What love can do

It has been a week since we came back to North Carolina and a month since Susana was diagnosed with Neuroblastoma. I (Maria) have been through a roller coaster of emotions. Some days are definitely better than others. I can still hear the news being spoken by an unfamiliar person holding a stethoscope in her hand, “Your daughter has cancer”. It became even more real when my precious daughter went from a head full of long brown curly hair to none at all just two weeks later. Today I look at her and although I see no hair, I thank God that I still see Susana.

It has only been a month and I can tell you that it has not been very easy to let go and move on. At least no for me. Although I am in familiar grounds with familiar people and surrounded by incredible beauty I am often drawn back to the fact that my world was rocked and attacked by some ugly words doctors call childhood cancer. I can tell you right now that the journey so far has been hard, painful, uncertain, dark, and looks very much to me like the valley of shadow of death that I never wanted to pass through. Yet, in the midst of this emotional turmoil in which I find myself at times, I am able to stand up higher, walk straighter, and trust Christ more because God has brought you to hold my hand.

Yes, every single one of you who read our posts and keep up with our messages on facebook is a gift and answer prayer to us. You who came to the hospital and mailed packages and sent cards and bought toys and gave gifts and prayed prayers as if you were praying for yourself and were the healing balm we needed. And you still do these things. You are all evidence of God’s unconditional and unfailing love to us. You thought you gave a card or brought a meal, but in reality you were an extension of His love and mercy when my emotional world was crumbling and my faith was lacking and I needed to know He was right there next to me. That’s what love does!

While in Haiti, one day Cody and I were driving down the main road in Jacmel when it occurred to me that somehow I was an answer to someone’s prayers. Whenever we fed someone, whenever we clothed someone, whenever shelter was given or a word of kindness was expressed, I was God’s way of showing love to someone else. Somehow the thought humbled me. I know the many flaws I have and the weaknesses I struggle with and the thought of being “an answered prayer” or “an expression of love” was beyond what I could even understand.

But now I do. I do because I am on the other side. You are all God’s answer to my prayers when I need to see His love the most. Every single one of you is God’s way of loving us and providing comfort, support, mercy, grace, and all the things that I secretly pray for in my own times of despair. Somehow your love brings healing to my heart. And it fuels faith when mine is very little or non-existent.

I wish I could list on this post every single one of you who has held us through this time individually by name, but there are just too many of you. So, please receive this as our way of personally saying thank you to all of you. Your support, love, prayers, and encouragement means so much to us. You have no idea how much you do. I am in awe of God even more because you have chosen to love the way you do. And your love does not go unnoticed in His eyes. You are storing treasures where it matters most. And I can’t wait to see you in Heaven wearing the jewels you earned on behalf of the love you shown to us. We love you. Thank you!

Here are some recent pictures of Susana and Isabela.







“And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’”–Matthew 25:40

14 thoughts on “What love can do

  1. Maria, these words express the fears in every mother’s heart, and in every person—–no one is exempt from feeling anxiety, fear, and isolation at times. This is a humbling experience to realize that we who have been a “light” for others are also in need of spiritual uplifting. Sometimes we don’t realize how much God uses us to impact others until we are the ones in need and have to be on the receiving end for a season. Then God seems to flood our life with caring people. If people didn’t need one another, what a cold world it would be! Thanks for sharing your heart. Your words have encouraged me .

  2. I hope you always feel loved and supported because we love you very much and even though you are hundreds of miles away you, my brother and those two little princesses are on our minds constantly. We are always sending you prayers and love.

    The boys are sitting here with me. Luca says “Tell Maria, Susanna and Isabella look very beautiful and we can’t wait to see them again”.
    Dante says: “Tell Maria that Susanna and Isabella are very beautiful and I am going to make them a card with a picture of me on it! With a rainbow, with clouds”.

