Saturday, June 30, 2012

A Reminder as the Next Year of Our Life Begins

Esther napping after a little bit of an upset stomach
Esther napping after a little bit of an upset stomach
Today was both a very eventful day and yet a relatively uneventful day as well. It was the first day of chemo of the first cycle of the next year of Esther's life.

She started with 2 hours of fluids to help keep her urinating and thereby protecting her bladder from everything flushing out of her system. It's amazing how much hydration is important in this process of chemo treatment for her!

After the hydration, then came the chemo. It was a half an hour of cytoxan followed by a half hour of topotecan. An hour and just like that, the treatment had started. Then came another 2 hours of hydration.

The biggest thing was keeping her going potty to clear her system and then just watching how her system responds. She did great. She got nauseous towards the tail end of the day but she was given some Benadryl to help settle her stomach and she proceeded to take a nice, long nap (as cute picture included illustrates!).

Overall, it was a pretty low key first day of chemo filled with a few encouraging visitors. It was a day that again illustrated what courage, patience, and endurance, God has gifted this little princess with. She got a little irritable after she threw up twice, but I can assure you that I would have acted much more miserable and needy than she has. She threw up again later but is in good spirits as she drifts off to sleep.

Thank you for your continued prayers on ours and Esther's behalf. We continue to just be blown away by the love and support of those around us. We are extremely grateful!

Today I finished the book of 2 Kings and was intrigued again by thoroughness of a leader. This time it was King Josiah who rediscovered the Word of God and tried to reset how Israel had just forgotten about God. Be patient with me here, this all leads back again to what's happening with Esther!

And the king [Josiah] commanded Hilkiah the high priest and the priests of the second order and the keepers of the threshold to bring out of the temple of the LORD all the vessels made for Baal, for Asherah, and for all the host of heaven. He burned them outside Jerusalem in the fields of the Kidron and carried their ashes to Bethel. (2 Kings 23:4)

You can read the rest of the chapter where Josiah does his best to lead Israel back into relationship with God but the key for me was later...

And the king commanded all the people, "Keep the Passover to the LORD your God, as it is written in this Book of the Covenant." For no such Passover had been kept since the days of the judges who judged Israel, or during all the days of the kings of Israel or of the kings of Judah. But in the eighteenth year of King Josiah this Passover was kept to the LORD in Jerusalem.

It's wild how you can look at how what Josiah did in trying to wipe slate clean, even what Jehu did, but how that's not enough. They were still missing something. Even Jehu still worshipped false gods after he wiped out the Baal worship. Even great kings like David, Solomon, and Hezekiah forgot something and it might have been something the contributed to their nation just falling apart. David knew God and knew his forgiveness but still neglected even this... The Passover.

Not a big deal you say? What Israel & Judah did in forgetting the Passover would be like us neglecting the 4th of July for hundreds of years! The 4th of July is a huge holiday of remembrance! It calls us to remember why we are a nation. It reminds us of our freedom! Better than that, it's our nation's birthday! The Passover is practically the same. Except, it was also to remind them of where that freedom and birth came from:

And when you come to the land that the LORD will give you, as he has promised, you shall keep this service. And when your children say to you, 'What do you mean by this service?' you shall say, 'It is the sacrifice of the LORD's Passover, for he passed over the houses of the people of Israel in Egypt, when he struck the Egyptians but spared our houses.'" And the people bowed their heads and worshiped.

The Passover was to remind them who gave them their freedom after 430 years in slavery. It was to remind them that God loved them. They were no more deserving than the Egyptians yet God spared them. All the kings prior to Josiah forgot this. They forgot who brought them into the land, who rescued them and freed them. At the very least, they didn't celebrate it and their gratitude diminished.

2 Kings 23 tells me that Esther's healing is not the most important thing. Her suffering is going to be hard. Today when her stomach was visibly bothering her and she was becoming irritable, it was very hard to watch. You just ached for her. But her suffering is not the worst thing in the world. If God wipes out the cancer in her body like Jehu wiped out the system of Baal and Josiah restored the kingdom to God, and yet we then move on as if God doesn't exist, we miss the issue of real importance. If God only exists to us when we're hurting, we're missing it.

For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, (Paul in 1 Corinthians 15:3-4)

I hate what Esther is going through and what she is going to have to endure. It's dreadful. It makes my stomach knot up. It gives me moments of panic. But in all her suffering, and even if she loses this battle, it's not the worst thing. What's much much worse is being separated from God. What's worse is trying to do this life on your own apart from Him. What's worse is not knowing the enduring joy that Christ has for you. What's worse is not walking in the freedom that God has provided through His Son's death on the cross. Don't receive this as a condemnation. Honestly, I just want you to have what we have. And 2 Kings 23 reminded me of how easily I forget how amazing it is that God came to us as man, walked in our shoes, and died a horrible death for my freedom, so that I could be with him and know him. That's no small thing.

What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?


  1. Thanks, Anthony! A great reminder after several weeks of hard news... God's on a roll here with life lessons on priorities. His word is so encouraging. "Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and LEAVES NO REGRETS." 2 Cor.7:10 -Love that . Praying for good rest tonight.

  2. She looks so peaceful in that picture...I will pray that her little heart can have peace through this tough battle ahead. Also praying for rest and some peace for all of you, and (of course) for miraculous healing.

    Thank you for sharing your heart, struggles, ups and downs and overarching faith with all of us out here listening and praying from afar. You guys are God's rockstars.

  3. We prayed for Esther and your family tonight at our Symbio get-together. I'm amazed just how much faith the two of you have been displaying in all of this. I am continually amazed at how much the peace of God truly guards our hearts in Christ. We love all of you and will continue to pray for you.

  4. My sister-in-law Charity posted about your family's situation, and I have read all your recent posts. Your steadfast faith and confidence in the power, grace, and love of Christ is an inspiration to me in my walk with the Lord. I will continue to pray for your Esther and your family. Thank you for your example. Blessings to you!

  5. Keeping all if you in my thoughts and prayers!!!!!

  6. Love you guys!!! Your family is brave!! I know that this speaks to our family as well...