Saturday, March 30, 2013

1 year ago...and today

The last few weeks have been rough as you can tell from Josh's posts. His faith has carried me these last few weeks.  I plan on posting later this week to fill you in on how God has sustained us through these rough weeks. But just to let you know, my pains led to a brain MRI which was CLEAR! Thank you Jesus. Still struggling with back and head pain, but so thankful for the clear results. I will update you on more in a few days but today I want to remember 1 year ago- March 30, 2012.

1 year ago, I was receiving my last chemotherapy treatment

1 year ago, I was SO weak- His strength was made perfect (2 Corinthians 12:9)

1 year ago, I was scared- trusting in my healing, but it not being evident just yet

1 year ago, I still had "my" body...realizing my body was soon to be "deformed"... learning that my beauty comes from Christ (1 Peter 3:3)

1 year ago, I was celebrating in tears and thankfulness 

This verse has been life to me lately, as I've been depending on it. 

"Those who plant in tears
  will harvest with shouts of joy.

They weep as they go to plant their seed,
    but they sing as they return with the harvest." Psalm 126:5-6

TODAY, I have had a "normal", relaxing Saturday

TODAY, I am SO weak- His strength is made perfect

TODAY, I am scared- trusting in my healing- IT HAS BEEN MADE EVIDENT!!!

TODAY, my body is "deformed", but I KNOW my beauty comes from Christ

TODAY, I celebrate in tears and thankfulness (Psalm 126:5-6)

Whether my cup is full or when my cup is dry, I realize how desperate I am for God. March 30th is a day to celebrate. How God has filled my cup in countless ways!!!

What perfect timing for Resurrection Sunday?!? As I celebrate Christ's resurrection, I realize what that meant for me...forgiveness, victory, God's sovereignty, fulfillment of prophesies/promises, evidence that Jesus is the son of God, and the list goes on and on. As I celebrate Jesus' life raised from the dead, I celebrate him raising my life up from the dead.


I've re-posted the video that Josh made me for my last chemotherapy treatment, 1 year ago. In awe of my amazingly good God.

Have a wonderful Easter celebrating our risen Lord and Savior,


Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Publicly Re-Committing to this War. A God war.

These last few days we have been at war with nothing other than a tangible attack of hell/satan/demons (pick one). Aly has been having some physical symptoms that are putting her at a point of fear that is as strong as we have dealt with in the past 17 months.

If I'm not careful this post could literally be the longest post I've made so I will get to the point. 

When this journey started it was as if you dropped me in a room of bad guys and I just started swinging. I didn't know what for sure I was aiming at or what I planned to do to it but I was just attempting to fight. As I re-read some of our first post I can feel what those days were like. Below are parts of posts that we made the first week of Aly's diagnosis.

October 26th, 2011 
Aly- "Lord have mercy on me. See how my enemies torment me. Snatch me back from the jaws of death. Save me so I can praise you publicly at Jerusalem's gates, so I can rejoice that you have rescued me." Psalm 9:13-14

October 27th, 2011
Josh- The God that put us here will deliver us. 

October 28th, 2011
Josh- Cancer: today my wife begins physical war with you, this is not a lady you want any part of-fierce, determined, steadfast, persevering. I look forward to watching her beat you. 

At this point though the enemy is crystal clear in my mind. I know him well. We have had many conversations which changes the score completely. satan/hell/demons, you have come against my wife. We knew that when we began affecting other peoples lives with GODS story of HEALING my wife that you would come full force at us. you are talented. HOWEVER...

 Jesus said in Luke 10:18-19
18 “Yes,” he told them, “I saw Satan fall from heaven like lightning! 19 Look, I have given you authority over all the power of the enemy, and you can walk among snakes and scorpions and crush them. Nothing will injure you.

Deuteronomy 31:8
Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord will personally go ahead of you. He will be with you; he will neither fail you nor abandon you.”

