Day two…

Last night was day two of chemotherapy. Susana is doing well. Her white blood counts are low so they are giving her a transfusion.

Sometimes the reality hits me. These are not terms that I wanted to learn so soon. Or ever. I’d rather speak in terms of malnourishment, malaria, dengue fever, poverty, starvation, Haiti, earthquakes, etc. These were more comfortable words than the ones I just recently added to my new daily vocabulary. After all, they had nothing to do with my own children. Yes, they were sad words. They invited a sense of pain into our world, but nothing that I can compare with the pain you have when it is your own child who is suffering.

I find myself like Peter. He knew very well that there was nowhere else to turn to, but to Christ and Him alone.

“So Jesus said to the Twelve, “Do you want to go away as well?” Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life, and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God.” –John 6:67-69

To whom shall we go? Life is only found in one place. Truth is only found in one place. Healing is found only in one place. Peace and love and comfort and assurance and abundance of mercy are found only in one place. That place is the Person of Christ. All other places are dead end roads that offer empty promises and carry no hope at all.

Some of you have made comments about what a great faith we have. I wish I could tell you that I have done anything to produce the kind of faith that sustains me through my day. I don’t have anything good to offer to such a moment as this. Nothing at all. All that I have is what He has already poured in me. This faith, this grace, this confidence that I now get to witness to the world is just the work of God in my life through years of close communion and fellowship with Him.

Each quiet time was preparation for this moment. Each verse I read was food that strengthened my weak spirit. Each song of praise built my confidence in His love. Each Bible study convinced me more and more that He is good and that He loves me and that all my days belong to Him. Even being in the mission field and watching closely how He worked in the midst of pain and suffering and earthquakes and confusion helped me grow stronger in my walk.

I could not have produced the faith I have. I don’t even think I can. He is the author of it. He is the finisher too. And He has done it all for His glory. I wish I could tell you that I have something to bring to the table. Something of my own. I have nothing. It is all a work of grace. A work of love. And I so much depend of it each step of the way. I know I will forget that He is there. I know that I will question His choices. I know that I am too weak to fully give myself into His perfect will. But I also know that He alone has all that I need for the moment. He has the grace I need for today and for tomorrow. He has the love I need to rock me and our entire family in His arms as we walk through this journey that He has set before us. And I need every brother and sister in Christ to remind me that His grace is sufficient for today because I know I will forget.

“Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways!

“For who has known the mind of the Lord,
or who has been his counselor?”
“Or who has given a gift to him
that he might be repaid?”

“For from him and through him and to him are all things (including this trial). To him be glory forever. Amen.” (Romans 11:33-36) –Maria

13 thoughts on “Day two…

  1. Maria…I am so thankful for your post…It is and has been what the Lord has been speaking to my own heart. You like Mary by faith chose what was needful..to sit at the Lord’s feet and spend time…hanging and abiding in the vine. And yet we can’t boast even in that for who gave us that desire? For what do we have that we have not been given? There is nothing that we can boast in accept our great great God who gives to each one a measure of faith by which we have access to His grace and as we (because he put that desire on our hearts) exercise that faith by humbly acknowledging our own inability and utter helplessness go to Him in faith…we receive more grace.

    I have been going through a trial that the Lord prepared me for. His grace in perfectly preparing me for it always brings tears of gratitude to my eyes. And as I see His care in all that He does for me and wants to do for me in this trial…it strengthens my faith and I look to Him and depend on Him more and more for that help. I look at my children and I see His grace…all I did was make those decisions daily that increased my time with Him and paid attention..and it was He who gave me that desire…I see my kids walking in truth and I know it is all Him. So many many times i forget to look up and go to Him in humility asking for the help He promises in Heb 4:16…but when I do…His grace abounds and is more than sufficient! It is such a beautiful thing when we realize that we bring nothing to the table as you said…it is all His grace, love and mercy. The most precious gift I have received in this very difficult trial has been in seeing and understanding a little more of His grace and how He works in the midst of trials and sufferings. It is a little more heart knowledge…of really knowing that it REALLY IS NOTHING OF ME! And what a burden that takes off of my shoulders. I cannot pick up His word anymore without tears of gratitude coming to my eyes or stand in church without filling up. The Lord is my Shepherd I truly do have everything I need.

  2. You are awesome Maria! Thank you for sharing your faith! I continue to pray for little Susana and send your updates to friends who will pray also.
    I pray you are experiencing strength and peace from our Father in the midst of this journey. I know He is so faithful to build us and encourage us as we go through the valleys. I pray for supernatural healing in the marrow and blood for your little Susana. That God’s will and purpose for her life is not aborted by the enemy! I pray for a hedge of protection around your whole family to keep the enemy at bay while the precious healing virtue of our Lord flows into each and every life giving cell in Susana’s little body! Thanking God for just the right Docters, nurses and others to stand with you both in this situation.
    In the name of our precious Lord, Jesus, I pray!

  3. Hear my cry, O God, listen to my prayer; from the end of the earth I call to you when my heart is faint. Lead me to the rock that is higher than I, for you have been my refuge, a strong tower against the enemy. Let me dwell in your tent forever! Let me take refuge under the shelter of your wings! For you, O God, have heard my vows; you have given me the heritage of those who fear your name ~ Psalm 61:1-5.

