Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Blessings In the Midst of Cancer

You really wouldn't think a person would feel blessed while going through cancer treatment. The chemotherapy is brutal and the side effects are worse, but there are blessings and they outweigh the hardship by a wide margin. Today, I want to let you in on some of those blessings.

1. People. I can't even begin to tell you how many kind, wonderful people we have met because of this disease. From my husband's main nurse, Jen, to Dr. Richard Jones, the head of oncology at Johns Hopkins, we have had the privilege of meeting some fabulous people who care deeply about their patients. This past week, my husband's "tech," the gal who adjusts his PICC line every week, asked about me and our family's recent move. His personal oncologist, Dr. Andrea Baines, takes a deeply personal interest in every detail of his condition and how he feels.

2. Prayers. Instead of health insurance, we belong to a Christian Sharing Group, Samaritan Ministries, wherein each participant mails their monthly payment to a family with a medical need. This month, more than 200 people are mailing their payments to us. With each payment, we get a note of encouragement and a promise of prayer. Social media has also provided a huge abundance of prayer warriors who are praying for us while David undergoes his cancer treatments. As of right now, there are literally thousands of people praying for us on a regular basis! What a huge blessing!

3. Peace. Yes, we have peace. We know that nothing about our Savior changes because of cancer, or any other disease or ailment for that matter. He is the same, yesterday, today and forever. Because of this fact, we have peace. We are not overcome with fear, anxiety, despair or any other human emotion. At home, we are laughing, carrying on an almost impossible schedule and going about life as though it has not been interrupted. We can do this because of His peace...the peace of God which passes all understanding.

4. Provision. About half my husband's salary depends on commissions and when he was hospitalized, we were concerned about him losing momentum on his commissions. It can take months to rebuild momentum even from a vacation or holiday. We knew that being in the hospital for 18 days could stop his momentum in its tracks. We prayed and left it. I, personally, did not have the emotional strength to worry about it. Much to our relief, he lost no momentum at all. As a matter of fact, once his pain was under control, he actually worked his job from his hospital bed.  Since getting out of the hospital and starting his chemo routine, he has been able to go to work and keep up his demanding schedule. He only takes chemo days off, since his chemo treatments take 8 hours. God also provided for his $8,000.00 a month injections to be completely paid for! Through a GoFundMe account set up by a friend, a voucher from Johns Hopkins and a gift from the pharmaceutical company, these drugs are completely covered! We praise God for His provision for us.

5. Passion. Sometimes illness can take our focus away from other things in life, making us have tunnel vision with the illness the center focus of our lives. This has not happened to David. Besides our family and his job, he's focused on planting Mosaic Church of Bowie.  We've started weekly Bible studies, the website is up and running and we have made many contacts in the community helping work toward a launch. His passion for the Word, for souls and for the needs of people has not lessened due to his cancer. It's like the cancer is just a little bump in the road that has hardly slowed us down.

So, there you have it. Blessings in the form of people, prayer, peace, provision and passion.
Praise be.
~Tricia

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Why the Duggars' Problem will Continue

It's good that the Duggars explained a few things last night in their interview with Fox News host Megyn Kelly. I was disturbed, however, by their minimization of the abuse. A few minimizations I heard included:

When Megyn Kelly asked about further abuse and some touching that took place under the clothes, Jim Duggar was quick to reply, "Oh, that only took place for a few seconds."

Is it only valid if it lasts longer?

The Duggars used minimizing language throughout the interview. This is cause for grave concern. 

He said they talked to numerous families and found out this happens "a lot" in families they know and some have even worse things happen in their family. Strangely, he found a lot of comfort in this fact. To know that "a lot" of families are having sexual assault go on in their midst is beyond disturbing to me. But, if the families they talked to were "Gothard" families, then there is no surprise. This is what Gothard's material has taught all along.

I can't imagine my kids not being allowed to hide together during hide and seek because I feared one would sexually assault the other. Can you imagine? Suddenly, all boys were ranked as dangerous around their sisters.....they said "Boys don't babysit," which is also weird. Am I the only one who finds this weird?

Some people have cried out that Lena Dunham has not been raked over the coals for sexually abusing her younger sister, but Josh Duggar has been "crucified," as one blogger put it. The difference is clear: Lena Dunham has never claimed to know Christ, has never claimed to live by any "Biblical principles" that the Duggars claim to live by. Through the tenure of their TLC show, the Duggars held themselves up as godly people who are the ultimate example of good, Christian living. They hailed themselves as righteous, publicly compared themselves to others and always came out on top. Hailing themselves as righteous is part of their problem. Self-praise is a trap.

They openly bragged on their children, effectively creating an expectation that they could not fulfill. They don't get to claim to be "attacked" by people who are only expecting them to live up to the expectations, they, themselves set. When we separate ourselves from the world to the level which the Duggars did, publicly claim that we are above the world, publicly proclaim our own perceived righteousness, we will fall harder when we fall. And the fall is sure because the expectation is faulty.

The world, which has been condemned by the Duggars over and over again, suddenly finds itself doing better than they. There are many, many families in the world who do not claim to know Christ, yet they have had no sexual abuse in their home. This goes for all types of families. The world is confused by what appears to be a double standard.  No one has ever had such expectations of Lena. I, personally, expect her to act like the depraved sin-worshiping person she is and nothing more. She does not claim to be morally or spiritually superior.

This is more than a teenage boy unspeakably satisfying his curiosity about girls. This is a boy who was grounded in Biblical principles instead of the Bible and the gospel. The result? The boy did not know his limits. Following principles instead of throwing ourselves on the mercy of the gospel produces this every time. This is why the gospel is so relevant to every day family life.

Should this abuse have been made public? Absolutely not! I hope the Duggars do sue their county or state or whoever is responsible for leaking juvenile records. Whoever leaked or sold the information was wrong.

The Duggars' problems will persist, however, because they are not willing to deal with the underlying problem of dependence on man-made principles instead of the gospel of God.

Moral of the story: Don't hold yourself or your family up to a standard above anyone else. You are not better than anyone else. And, just don't put your family on TV.  (Am I the only one who thinks it's weird to use a forum you despise to promote yourself?)

~Tricia