Courage to Conquer : Emmett's Story - February 2010

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Posted by Wendy on February 17, 2010

Wednesday, February 17, 2010 at 12:42am
Romans 8:28-29 (New American Standard Bible)

And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.

For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren;

I squeezed onto the edge of Emmett's hospital bed tonight after everyone had left, and I watched him try to get comfortable with tubes coming out of his arms. He has endured more pain today than perhaps any other day of his life, and ironically not from the disease trying to kill him, but from the tests that will eventually help cure him.

This irony seems so true in our lives, that often what hurts the most can be our highest good. I was reminded of the above passage that our pastor spoke about during his series on Romans a few years ago. At the time we had just lost our daughter Mallory, and the Lord was showing me the seeds of beauty and hope he had sown in the midst of the tragedy. God works all things for his good purpose in us, to draw us into Christ and make us more like him. In the shaping there is pain, but also beauty and healing, hope and deep, deep joy.

I drove home tonight to shower while some dear friends sat with Emmett, and on the ride home, I cried a lot, but I also searched my heart. I found neither sorrow nor anger, but rather a beautiful melody of joy and hope, and a curiosity to see God's redemptive work in our broken lives. I know full well that the Lord gives and the Lord takes away. He may do either here, but he still remains a wondrous and merciful savior.


Posted by Wendy on February 18, 2010

7 Deep calls to deep
in the roar of your waterfalls;
all your waves and breakers
have swept over me.

8 By day the LORD directs his love,
at night his song is with me"
a prayer to the God of my life.

Psalm 42: 7-8

I remember a time in Hawaii years back when a few college friends and I were playing on the beach. The waves there can get pretty huge, and one particular wave caught me off guard. I was thrown under water, flipped over, and completely disoriented in a matter of seconds. There was only about two feet of water and still I couldn't tell which way was up.

In the waves of bad news, the Lord brought this verse back to my mind. it's so tempting to get sucked into the currents of pain and self-pity. But of this I am confident, that in this night, the Lord's song is with me, and his waves surround me. I know which way is up.

That being said, we are in desperate need of encouraging news. There won't be an official word for some time, but it looks like the best news we can get right now is that we have a fighting chance. Emmett and I had to have the "what if" talk this afternoon. Our biggest fear now is that we won't have the chance to fight, and our deepest prayer right now is to have that chance.


Posted by Wendy on February 19, 2010

Over the last two days Emmett has been through a series of tests, each of which resulted in the worst case scenario. The final test today was a PET scan (cool nuclear physics I'll explain to you if you want). It was the first glimmer of good news. Although the cancer is all over his abdomen, it is not in his bones. I never thought I would rejoice to know the cancer is only all over his abdomen, but praise the Lord it is not in his bones. This brightens our outlook, even if only slightly.

It will still be a long, painful road ahead. The wool gathering is done, so the oncologists will meet and then we will all decide on a course of action. Next week is when we get the numbers on percentages and years. It may be a question of healing, it may be a question of how many years we can buy him. We just don't know at this point. But we do have what we need now, hope. It stole in the room quietly this afternoon and now overflows our hearts.

For the moment we are so well taken care of that we can only wonder at the amazing love of our friends. Apparently there is food coming out the windows of our house, friends have opened their homes to our relatives, and all we have to do is ask and someone coordinates whatever we need. But the road ahead is long and may often be dark, so if you haven't had a chance to help, we will certainly need you in the months or years to come.

Right now we need to get Emmett capable of going home, which means regulating his meds and discussing options for keeping his esophagus open. We hope to be home in a few days, and they're planning on putting a stint in his throat on Friday, though that may change. The oncologists will meet with us next week to discuss our options for treatments and give us percentages and time lines.

So this weekend we rejoice, though we continue preparing for the long and painful battle ahead. He's ready to fight and so are the doctors, so please continue to pray with us in this long season. Thank you so much for your prayers. They were answered in both small and large ways today.


Posted by Wendy on February 21, 2010

Psalm 130

Out of the depths I cry to you, O LORD;

O Lord, hear my voice.
Let your ears be attentive
to my cry for mercy.

If you, O LORD, kept a record of sins,
O Lord, who could stand?

But with you there is forgiveness;
therefore you are feared.

I wait for the LORD, my soul waits,
and in his word I put my hope.

My soul waits for the Lord
more than watchmen wait for the morning,
more than watchmen wait for the morning.

