What do I have in Mind?

As her Daddy, it is without question, that I have in mind “life” for my baby girl, that she lives here on this earth for a long time in good health and enjoys many things.  But, I must realize that perhaps God has a greater plan in mind and we need to be brought to that place of fully embracing His plan.  Though we may not see it now, we are certain that His plan is always the best in the long run.

I am reminded again of my favorite disciple, Peter.  Peter had the ultimate highs as well as the ultimate lows in his walk with Jesus.  But O how the Lord Jesus loved him.  So, Peter was the one who, by faith, said that Jesus was the Christ, the son of the living God.  Peter, in a glorious moment, proclaimed the culmination of all that he had seen – that indeed God was good.  He was wonderful.  He was truly glorious.  Peter must have had many great thoughts and ideas about how his friendship with Jesus would have such a great impact on his life.  And then something completely unexpected happened.

Just after Peter making this great declaration of who God is and how great He is, Jesus tells him that now He must be handed over to the elders and put to death.  What!  How could that be?  That sounds so wrong.  That shouldn’t be.  And that is exactly what Peter thought as he said, “No way Lord.  This shall not happen.”  To Peter, the thought of Jesus being put to death was the greatest offense ever.  But to Jesus, it was the only way for God’s perfect plan to be worked out.

And because Peter’s words stood in contrast to God’s perfect plan, Jesus had to firmly rebuke him.  And Jesus told Peter, “…you don’t have in mind the things of God, but the things of men.”

And that’s what I have to wrestle with these days as I watch my daughter’s body begin to take a downward turn.  What do I have in mind?  The things of God or the things of me?  Of course, I want my daughter to be healed this side of heaven.  And I pray for her fervently every day that God would do just that.  That is the heart’s cry of any mommy or daddy.  But, I also have to be reconciled with the truth that the Lord taking her home might be more in line with the things of God whereas me wanting her to remain here is in line with the things of man, particularly the things of me.

Jesus Himself went through that very same wrestling moment between embracing the things of God or desiring the things of what He wanted.  It was in the garden of Gesthamane where He agonized over His upcoming walk of death upon the cross.  His sweat was like drops of blood.  And He cried out, “Father if there is any other way, let this cup pass from me…yet, not my will but Yours be done.”  So, even Jesus was brought to the place of laying down His desire and fully embracing God’s perfect plan, no matter how agonizing it would be.

And that is EXACTLY where I am today.  Friends, I am in the deepest agony ever.  My heart hurts to unknown depths.  There are so many things that, when viewed through my natural eye, simply do not make sense.  But, I as a follower of Jesus, am not called to walk by what I see through my natural eye, but rather to walk by faith.  And by His grace I do that.

Peter could not possibly see how Jesus being taken from him and executed would turn out to be God’s perfect plan, but it was.  And Peter was only able to see that after the fact.  I also cannot possibly see how Him allowing my precious little girl to suffer and die with this terrible disease is God’s perfect plan, but it might just be.  And seeing through the eyes of faith enable me to embrace His will.  And also knowing that the best life is not the one here on earth, but the one reserved for us in heaven to those who are called by God.

And so, it is like a tug of war upon my soul as I see things unfold.  My heart hurts so bad.  I think of all the things that I am not going to be able to do with my daughter.  I see her suffering, which is starting to increase.  We see our other daughter playing joyfully in her room, learning about the stars and the sun, and learning to read.  And yet in the other room, our precious little Susana just lays on the bed, watches movies in and out of sleep, and doesn’t even want to play with toys.  O how my heart aches to see this unfold.  Tears have been my food.  I cannot bear it, yet I know that God’s grace carries me through it.  My new prayer these days is, “Lord, give us the grace to suffer well.”

Yes, I will pray fervently that the Lord heals her this side of heaven.  And I know for certain that He can do that if He so chooses.  I cannot force Him to do that.  I do not not control God.  My faith does not manipulate His hand.  He is the one who is in control.  The faith that He gives simply allows me to realize that He is indeed in full control and that His plan is indeed a perfect plan.  The faith that He gives me allows me to say, just like Jesus said in the garden, “not my will Lord, but Your’s be done.”

Please keep us in prayer.  This just seems to be getting more difficult.  Susana is starting to have some difficulty with her breathing.  We are supposed to be hearing back from Make a Wish Foundation about them flying us all to Disney for a week.  If it gets approved, it could happen within a week.  But, the way that I just saw Susana and heard her breathing, I am scared that it might not even happen.  We are meeting with a friend of ours tomorrow who is going to take a photo shoot of our family for us so that we have some great pictures to cherish for a lifetime.  On Friday, we are meeting with a hospice care coordinator about starting hospice care in the home.  O how I need His grace for such appointments.  O how I need His grace to always have in mind the things of God, no matter how foreign or wrong they seem to my natural mind.

