On Friday, my sister called to tell me my aunt was diagnosed with brain cancer. Aunt Joy has four children, ages 15 and under. This isn’t the first time tragedy has touched their family; one of my cousins was born with a heart defect and died only a few days after he was born. My uncle Rod was in a severe car accident. But through all of that, they still praised God. This trial is no different.
Yesterday, she was scheduled to have a biopsy. Before we heard anything about that, Brian and I got a text from my father-in-law. He had taken my mother-in-law to the ER at 2:30 am. She was having extreme pain in her abdomen and could barely move her legs. After a CAT scan and x-rays, they couldn’t find anything. They sent her to Des Moines for an MRI and meeting with a neurologist.
My FIL didn’t respond to Brian’s or my phone calls or texts, but in the early afternoon, I got a phone call from my dad. He said that the biopsy determined that the tumor was not cancer, after all. However, it was a very aggressive type of tumor, that had tentacles reaching into the back of her brain. It was already being to reproduce. The doctors said that she would need radiation for the rest of her life….which might not be very long. They said that the best case scenario is five years, the worst, one and a half.
My dad was very calm. He is a chaplain in the national guard, and he has been the bearer of bad news many, many times. “A year will give us a few more holidays where we can all be together,” he said, and his voice caught a little.
|My Aunt Joy|
I called Brian and told him the news between sobs. “I’m coming home. I’ll be there in half an hour.”
We sat on the couch with our arms around each other for awhile. Part of me wondered, why Aunt Joy? Of all the people in the world, why someone so compassionate, so loving, so focused on serving God and reaching the lost? Why a family that has already suffered so much?
Brian said, “Because He knows they can handle it.” And he’s right. While many people would throw up their hands, curse God and die, God knows that this family will respond like Job:
20Then Job arose and tore his robe and shaved his head and fell on the ground and worshiped. 21And he said, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return. The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD.”
And even though Aunt Joy is young, she has touched so many lives. She hasn’t wasted her life or lived selfishly. Even if she is not with us for many more years, she will have accomplished more for God’s glory than many people who live to be eighty.
On the caring bridge page for my aunt, my uncle Rod said this:
“God can still do a miracle in and through Joy, and we will pray that way. We will also pray for HIS will for our family. We know that God is good. He is always good. We know that He is mighty, and we just know that He is going to do mighty things through this. We want to be very, very clear…we are giving God ALL of the glory and honor…we are still praising Him…we are still loving Him. What we want more than anything is to be used to bring HIM glory.”
It wasn’t until late afternoon that we got an update on Brian’s mom. She was going to spend the night at the hospital and have an MRI in the morning. My FIL was discouraged; her case had baffled four doctors already.
|Us with Brian’s parents|
Our senior pastor invited us over to his house last night, and shared some scripture and encouragement with us. He reminded us that God protects His children, and that no matter what the doctors say, nothing can harm them until God is finished using them on earth. They are held in His hands, sheltered under His wings. We read Psalms 91:
14″Because he holds fast to me in love, I will deliver him; I will protect him, because he knows my name.15When he calls to me, I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will rescue him and honor him.16With long life I will satisfy him and show him my salvation.”
Today I still have tears, but I also have peace.
Our senior pastor gets free plane tickets from a pilot who goes to our church. He gave us a free plane ticket that he wasn’t going to use, since it expires in October, and called the pilot. “Captain Mike” was able to get us another free ticket, so that Brian and I can fly standby home to Iowa on Thursday.
Would you pray with us? Please pray for…
- My cousins, Lydia, James, Ellie, and Anna, and my uncle, Rod.
- My dad and uncle Duke, Aunt Joy’s siblings.
- My Nana and Papa, my grandparents.
- All of my extended family
- Safe travel for Brian and me
- That we will be a blessing to our family
- Healing for Aunt Joy, if it is God’s will
- Healing for my MIL, if it’s God’s will
- Peace for both of them
- Wisdom for the doctors