O Israel, put your hope in the LORD,
for with the LORD is unfailing love
and with him is full redemption.

He himself will redeem Israel
from all their sins.

There is a new tension for me when I read the Bible now. It would be easy for me to confuse redemption from our sins and redemption from our circumstances. We want so desperately to believe that God's plan for us is physical healing that every day is a struggle to remember our need for spiritual life.

All day yesterday it felt like ice cold hands were wrapped around my chest, squeezing tighter and tighter until hope seemed like nothing more than a morphine induced hallucination. Emmett ordered me to go to church this morning (he is very wise), and as part of our promises to each other, I followed orders without complaining, though it made me anxious both to leave him and face everyone else. Scott spoke on Ephesians 4:17-24 and mentioned that greed is the quality of heart that drives us to want more and more of what satisfies us. At first I thought about how our current circumstances put things into perspective, and for only a fleeting moment thought I had been pushed past greed before I was blown away by how greedy I have been. What I have wanted more than anything is redemption from my circumstances, not redemption from my sin. The hopelessness that strangled me was the ugly fruit of my own inability to change my circumstances and my refusal to trust God for his new mercies every morning.

Three nights ago we pinky swore (yes, we're dorks) never to celebrate Valentine's Day again, but to celebrate Emmett's recovery at this time every year. I still pray for full recovery with every breath, but I pray also for the grace to walk in each moment aware that I am a daughter of the living God, fully atoned for by the blood of Christ and lavishly adorned in his grace and mercy. So now my soul waits for each morning and each new mercy with quiet expectation, open to anything. This week will be one of waiting, but the stillness is no longer excruciating. It is full, sometimes with pain, sometimes with peace, but always with the presence of God's Spirit.

When Mallory passed away, Emmett asked the worship band to play The Valley Song, by Jars of Clay. That song was on my mind shortly after we found out about the cancer, and a sweet friend unknowingly included the lyrics in a card she sent us. I'm looking at them now, and so I will share them with you.

You have led me to the sadness.
I have carried this pain
On a back bruised and broken.
I am crying out to you

I will sing of your mercy
that leads me through valleys of sorrow
to rivers of joy...

While we wait for rescue
with our eyes tightly shut,
face to the ground, using our hands
to cover the fatal cut.

And though the pain is an ocean
tossing us around, around, around,
you have calmed greater waters,
higher mountains have come down.

I will sing of your mercy
that leads me through valleys of sorrow
to rivers of joy...

Pain and hope intertwined with faith, that is my heart right now


Posted by Wendy on February 23, 2010

February 22, 2010 Monday 10:44am

Matthew 6:25-34

"Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?

"And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

There's something difficult about going home or doing mundane things like balancing our checkbook or shaving or cleaning. Having to acknowledge that cancer is now part of our "normal" life, that leaving the hospital does not mean the cancer is behind us - all this is a more difficult emotional step than we imagined. Praise God that we do not have to worry about what we will eat or what we will wear, but the anticipation of Emmett having a bad day or simply not knowing what's in our future can be a heavy burden at times.

But today is a good day. Emmett seems to have recovered from his tests, actually getting up, getting dressed, and shaving this morning. I actually cried because he is doing so well this morning, almost as if none of the news could be true. But it is, and they will put a stint in on Friday, and we will have follow ups with the oncologist and GI specialist next Monday to work out a game plan. We are rejoicing over today's mercies without too much worry for the future, and for that we are very thankful.

Today there is much to rejoice over, so thank you for your prayers. They are felt in ways none of us could ever imagine.

The short story of how it began.

Posted by emmett on February 24, 2010

I went in to the Vanderbilt Emergency room on February 14th, for the first time, due to excessive vomiting, and after being discharged returned two days later, on tuesday, for the same thing. I was admitted to the hospital Tuesday night, and on Wednesday, a GI doc sent me for an Endoscopy. You know, where they put you out, send a camera down your throat, and check things out. The consensus with the Physicians, Doctors, Nurses, etc, was that I had a stricture, something giving me a hard time swallowing, and causing me to vomit.

I woke up an hour or so later to find out I had a cancerous tumor growing in my throat and it was huge.

The Endoscopy doc was surprised to find it. The attending doctor was surprised it was there. No one, least of all myself, expected to find anything there. I was sent for a CT scan that afternoon, which when the dye was injected into me for the test, sent excruciating pain through my hand where the IV went in. It showed that the cancer had spread to at least my liver.

