And He said unto me, "My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me."
2 Corinthians 12:9

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

From Connor's Mommy & a little bit from me

For the last few weeks, it seems that each devotional I open talks about obedience rather than outcome.  I've been reminded that it made no sense whatsoever to get out of the boat and walk on the water (Matt. 14:22-33).  However, it was a step of obedience.  There are so many things going on right now in our little world that don't make sense.  I want to hear Him say, "yes, you are healed!"  In the meantime, I'm trying to find the "perfect" answer that makes sense.  Yet, I feel that the Lord keeps asking for obedience rather than outcome.  I still don't know exactly what He is calling me to do, but I am trying so hard to listen and obey.

Then, I received this entry from Joy...
He's saying something to me.  Please pray that I will understand Him and the message He wants me to hear.

Monday, March 28, 2011

This part of our journey has been difficult because I have had a hard time dealing with God's answer of "no".  I think back to when I was a child, and how difficult it was sometimes when my parents said "no" to me.  Even then, those answers seemed crushing and disappointing to me.  I had a hard time dealing with that "no".  I look at my five year old Mason and see how he responds to me when I answer his questions with a "no".  It is often followed by denial, a tantrum, or tears.  Many times he will say "Then, you don't love me if you won't let me do that.  You're not taking good care of me."  I laugh to myself when he says those words to me; but in reality, his thoughts are not so far off from mine with my Heavenly Father.  I just shared last week how I felt unloved because of God's chosen path with Connor.   

So, where do we go when God says no?  That's where I stand today.  Learning to move past this struggle is my defining moment, I believe.  I guess the one thing that I have been focusing on lately is the fact that Jesus had to deal with God's answer of "no" also.  "My Father!  If it is possible, let this cup of suffering be taken away from me.  Yet I want your will to be done, not mine."  Matthew 26:39

Jesus prayed these words when his death on the cross was eminently near.  Jesus was also asking to see if there was another way.  We all ask God if you are powerful enough to do things differently, why don't you? How can I accept your comfort and believe you want to heal my broken heart when you could have kept me from experiencing this sorrow in the first place?  This is where we have inner conflict - what we want and believe is best seems to be at odds with God's plans.  Listening to Jesus' struggle with this helps me to move through this conflict.

 "While Jesus was here on earth, he offered prayers and pleadings, with a loud cry and tears, to the one who could rescue him from death.  And God heard his prayers because of his deep reverence for God.  Even though Jesus was God's Son, he learned obedience from the things he suffered.  In this way, God qualified him as a perfect High Priest, and he became the source of eternal salvation for all those who obey him.  Hebrews 5:7-9

Well, I can certainly relate to the prayers and pleadings with loud cries and tears.  When God answered "no" to me, I felt as if God did not hear my prayers.  This verse assures me that He did.  I'm certain that He heard His son's prayers, yet He still answered no.  It gives me comfort to be reassured that God is always listening to our heartfelt cries, even when He seems to be ignoring them.

Jesus' reaction to God's answer of "no" gives me an example to follow in my own life.  Like Jesus, I'm trying to learn obedience through suffering.  It helps me to know that Jesus wrestled with God's plan for his life and death, even as he submitted to it, because I have wrestled with God's plan for my life even as I have tried to submit to it.  Jesus responded to God's answer with "Not my will, but yours be done."  This is the attitude I'm praying for in myself.  I'm standing on a precipice, looking out into my future.  I'm holding my plans, my dreams, my pain, my doubt, my loss and my faith in my hands.  The question is will I surrender all of these before my Heavenly Father?  Right now, I'm doing it through gritted teeth, but I hope someday it will be with open, willing hands.

Always believing,

Joy Cruse

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Update from Nate's Mommy

Subject: Update on Nate - 03/17/2011 - from Jackie
"Nate is doing very well. He has been spending his days playing and working on regaining strength for everyday tasks. He has some really good days and some that are a little more difficult. We are waiting to go to the endocrinologist at the end of the month. This doctor will address his hormone and growth issues. He will be returning to LA in April for his 6 month post transplant scans and follow up visits. It is hard to believe it has been almost 6months since the transplant. Please continue to pray for Nate and his complete healing of cancer and the side effects of treatment. There are so many children who are fighting this terrible monster. If you want to pray for a few extra kiddos I am listing some who are close to our hearts and who are fighting . (Miceala , Matt Romig, Matt Burbee (continued remission), Nathaniael, Collin, Ethan, Devon, Vincent, Little Jacob and many more.)

If you are looking for a way to help with the fight for a cure, I have attached some information about the St. Baldrick's foundation on the Pray for Little Nate site. One of Nate's doctors in LA is participating this year. He is raising funds and shaving his head trying to raise awareness and funds for cancer research. No donation is too small, all proceeds help with cancer research. Thanks for taking the time to look at it. love, Jackie"

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Direct Link

As B put it, "someone that was praying has a direct link to the Lord!"

WOW!!!  About an hour after I posted last night, she fell asleep and slept until 3:15a.  B fed her and put her back down around 4ish.  She slept until around 7:45a.  PRAISE THE LORD!!!

Thus, THANK YOU!!!  You are amazing prayer warriors!!  Thank you so much for your precious prayers for our family!  She seems to be going down okay this evening.  We still covet your fervent prayers, though!! 

I promised a picture in the last post.  So, here is a pic of our little one!