Isaiah 58: 8-9a
Then your light will break forth like the dawn,
    and your healing will quickly appear;
then your righteousness[a] will go before you,
    and the glory of the Lord will be your rear guard.
Then you will call, and the Lord will answer;
    you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I.

Here is an excerpt from a blog Aly had started before she was diagnosed. This was written on September 1, 2011 (48 days before diagnosis).

In the book of Job, Satan comes before the Lord and God points out his faithful servant, Job. It is then when Satan suggests that Job will abandon his faith that the Lord challenges that and sets out to prove him wrong. There is such a huge significance of Satan appearing before the Lord. This shows us that he (yes, even Satan) is under the divine control of God. He cannot act on his own, but must receive permission from God- wow! As scary as it might be to think that Satan is constantly trying to throw us off, it is also comforting knowing that he is not independent of God's control. In just this first bit of Job, we see that Satan causes bad things to happen to us, but it is God who allows it to happen. The Lord helps us in the midst of our struggle that He allows, in order to deliver us and conquer our enemies- once again proving his sovereignty over the world and the devil!

God was prepping Aly for the attack.

In closing,

satan/hell/demons  you have no place in our life. As my wife sleeps right now I rebuke you from touching her in any way. Fear, pain which seem to be your items of choice for now, be gone from my wife in the name of JESUS. There is no place for you here. I commit only through Gods help to cover her. Aly WILL be like a FRUITFUL GRAPEVINE planted within MY home. That's the B-I-B-L-E (spell it out, it sounds better). 

As a great man once said when asked by an adversary, "how big a boy are you?" well I'm about 5'5" (depends on the shoes) and 141 lbs dripping wet, I'm small but I'm wiry. 

I understand I can't stand up to hell/satan/demons alone. I just so happen to have help and my intent is to speak that into life. Jesus, I understand we cannot fight the power of darkness alone with physical threats (though it is fun) so I am asking you to rebuke the attack on my wife. You have control over satan/ hell/ demons and I believe you have, you are and you will remove them from our life. As you said in Deut 31:8 that you will neither fail or abandon us. We are resting on your promises.

God is working in our lives to refine us for HIS purposes. Just today I had my schedule cleared up even more. hell/satan/ demons- WE (GOD and me) have re-declared incase you forgot that we do understand what is at stake and due to that we will DESPERATELY be on the attack against you. 

Pay attention here, this is big. All the previous comments by me are about the attack I plan against evil. Those are worldly responses by a wounded, hurt man. I am leaving them there as visible proof that God is clearing my mind of me and what I want to do for my wife. Once again, get out of the way Josh. This is not a weight you are to carry. Give it over. THE attack will not be at satan/hell/demons from me but a move from me toward further full devotion to God. I will rest under Gods mighty hand. God, who controls hell/satan/demons is waging war toward them on our behalf. I am asking God to act in a mighty way in the coming hours as Aly sleeps. Please wage war on evil that would attack her, give Aly rest. I rebuke you hell/satan/demon in the name of JESUS. there is no place in our life, house, bed or in my wife's body.

Thank you for sending your son to die for our sins that we may have eternal life. We accept your promises, we will live in them. Just as you chose Job for satan to test because you knew what would come of that, Aly is the same. God please continue to mold us for YOUR plan. 

We don't have it figured out but we are desperate for you GOD.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Pathway Church/ Life

The last few weeks have been intense for us. It all started to get crazy when one of the ladies Aly has followed through treatment had a reoccurrence. To describe what this kind of news can do to us and especially Aly would be impossible.

At that point we had committed to speak at an event in Mobile, AL at Pathway church. I believe beyond a shadow of a doubt that once we agreed to do that event that we put a bullseye on us for satan to attack. He is very good and he came full on against Aly in the week leading up to the event in Mobile. Aly's back hurt as bad as it has at any point and then Aly and I were not at a high point in our marriage for that week or so. We love each other like crazy but when you put together all the elements we were dealing with all I can say is life was interesting.