On Thursday, I was sent for a Liver biopsy, where they took two samples to be studied. It hurt, a lot, and later, when the local anesthetic wore off (which they used since I was awake for it all) It felt like I had been kicked repeatedly in the side by small ninjas all day.

On Friday, I was sent for a PET scan, where they injected me with a radioactive isotope, then sent me under some x-ray cameras so that they could see where all the cancer had spread too. It showed up in my esophagus, my liver, some lymph-nodes, and my abdomen. It seemed like every test just got worse and worse. The glimmer of hope in this last one, was that we discovered the cancer had not yet spread to my bones. A small praise, for a week of devastating news.

We learned later that liver biopsy came back as indistinguishable carcinoma. So we had to wait for the Throat biopsy (which they took when they scoped me) came back to learn a little more. I was told that would have to wait until monday, or tuesday. I spent the weekend working out meds, regulating them, and learning to eat, on a liquid diet. I had basically been without food for a week, just a mere IV in my arm all week caring for me.

I went home on Monday, February 22, with a slight return of the symptoms that brought me in (which scared me like no other). I crashed monday, and laid low, resting from the transport home, and trying to regain some sort of strength.

Today is Tuesday, February 23, and I heard back on my Original Biopsy. It is a poorly differentiated Carcinoma. Translation – an aggressive form of cancer, in stage four.

I am still in shock. I am still in disbelief. Half of me is dealing with it, half of me is denying it, half of me is just thinking I will sleep it off, like a bad cold, or a headache. yet I wake up everyday, and it is there. staring me in the face, curling itself up in my chest, pressing against me, and reminding me it is there. I am still regaining strength, and I have to stay on a constant rotation of meds just to keep me stable. Two different anti-nausea meds, morphine as needed, double strength antacids plus small peripheral things as needed. It’s hard for me to comprehend it all. I don’t even take tylenol usually. so the fact that I have to take morphine, to feel normal, to function normally, weirds me out, and is disconcerting.

I have been blessed though, beyond compare, with the community of believers. I would be remiss to say that Christ has played no part in this at all. He placed physicians at the hospital when I reached the ER to admit me to a GI doctor for scoping, He has placed doctor after doctor in the system there to gather all of this information, to react quickly, and to calm me, and to translate all my questions. He has granted me peace when asked for, has granted me small blessings when I need them, and has sustained me, my wife, and my family as no one else could.

In addition to all of this, I have been surrounded by friends and family, by believers from my wonderful Church, from members of churches across the U.S., from friends on the other side of the world. My family has been ministered to as I could never imagine. Every time I turn around someone else is there, someone else is helping, and praying for me and my family. I have shed more tears in the last week, than in my entire life. Tears of fear, Joy, disbelief, humbleness, thankfulness. I have learned more of the body of Christ, and what it means, than I ever thought I would.

So feel free to walk with me, learn with me, and struggle with me over the next however long it takes to get rid of this. I’ll write as often as I can, and keep you updated on tests, Dr. visits, Therapy, and whatever else. Thank you for being a part of this. It is something I can not do alone, and I welcome as many as want to. This is all an open book, so feel free to share with anyone, and feel free to ask any questions. I am humbled already by how many people are helping to support me in this. It brings tears to my eyes every time I think of it. God bless -

Waking up and a multitude of Prayers.

Posted by emmett on February 24, 2010

It was still quiet this morning when I woke up. I didn’t move for a long time, secretly hoping that when I did it would be a bad dream, or some misremembered event, or that it would be like every other illness I have ever had; that I had just slept it off. I really don’t get sick. ever. If I do get sick, food poisoning, the flu, stomach virus, chicken pox, pneumonia, whatever . . . at worst, it’s just a long day. I’ll sleep for a day, a good hard sleep at night, and it’s done, over with, gone. I have relied on that system for years.

When I finally started moving this morning though, I realized once again, I’m still sick. It’s still there. Nothing has changed. I still have Cancer. I wondered as I started my new morning wake up routine, how many times am I going to have to tell myself that, how many times am I going to have remind myself that I have cancer, before it sinks in. Will it ever? will it be the first chemo appointment? will it be when I meet with the Oncologist, when they start reading statistics and giving me numbers, options and whatnot, will it sink in then? who knows. I am praying that it will all be over before it sinks in, and that the thought that will sink in is, I HAD Cancer, and now I am cured. I pray for that day to come soon.

