Monday, January 16, 2012

Humbled by a Child

This last week has been rough on me. Between missing my husband, battling sickness in both myself and my children, and a major lack of sleep, I've found myself complaining a lot. Complaining about how rough it is to be a single mom. Complaining about how hard it is to operate on so little sleep. Irritable with the Army for taking my love so far away. Frustrated over the sickness that we can't quite seem to kick out of the house. I've just been down.

But a few minutes ago I read the status update of a friend of mine who's daughter is battling cancer. You might remember my blog about sweet Mercede that I wrote this last fall. If you haven't read it yet, you need to. I've never met her but have heard glowing reports of her from my nephew and my sister. I also follow her Facebook updates faithfully. Today's update has me in tears, even twenty minutes after reading it.

Stronger (photo credit: Flashes of Hope)

Mercede's Story

Our day started with more ekg, an ultrasound of her liver. Then the doctor asked to talk to me and Steve alone. We have learned that means bad news, and it was. Mercede's bone marrow biopsy showed that she has 95% leukemia cells in her marrow, which means not only did the last round of chemo not work, the leukemia actually increased by 25%. This news did not come as a shock to me because I have watched Mercede's pain increase and her health decline over the last week especially. There is no specific protocol to follow at this point. Mercede's oncologists and transplant doctor discussed what the best course of action would be and decided not to use the same chemo for this next round. They are going to use one that worked to get her into remission in the first place and add a new one to that. The risks to her if we do this are big, but we are out of options. We have no other choice. She will start chemo tomorrow morning and will remain in intensive care. My response to all of this today has been....peace. God is in control of this situation and Mercede's life and all I can do is pray harder than I've ever prayed before and trust Him. As a parent that is the single hardest thing to do. But if you really think about it, our children are really His anyway, just entrusted to us for a while to love and care for...and learn from. You would think it would be the other way around, that she is here for me to teach. But I have learned more about life and God and true faith and joy from my daughter than from any other person I know. She doesn't care about money or possessions, houses or cars or clothes...the way you look or fix your hair means nothing to her. What is important to her? People and the time she spends with those she loves. Her faith in God isn't based on what He does for her, she isn't afraid of her circumstances and doesn't doubt God's ability to save her, with or without chemo and protocols. Her exact words to me today were, " Mommy, just because the chemo isn't working that doesn't mean God isn't going to heal me. He doesn't need chemo to fight leukemia. His power is stronger than that." She has endured more pain and suffering than any adult I know, but she tries her best to keep a smile on her face. We aren't talking about little struggles here, we are talking about a Iife and death fight for the past eight months...with a smile on her face. I, for one, am convicted of my griping and complaining, the time I've wasted worrying about unimportant things, and my lack of complete trust in the God who made me. If the only good that comes from this horrible situation is that people read Mercede's story and change the way they live, love their family more, only search after the things that really matter, and love God unconditionally, then her story is worth telling.
I would like to ask a favor of all of you. Our little friend Claire, who is up here with us in a life or death fight of her own, needs your prayers. She is only two and fighting neuroblastoma that was also unresponsive to chemo. She has an army praying for her at 8:30 everyday, the time she was born. I would like to ask all of you to join in that prayer time for Claire. I would also like to do the same thing for Mercede. She was born at 12:00. Would you please join together with us in prayer at 12:00 everyday for a miracle for Mercede? There is power when people come together in prayer and we need God's healing power for both of these amazing girls. ll Timothy 1:7 "For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, love, and a sound mind."

Once again, I have been humbled and inspired by this amazing girl. Her sweet attitude, her strong faith, her amazing fighting spirit. It reminds me of how small and insignificant my problems are in comparison. While my children battle colds the slightly interrupt their (and my) sleep, Cede battles cancer that tries to seep the life out of her. While I complain about my small hardships Cede finds a positive outlook and a faith to carry her through. God, that You could grant me have even half the faith, sweetness and courage that this child expresses!
Cede with her parents (photo credit: Flashes of hope)
Cede and her siblings
(Photo credit: Flashes of Hope)

Please, please, please pray with me for Mercede and her family as well as for little Claire. And remember, no matter how hard your day is there is a God who's power is stronger!

Claire and Cede

**A quick update - Two year old Claire went to be with Jesus today...God decided her time on earth, with all its pain and suffering, was over. So instead of praying for sweet Claire, please pray for her family as they deal with the pain of her loss!