Y’all. He hears. He answers.

Psalm 40:1-3

I waited patiently for the Lord;
he inclined to me and heard my cry.2 He drew me up from the pit of destruction,  
out of the miry bog and set my feet upon a rock, making my steps secure. 3 He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God. Many will see and fear, and put their trust in the Lord.
I hope as you read this, after B’s reports from ‘the pit’ (not of destruction but of heavy pain meds and lots of pain and endless throwing up questions and few answers …) that this read as ‘a new song in my mouth … A song of praise to our God.’ Because I am for SURE singing praises and gratitude. It has been a rough few weeks and got rougher instead of better in the hospital. For 9 days! What?! Before cancer I had never spent night in a hospital except when Lincoln was born so NINE DAYS?! And assuming each day that surely I was going home but at same time I was scared to death to go home because, well, actually I felt like death. When doctors would say ‘I think you need to stay until we get this resolved …’ I would be sad for Lincoln but relieved for myself. As people have said ‘I know you were soooo glad to be out of hospital…’ Ive responded the same each time: in that much pain I was happy to stay and have access to meds and help and I was far from concerned about anything I was missing in the outside world. My closest friends have since confessed that they were hovering because they were so heavy hearted and wanted to help – but also because they were afraid the next blog entry might be details about my service. I should have told them much sooner that I never feared for my life but I admit that I would have welcomed death if things didn’t improve. Those are serious words but this was moments of serious pain. And throwing up all day is for the birds. As if anyone needed that reminder or news flash.

But I marvel at the doctors’ care (both my oncologist who I always rave about and our new amazinf palliative care doctor, Cassanova) as they worked together for the source of the problems and solutions. And both daily set by my bedside with great concern and compassion. And I marvel at my mom wanting to spend every night with me (I told her she needed her own sleep at her age and she couldn’t hog the lovely coveted pullout couch but she for sure wanted to not miss a throw up or escort to potty … Poor Mama…) and my friends who I literally woke up to at my bedside and tucked me in every night. They were right to demand I not have visitors because who wants an audience for throw up and pushing the nurse call bottom to ask for more IV pain meds so I could go back to sleep…?! As many of you have noted and said, and I agree, yes, my friends are amazing. B even writes the blogs (hilariously well I might add!) for me. She has yet to say ‘no’ to a single request and she and Jenn and Molly and Amy and Angela can now grab the throw up bags like a ol’ Wild West cowboy drawing his six-shooter out of his holster. The first day that we were in the ER it was comical to watch them get one and unravel it and give it to me – and then give me another and another – but by the end of the stay they had mastered it.

I don’t know why or how my body got the ‘we are going to be well now’ memo but it did … And flipped a switch on Sunday! On Saturday night I tried just a bite or two of salad and went straight to couch with 2 dilaudid (5-7x strength of hydrocodone) to bear the stomach pain. And my tummy had been that fickle and painful since Thanksgiving. I had quit throwing up but maybe not eating for 6ish weeks and then eating Thanksgiving lunch as your first full meal was, shall we say, overkill for the stomach?! But somehow and someway and (maybe because I laid on couch on Saturday night and begged the Lord to be better?!) but on Sunday I ate like a normal person and felt like one too! I practically seem hyper compared to my energy level and capacity over the last few weeks. And it is wonderful. 

Huge hugs and thanks to all who prayed for us during the hospital stay and beyond. He has heard our cries and answered. And I sincerely pray that others can see the provision of our God for me and learn to trust His goodness for themselves. I recently learned that the Lord used the blog and our story to bring a friend’s friend (if you are Lisa’s friend I am celebrating you!) to saving faith in Jesus and acceptance of His gift of grace. And I was overcome with joy. I couldn’t agree more with the message of Luke 15 … Cancer is worth it for just one soul to be redeemed and know the grace of my Savior. Yes it’s a high price to pay but comparing the rest of my days to her eternity leads to a pretty simple comclusion. And, for me, it is truly what John said (1:14) ‘… blessings one upon another…’

Linc continues to keep us laughing and persevering. I am losing my hair again. And, yesterday, as he was awake far too early for my taste and cuddling in bed listening to an iPod that one of my ‘pink ladies’ pre-loaded for me, he said, “Mama, your hair is everywhere … that’s disgusting … why did you make your hair blonde and fall out?” Little man, it ain’t my hair color. That be the chemo. But my friend Becky trimmed it all up again and I’m sure a shave is in my near future. This chemo (taxotere) is so hard on hair that they can tell you to the day when it will fall out … And I woke up on that day to wads of hair coming out in my fingers. Lovely. Thankfully, I’m over hair. 

Lastly, as I think about Ps 40 and the joy that I have along with gratitude for feeling so much better I wanted to share the words of a long-time favorite hymn. Because, truly, whether it is because I was naive about how sick I was or whether the Lord just sustained my mind relative to not fearing death, He made it possible for me to sincerely say ‘it is well with my soul…’ And I think I would be foolish to give the impression that He is good because I feel better. That’s not true. It’s far simpler…

He is good. All the time.

And it is well with my soul… As so beautifully written, out of his own heartache, in this hymn by Horatio Spafford.