The event we spoke at was called Fight Like a Mom, round 2. The people at the event were amazing. They have a group of women that meet every week for what they call moms prayer group. These moms get together and place their needs in a bucket and someone sends those out to the women in the group and for that week every women prays over every need every day. I myself can tell you that without my mom praying over me everyday I could have made life more interesting than I already did. And to verify how interesting I made life you can ask a few past teachers, McCurry, Worley, Dawson, Osbon (those are the only ones I'm telling you because they still like me).

After hearing all of the things that have come to pass just in the last year that they have been praying for  needless to say Aly and I will be putting our names in their bucket when it comes to baby time. It won't be a matter of if but when. These ladies are believing God wants to act on their behalf.

We had a great time sharing our story Sunday night and we certainly pray that we shared what we were supposed to. Aly and I laughed when told my parents that we were really having to cut a lot of the story out due to time and they said well now you're just down to the nuts and bolts. Well we laughed and said oh no, there are nuts and bolts we cut out a long time ago because needless to say we could talk for hours if needed about the last 17 months.

The hard part about sharing our story is the fact that we are re-living some of the worst moments of our life. Moments where we truly struggled to know whether or not Aly would be healed, whether we would have children. Telling stories about how serious the doctors told us our situation was. In essence we were speaking the very information that the devil was, is and will try and use to strike fear and doubt into us.

Thursday afternoon we were in Gulf Shores and Aly and I went to watch Safe Haven. Needless to say we had NO IDEA what this movie was about. The short version is the dad has two kids and this new girl comes through and they begin dating. You learn pretty early that the mom had died of cancer. You then also see that she had written letters to her kids for when they graduated, married, had kids and other things. At the very end when they decided to get married the new girl is sitting on a swing outside the house and the husband walks out and hands her an envelope. To this point Aly and I had not looked at each other or said anything about the fact that the mom had passed away from cancer. So this dad walks out and hands his new wife an envelope that says "to her" (written from wife that passed away). At this moment Aly and I become audible basket cases. Thank goodness it was only us and one older couple in the theater.

I probably can't tell you how that connects to us. The reason it connects so heavily is because those are the thoughts that you go through in our situation. In part of the talk that we would be giving Sunday night Aly spoke about her dealing with guilt for our situation. She talked about at times not knowing if she even wanted to have a baby because then if there were a problem that she would be leaving me as a single dad. These conversations are wrenching.They are heartbreaking to talk about and even think about but for us it is reality. We cried loudly and then in another moment that would simply swamp anyone else but my wife Aly leans over and prays-asks-speaks-believes God that this will not be us and that she WILL LIVE.

Just as we told the ladies Sunday night, we are fighting like crazy to be desperate for God but not live either in ditch or on the mountain top. We have ditch moments which make us very happy for the mountaintop moments.

So now we are back home and trying to continue finding our new normal. Aly is going to turn in her last test tomorrow morning. She drove to see her sister in Shreveport tonight/ tomorrow.

Psalm 128
Your wife will be like a fruitful grapevine flourishing within your home.

This verse is life to me.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Finding balance in the busy

It has been wonderful being home for a while. It has been about a month since we've been in Houston, and that in and of itself is weird. We miss our second family, the Stanfills and Houston. It's nice to actually look forward to going back to Houston... But we have LOVED being home. Things have been super, super busy.

Josh heads up a live/silent auction for the school he works for, Claiborne Christian, and that event was on Saturday, February 23rd, so we were very busy getting ready for that and it was a HUGE success. He is so talented and truly feels like he can be in the ministry without "being in the ministry" by helping CCS in this way. I have been working and in school and have made lots of progress toward my dissertation. I am so excited to say that it looks like I will be able to defend my proposal THIS semester. That was my original goal before my diagnosis, and to think that that could still be a reality is amazing. People constantly look at me in amazement of how I've been able to do all I have with everything I've been through. The absolute, 100% truth is I haven't! I haven't been able to do any of it... I have been extremely weak, needy, and broken- which has allowed God to work. He is just simply unreal. The things that happen when we are completely reliant on Him...