My morning’s used to consist of rolling over, hopping out of bed, and padding to the kitchen, making some hot tea, waking up my favorite little boy, and then spending the morning at the breakfast table joking around before we started the day. this week, it takes me about an hour, to wake up, take some antacids, then some nausea meds, and then eventually lay on my back (which is a big step), and then slowly, over a long period of time, gradually work on sitting up in bed. If I move to fast, I get nauseous, and the morning tanks. Once I finally sit up, then I start drinking liquids, to re-hydrate from a long night, and then eventually my wonderful wife will bring my breakfast (right now its liquified oatmeal, grits, cream of wheat, etc. so exciting I know). all that to say, it’s radically different, and a reminder of just where I am right now in this long journey.

It does, however, give me plenty of time to pray in the mornings, being thankful for seeing another day, praying for strength, for endurance, for wisdom, for perseverance, for hope. A good way to start a day that will be full of ups and downs, unpredictable obstacles, and new challenges.

In light of all that . . .
Tonight, Wednesday, February 24, at 7:00 pm, some very dear friends of ours, Adam and Nicki Silverman are hosting a prayer Gathering tonight at their house for us. If you are in Nashville and would like to go, feel free to email them for directions, etc. Or, feel free to email them if you want to know more of what they are praying for tonight. They would welcome as many people as want to come, so feel free to drop them a line.

I am still humbled by the body of Christ, and I pray that I will continually be so, to see it move in such a way. I am encouraged by the multitude of those coming together in prayer, and I am reminded of what it means to serve, and what it mean to love, and to show compassion. I am so thankful for these lessons that are being poured out in abundance right now.

Thank you for your continued encouragement and the outpouring of your prayers.


Posted by wendy on February 25, 2010

Another note written by wonderful wife.

Psalm 27
Of David.

1 The LORD is my light and my salvation—
whom shall I fear?
The LORD is the stronghold of my life—
of whom shall I be afraid?

2 When evil men advance against me
to devour my flesh,
when my enemies and my foes attack me,
they will stumble and fall.

3 Though an army besiege me,
my heart will not fear;
though war break out against me,
even then will I be confident.

4 One thing I ask of the LORD,
this is what I seek:
that I may dwell in the house of the LORD
all the days of my life,
to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD
and to seek him in his temple.

5 For in the day of trouble
he will keep me safe in his dwelling;
he will hide me in the shelter of his tabernacle
and set me high upon a rock.

6 Then my head will be exalted
above the enemies who surround me;
at his tabernacle will I sacrifice with shouts of joy;
I will sing and make music to the LORD.

7 Hear my voice when I call, O LORD;
be merciful to me and answer me.

8 My heart says of you, “Seek his face!”
Your face, LORD, I will seek.

9 Do not hide your face from me,
do not turn your servant away in anger;
you have been my helper.
Do not reject me or forsake me,
O God my Savior.

10 Though my father and mother forsake me,
the LORD will receive me.

11 Teach me your way, O LORD;
lead me in a straight path
because of my oppressors.

12 Do not turn me over to the desire of my foes,
for false witnesses rise up against me,
breathing out violence.

13 I am still confident of this:
I will see the goodness of the LORD
in the land of the living.

14 Wait for the LORD;
be strong and take heart
and wait for the LORD.

Some people have a skill that I envy. Oddly enough I have never wanted to be famous or pretty or cool, but I have always wanted this one skill because it’s probably the unifying characteristic of every person considered to be a master of his or her craft. It’s the skill of waiting well and there seems to be an art to it that positively eludes me most of the time.

To take a completely trivial example, look at cooking. If you watch a master chef, there’s a precise moment in the process when each ingredient should be added and a very specific method to preparing, combining, and cooking the ingredients. The slightest inattention to detail may result in making a phenomenal dish merely passable or even completely ruinous. But I find myself over and over again fumbling through a recipe and missing these details in the anxious rush to “get it right,” and consequently my cooking is merely passable (and sometimes a total failure) instead of phenomenal.

Too often, I live like I cook, botching the whole recipe because of my anxiety to “get it right.” For a not so trivial example, I was trying to get a thousand details about appointments and insurance and childcare and medicines correct this morning – things that are important and no one else can do, yet at some point in the process I actually snapped at Emmett. I was horrified with myself, yet I realized at the same time how much of my life I spend trying to get miniscule details in order while simultaneously neglecting what matters most, living like the child of God that I am. I’m sure I could dredge up a thousand more examples from teaching and parenting, but I’d rather not drag myself through the torture of analyzing my past.