  4. The LORD is MIGHTY to SAVE! I am so blessed to be walking through this trial with you my sister. Thank you for sharing this with me and please know that we are in constant prayer for Susanita and you all. The LORD is truly being glorified in your testimony right NOW! What wisdom HE has we don’t fully see now but we will understand it one day. I love you Maria and am truly in awe of God’s grace and light shining through you right now. IN HIM OUR HEARTS FIND REST AND IN HIM OUR HEARTS REJOICE! We continue to pray dear sister and friend!

  5. “I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine making request for you all with joy, for your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ;” Philippians 1:1

    You are on my hearts always! I am praying that the chemo is doing it’s job, and that God is actively healing your little girl as I write this.

    Please Lord…let your healing hand rest gently on sweet Susana.

    Love you guys…

  6. Love you guys. Praying that Susana will be healed int the Name of JESUS.

    His love endures forever!

  7. Your names were lifted many times before the throne
    of God on Sunday at Biltmore Baptist Church.
    Our fellowship group prayed for Susana as did so
    many other groups. Your faith is an encouragement
    to us. God is continuing to use you even now.
    May His peace and love fill and overflow you.
    You all are so loved…..

  8. The Lord your God in your midst, the Mighty One, will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing. Zeph 3:17…When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, nor shall the flame scorch you. Isaiah 43:2. Maria, I want you to realize, how your words are strengthening us in our own walk with the Lord, as we look at ourselves and see our own relationship with the Lord ,more clearly, He is using your battle to bring us all closer to Him and to give Him all the Glory! We Love you all and thank our Lord for You and Cody and Isabella & Susana…Brian

  9. Praying that the tumors are responsive to the chemo and that the Lord continues to fill you with peace that surpasses all understanding.

    “Cast your burden on the Lord, and He shall sustain you; He shall never permit the righteous to be moved.”

    Remember, if you need to talk, we are here.

    With faith and love,

    Dena

  10. Thank you so much Dena. We pray that our little girl is healed. We are very happy with the treatment that she is getting at Miami Children’s Hospital and for the support networks that we have here. I have however read a lot about Sloan Kettering. Our doctor has been in communication with Sloan Kettering about Susana’s treatment. It seems that all those that are part of the COG collaborate together. I did see that Sloan offers this special 3F8 antibody that seems to show some great success rates. Should her initial therapy not show progress, perhaps we will think about some other treatment options. Please continue to pray for our girl.

  11. Thanks so much. The support that we are getting from Biltmore is overwhelming. We are so blessed to have such an amazing church family. We just had another visitor from BBC come today who was here in Miami visiting her Mom. When she heard about us, she came over to visit us. We also just had Steve Cassels from HOPE Network down here for a few days. When Susana was more perky last night while Steve was there, I told Susana that Steve is a pastor from our favorite church, to which she replied, “Biltmore Baptist!!!” She knows who her favorite church is.

  12. God is being glorified in this through your family, Cody & Maria. Our family is praying for you, for strength for today & bright hope for tomorrow. We pray for His mercy & healing. We pray for comfort for Susana. We pray for wisdom for her doctors, for correct decisions to be made on her behalf. For the workings of the treatments. For protection while she is being treated there. For provision for all your needs. He is faithful. His mercies are new each day. His love for you can not be measured. Rest in His promises.

  13. Cody and Maria,
    I probably won’t write anything different from what so many, I’m sure, have already written to you. However I want you to know that your response to this most difficult time in your life is such an encouragement to me. I’ve been a Christian since I was 6 yrs. old (and I will be 40 next March) so I have been given the privilege to live a life of love with the Lord. Though I have strayed and tested out the things of this world to some degree, I have always known that my God was holding on to me. As an adult I began to read His Word in a new way, asking Him to give me a desire and a hunger for it. He has given that to me and when your wrote, Maria, how every quiet time, every Bible study, every step you have taken with Jesus over your life has prepared you for this time, it truly struck a cord with me. God, in His infinite wisdom, prepares us! And the depth of your maturity in Him that I read in your words, is so praiseworthy – You are giving God glory. You don’t know how, but your are. You are a testimony to a life that is lived loving God and knowing nothing else but to serve Him. Thank you for being so obedient, for allowing us to take part in this painful refining process of your precious family.

    I don’t propose in any way, to know what you are going through right now, but I will tell you that God has used you in my life. I was reading this morning in James about faith in chapter 2. “In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.” Dear brother and sister in Christ, let me tell you that your faith has brought you to a time of action. You are now drawing on, relying on, breathing the Word of God that has been in your heart and in your mind, and I am sure that all those around you are being affected by your faith and the God that has brought you to living it out now.

    We are crying out on your behalf, asking God for His plan for precious little Susana. We are praying for complete healing. And may I offer that on the days when you feel like you have no praise in you, the burden is just too much to bear, that I would stand in the gap for you. You have friends in Tupelo, MS, who are standing in the gap for you today. To our great God be all the glory, honor, and praise!

    With much love,
    Lisa Brown

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