Friday, June 08, 2007

Unseen Hands

I know I have not blogged in a while, but things have been very surreal. (I guess that is a good word. I can't really think of any better word.) For those of you who do not know all the details... I will start at the beginning.

Tuesday, May 23, my mother admitted herself to the hospital because she had a fever for several days and was not being able to use the restroom which is a common side effect with individuals who suffer from ovarian cancer. She had not felt good form some time, but really did not think anything of it because the last chemo she had taken really took its toll. She ended up missing just about the whole last month of school.

Once she arrived at the Emergency Room and the doctors began to do testing, it was discovered that she had an infection. Her fever was very high. Her doctor and the other physicians at the hospital who saw her immediately gave her a very poor prognosis. With multiple scans we learned that the tumors in her abdomen had grown and entwined themselves in her intestines.

Normally people have a protective membrane around the intestines that would prevent such an aggressive attack to such a vital organ. My mother does not have one because all ovarian cancer patients who have undergone a stage III removal have this membrane removed as well. They do this because microscopic cancer cells stick to the membrane and can cause reoccurrence. Many times, especially at a stage III, reoccurrence happens anyway.

With her intestines unprotected and the negative effect of the last chemo drug, the tumors wrapped themselves around her intestines obstructing parts of her intestinal track. Because the intestines are responsible for absorbing everything the body takes in, chemo has not been an option because it will not be absorbed. Radiation was never an option due to the vital organs that reside where the tumors are located.

In the past two and half weeks of our hospital stay, my mother has had numerous scans, enemas, antibiotics, and several different drugs to try and combat what is happening in her body. While there have been some days where positive steps have been taken there are also days like today where we seem to be spiraling backward.

As of today, Friday, June 8: her temperature is back up to 104. No one really knows why. Her doctor has said more than once he never expected her to live this long and he certainly does not expect her to live very much longer- period. I know I have painted a dismal picture.

I say all of this to say that as I lay in the cot next to her bed last night in the hospital, I was struck by the evidence of God’s hand in all of this.

On the sixth floor of United Regional, the hospital where she is staying, her daytime nurse is named Ryan. He is the son of the pastor in Iowa Park, Texas- the neighboring community west of Wichita Falls. Her evening charge nurse is Andy, also a member of the church in Iowa Park. Another evening nurse of hers is Lisa, a lady who happens to live three doors down from my parents. My mother and she had never met although they have known of each other for some time. One of the hospital technicians, who have been monitoring her condition, is named Tonya. She has visited Life Tabernacle before and immediately placed us with the church.

Every person who has worked with my mom has had some connection to her, our church, or our family in some way or another.

On Thursday morning, Ryan the nurse from Iowa Park came into the room very excited. Apparently several of his coworkers from the sixth floor have been asking him questions about church. On Wednesday night, three of them attended the church in Iowa Park and all of them brought their families. He said the entire attitude of the floor has changed since we arrived.

Early this morning, I was talking to Tonya, my mother’s technician and the lady who has attended Life Tabernacle, about church and how excited Ryan was to have so many visitors from his job. When we finished she commented on how our family has been such a blessing to her while we have been at the hospital these past few weeks.

So there I was, laying the cot next to my mother, wondering why God just doesn’t do the miraculous right now! What happened next has happened before. It was almost as if I looked back and could see finger prints of God in everything that has been happening. It’s as if I am following Him, only rounding the corner just in time to see the proof that He was there, but not actually seeing Him. If that makes any sense at all?

I know that God can heal my mother. I know that He will. I believe that He will heal her and she will be a ‘living’ testament of His glory. I refuse to back the statement up with conditions. He will because He said He would.

She was prayed for by evangelist Tim Williams several months before she had cancer and he told her that this sickness would not overcome her. At the time she didn’t even know she had cancer and kind of thought he was a little overly zealous. Wouldn’t you? lol

God also gave her a scripture that says, “This sickness is not unto death…” I know God will heal.

Perhaps I am writing all of this more for me than any of you; nevertheless, you know where we are. We are back to square one- back to the dark prognosis of death and hopelessness; however, they do not know what we know!