1. When peace, like a river, attendeth my way, 

when sorrows like sea billows roll; 

whatever my lot, thou hast taught me to say, 

It is well, it is well with my soul. 

Refrain: 

It is well with my soul, 

it is well, it is well with my soul.

2. Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come, 

let this blest assurance control, 

that Christ has regarded my helpless estate, 

and hath shed his own blood for my soul.

3. My sin, oh, the bliss of this glorious thought! 

My sin, not in part but the whole, 

is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more, 

praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul.

4. And, Lord, haste the day when my faith shall be sight, 

the clouds be rolled back as a scroll; 

the trump shall resound, and the Lord shall descend, 

even so, it is well with my soul.

Thanks for reading and bringing meals and organizing Lincs closet and my new iPod and bringing green throw up bags and loving us by loving our little man and flowers and notes and gift cards and taking our picture and doing our Christmas card and money and errands and picking up medicine and fixing my computer and making Lincs lunch and giving us hand me down clothes I love and for praying and loving us

Our God sustains our soul and He uses y’all to meet our physical needs and sustain our bodies. He has indeed met ‘every one of our needs according to the riches of His grace in Christ Jesus.’ And all Gods people said…?!

And just to pretty the post up can I please share one of the precious pictures that Kristin captured of me and my love bug?! I think it is a cross between so so so sweet and that’s weird … Are they making out?! In his words, he is often ‘out of kisses’ and other times it’s a little all-boy-overly-aggressive-affection. It makes me smile though.

 And just to keep things real you should know that as we walked from the back house to the park at the end of our street he threw an all-out-flail-on-concrete-fit about the whole picture-taking thing because, as he often says, ‘I hate pictures!’ So right after the fit he was, as pictured below, Mr. Headless NonCooperation. Let this remind you not to believe the lie that tempts you to believe ‘it is well’ in every home but yours because of pretty Christmas card pics…  

And on top of us sweating in this picture and begging Linc to act normal, I also look pregnant. That is medically impossible but the picture tells another story. Just keepin’ it real for my peeps.

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49 thoughts on “Y’all. He hears. He answers.

  1. I was so happy to read your post, clearly from the heart. You are so amazing in your spirit and faith. So, so inspiring. Glad you are surrounded in love, especially from The Lord. Was also touched by your mom’s love to you as well.

  2. Unbelievable…. Not really UNbelievable…yet, amazingly, wow unbelievable! Just such a vision of mercy- that our precious father that you still praise in the midst of Horid pain- says, I’ll stop it now. Ok, I hear you. That’s just the wow part. And that you praise God for cancer for the one person, you know of, that has come to believe. Because of YOU!. I don’t really know, if you really comprehend, how truly unbelievable you are. Truly. You are, I think, the most amazing human I know- and ironically- you don’t me, personally. So I’ll close with….. Unbelievable. And. thankful for HIS gift of love-wow!

    Love to you.
    Debbie Milton
    ( B’s friend )

  3. OH my goodness… I LOVE you and your amazing spirit, Jen!!! You have me laughing so hard at your comments and celebrating with your feeling better, big time!! I am praising Him for delivering you from your pain. So so happy. Sending huge hugs to you and your BEAUTIFUL family!!!

  4. Oh, I love you so much, friend! Love how you keep it real, love how God and His word and His presence are ever so apparent in every word you write! Praising God with you for the gracious change in your symptoms! He is good ALL the time!

  5. I have happy tears reading your post because I’ve thought of you every day since the last post. I’m so happy you’re feeling better. I still remember you telling us at Highlights bible study (2003-2004) that Psalm 40:1-3 was one of your favorite verses. I always think of you if I hear/read it. Thank you for your honesty and for your wisdom and grace through true pain and suffering. xoxo

  6. Even though I am far away physically, I am by your side spiritually trying to assist. That is an award winning pic with you and Linc. The three of you are so much alive walking the street. Love it.

    Boss.

  7. Girl, you crack me up! I’m SO thankful to hear about the friend who now knows Jesus thru this story He’s writing in your life. And SO thankful to hear you’ve had an energy/feel good spike! Much love!

    >

  8. Praise God my friend! Praise God! I am praying for you as I personally experience round 45 of chemo. NO FUN AT ALL!!! But sincerely…it is well with my soul…too! May God bless and keep you. Amen.

  9. So thankful you are feeling better! I was just thinking of you yesterday as I was cleaning out my nightstand that was overflowing with bible study notebooks, so many from my years in Highlight! Thumbing through those notebooks looking at all the symbols colored on top of all the scripture brought back so many great memories of my time in Highlight and at Watermark. I continue praying for you and your family!!

  10. Tears my friend… Big ole crocodile tears or praise, gratitude and joy! This post is exactly what I prayed to hear from you! Thankful for Bs posts, and oh so dang grateful to hear from you again! Thankful for our God who delivers, hears, comforts, heals and loves us perfectly!!! Love you friend. Best Christmas gift ever to hear this news. Xo

  11. The Welters are full of smiles and praising God here in Walla Walla, WA after reading your post!!! I cannot put into words the impact you have had on our lives as we follow your journey. We are so happy that you are back home with your little man (and the big one, too!)
    I will forever picture you in my mind when I hear the word GRACE💜

  12. Ohhhh my gosh LOVE you. This sounds like you! I can hear your voice telling these stories. Hilarious and amazing. All the feelings.