Emmett and I forgive each other immediately these days. Repentance is easy for us and we almost apologize to each other too much because we’re trying so hard to take care of each other and hold our family together. I forced myself to take a long, hot shower and refocus on God. In many ways, I felt like a horse whose blinders had been removed and I could see beyond my narrow focus. I thought of verse 14 of Psalm 27 (though I confess I had to look up which psalm it was), and I am reminded of how much David waited on the Lord. As a boy he waited and practiced his sling shot, never anticipating how God would use that talent. As a fugitive David waited, even refusing to take Saul’s life himself, in order to accomplish what God had promised. How many caves did he hide in? How many nights on the run did he have to endure? How many times did he refuse to take control but instead let God guide him to seemingly foolish decisions? Yet, no matter his circumstances – forgotten while watching his father’s sheep, abandoned by friends, or reigning as king – this was the song of his heart:

13 I am still confident of this:
I will see the goodness of the LORD
in the land of the living.

14 Wait for the LORD;
be strong and take heart
and wait for the LORD.

My prayer today is that this psalm would be the song of my heart. As we wait on the details and anticipate the battles ahead, may we have confidence that we will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. May we wait, with strength of heart, for deliverance from evil. And may we walk each minute fully conscious of God’s Spirit at work in and through us each minute we are alive, no matter how trivial those minutes feel.

Procedure #1 - The Stint

Posted by emmett on February 26, 2010

So as this is being posted, I am headed into Vanderbilt Medical Center to have a Stint put in my throat, so that the tumor does not close it, and it will still allow me to eat. Hopefully this may help to combat a little of the nausea as well, and hopefully it will allow me to eat solid foods again. I have been on a liquid diet now for a week, and I am looking forward to getting back to things I love to eat. I am curious to see what my diet restrictions are going to be. I don’t know if there are any, or what they will be. I’ll have to let you know that tomorrow, as today, I will be more or less battling the leftover effects of anesthesia. I look forward to posting tomorrow that all went well, and that I am home again.

Thank you so much for your continued prayers.


Posted by wendy on February 27, 2010

Lamentations 3: 1-58 (sorry so long, but it’s all good)

1 I am the man who has seen affliction
by the rod of his wrath.

2 He has driven me away and made me walk
in darkness rather than light;

3 indeed, he has turned his hand against me
again and again, all day long.

4 He has made my skin and my flesh grow old
and has broken my bones.

5 He has besieged me and surrounded me
with bitterness and hardship.

6 He has made me dwell in darkness
like those long dead.

7 He has walled me in so I cannot escape;
he has weighed me down with chains.

8 Even when I call out or cry for help,
he shuts out my prayer.

9 He has barred my way with blocks of stone;
he has made my paths crooked.

10 Like a bear lying in wait,
like a lion in hiding,

11 he dragged me from the path and mangled me
and left me without help.

12 He drew his bow
and made me the target for his arrows.

13 He pierced my heart
with arrows from his quiver.

14 I became the laughingstock of all my people;
they mock me in song all day long.

15 He has filled me with bitter herbs
and sated me with gall.

16 He has broken my teeth with gravel;
he has trampled me in the dust.

17 I have been deprived of peace;
I have forgotten what prosperity is.

18 So I say, “My splendor is gone
and all that I had hoped from the LORD.”

19 I remember my affliction and my wandering,
the bitterness and the gall.

20 I well remember them,
and my soul is downcast within me.

21 Yet this I call to mind
and therefore I have hope:

22 Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed,
for his compassions never fail.

23 They are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.

24 I say to myself, “The LORD is my portion;
therefore I will wait for him.”

25 The LORD is good to those whose hope is in him,
to the one who seeks him;

26 it is good to wait quietly
for the salvation of the LORD.

27 It is good for a man to bear the yoke
while he is young.

28 Let him sit alone in silence,
for the LORD has laid it on him.

29 Let him bury his face in the dust-
there may yet be hope.

30 Let him offer his cheek to one who would strike him,
and let him be filled with disgrace.

31 For men are not cast off
by the Lord forever.

32 Though he brings grief, he will show compassion,
so great is his unfailing love.

33 For he does not willingly bring affliction
or grief to the children of men.

34 To crush underfoot
all prisoners in the land,

35 to deny a man his rights
before the Most High,

36 to deprive a man of justice-
would not the Lord see such things?