38 thoughts on “What do I have in Mind?

  1. My dear and precious friends, there are no words. Only tears, lots of tears, and my heartfelt, eager prayers for you and your brave little girl. I will stand in agreement and pray as you pray. The Lord’s perfect will be done. I pray for supernatural grace and supernatural strength in the suffering that you bear emotionally, physically and spiritually. May the Lord lift you up and carry you through the most difficult decisions. Oh Cody and Maria, I just can’t imagine. I am sick with grief for you. Lord have mercy. Lord have mercy. Lord have mercy. God bless your sweet Susana. Please let me know what I can do. I am here. XOXOXOXO

  2. Cody, I wish I coud take your pain away. But I stand with you. I hoped that you would not have to make such a difficult decision, but to choose to trust in His plan is so much more courageous than choosing what you want instead. Try to not second guess yourself. You will see her body change, her mind change and it will be difficult for sure, but you are giving her the greatest gift a parent can – a life free of pain and doctors and probing and a life of peace and joy and being in the hands of a loving God in the place He designed for her. Hospice is a wonderful program that will help you two know what you can do to make her last few weeks as painfree as possible.
    When you get home if you need us we are available for sure, if is to get things for you and bring them to you so you can be at home or ANYTHING please let us know.
    You, Maria and your faith has changed the life of one of our friends, and I will send you her testimony in an email, if that is OK. We will pray that Make A Wish will approve the visit and that she will be able to go, but I can appreciate your concern.
    I know that Josh’s situation was different, but I have walked this walk with many families before and after his situation, and I have seen the pain. I know our Lord will continue to strenthen you.

  3. Oh my…I’m just crying right now. I followed your blog since the Haiti earthquake and to think that someone who is helping other people in need so much and has to face such a hard trial. That just leaves me speechless.

    My story goes like this: When I was four, my father left this world. I still have lots of pictures where he smiles at me and holds me in his arms. My mom and me went through the darkest valley and she has told me again and again that I tried to cheer her up and that she might not be here if it wasn’t for me. Firstly, she was very angry at God and wouldn’t bother going to church (we are protestant and lived in the GDR, where religion was strongly discouraged) and the following Christmas we were all alone. (Her family said she had brought disgrace to the family for losing her husband and his family blamed her that he wasn’t strong enough to fight it. Truth is: The medicine in GDR wasn’t very good for him.) I fell ill on Christmas eve and had up to 41 degrees (almost fatal), and she had to sit at my bed and fear she might loose me, too. There and then she prayed and prayed and when I lived she went back to church. Today she is a member of our church council and is very popular. I sang at the church choir as long as I lived at home. All my life I always had the feeling of being watched and guarded and many things have gone smoothly for me so far. Too smoothly maybe and I’m sure my father had something to do with this. From heaven , he’s watching me, I know it. And I know I’ll see him again. Someday. But not right now.

    I pray for you, the He will bring light even to the darkest place where you are right now. Your little angel – she will be with you, forever.

  4. My heart aches for your family as you go through this process. But I also marvel at the strength of your faith in our Lord. If I only had a tenth of your faith… May God continue to strengthen you and your family. I pray that Susana will not have to suffer in pain and I continue to pray for a miracle for your precious family.

  5. My heart reahes out to you all. I really truly understand what you are talking about, as we veiw our circumstances the same way. Just take it one day at a time and look for small triumphs to get you through those harsh moments that are so frequent.

    Of course we all wish Susana be on earth and healed that way. Today our Emily was telling me ,”Mommy I really want to see God’s face, but I don’t know what He looks like.”
    I told her nobody really does. She said, “Ava does, and Susana might too.” Then she looked wistful about that miracle.

    We are hear for you. We understand your depth. Circumstances are different but we do get it. God will carry you now and for the many days to come. Right now- Love the heck out of your beautiful daughter. It’s an amazing time despite the stabing heartache.

    Peace that only He provides,
    Amy, Allan, Emily, Alexa and Elaina

  6. My heart breaks for you and your family. I have followed your journey since before the earthquake, hoping to someday meet you on the mission field in Haiti. Never would I have imagined the turn your lives have taken in the last year. Please know that our family is praying, our church is praying for all of you. I don’t know what else to say, other than your family of choice will stand beside you on this journey.

