In April, 2010, when Andrew was 2 1/2, a tumor was discovered behind his eye. The tumor was removed, but it was found to be an aggressive cancer. He endured seven months of chemo and six weeks radiation. In December of 2010, the day after his last treatment, he was rushed to the ER with an almost fatal bacterial infection. He survived.

He is now seven-years-old!! I don't visit here much, because during the ordeal, this is where I dumped everything--my rage, my fear, my sadness, my ugly, my hope, my everything. But I want all of you who supported and prayed for us to hear his updates. You helped me survive, and I am deeply thankful. Every once in awhile, I will check in to let you know how he's doing. Please continue to pray that cancer will never return to his body. Thank you.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Thy Will Be Done

There is this continuous and ongoing conversation in my head.  In the Christian circles in which I "run," people are always saying that "we will feel God's comfort, that God is here amidst the pain," and I kind of wonder what that means.  Really? The pain seems pretty intense.  Why didn't God just keep the cancer away in the first place?  I prayed that "God would protect my children in ways that I could not"...and this was the response.

In some ways I suppose my seeking God's comfort is similar to the story of the guy waiting on the rooftop for God to save him from the flood.  I am expecting some kind of supernatural euphoric feeling to come down from heaven and take away my hurt.  The guy on the roof turns down the ride from the helicopter, he turns down the ride from the boat, and tells them he is waiting for God to save him.  I suppose we "feel His comfort" first and foremost through the people who comfort us.  Perhaps while God has stepped back from the physical world in many ways, and allows it to run its chaotic course, he still works through his people.  Through kind nurses, and friends, and blogging friends who leave kind comments, and go out of their way to send hats and carepackages even when they hardly know me.  There God is.

I pray and I pray desperately.  One of my most precious beings is on the line.    I question God.  I feel forsaken and abandoned.  Sometimes I am tempted to feel that He is laughing at me.  He saw the pride I had in my precious child, he saw my happiness and my joy, and he decided to smash it.  A "jealous God" indeed. 

I keep hearing this voice: "God has betrayed you. You are cursed.  You have been forsaken.  God chose Andrew out of 250,000,000 to have this kind of cancer in this part of his body--you have been targeted. Curse God.  Forget him.  He is a lie." As I look around the radiation treatment center I understand the title of that movie, "Children of a Lesser God." What kind of loving, powerful God allows horror to befall his tiniest children?  I wish I understood.

Sometimes it feel as if Superman were standing next to me as my child is being crushed by a car.  Instead of helping, he stands there watching and saying, "Do you love me best? I am planning to turn your tragedy into my glory. I'm gonna wait another hour to make sure you realize how much you need me, and then you need to call a bunch of people around you to pray for your son, and beg me to help. As soon as you get lots of people praying and begging, then I may consider helping you. May. Can you sing me a few praise songs while you sit there? I like singing."

That is what this feels like at times.

That is where I am tempted to go.  And obviously, sometimes I do. But I am fighting.  I am deciding to believe that those thoughts are put there to destroy my connection with God.  So I rebut them.  Like in Sunday school...Get behind me Satan. Maybe that sounds corny, but I really feel like there is a battle for my soul going on.
I have to put those lies away. I have to keep believing that regardless of whether or not God allows Andrew to heal, God is pained by Andrew's pain. He is pained by my pain. He is not purposely torturing him for some mysterious unknown reason. Andrew has cancer because this is not heaven yet. Horrific things happen. God does not enjoy watching it, but for some reason does not prevent it.

My pain is making me aware of the deep selfishness,  envy, and coldness, deep in my soul.  Do I care that much about other people? or do I just care about me?  Do I help others when they are in pain? When they are in trouble?  Not near enough. 

I find myself angry that this has become my life and other people are on the beach celebrating their summer freedom.  I am angry that other little children walk around with pink little cheeks touching dirty floors and my son is pale and sickly because his blood cells are being demolished, and everywhere he goes he is smeared with hand sanitizer.  But envy gets me nowhere.  Envy gets me miserable.  Everyone has pain.  Everyone has tragedy.  Get behind me Satan.

So I find myself not knowing how to pray. My pleas for his healing are so desperate. Sometimes I just pray The Lord's Prayer because I don't know what else to say. "Thy will be done." That is the hard part. The scariest part.