37 Who can speak and have it happen
if the Lord has not decreed it?

38 Is it not from the mouth of the Most High
that both calamities and good things come?

39 Why should any living man complain
when punished for his sins?

40 Let us examine our ways and test them,
and let us return to the LORD.

41 Let us lift up our hearts and our hands
to God in heaven, and say:

42 “We have sinned and rebelled
and you have not forgiven.

43 “You have covered yourself with anger and pursued us;
you have slain without pity.

44 You have covered yourself with a cloud
so that no prayer can get through.

45 You have made us scum and refuse
among the nations.

46 “All our enemies have opened their mouths
wide against us.

47 We have suffered terror and pitfalls,
ruin and destruction.”

48 Streams of tears flow from my eyes
because my people are destroyed.

49 My eyes will flow unceasingly,
without relief,

50 until the LORD looks down
from heaven and sees.

51 What I see brings grief to my soul
because of all the women of my city.

52 Those who were my enemies without cause
hunted me like a bird.

53 They tried to end my life in a pit
and threw stones at me;

54 the waters closed over my head,
and I thought I was about to be cut off.

55 I called on your name, O LORD,
from the depths of the pit.

56 You heard my plea: “Do not close your ears
to my cry for relief.”

57 You came near when I called you,
and you said, “Do not fear.”

58 O Lord, you took up my case;
you redeemed my life.

I’ve always loved the book of Lamentations, and tonight these words resonate in my heart. Today has been a hard, hard day, and though I have not been beaten and thrown into a well and left for dead like Jeremiah, my heart has echoed these same strains of despair today.

Our GI doctor is very good, but perhaps he overstepped his bounds today when talking to Emmett, who was alone awaiting the stent procedure. He ventured to make some pessimistic predictions about Emmett’s condition. Although we completely acknowledge the gravity of Emmett’s condition and understand that the Lord may choose to take him sooner than we wish, he was not the doctor and today was not the time or place to say such things. I fear it did more emotional damage to us, specifically Emmett, than we can handle. He was very discouraged in the recovery area, and it broke my heart to hear the way he talked, so much so that I cannot bear to repeat it here.

We had such hope for this procedure to make eating more bearable for Emmett, but the stent had to be placed such that it keeps open the valve between the esophagus and the stomach. Currently the stent seems to be doing more harm than good, as Emmett has been curled up in a ball in bed all day taking the maximum dosage of medications and barely able to take liquids. Before today the nausea came and went with medicines, but currently nothing keeps it away. A doctor called in another medicine for us to try tonight, an anti-anxiety medicine that happens to have nice anti-nausea and sedative effects that seem to be allowing Emmett to rest finally. It crushes my spirit to watch him suffer and not be able to help him at all.

I feel very much like I could be drowning a the bottom of a well unable to claw my way out. I was about a nanometer away from a complete breakdown this evening when the Lord slipped these words into my heart, “wait for morning.” I remembered the phrase, “his compassions never fail, they are new every morning,” and I found the passage in Lamentations that has meant so much to me at different points in my life.

21 Yet this I call to mind
and therefore I have hope:

22 Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed,
for his compassions never fail.

23 They are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.

24 I say to myself, “The LORD is my portion;
therefore I will wait for him.”

25 The LORD is good to those whose hope is in him,
to the one who seeks him;

26 it is good to wait quietly
for the salvation of the LORD.

27 It is good for a man to bear the yoke
while he is young.

28 Let him sit alone in silence,
for the LORD has laid it on him.

29 Let him bury his face in the dust -
there may yet be hope.

30 Let him offer his cheek to one who would strike him,
and let him be filled with disgrace.

31 For men are not cast off
by the Lord forever.

32 Though he brings grief, he will show compassion,
so great is his unfailing love.

33 For he does not willingly bring affliction
or grief to the children of men.

The morning may not bring what I want, but it will bring new mercies, and for that I am thankful. Though he has brought us grief, he will show us compassion for he does not willingly bring affliction or grief to his children. This is my hope for tonight, small though it be, and it has invaded my heart and taken up residence. Tonight I will turn my face to the morning and wait silently for its mercies to find me.

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