Wednesday, December 21, 2011

December's MRI Results

In the middle of round three of high dose chemo. So far, so good.

Here is Craig's most recent post from the CaringBridge Blog.

"Unfortunately, we did not receive the news we wanted regarding Tracey's latest MRI. There is recurrent tumor growth. A new tumor has formed. You can click the photograph to the left to see it. The new tumor is rather small, about 9mm. It is just above the spot where the original tumors originated, which is now a cavity as they were completely resected on 1 August. You will note how small the new tumor is at this point as compared the original occurrence.

This is a very strong kick to the gut. Making it an even stronger kick to the gut is the location where this tumor is emerging. It is directly on the motor strip that controls Tracey's movement on the left side of the her body; her arms, legs, etc. Going after it with a scalpel could be dangerous and cause damage to motor skills. Tracey is left handed and as you know an artist.

So, what is next? This is where the power of the Duke Brain Tumor Center comes in to play in a huge way. There is are several strong and promising options on the table to eliminate this tumor, including having radiosurgery with a gamma knife (a non-invasive super powerful radiation that zaps the tumor) to new drug treatments or even innovative vaccines that Duke is developing. The next step could a combination of several of these options.

We are going to Duke next week right after Christmas. Please pray that the Lord would provide wisdom and guidance to our doctors in Durham.

Understanding the highly aggressive nature of glioblastoma, we knew that recurrence was virtually assured. Every long-term survivor we have met has battled at least one if not more cases of recurrence. We knew this coming, we were just hoping it would have been a little further down the road.

The next immediate course of action is chemotherapy that begins tonight. It will last for five days. Please pray that the chemotherapy is highly effective in not allowing this new tumor to grow any further. Please also pray that Tracey's nausea will be much lower than the last round. We have some new anti-nausea meds that we are hoping will be effective.

So, we have a strong and aggressive plan in front of us, chemotherapy this week followed by a trip to Duke to plan the next course of action to eliminate this recurrence. We so very thankful that this was found very early and at a point where Tracey is showing no symptoms of even having a new tumor. And we so very thankful that the Lord has provided us the top experts in the world on brain tumors to be on our medical team."

We are meditating on this promise from Isaiah 43:

Do not fear, for I have redeemed you;
I have summoned you by name; you are mine.
When you pass through the waters,
I will be with you;
and when you pass through the rivers,
they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire,
you will not be burned;
the flames will not set you ablaze.
For I am the LORD your God,
the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.

Monday, December 05, 2011


Me and Craig going on a date......

Since my last post Thanksgiving and round two of high dose chemo has occurred. The second round has very difficult and I was sick for about six days. I have to be honest and say it was a dark week for me. I wonder how I can do this for another 10 or more months. My post HDC visit to my oncologist has armed me with several new anti nausea meds to try on the next cycle. I am glad to have them available in part and in part hate to have to take more meds. I suppose I have a decision to make before December 19th, round three. My appetite continues to be spotty as does my energy.

So many of you have stuck in there with me all along this journey. You have not once missed an opportunity to encourage me with prayer, words or even hitting the "like" button on Facebook. I feel less lonely in this because of you all. Even when I am too sick or tired to reciprocate, many of you continue to suffer long with me. I cannot thank you enough. Hang in there with me. You mean more and are helping me more than you can know.

When will I paint again? It is the question everyone asks. I feel as though I am wandering around trying to get a grip at the moment, still processing the last four months and getting accustomed to a new "normal." I have sold several large paintings in the last few weeks, so as they fly out the door, I am at least beginning to think about getting back to it. Do I even remember how to paint?...

Next MRI December 16th, trip to Duke December 19th...

"Do you not know? Have you not heard?
The Everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth
Does not become weary or tired. His understanding is inscrutable. He gives strength to the weary,
And to him who lacks might He increases power. Though youths grow weary and tired,
And vigorous young men stumble badly, Yet those who wait for the LORD
Will gain new strength; They will mount up with wings like eagles,
They will run and not get tired, They will walk and not become weary."
Isaiah 40

I am counting on Him.

Thursday, November 17, 2011


A few weeks a go I was on a support site for people who have or have had brain tumors. Someone posted that they felt like they did well through the diagnosis, surgery, and radiation, but really fell apart after the initial tornado passed through. For almost all of us, this beginning time moves quickly. There is a lot going on and a lot of people around for the initial crisis. In my case there were only eleven weeks from the ER to the end of radiation. Now it is waiting between MRIs and managing pain and medication, which can be beasts.

I really resonated with this person's question because I have felt very much that way in the last month or so. Being a person who has struggled with depression as long as I can remember, I find it visiting me in full force now with all its tentacles. The old familiar patterns of loneliness, fatigue, apathy and caving in are upon me. If you know, then you know. It is much like laying under a huge pile of clothes on the bed and they are so heavy, you cannot budge being forced to wrestle with body, mind and God. This is not always a bad place to be albeit painful. I am hoping in and waiting for God to bring about something beautiful.

