A third-grader climbed into his mom’s SUV after school one day but was uncharacteristically quiet. His mom noticed that his eyes were red and swollen. “What’s the matter, sweetheart?”
“Tommy’s mom died this weekend,” he managed to say.
“Oh, honey, I’m so sorry. What did you say to Tommy?” his mom inquired.
“I didn’t say anything, Mom. I just sat there with him and cried.”
Our beloved friends from Texas, Hugh and Arlene, sent us this email: “Kenny, we love you guys. No words of wisdom or advice. Jesus said His yoke was easy and the burden that accompanies is light so we don’t need to be weighed down. If we could just get our emotions on board with that.... Again, we love you. Sometimes that’s all we got.”
No one knows what to say when you are in the wilderness, when doubts and fear assault us. I can say unequivocally that knowing you are not alone means more than all the words of wisdom in the world.
I cannot tell you how much your love, your prayers, your support... your very presence, not physically, but spiritually, has meant to Wanda and me. We are eternally grateful.
Psalm 4:1 in the King James Version says, “Thou hast enlarged me when I was in distress.” Amen to that. God has certainly enlarged us in so many ways. Our faith has grown stronger as we have had to FROG it (Fully Rely On God).
Our hearts have swelled with love for all of you who have prayed for us, called us, emailed us, loved us and yes, cried with us. Our love for each other – Wanda and I – has grown exponentially during this time.
It is easy to lash out at each other whenever you are afraid, exhausted and emotionally spent. Our Journey Family has put up with me over the last few weeks when my preaching has been anything but “stellar.” Through their understanding, love and grace, we have seen His face shining through and have garnered the courage to keep on keeping on.
The Lord tells us to not be weary, for we shall reap if we do not give up. He promises that if we hang in there and keep trusting Him, “your light will break forth like the dawn, and your healing will quickly appear; then your righteousness will go before you, and the glory of the Lord will be your rear guard. Then you will call, and the Lord will answer; you will cry for help, and He will say: Here am I” (Isaiah 58:8-9 NIV).
And the Lord has been true to His promise. Baby Zane had 10 chemo treatments last week. Then his white count dropped as well has his hemoglobin and platelets. He needed a blood transfusion.
But the little booger has a big, healthy heart, which we prayed for long before he got here. And he is a fighter. He has bounced back like a champion. As I write this, all his counts are back to normal.
He has gained almost a pound up to a whopping 4 pounds, 15 ounces. As I write this, they are moving him to progressive care and out of neonatal intensive care. Every day is another day closer to Big Z coming home.
One more prayer request if you don’t mind. Zane needs to be able to take a bottle before he goes home. They tell us that Downs kids have a problem learning how to suck and when they do, their muscles tire easily.
Zane now will take half a bottle and just get tired. I know it sounds strange, but we are looking forward to the day when we can say, “Big Zane sucks.” It will be a big “praise the Lord!” We can’t wait.
God bless you all.
Kenny Ashley is pastor of The Journey in Lake Wylie.