  7. I am praying for your dear baby girl. How great the gift of faith the Lord has entrusted you with during this time! I know you know this, but He is good, and the only way to see any good in this is to keep looking at Him. I am praying for Susana’s healing and for endurance for your family!

  8. praying for your specific requests right now. we are writing them down and lifting your family up all throughout the day and night…

  9. I have been sharing in your story through my friend Heather Gibson. Please know that my thoughts and prayers are with you. I appreciate so your truthfullness in being afraid and not understanding things that are happening. Your faith is truly an inspiration to me.

    We serve an awesome God that has the perfect plan for us. I pray that His comforting spirit fill you all.

  10. My heart breaks. Prayers are being poured out on behalf of your family from people across the nation. Thank you for your faithfulness to Gods plan. It speaks to hearts of those around me in a military community unlike anything I have ever seen. Know we are standing beside you on this journey. May God’s blessing be poured out over your family in ways unimaginable.

  11. God is speaking amazing truth through you, Cody and Maria. I’ve prayed this verse many times over you all and want to remind you of it. Philippians 4:8, 9. I know that the enemy will attempt to feed you lies in the coming days, but I encourage you to continue to think on what is true…. if anything is excellent or praiseworthy,dwell on these things. I am so thankful Jesus gives us the freedom to weep at his feet, even as we trust in his goodness. And I pray that His words will comfort you. Words of truth. That He loves you more than you can imagine. He loves Susana even more than you do. He knew the number of her days on earth before time began. He has a glorious place prepared for her in her ultimate home. He loves Isabella and will work this out for good in her life. He is good. He is all-powerful and all-knowing. He does ALL things well. Death is not the victor. “Better is ONE DAY in Your courts than a thousand elsewhere.” We love you guys!

  12. My heart is heavy…..I feel at a lost for words. I can’t imagine how hard this is for you, but so thankful you have a deep and abiding faith in our Awesome, Faithful, and Soveriegn God. I am thinking and praying for you all frequently throughout the day. We prayed for Susana and your family in my Church Ladies Bible Study this AM. I would tape Susana and Isabela playing together, when she has the strength. Also, in addition to you and Maria doing things with her, so you can treasure that for years and years. She has been a shining little angel, brave and strong. Like you, I will continue to pray for a miracle and, in agreement, His plan IS a perfect plan for her. I know this does not take away the unbelievable grief this brings you all; our Father knows, sees, and feels your distress and tears. I weep with you and will raise my hands in fervent prayer to a merciful God who stands in control, and He will fulfill His perfect will for precious little Susana. I can’t wait to meet her, even if it is not this side of heaven. May the Lord lift you all up in His mighty and all sufficent arms, and carry you through the coming days with mighty grace, strength, wisdom, and peace!!
    I will be here if you need me; I am only an hour away. God Bless and hold you………

  13. Oh my God! Please heal Susana! Give her family strength, courage, peace. And most of all, Your will be done! In Jesus name, amen

    I so hope I didn’t cause you pain with my last comment. I can’t even begin to imagine what you are going through. I just want you to know how much I am praying for you!

    love michelle

  14. I am praying 1 & 2 Timothy 1:2 over your family “Grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.” Know that we love you and are praying….

  15. I just found you this evening on a friends blog and my heart breaks for you and your family. Please know that you will be in my prayers from here on and Susana to be comforted in Gods Hands, where she is being held lovingly by her creator. Praying for your appointments to be covered with His peace and grace. I am so sorry for your breaking heart.

    Love and Hugs, Laurie

  16. Keeping all of you constantly in my thoughts and prayers. No words are sufficient to convey my feelings.

  17. Cody and Maria, I have followed your journey for some time, and I don’t normally comment on blogs, but I am overwhelmed with your writing….thank you for your heart before the Lord. He is SO proud of you and loves you so immensely in your brokenness that goes beyond where most of us have ever been or will have to go in this life. Thank you for being brave enough to publicly burden through this, for those of us you’ve never even met to learn from you. I know this comes at the cost of being judged for the way you are grieving, maybe not having enough faith….those comments are SO disturbing to me! Just be assured, from this stranger, you are living in this moment SO WELL. The Lord I know, is proud of you, and grieves with you. Your crown awaits.