Isaiah 40:28-31
  "Have you not known? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable. He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength. Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint."

I also have my PhD comprehensive exams coming up. This is a full week (March 18-22) and have been studying and getting ready for this. This includes an actual exam, along with a clinical presentation. I must pass these exams to be approved to graduate, so needless to say, it is a big deal and I would appreciate your prayers.

For the last several weeks, I have been getting ready to speak at Pathway Church in Mobile, Al. A college friend of my in-laws contacted me and asked me to speak at a ladies' event on March 17th (this Sunday). It is entitled "Fight like a Mom." This is their 2nd annual event and I am really getting excited. Thankfully, Josh will be able to speak with me, so this calms my nerves a bunch. This will be the first time I've shared where I've been able to give a large part of my testimony/ feelings/ emotions throughout the last 17 months. Please pray that the Holy Spirit will speak through me. I know my pain and hurt has not been in vain. It is meant to help and encourage hurting people...

One thing God is working on in me- being willing to be "seen" and share my story. It is much easier to write on a blog or share with those closest to me. It is quite another to speak at events, have people staring at me, asking me questions, etc... A website is being created to help share our story further and a book of my story is in the works....overwhelming. I literally could vomit thinking about it. The idea of being in front of others and attention being on me makes me sick. I do not want my story to be about me. I want it to be about God. I know He must use me, but it is hard for me to swallow. So thankful for these opportunities, and God is really, really stretching me. Praying for a lot of direction on all of this.

Satan has really attacked me these last few weeks, as I knew he would. I know so many can relate to this, especially pastors. When a Christian prepares to share God's word with a group, attacks are to be expected, but wow! I got to a point a few weeks ago where I was crying on my bed and almost wanted to cancel the event, because I didn't know if I could take all that was coming at me... Restlessness, tension, and body pains...I decided to press on and put on my armor and fight yet again.

1 Tim. 6:12  "Fight the good fight for the true faith. Hold tightly to the eternal life to which God has called you, which you have confessed so well before many witnesses."

I've had a lot of back pain over the last week or so. This is most probably due to my exercise.. I know I told you all about working out with my new trainer and I probably just used my back more than its been used in a looong time. I've decided to not work out this week to see if my back pain ceases. Please, please pray for me. That pain goes away and that peace floods my mind. God has been faithful and given me peace, but it is still unsettling to have the pain remain.

So, I will speak at this event on Sunday, then comps start next Monday. I also head to Houston next Thursday for a check-up appointment with my plastic surgeon. So, with comps, my dissertation, speaking at this event Sunday, my Houston appt. next week, work, and school, things have been busy. I am striving so hard to find balance in the busy. I am determined to honor the Lord with my Sabbath and find rest for my body and soul throughout each week. Many people think that if you have a free minute, it should be filled, and I am changing those thoughts for me and my family. The best way I can spend my time is seeking the Lord, so I need that time in order to keep my balance. Things that used to be very important, get pushed down the list, but it is hard for others to realize that. So, continue to pray for balance and discernment for Josh and I.

So, when we go to Houston next week, we will get our Stanfill fix, and will stop in Shreveport on the way home to see my sweet nephew.

Oh yes, I have a nephew now!!!! William James (Liam) was born on February 22nd, and he is perfect. Thank you all for praying that things would go smoothly. My sister did amazingly and she and Jeremy are such wonderful parents. It has been awesome seeing my sister in her new mommy role and I cannot wait to love on this sweet baby boy forever! I can't wait till he's old enough to come and spend weekends and fun summer days with us. I love my niece and nephew so much, it's crazy. I just pray I will be the aunt they need to help them love, honor, and serve the Lord all the days of their life! Here is a picture of my gorgeous nephew...