendra to be without her back brace.  Her vertebrae could be fine or it could collapse completely, which would lead to fusing vertebrae and adding rods and pins.  Because of that prognosis we are moving forward with an outpatient surgery on the 21st to have cement injected into the vertebrae.  This is the only valid option.  The risk is low.  It won't affect her radiation treatment.  And as a bonus, she will most likely be able to throw her back brace in the trash by November 1.  I've been holding my breath every day for the past seven months hoping Kendra's vertebrae holds up

I would say we have some big decisions to make, but that's not true.  There is a clear path with some specific milestones between now and Christmas.  We are just taking the journey laid out before us and cheering when we pass the mile markers.  Nothing about this is fun.  I believe in being thankful IN all things, but I don't have to be thankful FOR all things.  I don't even have to like this, thank goodness.

There are many things to like about our life though.  My employer is working with me very well and that takes away a little bit of the stress.  The other thing that takes away stress is just doing normal things during the day like going grocery shopping, doing homework with the twins, and having dinner with friends.

One such occasion was a visit to the Angry Crab with Stephanie's family.  The waiter pulled out a lobster and let the twins touch it.  Then when he held it up for the picture they both jumped back and squealed like little kids.  Oh wait... they are kids.

The restaurant allows patrons to draw on the walls.  I looked over to see exactly what I would expect from these two.  Easton is studying the crabs and lobsters as they flutter and crawl.  Layla is writing on the wall a descriptive story about our life.

I said, "what are you two up to?"  They both looked at me as puzzled as if to say, "duh!  what would you expect?"

Layla wrote, "My mom is cancer free!"  She believes it and I agree with her statement as prophetic.  speaking in faith is being certain of what is not yet true about the present situation.

On another part of the wall Layla drew this picture of Layla and Kendra.  Layla has long curly hair and Kendra has none.  Fairly accurate!

Kendra's friends are falling into two categories:  1. Those who say they are here for her anytime and find ways to be a part of her life while helping.  2. Those who say they are here for her and then never make an effort because they are worried she is "too busy" for them.  Stephanie loves to care for and about people.  It shows in her friendship with us every time she connects with Kendra with an invite, a kind note, a container of green juice, or a hundred other way's she's shown Kendra support.

A few weeks ago we got a letter and a picture frame in the mail from my sister, Joanie.  I've been at a loss for words and no matter what kind of language I try to put to this, it feels insufficient to describe the depth of gratitude I have for this.  She took time to write a letter.  She took time to gather up the twigs and junk that washed up on shore to spell out the word "Godfidence".  She glued the shells on the frame; the shells she picked up while praying and believing for Kendra.  Suggesting this is a thoughtful act doesn't even begin to express how meaningful this is.

The letter says this:

August 30, 2015 - Kendra, Bronson Easton, and Layla, At the beginning of this month we went to Florida on our family vacation. While we were in St. Petersburg, expecting the best beach day of the summer, the day got cloudy and storms blew in.  The waves on the sand were high, some of the highest ever seen by John's family who live there. As we walked on the beach following the rains, it was evident that the high tides scraped the bottom of the ocean and hurled everything toward the shore. As I walked along, toes squishing in the sand and picking up shells, I began thinking of you all.  I thought about the storm you have been enduring for months. Of the waves of cancer and how it has scooped your plans and crumpled them into pieces, and has thrown you into a life story that you did not expect

As the skies grew dark at the end of the day, the boys and I pulled out flashlights and continued searching for shells. With each shell I grabbed, I felt led to pray over you.  As l bent down to collect a shell, l called out your name to God.  I claimed, in faith, healing for you, Kendra. Over and over l spoke your name to our God who created every part of your body and who knows the innermost parts of your soul. I thanked him for your testimony. I begged him for your healing. I quoted His holy word from Jeremiah 30:17, saying, "l will restore health unto her, and l will heal her of her wounds".

Again and again l claimed the promise of healing, "Heal her, Jesus. Heal her, Jesus"  shell after shell, piece after piece. I urged our God to bolster your body, to bring strength to your weary bones.  I prayed that He would turn every good hour into quality moments that would make up the difference for the hours sitting with the chemo bag, the hours sleeping, and the hours waiting in a medical office. That your time would be given back to you, through beautiful moments with your children, and with Bronson that would encourage your heart and bring you great joy!  Kendra, I asked God for that big miracle, too. I asked for complete healing that would astound the medical community and would amplify your testimony of His power in your life.  I asked again and again, shell after shell, until my pockets were overflowing and I had to fill a bucket.

As you look ahead to the future, there are uncertain days ahead. The blue ocean is vast. You cannot determine the weather. You can only manage your sails and trust the captain of the ship.  Oh how we can trust Him!  Oh how He loves us, his children in the clearest, purest way.  His promises are true.  His power is unending.  His love is abounding always.  He does know all of our days and the number of hairs on our heads, and how many fell when subjected to chemo.  He holds us during suffering, during pain, and reminds us that His grace is sufficient for all things.  Cancer.  His grace is sufficient through cancer.  Through disease, through sickness, through weariness, through testing, results and prognosis.  His grace is sufficient.

People in our lives have been incredibly generous in giving of their time, talents, and treasures.  Some are more tangible than others, but all are extremely meaningful and helpful.  we can never repay people for the amazing outpouring of love and resources, but I can happily say, "Thank you!" from my grateful heart.  We are blessed and every day is a miracle.