Sunday, October 21, 2012

The Mounting Toll

In our school program, Classical Conversations, our kids memorize a history timeline from Creation to present day. It encorporates world history with Biblical history, and it's brought so much light to my understanding of the Bible, especially the Old Testament. This is my very favorite part of home school and has been a gift to my own understanding of history.

As a learning aid, CC has come up with a song and videos with handmotions to help memorize the points along the timeline. My kids love to watch it, so we've been watching it a lot. Emotion overwhelms me and tears come every time we get to "Jesus the Messiah."

The picture on the timeline card is of Simeon, a man who had waited his entire life to see the Messiah. It wasn't just a hope that maybe he'd see this promised King, but a sure knowing that he would see the face of the Lord before he died.

Luke 2:25-32

25 Now there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon, and this man was righteous and devout,waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him.

26 And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord's Christ.

27 And he came in the Spirit into the temple, and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him according to the custom of the Law,

28 he took him up in his arms and blessed God and said,

29 "Lord, now you are letting your servant depart in peace, according to your word;

30 for my eyes have seen your salvation

31 that you have prepared in the presence of all peoples,

32 a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and for glory to your people Israel."

Simeon and his people lived a history of God's mighty hand of blessing, provision, justice, discipline. They lived a history of loss and struggle, a history of waiting. I wonder if the Israelites longed for their promised Messiah to come, even when all was well. Never before have I hoped for my Lord's coming like I have the last few weeks.

I love coming to this point in the timeline, "Jesus the Messiah." For the few moments the song pauses to relish that Jesus came and the tears come, my emotion is not sorrow or fear or pain but hope in the midst of it all. Gratitude for the love Jesus has shown for me and for the love showered over us as we've walked such a weary road. I love what Simeon says, "now you are letting your servant depart in peace." My soul breaths those words every time we sing that peg of the timeline.

Like I said yesterday, this week has been hard. Really, really hard. This round of chemo wasn't so hard for Esther last time, but the compounding effect of poisoning the body is evident. She has been so sad. On Tuesday she crawled up in my lap and said in her sweet little voice, "Mommy, I want to be home but I just don't feel happy."

A three year old should not be able to express such emotion, let alone feel it. As she sat in my lap I begged the Lord to heal her or to take her home. She has had a gloss over her eyes this week and has been sleeping a lot. Her nausea has intensely lingered, which we expect with the type of chemo she received, but it's hard nonetheless.

Lydia, sweet, tender Lydia has been keenly aware of Esther's melancholy. She has asked several times if Esther is okay and has come to me in tears, afraid her little sister is going to die.

Please pray for us. Pray for Esther to perk up and smile and for her to be able to eat. Pray for our other kids to rest in our love and turn to the Lord for their sister's life. We can only comfort them so much, the depth comes from God.

The mounting toll of Esther's treatment is weighing heavily on all of us. In a time when I just want to relish in every moment our family has together, I find myself fighting to engage. News of other little children fighting their own battle with cancer, my dad's diagnosis, my grandpa's two year fight with bladder cancer, little babies born with dads who have thrown out the gift of fatherhood, other illnesses, injustice, murdered little girls, kids who are sick or died from the therapy that was hoped to cure their disease. Sometimes the ugliness of this life is enough to bring any of us to the depths of despair. It is indeed the valley of death and dying.

I have been singing The Jon Foreman song to myself again. The House of God, Forever. A reminder that though we walk through the valley of death and dying, He is with us. I don't have to fear.

Psalm 23

1 The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.

2 He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters.

3 He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name's sake.

4 Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.

5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.

6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD forever.

Tonight we were admitted to Children's again because Esther has a fever. Her ANC was 4700 on Thursday, but is only 10 today. She will probably get both a platelet and red blood cell transfusion in the morning. We will be here for at least two days, probably more. I am thankful for the opportunity to write tonight. I needed the reminder of Psalm 23...

God is MY shepherd.

He restores my soul with each review of the timeline.

He is with me, even in the halls of this hospital.

He generously provides all things in the midst of this enemy.

Goodness and mercy will follow in all the days (no matter the circumstances, what I do, or how I feel)

I will dwell in of the house of my Lord forever.










  1. May Jesus be your strength and grace and hope through so much pain, strife and suffering. May you feel the loving arms of Jesus so tightly wrapped around you that you feel His tears mingle with yours. He wants to love each and everyone of you with a passionate love! Come Lord. Oh Jesus come and shower down your Blessings on their family!

  2. We are praying, in this hard time, for your family. Your reliance on Jesus is profound and beautiful. If you have any needs for childcare, food, or anything else, I would love to help and my schedule has opened up for such a time as this. Please don't hesitate to call me. 970-222-4313. Blessings and speedy recovery to Esther.

  3. Sweet mama, all I can do is cry tears with you and pray. This past week as we were driving to the hosptial for the third time, I thought to myself, "I wish Jesus would just come back now so my baby doesn't have to keep enduring this awful treatment." As a mom, it's so heartbreaking watching your child suffer especially when all you can do is stand beside them and try to comfort them. There is nothing in the world that you or I can do to take away the cancer or make treatment lighter. Andy was crying again to me yesterday and telling me he just doesn't know how much more of this he can take. Honestly, some days I don't either. Praying for you all.

  4. Sam, I have been thinking of you all and praying. Psalm 23 was the text this week at my other church--another reminder to hold you up to Jesus. I so appreciate you keeping us all posted & sharing your heart. As a mother of 5, I have no words to say what I feel as I read your updates. Just know that my heart is with you & your family is precious & loved.
    --Mollie Freeman

  5. Oh Sam! Your faith challenges me so! I would hope in a similar situation that I would be so faith filled, but I have encountered less stressful situations and I have less faith. Thank you so sharing your heart with all of us! You continue to challenge me to be faith filled in difficult situations. Thank you!

  6. Thinking and praying for Esther and your family often. I so appreciate your heart through all of this! I have meant to share these verses with you several times, and as I was reading them again the other day, I was reminded to pass them along. They remind me so of you and have been my favorite verses in the past 2 years.

    "Thus says the Lord, 'Cursed is the man who trusts in mankind and makes flesh his strength, and whose heart turns away from the Lord. For he will be like a bush in the desert and will not see when prosperity comes, but will live in stony wastes in the wilderness, a land of salt without inhabitant. Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord and whose trust is the Lord. For he will be like a tree planted by the water, that extends its roots by a stream and will not fear when the heat comes; but its leaves will be green and it will not be anxious in a year of drought nor cease to yield fruit."

    Jeremiah 17: 5-8

    You and your family are that tree planted firmly by the water!! And in this INTENSE season of drought, you are not anxious and continue to yield fruit because your trust IS the Lord!! And I have no doubt that your roots are extending further and further by the stream! Thank you for your example of this!