  18. Oh, how I can’t even begin to fathom the depth of your grief. My heart breaks for your family. Know that we are lifting you up to His throne of grace. May His arms of love be surrounding you every moment. His ways are higher than ours, but this truth does not take away the pain that this life can bring. I rejoice that our ultimate joy and hope rests secure in Him. That He has prepared a place for us to join Him. That all the treasures of heaven will be a gift for us someday. Fervently praying that the God Who can perform miracles grants you more days on earth with Susana. May He provide hope, strength, peace, joy, and His love to all of you. May His healing hand be upon Susana. May you continue to bring glory to His name above all else. May His promises be ever present to you.

  19. Oh how my heart aches for all of you.

    Please know that through your struggle you have had an a tremendous impact on my life, and my return to Jesus. I have spent the past 20 years in denial of a God who took my mother home when she was so young and had three young children.

    You, and your faith during this tremendous struggle, have been a turning point for me. I have returned to Jesus after so many years away.

    Susana has done that for me.

  20. Cody, Maria, Isabella, and Susana,
    We are so sorry for all you are going through. We have followed your blogs and have been praying! We are amazed at the faith of your entire family and are blessed that you have shared everything that you are feeling with all of us. We have no words to say except that we will continue to pray for all of you, and we know that the God of all our comfort is and will be there right beside you through it all! Thank you for your amazing faith, honesty, and love that you share! May God keep you,bless you, and give you peace! Praying…..Diana and David

  21. I cannot begin to understand the pain you feel watching your sweet girl on her journey to heaven. My prayers are with you. Have you read the book “Heaven is for Real” by Todd burpo? It’s a short read and one that I would highly recommend during this season in your life. I’m sure reading a book is t the first thing on your mind, but it really might help with seeing your girl seem to suffer. Perhaps Jesus is already holding her tight and she’s watching from a distance as her body moves on.

  22. The strength of your faith almost makes me unable to breathe…the truth of your words is bringing glory to God, right now. May God bless your whole family and sustain you in His perfect plan.


  23. Dear Friends; We weep with you, we pray with you, and we love with you. I wish there were something we could do to take away all of your pain and especially Susana’s pain. But prayer is the best thing we can do. Our words simply aren’t enough but thank you for reminding me that God and His Word is more than we can ever think or imagine. Dearest, Maria, your inspiration and encouragement to stay deep in the study of God’s Word has proven to be a lifeline to me and is a gift which I greaty treasure. The other day as God was having me study Nehemiah, He showed me something lovely and precious that warmed my heart. That after the wall around Jersualem was built and as Ezra publicly read the Book of the Law, the people worshipped and wept at the words, but God in His mercy proved once again loving and always faithful. Nehemiah, Ezra, and the Levites told them not to mourn or weep and explained about the day being holy…for as you know this happened on the Feast of Tabernacles and the people celebrated and rejoiced. Why is this so precious to me? Because God showed me that His faithfulness is timeless and true…He lead the people into the Promised Land after 40 years in the wilderness and He brought His people home again from the wilderness of exile. God overwhelmed me with His faithfulness that day. Our hearts are breaking with your hearts and we are holding on to God’s faithfulness as He has promised. We love you, miss you, and stand with you in prayer.

  24. Heather,

    By this story alone…and nothing else…makes this trial worth it where we would not change a thing if we could. Thank you so much for sharing this. That is all we want to do is bring glory to God and see others come to know Him as Savior and Lord. We do this with our lives as missionaries, but we also do this with our death, or in this case, our child’s . As painful as it is, it is worth it if the Kingdom of Heaven grows by just one soul. May He be praised!

  25. Kasey,

    Thanks so much for this word of encouragement. It reflects the words we all long to hear from Jesus, “Well done good and faithful servant.”

  26. “…the Lord is near…offer your request up to God, and the God of Peace will guard your hearts and mind in Christ Jesus” (amen my friend)

  27. Since I Belong to Thee

    Lyrics by Octavius Winslow
    From the sermon, Experiencing the Joy of Christ
    Music by Greg Wright

    Print Sheet Music — Score will appear in a separate window

    Since I belong to Thee, my Saviour-God,
    All must be well, however rough my road;
    However dark my way or prospects be,
    All, all is right, since overruled by Thee.

    Safely in Thee shall Thy beloved dwell,
    Though storms may rage, and angry tempests swell;
    All the day long, their covering Thou shalt be,
    What then can harm [the one who’s] kept by thee?

    Feeblest of all Thy flock, Thou knowest me…
    Helpless and weak, I stay upon Thy Word;
    In all my weakness, this is still my plea–
    That Thou art mine, and I belong to Thee.