I pray that God will use me to make the best of this situation.  That God will help me to make lemonade out of these DAMN lemons.  What separates the amazing from the bitter and lonely?  Their attitude and actions in adversity.  What do the amazing do with their pain?  They make the world a better place.  They show the love to others.  They smile through the rain.

It is not easy. I try to claw my way to the "bright side" and as soon as I do, it feels like someone or something is at the top of the hill, ready to kick me off with a big military boot. I fall back and land hard. Sometimes I feel like Satan listens to my every word, and turns all of my fears into reality.

So I'm trying to enjoy each day.  Praying for tomorrow. Having fun as often as possible and begging praying pleading that God will heal Andrew and keep him from any future consequences of all of these toxic treatments.  I pray that he will use me as he needs me, and guard my heart from the selfish, evil, angry, resentful, bitter (I could go on and on) feelings that I feel.  I pray that regardless of the outcome, I will continue to strive to be loving, goodhearted and kind.

Dear God, Use me as you will.  Lead me. Guide me. Walk with me and comfort my baby.  Protect him from the side-effects of radiation.  Protect his heart and kidneys from the poisons in his body.  Protect his blood from future leukemias.  Protect his body from future cancer. Thank you that he is still eating. Thank you for keeping much of his joy intact.  Thank you for the support of family and friends. Thank you for all that you have provided to make this journey as easy as possible. Thy will be done.



  1. I imagine it's an experience to embitter anyone. Honestly, Julie, I struggle sometimes with wondering what to say in a comment, knowing that so many things sound so trite, arrogant, ignorant, careless. Any word of "comfort" can just as easily sound dismissive of your anguish. I know, because I've been there. (I don't want to worry you, to compare my story to yours... my dad chose to not have any treatment; he chose the "faith healing" route, including "being annointed"; he paid for his choice.)
    You guys ARE on the roof, but the difference is that you ARE accepting the helicopter ride, the offer of rescue. You are just in the middle of the rescue, not able to see what's going to happen next, and it sounds like it makes you almost want to jump off that helicopter or at least strangle the pilot.... it's the waiting to see what's going to happen, and how, and when. It's the WHEN. It's the year of treatments, the waiting for the remission, the benchmark that means he's "cured" and so on. You'll be looking at this all your life.
    But thank goodness (and thank god) he's getting the treatment. I'm so sorry it's such a horrible "cure". That something good is going to come out of this really is all you can hang on to. Maybe he'll be inspired someday to become THE cancer researcher who finds a real cure--one that doesn't hurt as much as it helps? Maybe he'll be president--and actually establish world peace (and a workable economy)? Maybe he'll be the first man to step out on Mars?
    I so very much wish that we could experience love and happiness without risking so much horrible pain. Hang on to the good thoughts, the good things... and the good friends. That's where you'll find God.
    My thoughts and prayers, as always, are with you and Andrew.

  2. No one, no child, should have to suffer what you and your family are suffering. I don't understand why, and I don't know Who does. What I do know is that there are so many minds and hearts out here lifting Andrew up. I hope you continue to feel that and that it gets you through the day, some way, somehow.

  3. Have you seen the cartoon movie "The King of Dreams"? It's the lesser known prequel to "The Prince of Egypt". Anyways -- the story of Joseph has always been a comfort to me - how so much happened to him that wasn't his fault and how God worked great things out of it all.

    There's a song called "You Know Better Than I" that is really beautiful. Here it is on youtube:

    Part of the song says "I've let go my need to know why. I'll take what answers you supply for You know better than I." I'm the type of person who always wants to know the reason, the cause, the purpose. It has been a prayer of mine to let go my need to know why and trust God more fully.

    Ernie (and I) have felt like you about our circumstance. How unfair it is that other people are so happy -- living carefree lives. He mentioned it once while looking at facebook photos. The thing is everyone's life looks happy and carefree in photos. That's what we take photos of -- the fun, happy moments, right? Anyways, I'm agreeing with you that everyone has pain and tragedy. It's just hard to remember when our "window" to everyone else's life is showing such a rosy picture...

    I'm praying for you Julie. (((Hugs)))

  4. you are beautiful. I am praying for you...and Andrew.
    that's all I can say I guess. I don't have words.

  5. Those are some incredibly bitter lemons that you've been left to make lemonade out of. I'm sorry. I can't even imagine why Andrew has to go through this. I know that if I had a choice, I certainly would choose him to be the one put through all this pain. I continue to keep you, Andrew and your family in my thoughts and prayers.