The Lord will bring up the same scripture multiple times in a few days to get my attention. This has been very pronounced since my diagnosis. This is the most recent:

"Trust in the LORD with all your heart
And do not lean on your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He will make your paths straight."
Proverbs 3:5-6

Here is a link to the Art Benefit on November 5th my community, friends and family put together to help us with my medical expenses. Craig and I are so grateful and completely overwhelmed......

Tuesday, November 08, 2011


Rachel has the same diagnosis as I do. Her blog is: "Breland: My journey to kick Glioblastoma Multiforme tumor's ass."

She has a video of radiation that is much better than mine, cos' she is much cooler than I am.

Temodar, the Villan.....

So, I made it through the first round of high dose Temodar. I came out relatively unscathed. Most of the battle with taking chemo, essentially a poison, is mental. I think I had my defiant crying jag the first night. "I'm just not going to take that crap! I don't want to put {explicative} poison in my body!"
My wise husband quietly replied, "Well, you can take it or die. So, you are going to take it." He was right. Actually, now that I think of it, almost all of this is mental.

I am limited, extremely limited, in my ability to comprehend the complexities of life and how to live it. I lie to myself. We all do. I try to figure out things by my own distorted reasoning. Yes, the Temodar is doing damage, but it is also destroying the very enemy that sent me to the ER in July.
I have to ask myself moment by moment in this brain cancer if I trust God more than I trust myself. Sometimes I fail like the first night of HDC. Or when I start to get a headache, or think too much on my last MRI. When I look at how drastically different and limited my life is today than just a few months ago. He is who He says He is and He does not change. And because I am His in Christ Jesus I absolutely believe He causes ALL things to work together for good for those who love Him and are CALLED according to His purpose. When I think on the times I have grown and changed it has always, always been through adversity and pain. Most people can claim this truth in their lives, as well. From the beginning I knew this path was chosen for me and for Craig.

"For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us. For the anxious longing of the creation waits eagerly for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now. And not only this, but also we ourselves, having the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our body. For in hope we have been saved, but hope that is seen is not hope; for who hopes for what he already sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, with perseverance we wait eagerly for it." Romans 8:18-25

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Duke Brain Tumor Center

This will be mostly an informational post. My neck and shoulders are really acting up and I have to be careful about lingering on the laptop.

We spent the last two days at Duke meeting with new team members. We came away with a lot of new information and much to consider. The MRI I had last week shows a lot of blood in the tumor cavity due to having my brain cut and radiated. So, we are still on the mend twelve weeks out from the craniotomy and three out from radiation. The plan is to return to the center late December with a new MRI to see what changes have occurred in the cavity and also with the 2mm area of concern. Then we will know if there will be added medication, etc.

I begin high dose chemotherapy tonight. This will be five days out of every month for at least the next 12 months. I have a fair amount of dislike for this part of the road. It is hard to say how my body will handle the drug in high dose. And the knowledge that while it is destroying an aggressive cancer it is very hard on bone marrow. And it does tend to cause nausea so I will be taking anti-nausea meds before each dose. Talk about surrender. So, today I have spent most of my time resting, praying and chewing on our two days at Duke. It is a lot to digest.

Camping out in Romans 8. Through the Holy Spirit and several others I continue to get pointed to that chapter again and again over the last few weeks. It is a massive chapter. I could camp there for a year and still not mine the riches there.

Romans 8
"Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death. For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God did: sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh, so that the requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. For those who are according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who are according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace, because the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so, and those who are in the flesh cannot please God.

However, you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him. If Christ is in you, though the body is dead because of sin, yet the spirit is alive because of righteousness. But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.

So then, brethren, we are under obligation, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh— for if you are living according to the flesh, you must die; but if by the Spirit you are putting to death the deeds of the body, you will live. 14 For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, “Abba! Father!” The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him.

For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us. For the anxious longing of the creation waits eagerly for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now. And not only this, but also we ourselves, having the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our body. For in hope we have been saved, but hope that is seen is not hope; for who hopes for what he already sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, with perseverance we wait eagerly for it.

In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words; and He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.

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; and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified.

What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things? Who will bring a charge against God’s elect? God is the one who justifies; who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us. Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? Just as it is written,


But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord."

"Elmo's Diner" Durham, NC.

Friday, October 21, 2011


Waiting room.........
On Wednesday I had my two week post radiation MRI with profusion. I have had the opportunity over the last three months to make the acquaintance of several MRI machines This one was by far the noisiest. I am grateful every time I have some form of medical treatment and that I can have it in this country, but honestly I thought, "Well, if I don't have a brain tumor now, I will by the time they take me out of this tube."

