This is the picture I had hoped to put with today’s post – a sort of, “victorious, I’m alive” kind of picture. I had hoped, and even felt fairly confident, that I could relay the joyous news that yet another blood test confirmed all is well with Allistaire. I don’t have that confidence today. Allistaire’s ANC dropped by nearly half since last month – from 1750 to 928 today. Her white blood cells went from 4.3 to 3.2. However, and thankfully, her Hematocrit is 40 (last month was 42 and this is a totally insignificant difference) and her platelets are 256 (259 last month). Our doctor here in Bozeman consulted with Dr. Pollard at Seattle Children’s who said she is not too concerned by these numbers as there can be natural fluctuations or it could be the onset of a virus. Or it could be the first signs of her cancer returning. We have to wait 2 weeks and draw her blood again. Her appointment is set for 11am on November 6th. Dr. Ostrowski and Dr. Pollard were both encouraged that by all outward signs she is doing very well.
As I sat in the waiting room of the doctor’s office, the minutes ticking by, knowing any moment the nurse would call us back and I would find out her numbers – I sat and read Psalm 34 over and over, clinging to particular verses:
“I will extol the Lord at all times; His praise will always be on my lips. I will glory in the Lord; let the afflicted hear and rejoice. Glorify the Lord with me, let us exalt His name together. I sought the Lord, and He answered me; he delivered me from all my fears. Those who look to Him are radiant; their faces are never covered with shame. This poor man called, and the Lord heard him; He saved him out of all his troubles. The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear him, and He delivers them. Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in Him…” The Psalm goes on and on, “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.”
My heart is breaking. I do feel crushing weight on all sides. “I don’t want this God! Please, please don’t let it be. Don’t take my life and rip it to shreds.” I mentioned to Sten the other day where we could put the Christmas tree come Christmas time and in the back of my mind I wondered if I should even speak of such things – do I even dare imagine Christmas here in this house. What if it doesn’t come again this year? What if we are separated again? What if, what if, what if…I feel myself falling into the dark. I can’t seem to get a grip to stop my fall. I don’t see how God is going to deliver me from all my troubles. The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit, but the thing is – I don’t want to be brokenhearted or sense my spirit crushed. Can’t you keep me from being broken and crushed in the first place God? I know that dark place and I don’t want to go back, because this time, I fear the dark will be so much darker than before. I think I know where that road may end.
My heart is flailing, reaching out for strongholds. I call out to the Lord. “Be joyful always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” Give thanks in all things – how God, how? How do I thank you for this?
“Eat the manna, Jai.” Allistaire’s little voice perked up in the back of the car as I struggled to see through the tears, driving down the road, attempting to pull it together so that I could do the errands on my list. I can’t even recall what she said, but God used her little cheery voice to speak to me. I turned my head slightly and saw her sweet joyful face with the big pink sun glasses on and a row of little white teeth, blonde hair sticking up all crazy from having her snow hat on earlier. “Eat the manna, Jai,” is what the Lord said to me. Soak her in. Take this day that I have given you. I have given this day to you. This day – and all that it contains – is a gift from me. Manna is food for a day. God has promised provision for me for this day, today, right now. Manna is God’s Sabbath rest now, here, in this land on this day. Manna was what God gave the Israelites for food in the desert as they waited four decades to enter the Promised Land. The manna only lasted for a day. You could not hoard the manna. Manna was gathered each day and God faithfully provided it, each day. “Look around you and give thanks for what I have given you this day.”
Allistaire is alive today. She is cheery and sweet and singing and spazing out in the shopping cart and woggling her head and she is full of life and joy. Today the mountains were dusted with beautiful snow. This morning the blue glowing light of reflected snow filled the house. Today we are together. Today the Lord is holding me up. Today He hears my cry; He is attentive today. There is no way this is enough to carry me down that awful road. It’s not supposed to be enough for the journey. It is enough for today. I am so far from done learning these lessons. I am so far from having taken in the full view of God. The snow is falling again and soon this day will come to a close. Tomorrow will be a new day, with new manna, new provision, new gifts, new glimpses of God’s goodness. He promises to take me day by day through all the days ordained for me. When I set my eyes on the dark road, there is no way not to be filled with fear. So, I set my eyes on Christ, the author and perfecter of my faith, who for the joy set before Him, endured the cross, scorning it’s shame. I am on the lookout for Christ, the good God. I am looking for You, Oh Lord! I want to see your face. I walk on, for the joy set before me, sustained today and hoping in Christ for tomorrow.