  6. I've been staring at this comment box for a long time now wishing that I had something elequent to say... this is such a beautiful, heart-wrenching post...

    I'm sorry. I don't understand either. The words aren't really coming today, so I will just say a prayer for you and your family.


  7. I know just how you feel some days just suck, I remember that feeling as a caregiver. Whats bad is I can't give you any magic advice. In our 3.5 year battle I never found the answer for those bad day, the days I wanted to give up. I just kept praying and remembering that Mark's cancer didn't change the fact the Christ died for me on the cross, and that is what my faith was in.

    Praying for you all.

  8. Blessings to you and all your family. God is not silent but shows his everlasting compassion through the folks who send you encouragement. Be not afraid. Trust when you cannot see. Have faith in the everlasting God who knows the "bigger picture." God loves Andrew more than you or anyone could ever love him, he will be with him no matter what and with you. God bless you as you put one foot in front of the other on this cancer journey.

  9. I want to give you support and love and tell you it's going to be alright. I can't do that. I can't give you a hug, and I can't find the words to tell you it will be alright without making your feelings seem little and wrong and insignificant.
    I don't know why, either. But you are doing an amazing job with what you have been given. Know we are all here for you, offering you what we can.

  10. I just stumbled across your blog, from Tiffany's blog. Do you go where she works? My daughter does...I will keep Andrew in my prayers. I love your pic's on the blog.

  11. You are a beautiful loving mom with understandably painful emotions. You and your family and especially Andrew have my heartfelt prayers.

  12. I stumbled upon your blog this morning and it touched my heart. My baby was still born 4 months ago and reading this post was like reading the words in my own head. Although I have some idea of how you feel, what I am going through is nothing compared to your situation. Try not to beat yourself up too badly about the way you feel. God understands. Know that my prayers will be with you and your family, especially your Andrew.

  13. I found your blog today, and as I have set in front of the screen, I haved prayed for Andrew and for you, your husband and children. This is your blog, and a place to let your feelings out of your head. We all ask "why?" I kinda think God expects us to do so. I wish we all had pure Faith but thats not gonna happen. I do believe that even in our deepest valleys, God helps us to the top of the mountains. You will get there too. You know God loves you. I will add you to me prayer list. P.S. I work in healthcare in a Lab and hope I have never affended a patient or family. Its so hard to know what to do or say. Just know that most of us would rather draw our own blood with a dull needle than have to add hurt to your child.

  14. Praying for you, friend. Glad you are having some fun in the midst of the reason you are there. You will get through this and on to the other side... There is no doubt that this is one of the darkest battles a parent could ever face and while our faith is a comfort in so many ways, it can end up becoming quite conflicting. Good for you that you are recognizing the dark moments and praying through them... Good for you and so brave that you are choosing to see the blessed moments through the cloud of darkness and good for you that you are drawing ever closer to our Father. Praying for you and here for you.

  15. Julie,
    You are a gifted writer.....your words are like poetry but none truer have been spoken. I can see the struggle of which you speak, and how it takes root of your soul and tugs for victory on both ends. There is no reason in this world to explain how little Andrew can be facing this horrible ordeal....Stay strong and carry on. You are an amazing mother, a wonderful nurturer, a vigilant advocate for your son......we pray for your family in these difficult times......please keep writing and sharing......

  16. Julie,
    You're so authentic and honest. It's hard to think of words that would uplift. I don't have any magic ones except that we love you and are praying for you. Thanks for baring your soul.

  17. an amazing post. Who is this King of Glory that we don't understand? Oh, I am so so sorry for your pain and especially for Andrew's. It is my privilege to pray for him, and put my button on my blog.

    Praying for Andrew.

  18. Praying for strength for you Julie. I would say I know it's hard, but I don't know. I have no idea the pain you are feeling. All I can do is keeping praying for you and your family. ♥

    Thank you so much for stopping by my blog. It was great to hear from you. :-)

  19. Hey Julie! My heart breaks for your struggle. I'm without words and have NO idea what it's like for you. Thank you for sharing, thank you for confessing your fears and pain on this blog. Your experience opens the eyes of others. I pray that your experience will have ripples that will affect many others in a raw and beautifully painful way. Do not lose heart! ;-( I could quote scriptures, I could give you pat answers, but instead I sit and cry. I'm so sorry. I wish I could be a better brother, a better friend. I'm at a loss for words.

    Hang in there, and you're in my prayers. Love, Jonathan


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