Also, will you please pray for my seizures.  I had five today that were really bad.  One was with the neurologist.  She did the standard tests that they do during a seizure (i.e., asking me to repeat words back to her, squeeze her hand, etc.).  However, I could not answer any of her questions or repeat any words back to her.  I apparently squeezed her hand at least one of the times that she asked me to...I do not remember any of this.  She and B told me about it after the fact.

Anyway, I have been very confused at the end of each of my seizures today, not really knowing what happened.  The doc wants to get a home health agency set up to come and help me throughout the day.  So, we are praying for insurance to approve that request.

We are also praying about having someone that could come to the house each day to help me with P.  If my seizures are like they were today, I'm not comfortable being left alone with her.  Will you please continue praying for her sleep and also pray for my seizures and someone that could come help at the house!

God Bless each of you and thank you for your fervent prayers!!!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

URGENT Prayers

I'm hoping to have more updates to come in the very near future (with pictures)!!

We are crying out to all of our prayer warriors tonight because we are in desparate need of prayer.  P has not slept more than five hours per day (24hrs) total in the last few days (babies at this age should be sleeping 16+ hours/day).  The doctor had us come in today because she was very concerned about it.  She gave us a few things to change and we have changed all of them. 

It is 9:30p and we've been trying to get her to sleep since 6:30p.  She is screaming at the top of her lungs and has only stopped to eat for about ten minutes.  We are both exhausted.  Seizures have increased for me (not to mention crazy hormones) and B is working so hard all day and then coming home and staying up most of the night with her, as well.

Please pray that she will get to sleep!!

Friday, March 11, 2011

From Connor's Mommy

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

I know it's been awhile since I've written Joy's Journal.  To be honest, I have sat down several times to write it and I have struggled with what to say.  Many thoughts and struggles are filling my head.  I'm trying to grasp something that would be constructive and inspirational.  I decided to just start with how I feel.

Tait and I have learned that the most difficult part of this journey with God and our faith has not been when Connor was still alive.  When Connor was still fighting for his life, when we had hope for his healing on earth, it was easier to hold on to our faith.  We still had hope that God would bring about the miracle that we had prayed for.  He could still show himself to be powerful and good and trustworthy.  But, when prayers go unanswered and when your biggest heart-felt prayer is crushed, how do you get past your devastation with God?

I've read many books and listened to many speakers who address our faith and hope when we are in the midst of our fight, but what about those of us who have lost our battle (meaning our earthly battle).  I know, I know that there is Victory in Jesus.  He has won the battle for eternity.  Without this knowledge, I would be derailed once and for all.  This is my hope for the future.  But, I guess what I'm saying is how do I get through the pain of the here and now -- when missing Connor still makes my heart ache?  Where do we go when God says no?  I feel like this is the time when we are at our most vulnerable.  This is the time when we are all the must susceptible to losing our faith, to becoming bitter and angry - to feeling unloved.  I think this is where we all need the most help.

As Tait and I were driving by the cemetery where Connor was buried, a song came on the radio "Oh, how He loves us".  I just burst into tears.  I realized that for once in my life, I didn't feel loved by Him.  What I felt was irony, tragedy and betrayal.  As I was listening to how much He loved me, I couldn't help but think "really?" as I was looking at where my son's body lie under the ground.  You love me, yet You let this most horrible thing happen to me?  How do we reconcile these feelings with the knowledge that He loves us?  In my head, I know without a doubt that He loves me.  In my broken heart, I can't get past the wall of pain to see His love residing there.

I realize that this is part of the grieving process.  I believe that I have moved into the angry stage.  It is something I will move through.  I debated all month whether I should share these feelings.  Some will misunderstand.  Some will judge.  And those of you who have experienced some kind of loss of your own - loss of a loved one, loss of a marriage, loss of innocence - I know you will understand.  So, I write this for you.  I want you to know that you are not alone in your feelings of devastation and frustration.

This is such a crucial crossroads.  Do we trust these feelings of abandonment and disappointment, or do we continue to stay on the path of God's Hope and Eternity set before us?  I know there is no easy answer, no easy solution.  But I think there is healing in sharing these hurts, expressing our pain.  Being honest about this feels like a betrayal on my part..  As if I'm not trusting God enough - like I'm weak.  At the same time, I think that voicing these honest feelings will help.  I think, for me, it's like letting the poison out of my heart.  This way, I can move towards healing. I want  to share a song with you.  "Blessings" by Laura Story

We pray for blessings
We pray for peace
Comfort for family, protection while we sleep
We pray for healing, for prosperity
We pray for Your mighty hand to ease our suffering
All the while, You hear each spoken need
Yet love is way too much to give us lesser things

'Cause what if your blessings come through raindrops
What if Your healing comes through tears
What if a thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know You're 
near What if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise

We pray for wisdom
Your voice to hear
We cry in anger when we cannot feel You near
We doubt your goodness, we doubt your love
As if every promise from Your Word is not enough
All the while, You hear each desperate plea
As long as we have faith to believe

When friends betray us
When darkness seems to win
We know that pain reminds this heart
That this is not our home
What if my greatest disappointments
Or the aching of this life
Is the revealing of a greater thirst this world can't satisfy
What if trials of this life
The rain, the storms, the hardest nights
Are your mercies in disguise

Not sure I'm there yet - feeling like Connor's death was a mercy in disguise.  Someday, I hope I will be.

Always believing,

Joy Cruse