    Kerri-Anne, Fabio, Luca and Dante

  3. Maria and Cody,

    My daughter was diagnosed with a brain tumor 5 years ago, so I can just feel your emotions as if someone had hit the “replay” button. Hair or no hair….Susana is absolutely gorgeous and she will always be your baby! Please check out SuperSibs for Isabella. It is a wonderful organization for the siblings! May God continue to carry you through this valley and may you experience the “peace that passed all understanding”! There is none like it and no one else like God! Amen!

  4. My heart has gone out to your family. I just went through 8 months of treatment and losing my hair with a new whale face. I lived 8 months in my room unless I was going to the doctor. I have 4 children with twins, so it was hard to miss things. I always said thank God that it was me and not my children. My mother’s heart is with you and will keep you in my prayers. I just finished my treatment , so I’m slowly getting a little stronger. It changed my view on what is important and what is not. We are losing our house, but I realized that I can’t take that to heaven. I see things more now through God’s eyes. If you get so weary and sad then ask your daughter what God is showing her. He gives the one that is going through this a peace that I never knew. She will be the one to encourage you and you will stand in awe of your daughter. I will be praying life into her body and if you need to just someone to talk to then just email me. I am so sorry that the enemy has taken a shot at your baby. Thank God He is bigger than our enemy! Tania

  5. Keeping you constantly in my prayers. I know God is good through your posts. I pray that Susana will be healed and I know through God’s grace and power he can heal. Your faith in God makes my own seem so weak and small. I am blessed by your posts and the joy you find in all things, despite the journey your family is on now. Please know that you are continuing to minister, even though you are now being ministered too. God Bless!

  6. The picture of Susana, smiling and totally hairless (with a beau- tifullly shaped head) brought a laugh, a deep cheerful laugh, out of me as I read and viewed your messages. there is joy in the midst of the middle of the night, and a little child shall lead us into the beauty of the moment. You all are in our prayers. SPT

  7. Hi. We are also missionaries in Haiti. I know the Brumleys.
    I have been following your blog and have been praying for you!! and for your little precious girl! I can’t imagine what you are going through, but reading your posts I am so in awe of your Faith!! I know that with God all things are possible and that He will carry you through! Often I do wake up at night and know that God wakes me up for a purpose and those times I use for praying, and you and your little girl are on my list.
    May God continue to carry you!!

  8. Hello Friends,

    We’re praying for you guys over here. It breaks my heart to see what Susana and your family is going through. We pray and we trust that God will be glorified in all of this, even when its’ so hard to fathom how that might be when situations seem so difficult.

    Take care of yourselves, Cody and Maria.

    Danny, Carolyn, and Jolene Palmquist

  9. Your post is so profound! Aren’t we ALL in His use, and aren’t we ALL answers to the prayers of others, when we are serving Him?! Even as we’re giving to others, our own prayers are being answered. Thank you for your family’s testimony! Meghan is so excited to tell me when she sees you at BBC. We’re praying still. :~)

  10. I don’t know if you ever watch Joel Osteen on t.v but he was talking yesterday about his mother being sent home with terminal cancer and the doctors saying we have done all we can do. Believing that God had a different plan in mind, they too lifted their hearts and continious prayers to heaven. After ups and downs and many difficult months his mother made it through and is now 29 years cancer free. I thought of Susana and all the prayers that are being lifted up for her! Keep your faith God has a plan:)

  11. Although we do not know each other, you and your precious girl are on my heart each and every second. Lifting up prayers continuously for your beautiful Susana and your family. May Jesus continue to give you the strength that you need. God bless your precious family!

  12. Please know that we are praying for you! So many were there for our family in our time of need and we will be here for you!

    The name of the Lord is a strong tower. The righteous run into it and are safe. Proverbs 18:10

  13. Hi, you don’t know me, but I follow your blog and am praying for your daughter and your family every single day. A mommy to small children to another, with tears and pleading, I am lifting you up in prayer even right now. May the peace of God, which passes all understanding, guard your hearts and minds in Jesus Christ!!!

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