We learned once again that God's ways are not our ways.
Me? I would have gotten us through last year with a "Whew, that was hard." and a "Thank you, Lord. It is over."
But it was never really over.
We were subconsciously waiting for and worried that the other shoe was going to fall.
Two weeks ago, it did.
And it felt like that shoe was a five pound combat boot that kicked us right in the stomach as it fell.
Colby began having headaches again. His doctor ordered a MRI which showed that the cancer has returned in his brain stem and spine.
So, we are not done. We are gathering our broken spirits and fears to give to God and find peace as we get back on the path to which only He knows the ending.
I just have to admit that this is not easy. My faith is being tested and squeezed while I am being pruned. I am not angry with God...yet. I might be. I don't know. I hope not. What I do know is that I refuse to allow Satan to run amuck in a situation that God has allowed.
We have to be in the valley now. But I have seen the beauty of Jesus while in the lowlands. My heart hurts...aches...at the thought that God might choose to heal Colby on the other side of Heaven. However, the ache has made me run into scriptures and search God's word. He has not disappointed with meeting me there and showing me His goodness and who He really is. I shamefully admit that I was worshipping Burger King and not the King of Kings. I want Him my way, on my terms, with my idols neatly in tow while praising Him in one hand and rubbing the idols with the other. He is gently telling me it does not work like that. I am living for life here on earth...wanting to cling to only what my eyes can see and thinking it is the prize, living in my heart like there is nothing better and daring Him not to touch anything that is "mine" (Newsflash: nothing is mine, not even my next breath.) But He is gently showing me that His intention was never for this earth and there is so much more if I allow Him to show me. With the ache, He has brought more peace and trust than I thought possible. It is not in every moment, but it is just enough when I begin to feel the constriction of my throat and chest. It is a beautiful, horrible, gut wrenching, amazing thing to be stripped before the One who created you.
And so, I...we...sit. Or rather, lay prostrate in our closet or on the floor or in the shower or across the bed and pray. And I thankfully know we are not alone. And I know my God is able. And I believe Jesus can. But I have a "but" and it has no bearing on the measure of my faith...only on what I believe to be true. Sometimes...many times...God says no and it hurts like hell. I do not want to feel the pain. I do not want my family to feel the pain. But I still want the richness of what I have come to see in my Jesus over the past year. Only sometimes the depth of richness in Him comes at the cost of the deepest pain. So in one breath I cry to God to heal Colby and in the next, I must say Your will be done. And somewhere in between, I feel His grace come in and cover us.
Colby update: The latest MRI showed two tumors, one in his spine and the other in his brain stem, as well as a "sugar coating" of cancer cells along his brain stem and spine. Colby had surgery today to remove the larger mass in his spine. The surgeon found that the tumor in his spine has begun to bleed into his spinal column which may be the reason why Colby was having headaches/nausea. He was able to remove the tumor as well as some of the cancer cells in the vicinity. Colby came through well and will spend the next couple of days in the hospital. He has to lie flat for the next twenty-four hours, which is proving to be painful as well as uncomfortable for him. But legal drugs are a wonderful thing so he has been well drugged and loved on by the nursing staff in the PICU.
Colby will take part in a clinical vaccine trial at University of Florida. In a nutshell, they will take his stem cells and the RNA from the tumor removed and place both in a petri dish to "build" a vaccine specifically for his tumor. It will take 8-10 weeks for the vaccine to grow. In the meantime, Colby will start oral chemotherapy in Charlotte. Our specific prayer requests include God's healing, travel mercies, Colby's body healing from the surgery, God's protection over the kiddos left at home and our sweet friends watching them and that we continue to see God in the midst.