Tuesday, June 20, 2017

6/20/17 Jesus Help Me

Dear friends and family,

Have you ever felt so sick, or so in despair, that you couldn’t pray for yourself, not to mention for all the others on your prayer list?  Well that’s how these last two weeks have been for me.  “Jesus help me,” three little, but powerful words, were all I could utter on many days. 

I completed chemo number two of my fourth, three-week-in-a-row chemo cycle, a little over two weeks ago.  And the day after those drugs went into my veins, plunging my immune system to dangerously low levels, I became quite ill with some combination of viral and bacterial infections.  Sore throat, sinus infection, sneezing, coughing, fever, vomiting, laryngitis—you name it, I had it—with daily nosebleeds thrown in just for fun, as a result of my low platelets.  As someone who normally walks four miles a day, it was very difficult to be housebound, and indeed, glued to the couch with a plethora of tissues, tea, and medicines all around me, day after day, while I lay there with no energy at all.  Needless to say, they ended up cancelling the final chemo in cycle four, as it would have made me sicker and probably sent me to the hospital.

I found on many of these days that I was so sick and discouraged that I couldn’t find the words to pray for healing for myself or my other friends who are dealing with serious health issues.  So I would offer up those three words I could muster—“Jesus, help me,” followed by five more words before collapsing back into my cocoon of illness—“Jesus, help everybody else too!” 

The Bible says that when we are weak, or don’t know how to pray for ourselves or others, God does it for us.  In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.  And He who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.” Romans 8:26-27

What a comfort it is to know that the God of the universe prays for me--and for you--when we can’t find the strength or the words.  And though many of us have a love/hate relationship with Facebook, it was a comfort to me throughout my most recent illness each time someone on Facebook told me they were praying for me.  I knew I was in good hands with my Facebook friends praying for me, my family praying for me, my Bible study friends praying for me, the God of the universe praying for me, and even my beloved Aunt Julianne, the last person on earth you’d think would pray—having finally capitulated to pray for me (and when she does, God responds with weather…thunder, lightening, torrents of rain)! I tell her He has to find some way to let her know how happy He is to hear from her!

I am slowly recovering, day-by-day, and was able to walk again yesterday for 45 minutes along the flat route at Alki Beach.  Oh how glorious it was to be outside, along the water, moving my body without feeling as though I was about to pass out!  My chemo break is to continue until July 3, when we will resume with the start of cycle five.  And one week of this blessed chemo break will be spent at Cannon Beach, Oregon, where I will be both physically and spiritually refreshed at the Cannon Beach Christian Conference Center family camp week.  After that week of walks, naps, pizza, games, and reading good books on the beach, I should be fit and ready to resume chemo, and five days after, to celebrate Renee and Riley’s wedding day! 

I want to close by encouraging those of you who hit bottom sometimes, either physically, spiritually, or emotionally, and who find it hard to pray during those times.  Maybe you are in this place right now.  Please try two things.  First, text me, or any combination of friends, and let us know you need prayer.  Next, just utter those three little words, “Jesus help me,” then rest and wait as the God who made you and loves you, as well as all the rest of us who love you, take it from there.  You will be in good hands.


P.S.  Congratulations to Daniel, who completed his third year of medical school at the University of Washington last week!  One more year to go!  
Jericho loves baths with his sea animals, and can name every sea creature in the tub!

Nothing like resting in the sunshine on the back of our boat while Steve drives!

Look who's learning to ride a bike?!

We decorated cupcakes with sour gummy "J's" from Trader Joes and candy "3's" from Michaels to celebrate Jericho turning three at the end of May!

Jericho loves DJ and his girlfriend, Adrienne!

Riley gives Jericho his haircuts in our kitchen, then Jericho loves to vacuum up the mess!