Today we had back to back appointments, but so thankful for 2 things … that Kelsey spent the entire day with us, helping watch Asaph for both appointments, and also that both appointments were at Luries! In fact, a while back when I was making the appointment for Ella Joy to see a specialist, I already knew I would be at Luries for a post-chemo check up on Jan. 23rd. Knowing that the specialist I wanted to see worked at 2 locations, even our oncology team told me that it would be very difficult getting an appointment within months, let alone on the same day we had already scheduled her post chemo appointment. It was wishful thinking they could be on the same day, because I knew I wouldn’t love having to make 2 trips to Luries. When I called, the receptionist told me their next available was Jan. 23rd. I yelled out “Praise the Lord!” I am sure she probably thought I was weird, but I was so thankful that not only did I get the appointment within the month, but it was also the same day I was already at Luries, and the time was also after our post chemo exam. It was truly God sovereignly orchestrating everything perfectly!
“He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. – Colossians 1:17
Since we are one year out post chemotherapy, we can now move ahead to getting a post chemotherapy exam every 3 months! So, our next appointment will be on April 24th Monday. Please pray that Ella Joy’s blood counts would continue to look good.
This visit, everything looked good for her post-chemo exam. She has been telling me a few times that she has been experiencing chest pains. Even as we walked to Luries in the morning, she needed to slow down and take some breaks. We found out at her ortho visit that she for sure exhibits spinal asymmetry in her back. In 6 months, we will be getting an x-ray and the specialist will follow up … please pray her spinal asymmetry will not worsen, and that it would end up not being anything serious. At this point, I have thought about how there is no history of scoliosis in our family, and also how sometimes chemotherapy can cause secondary cancers, and the fact that fluid build up might cause spinal asymmetry. But for now, please pray with us that she would have another good exam on April 24th.
It was a revival night on campus about 8 years ago, and I remember a young mom strolling her baby into the auditorium, standing right in front of me and praising the Lord with all her heart as she lifted her hands. It was Esther and baby Ava in the stroller.
Just a couple years ago, we were at a retreat in Florida, and there was a praise time in a big tent. As we were worshipping the Lord together, I couldn’t help but notice a little girl passionately lifting her hands to the Lord and praising Him with all her heart. I remember being so touched … it was Ava.
I could not get the picture out of my mind of both Esther and Ava lifting their hands to the Lord and praising Him, not because of the circumstances in their lives, but because He is worthy of our praise.
Matt Redman’s song reminded me of Ava’s journey:
Blessed be Your name
On the road marked with suffering
Though there’s pain in the offering
Blessed be Your name
And the Lee family’s journey:
When the darkness closes in, Lord
Still I will say
Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be Your name
Friends, please lift up a prayer for my dear friend Esther and her family. That just like Horatio G. Spafford wrote after devastating tragedy and seemingly endless tears, “When sorrows like sea billows roll,
Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say,
It is well, it is well with my soul.”
An excerpt from one of Esther’s posts:
“For now, my hands are raised but it is in utter desperation for God to lift me up out of the pit.
“Help me, Father.”
But God answers back that He already has.
I look down and realize I am still standing. I am on solid ground and our foundation has not been shaken. Only because Jesus is our cornerstone.
So somehow, somewhere deep down,…It is well.”
Ava Bright Lee, your parents named you well! Ella Joy will always remember your sweetness and kindness as her dear friend. Not to mention generosity and giving heart, for I don’t know any other child who gets a “wish” from a cancer organization and asks for the money to be used for under privileged children to get gifts! Just like your dad said at your memorial service, you truly are an old soul! Your story and light will forever shine because you allowed the Lord to make your lamp shine bright.
“For you, LORD, make my lamp shine; my God enlightens my darkness.” – Psalm 18:28