    Then come whatever may, I am secure;
    Thy love unchanged shall to the end endure,
    Frail though I am, Thine everlasting arm
    Shall shield Thy child from every breath of harm.

    Thy loving eye shall guide where’er I roam;
    Thy Holy Spirit lead me to my home.
    Thou wilt not let Thy feeble frail one stray,
    Though dark temptations oft may crowd my way.

    In sorrow’s saddest hour, Thy strength my stay;
    My darkest night, Lord, Thou canst turn to day.
    The most loved here may sometimes changeful be
    Thou changest not–and I belong to Thee.

    Then may the life, which now on earth I live,
    Be spent for HIM, who His for me did give.
    Oh! make me, Lord, in all I will and do,
    Ever to keep Thy glory in my view.

    And when my course is run, and fought the fight,
    Life’s struggles o’er, and faith is changed to sight,
    Then all triumphant I shall ever be,
    Safe in thy Home, for I belong to Thee.

    FULNESS OF JOY with all Thy ransom’d there,
    In thy loved presence I shall ever share;
    With them I’ll sing the love that made us free,
    The grace that taught us we belong’d to Thee.

  28. I can not tell you how sorry I am. We went through this battle with our 16 year old son. One day healthy and the next a DX with brain cancer. We too felt as though, in our human minds that this could not be happening. It is a parents worst nightmare. But, We also knew that we could not play tug of war with God. Every day that goes by since he went home to be with the Lord is one day closer till I see my boy again.
    I will keep your precious daughter in my thoughts and prayers along with you and your family. I wish I had words to comfort you but know that God is in charge of that.
    Praying for a miracle.
    With love,

  29. http://thetwentythirdpsalm.com/Movie/Play.html

    The Lord is Watching Over You

    Words and Music by Greg Wright, 2006, Public Domain
    Print Sheet Music — Score will appear in a separate window

    Verse 1:
    The Lord is watching over you;
    You’re always in His care.
    There’s nothing you are facing now
    Of which God is unaware.
    He knows the future like the past;
    He knows each circumstance.
    God foreordains your every woe,
    So there’s nothing left to chance.

    For I believe that in all things God is working,
    Conforming us to the image of His Son,
    That Christ might be the firstborn of many brothers.
    Progressively, God will make us like His Son.

    Verse 2:
    Foreknown, predestined, we are called,
    The called are justified,
    And those whom God has justified,
    He has also glorified.
    What can we say, then, to these things,
    For our support is God?
    Those who accuse us shall not stand,
    Since we’re justified by God.

    Verse 3:
    God did not spare His only Son,
    But gave Him for us all.
    Then, surely God will undertake,
    To make sure we never fall.
    Moreover, Jesus knows our needs,
    He knows our grief and pain.
    He’s interceding for us now;
    All we need we shall obtain.

    Verse 4:
    So what can separate us from
    The love we have in Christ?
    Shall tribulation or distress,
    Any enemy’s device?
    Though some of us are put to death,
    And some of us are shamed,
    We still are more than conquerors;
    By God’s love we are sustained.

    Final Chorus:
    For I believe that in all things God is working,
    Conforming us to the image of His Son,
    That Christ might be the firstborn of many brothers.
    Progressively, God will make us like His Son.
    Yes, I believe God makes all things work together.
    It’s all for good; we shall see when God is done.
    It will be worth every illness, every sorrow,
    To be conformed to the image of His Son.

  30. My heart is aching for your family. I am so, so sorry for the pain you all are experiencing. I am lifting your family up to God. I am praying for the peace of God to be felt by all of you, for you to be surrounded by His presence, and for healing, His sweet healing.

  31. I have two young daughters and when I read this tears came to my eyes. I also feel shame for the complaining I do about insignificant things. I pray that the love of Jesus that surpasses all understanding will sustain you all. I will pray as you have asked, that your faith remains strong. Praying now for Susanna and you and your family.

  32. I just want to say what witnesses your family is to me. As you go through this test I pray for strenght for you and your family. Thank you for sharing your life with us.

  33. If music is a huge inspiration to you, I recommend the CD “Beauty Will Rise” by Steven Curtis Chapman.
    I picture his darling little Maria & your Susana dressed in their ball gowns at the feet of our Lord, dancing together to the Glory of God!
    I can’t imagine what you must be going through, but holding tight to God’s promises, like you are doing, is exactly what God calls us to do.

    As much as it hurts, WELL DONE! I believe that God’s heart is aching with you, but he’s also sees the completed picture of which we only see a portion. Well Done!

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