I still follow the journeys of several kids that were struggling in the fight against cancer when we were. So far all of the one's we know personally are doing great and are in remission! Some are even a couple years out of treatment. Yesterday we got word from our final friend still in the fight. Her treatment plan was 3 years long! The girls were diagnosed almost at the same time and we spent many times at the clinic or in the hospital at the same time as this family. A picture of the two of them is still on my fridge (I included the picture here) and helps me to keep praying them through. She is now cancer free according to her tests and almost completed with her treatment!! As I read her caring bridge update I praised God and laughed with the joy of their celebration of life then begin to weep as again the questions of "Why" came rearing up their ugly heads again. Why not Malia Lord? Why did her treatment fail her when everyone else we know still hugs their children goodnight? How could you allow this to happen to our family?
You see, our faith is strong, but our parent hearts can be weak. We do not believe that God "gave" Malia cancer or that he "took her" away from us. But in moments of weakness our hearts cry out for an understanding that we will never have this side of heaven. We live in a fallen world where bad things happen to good people. It sucks. It's harsh. But it is life. God does sometimes chose to rescue people out of extraordinary circumstances, and sometimes he allows life to play out. What we know to be true is that God has been present in our pain and that Malia is better than ok now. In our earthy perspective her illness and death don't make any sense but God does not have an earthly view of our lives. He has a providential one. He sees our life in the light of his eternal plan, and somehow in that grand design He has used our pain (not caused it) to His glory. We know this is true, but somedays it's tempting to just give in to the hurt and feel a little sorry for ourselves.
Then I'm reminded that we are not alone in our pain. The grief group we went to helped me understand there are many people navigating though the dark days of grief and clinging to the hope that only God's love can offer. Last week an accident brought sudden heartbreak to a family we know of. Praying for them has made my heart so heavy for all I know they are going through, and for all the things they are experiencing that I do not fully understand. I'm realizing looking back to the first blogs I wrote how far we have come. The blinding pain of those first few weeks and months has changed into a hurt that most days feels manageable, and I realize that healing did begin to happen over time. But the process is slow and I am thankful for all of you who have not forgotten us along the way. Please keep praying for us, our kids and right now especially for the family I mentioned who is desperately missing their baby girl tonight. We need to borrow your strength.
Lastly~ just an update on Rissa. As I put in the last post the GI specialist told us she would need surgery. When we saw the surgeon, however, he said we should wait it out for awhile to be sure that what they saw on the ultrasound is actually a stone in her gallbladder. Apparently, when they have done surgeries based on the finding in her ultrasound sometimes a stone was present and sometimes there wasn't. SO ending on some good news- for now there is no surgery scheduled!
One of my favorite pictures of my girls taken just a couple months before Malia's diagnosis.