Four years ago tomorrow, September 3, 2009, this whole journey and life-changing chapter began. That was the day I went for my annual physical. Four years. Four years is a person’s high school career. Four years is a person’s college career. I would have never imagined four years ago today what the next four years would hold. At points in the last four years, I would have not imagined that I would be typing this post today.
Some people walk through life not knowing if they are loved, or not. I always have known that Keli and my girls love me, but I never experienced the depth of love from someone as I experienced from Keli these last four years. She is not only a godly woman, she was the strength and encouragement that pulled me through so many days and weeks when I was so sick. I know God touched me and I also know that if it were not for Keli, who God worked through, I would not have recovered as well as I have. I love Keli with all of my heart.
I remember when I would pray to be able to see Anna-Laura graduate from high school. That was a significant marker to me. That was over 2 years ago and she is now starting her junior year in college and in love with a wonderful young man. Four years ago she was singing in the praise team at church…today she is helping lead worship in a church plant. Wow…I would have never imagined how God would be working through her in four years. I am so glad I have gotten to see her grow and deepen in her Christian walk.
Sophie has done remarkably over the last four years. My illness hit all my girls hard, but it seemed to especially affect Sophie. She was at such a vulnerable time in life just starting high school. I have gotten to see my Sophie blossom into a beautiful Christian young lady. She is a leader. When I talk about Sophie’s gifts I say, “She calls people to action.” I am so proud that she is starting her freshmen year of college. Sophie already has ideas to implement at college and is working to make those ideas reality. I can’t wait to see what the next four years hold for her as she faithfully follows the Lord’s leading in her life.
Isabella is my baby girl and we are buddies. Just in the last few months, Bella has started singing in the praise team at church. I like for her to stand by me when she sings. I get to see her out of the corner of my eye and many times she expresses her worship through a raised hand…not high, but gently lifted to the Lord. It makes me cry with joy. She has such a tender heart and beautiful spirit. She is growing to be a wonderful Christian young lady. Bella is sensitive to other young ladies and the choices they make. She has a sincere desire for her friends to be truly committed to the Lord and walk faithfully in His light.
I am truly thankful how all of my girls seek the Lord for His guidance in their lives. I still realize that family is the dearest treasure any of us have in life.
I continue to be so thankful for Trevecca and Hermitage Nazarene Church. Although I left Trevecca for a season to give time for recovery, I have now been back for over a year as director of the praise and worship program. We just welcomed the first group of students to the program. It is a delight to work with young men and women who desire to be worship pastors.
Four years…God is so faithful. I have still not looked at the data and statistics regarding life expectancy for my diagnosis. When I learned that I had AML, I even told my doctor that I did not want to know what my chances of survival were. I told him that I would wait 5 years before I even looked at that information. All I wanted was to be cured, because he told me that a cure was possible. The first day I met him, I let him know that I had two Jesus’ working on me. His name is Jesus Berdeja. I now only see him every 3 months. Because I have actually had 2 transplants and am still alive, I intrigue him. I love him and his staff. They have been the hands and feet of God in my life.
As I finish writing my reflections tonight, my eyes are filled with tears. I am not sad…I am overwhelmed with the presence of the Holy Spirit being at work in my life. I still don’t know what the future holds. I do know that I go into the future with the confidence that Christ is with me. I pray that He will use me as He sees fit. The very first song I sang in church back in Seymour, Indiana somewhere around 1978 or 1979 was entitled, “Whatever It Takes.” If you don’t know the song, please look it up and read the lyrics. Even as a 12-year old kid, I knew the significance of the song when I sang it. I have sung it to myself these last few years. It is still my prayer today. Whatever you may be going through, remember that God is faithful…put your trust and hope in Him and in Him, alone.