You know how job interviewers like to ask about your five-year plan? My family learned not to have a plan because things rarely go accordingly. Thankfully, God’s got a plan that’s perfect. We’ve learned that He’s orchestrating it all: using the good, the bad, and the ugly to place us just where he wants us – to take care of us.
When we look back, it is actually years of seemingly unrelated events that got us here. It’s like we can draw out our family’s timeline of events and identify how one thing led to another & that led to another & so on. These things had to happen. God had to get us uncomfortable in one place to open our hearts to something else. We needed to end up at that church, so the Holy Spirit could work through those specific people to build us up and ready us. That job had to end to force us to move.
That is how we ended up in Johnson City – 1200 miles away from our family, friends, and everything familiar. How did we end up here? This was not in our plan!
I was still homesick when I started noticing things that shifted my focus & made my mama heart increasingly anxious. Hunter, our 14-year-old, was sleeping more than usual and just not himself. Was it all the changes in the last four months? It was a lot for any of us to handle, but especially for the kids. As he sauntered through the house or we hugged, I’d think, “Wow, seems like he’s lost weight.”
Maybe it was just a growth spurt – he had grown a couple of inches taller. When I noticed things like that, there was always something to explain it away. Over the next few weeks, he experienced headaches & spots in his vision. He was treated for migraines, but the headaches never improved much, and his vision worsened. I made call after call to his new doctor and optometrist. At night, I’d lay awake crying, asking God to take the headache away and restore Hunter to his usual, energetic self. If I’m really honest, I was praying that it was nothing – no big deal. It turns out it was a big deal.
That day, we’d planned to celebrate Mattie’s 12th birthday; instead, all four of us sat in a room in the Niswonger Children’s ER. Everything had come to a head that morning. Hunter’s vision had drastically worsened in the last 24 hours, and his nose began to bleed uncontrollably. We were panicked, but in all actuality, this day was the culmination of years of preparation. God had placed us right where he wanted us at that very moment– for such a time as this.
Unbeknownst to us, cancer had been brewing in Hunter’s bone marrow and blood. All of the years of unexpected job changes and moves had landed us in the very hospital that housed an affiliate clinic for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. The oncologist introduced herself, told us she was certain Hunter had leukemia and explained they were making arrangements for a plane to transport us to St. Jude in Memphis. At that moment, I literally felt the Holy Spirit. A feeling washed over me – a feeling of undeniable certainty. This…this is the reason we’re here.
This is just the beginning, really. There is so much more to this story. Hunter is 21 now, and the “c” word has changed from cancer to cured. We’re so very grateful to God for the many ways He revealed Himself to us throughout Hunter’s journey to healing. The fact that he has his sight is a miracle, really. We’re committed to sharing our story & giving Him the praise any chance we get.
Psalm 30:12 That my glory may sing your praise and not be silent. O Lord my God, I will give thanks to you forever!