A few days ago a scripture in Matthew chapter 11 came to my mind again when I felt like I could take no more. (Thank you to whoever made that moment possible through your prayers.) “Come unto me all ye, who are burdened and heavy laden and I will give rest… take my yoke upon you, come and learn of me, for my yoke is easy and my burden light.”

Keep praying and keep believing, God will do what He has said He will do. So… I leave you with this…

God is good. All is well. The anchor holds.


Billy and Michelle said...

We believe with you Brother Joseph for a complete healing, and it is so good to hear how God is using your mother's illness to reach the lost.

JulieK said...

God is good ALL THE TIME! We are praying and believing for complete healing! Thank you for the update Bro. Joseph. Its amazing at how God uses people at all times of their life as long as they let them be used. Your mother is one incredible lady!

Kenny & Karen Prince said...

There is nothing like being able to have complete confidence in God. Not only is he good all of the time, He is God all of the time. That means he is sovereign, righteous, holy, awesome, longsuffering, patient, gentle, kind and so many other superlatives, all of the time. He holds all things and has all things in his hand and in his time. He can heal at the end as easily as he can at the beginning. He is God.

Tammy Bryant said...

Joseph, thanks for sharing details and your heart. God definitely has his "HANDS" all over this situation. We know that God is in control and working while we wait.

God is good all the time.

Sheree said...

Joseph first of all thanks for the update on your mom. Secondly thank you for sharing your faith. Without going into details, our situation (mine and Joel's)has left me a little faithless. Here this morning I read your post and you who are in the trial of your lives is full of faith. Thank you for lifting my faith today.
I am beliving with you that will heal your mom. Send her my love and tell her she is in my thoughts and prayers.
And you just thought God was using you to reach those around you in the hospital. You had no idea one hungry soul in California needed to read this today....

Keith and Carla said...

Isn't it amazing that God can take the "bad" things that happen in our lives and turn it into the "good" for His glory?! Your mother and your family are still in our prayers. We love you all!

Gene Holley, Jr. said...

Awesome post! I admire you more than you know. Keep the faith. We love you.

Patti said...

Joe J
Hi this is Patti in NY not sure if you remember me but have been your mom's friend from way back when.I want to thank you so much for posting on your mom. I had no ide what all was going on. I talked to her on her cell a few weeks ago now it was so great to hear her voice. I have been calling her cell hoping that someone would answer it so I could find out how she was doing. I keep checking her blog but nothing and would check yours too just hoping for something to know how she was doing. I have talked to your aunt Diane she has told me a little but your post has helped greatly. Please if you can keep me posted. My phone # should be on your mom's cell from me calling also Diane has it too. My email is
Your family has been in my prayers.God will give you all the strength to get thru this hard time. At times when you don't feel like you can make it another day just pray and ask God for help for each hour or even each min don't look towards the day it is so long . So each hour or min you make it through thank him and ask for another till you feel stronger. that helped me thru a hard time. Well May God be close to you and hold each of you close to his heart. I pray he will keep using you all .Joe J please give your mom a big hug from me and tell her I love her. Tell her I have some video I would like her to see when you were all up here years ago it will give her you and Jason a good laugh .
Sorry I wrote so much just had no idea how to get ahold of you.
God bless
Patti in NY

Linda Elms said...

Joseph, you are definitely in God's hands. HE alone knows the deepest thoughts of your mind, and the emotions of your heart, and HE will continue to be with you. Sis. Barbara is one of my heroes in life. I love her so much and I'm still asking God for her healing. Hold to God's unchanging hand. He will not let you fall! Love you!

Kassie Dutton said...

I'm praying every day for your mom. Love you.

aunt kathy said...

My heart has grieved all week knowing you were so much closer, yet I was unable to come and be with all of you.

I'm glad you had the opportunity to visit with Mom/Grandmama a few days. She so enjoyed having her girls there and getting to cook for all of you.

Glad you had a safe return home. I long for the day I can visit with all of you.

Alayna ... It was sooo exciting hearing that you received the Holy Ghost! That's AWESOME!!! I also enjoyed the song you sang for me. It's funny, huh?

Love you ... Aunt Kathy

Joseph James said...

I think you posted on the wrong blog.