  13. I can just see your head nodding and hear your gravel-y voice saying, “y’all, he hears.”
    You are a sweet reminder that He is our all in all, our sustainer & provider. How quickly we forget to thank him for every good gift from His hands. I love the whole package of you, Jennifer.

  14. You have always been one of my favorite people. I love your spunk and your fire in the belly and most of all your love for Jesus. I had always wished our lives would have crossed more. Now I know why I’ve always adored you so, it’s because you ooze Jesus. I always thought you were beautiful because of this but in your struggle you are even more so because even in the valley of darkness you are glorifying Christ so amazingly. I pray for you, Scott and Lincoln often. Praising God for a reprieve and for a peace and a joy that surpasses all understanding.

  15. I was driving in my car today and had a talk with The Lord too. I begged him to heal your body and get that nasty cancer out of you. Then I got a hold of satan and told him to go away and LEAVE YOU A LONE! I said it and I meant it! Glad you have had some good days! Always praying for you and your family. Love Betsy

  16. What beautiful, “real” pictures of your precious family! Your prayers that God’s provision would be evident to all who see His Works in you have been answered! My gratitude to Him today is the blessing of you, Jenn! And for your renewed energy!

  17. He has heard our prayers and has eased your pain. Having your family and friends
    caring for you is truly a blessing.
    You are such an amazing person. And such a truly believable in His plan for you.
    God bless you always.
    Tell Lincoln to cool it. Everyone loves the pictures of him and his loving parents.

  18. It is so sweet to hear your voice as I read this and of course your self deprecating humor is spot on!! It is even sweeter, however, to see how the Lord is meeting you at every turn, how your faith is still ever increasing, and how the Lord is using you to bring others to faith in Him!!! You are in our thoughts and prayers often!!

    Much Love,
    Holli Johnson

  19. Beautiful. Thank you for sharing your hurts and your praises and your true Thanksgiving! Love the haircut- really & truly- looks great on you. Praying for many many more “feeling well” days! Praying for healing and more souls for you to touch with your story. Thank you again for sharing. To God be the glory!

  20. It is with a thankful heart that I read this post. I have never met you but came to know you through Melanie Shankle’s blog. I have prayed for you and your family and with you praise a God that is good all the time and His Word is true!

  21. Praise God from Whom all blessings flow! I’ve been thinking about you and praying for you, your husband, son, family, and friends. Thank you for sharing your story. So amazing that Lisa’s friend is now a Sister in Christ as a result of your journey. Will keep praying.

  22. We don’t know each other but after reading your story I’ve been thinking about you and praying for you and your family. So happy to hear you are feeling better. You are such an inspiration. Thank you for taking the time to give us an update. Will continue to pray.

  23. God is good all the time, even when we don’t understand. I am so happy you are feeling better and are enjoying time with your friends and family.

  24. I’ve been following your blog for a long time now because of Big Mama’s blog. I just wanted you to know I’m praying for you and your family. For someone I’ve never met, you’ve all been on my heart a lot lately. I also wanted to share this link to the song you just wrote about being sung by Joey Feek (Joey & Rory). If you’ve not heard it, it’s beautiful. https://vimeo.com/146633712

  25. Funny. And sweet. And thankful you are out of that hospital!! What an answer to prayer. I love seeing God do amazing things! So great to hear your voice on the blog!! Thank you! Will continue to pray for you and Scott and Lincoln…and you don’t look prego!! 😀

  26. Dearest Jen,
    Thank you sharing so freely! Such encouraging news, and I continue to cling to the hem of Jesus robe for you and your beautiful family.
    much, much love,
    susan lewis

  27. Thank you so much for your post. I am so glad that you are feeling better. This one hit a little closer to home for me. Thanksgiving was the first time I got to eat after a completely liquid diet since Sept 30th. And yes I agree with you my stomach wasn’t happy and really still isnt. After having 3 surgeries (1 neck and 2 repairs of my esophagus that was damaged during my neck surgery) in less than 2 weeks I have been having myself a small pity party because of swallowing problems and constant nausea. Thank you for reminding me that “It is well with my soul”. I think in each circumstance we can all look around and see someone else worse off, and I must tell you that I have one of your post in my Bible that reminds me to pray for you each day. Thank you for pouring out your heart and reminding, even though I know and say it to myself “God is good all the time. All the time God is good.” Thank you see Jen. Blessings, Love and Many Prayers for you sweet, sweet girl!!

  28. The Reinke family prays for you Jen nightly. When it’s ok, we’d love to stop by to say hi with Nathan, as your name has become so familiar to him.
    Praying for you now! You are much appreciated.
    Jay

  29. Jennifer, I am keeping you in my thoughts and prayers and hoping for a miracle. I was at Watermark Community church this morning and saw you featured on the video “I am no fool”. It made me cry. You are so amazing! Love you, girl.

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