Saturday, December 21, 2013

He makes ALL things new

 Today marks a year.. ONE year since Clayton had his last dose of chemo, one year since he slept overnight in a hospital room, one year since the nightmare somewhat ended.  PRAISE THE LORD!
   Last year on this day, we were finishing up at Cook Children's and ready to face Christmas and the new year a free kiddo.. and that's what we did. We just took life by the horns and have been living it.  So thankful.
   So much has happened since that day.  So many great amazing moments that before cancer happened, we would have taken for granted.  Clayton had a great trip to Disney..Clayton played baseball and won the city championship..Clayton GREW HAIR.. Clayton's bone marrow returned to normal, with normal counts.. the list goes on.  Our son played flag football, went on a cruise with no worry of illness, plays basketball, enjoys neighborhood friends, sleeps in his own bed without fear anymore.  HE IS FREE.
   It's taken me almost a year to accept those words.. we're free.  The nightmare of what Clayton went through haunts me everyday.  I have dealt with unimaginable fear of the cancer returning.  But, as many told me during the journey.. It does get better.  I am now.. a year later.. able to see that it's okay.  We're okay.  We made it.  As a friend told me last week, you never really understand  how God's grace carries you through until the unimaginable happens to you and you have no choice but to trust in HIS grace.  Then, He steps in and does what His word has promised.. He MAKES ALL THINGS NEW.  
    I have dealt with some guilt regarding Clayton because we have cancer "friends" who are not okay, who are not receiving God's healing, are not able to live free right now.  We love and pray for them daily.  We have "friends" who have had another family member diagnosed as well as their child, they have lost dads, they are still in treatment.  It feels unfair.  It pains me for them.  I have no answer for that.  I just have to know that God is in control.  HE WILL MAKE ALL THINGS NEW. To our friends still fighting, we love you and pray for you daily. We hold you very close.
   As I step back and look on our family's walk, I wanted to share some ideas on how we all can minister to people hurting.  See, as a family/mom/sibling/sick child, when you are in the mist of trial, you don't see things like you normally would.  You are stricken by sorrow, fear, hope, despair.. you are just not yourself.  The world kind of stops and you are emotionally different.  Please understand that when someone you know is in a trial, things that used to matter suddenly dont so much. We had close friends that let us down. It felt like they abandoned us. We had not so close friends bless us beyond measure.  We lost friends and we gained new friends.  I actually had a friend tell me they "Didn't have time to read Clayton's updates".. WOW... Then, we had amazing friends reposting and calling the community for prayer. We had random churches around the country sending us words of encouragement.  We had meals when needed.  I would encourage us all to see a need before it's mentioned and meet it. Listen when your friends need an ear.  Give grace to teenagers when they aren't themselves because they just can't see their mom cry one more day.  By the way, they won't tell you that.  They will paint a picture that it's all hunky dory... that they have no fear.. that they are perfectly fine.  They are not. Send a note of encouragement, tap the mom on the back in the store just to say we're still praying, and most of all, just love on them.
   Last week I was in Old Navy and the clerk asked the customer in front of me if she'd like to donate a dollar to St. Judes.  She said no.  At first I was mad, then I thought.. you know, I may have said no too two years ago.  If you have an extra dollar.. say yes. It's just little things that all add up.  My experience has certainly shown me how lacking I have been over the years in truly caring for people.  It's kind of nice now to take off the "we need you" hat and be able to meet the needs of others now.
   We are so thankful for all of you who held us up, prayed us through.. and still do, love on Clayton, cry with us, encourage our teenagers, bless my husband, rejoice with us in the victories and who boldly share the testimony that God created through Clayton.  HE MAKES ALL THINGS NEW!  And aren't we grateful!  Clayton's next set of scans will be Feb 5th.  He will then go every 4 months then every 6months, then once a year.  We firmly believe that Clayton will walk cancer free for the rest of his life... in Jesus name.