This morning we sat down with my oncologist, Dr Menachery. There is a new 2 mm area of concern on the scan close to the tumor cavity. As well there is a small area on the perimeter of the tumor cavity that may be dead cells or swelling. We will have another MRI early December to see what changes occur if any and then meet with my surgeon, Dr Poffenbarger.
I begin high dose oral chemo the end of October. This is what he calls, "gut check time." I hope I have enough guts.

I have tried to be as transparent as I can with my posts. These few weeks after radiation have been difficult. I have had some dark days. I think because everything moved so quickly from ER, to craniotomy, to radiation I didn't have much time to process everything. I have had a lot of time sit in this and to pray, cry and even rejoice. It seems as though I have experienced every emotion known to man, even some I couldn't possibly describe. Some days I had severe headaches or fatigue....and "hello darkness, my old friend." I can't say today's results were encouraging.

This is hard for many to understand. Yet, once again, in His infinite wisdom and mercy God is pressing in on me even more. Though it is painful at times, I am learning to look more and more at what is eternal and learning to lean less and less on a dying body. Yours is dying, too, by the way. Just give it time. We are all terminal. My body is not reliable nor is it forever. Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever. He is who He says He is. Every day I become more confident of this as my fingers are mercifully pried off of what does not fulfill. My self sufficiency, self reliance, hyper independence...excellent health...everything the entire world values, has been stripped away. If that gives me more of Jesus, than so be it.

2 Corinthians 12
" keep me from exalting myself, there was given me a thorn in the flesh...
Concerning this I implored the Lord three times that it might leave me. And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong."

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Waiting and Healing

I am not sure where I am in my head these days. Now that radiation is complete, I suppose we are is a waiting and healing phase now. I have had a few bad days mostly from tapering slowly off of the decadron. Sleep does seem to be coming a bit easier and lasting a little longer, though, so I am grateful for that change. I have been able to get back to basic working out which is made rather interesting by seizure meds.

So here is the battle plan:

I have an MRI with profusion Wednesday October 19th.
Friday October 21 we meet with the oncologist to set the plan for high dose chemo starting in November for at least 18 months.
Then off to Duke Brain Tumor Center Oct 23-25 to be assessed for new treatments like gene therapy and promising drugs.
Another MRI early December and follow up appointment with the Dr Poffenbarger, my surgeon....
Then we go on to MRIs every three months.
If I get to the 18 month make without recurrence....well, that is a big deal.

Psalm 46

God is our refuge and strength,
A very present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change
And though the mountains slip into the heart of the sea;
Though its waters roar and foam,
Though the mountains quake at its swelling pride.

There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,
The holy dwelling places of the Most High.
God is in the midst of her, she will not be moved;
God will help her when morning dawns.
The nations made an uproar, the kingdoms tottered;
He raised His voice, the earth melted.
The LORD of hosts is with us;
The God of Jacob is our stronghold.

Come, behold the works of the LORD,
Who has wrought desolations in the earth.
He makes wars to cease to the end of the earth;
He breaks the bow and cuts the spear in two;
He burns the chariots with fire.
“Cease striving and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”
The LORD of hosts is with us;
The God of Jacob is our stronghold.

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Day Thirty

Six weeks, thirty sessions of radiation are complete. Jesus told me that He was on that table with me every time experiencing every moment with me. Faithful.

Psalm 30:1-4

I will extol You, O LORD, for You have lifted me up,
And have not let my enemies rejoice over me.

O LORD my God,
I cried to You for help, and You healed me.

O LORD, You have brought up my soul from Sheol;
You have kept me alive, that I would not go down to the pit.

Sing praise to the LORD, you His godly ones,
And give thanks to His holy name.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Days Twenty Five and Twenty Six.

I feel like we are rolling along now in a daily routine. Mostly I am in and out of the treatment area within fifteen minutes. We are slowly narrowing in on the middle of the tumor cavity. Four more to go.

I focus on praising the Lord while I am on the machine, now.

"Bless the LORD, O my soul,
And all that is within me, bless His holy name.
Bless the LORD, O my soul, And forget none of His benefits;
Who pardons all your iniquities, Who heals all your diseases;
Who redeems your life from the pit, Who crowns you with loving kindness and compassion;
Who satisfies your years with good things, so that your youth is renewed like the eagle.

The LORD performs righteous deeds
And judgments for all who are oppressed.
He made known His ways to Moses,
His acts to the sons of Israel.
The LORD is compassionate and gracious,
Slow to anger and abounding in loving kindness.

He will not always strive with us,
Nor will He keep His anger forever.
He has not dealt with us according to our sins,
Nor rewarded us according to our iniquities.
For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
So great is His loving kindness toward those who fear Him.
As far as the east is from the west,
So far has He removed our transgressions from us.
Just as a father has compassion on his children,
So the LORD has compassion on those who fear Him.
For He Himself knows our frame;
He is mindful that we are but dust.

As for man, his days are like grass;
As a flower of the field, so he flourishes.
When the wind has passed over it, it is no more,
And its place acknowledges it no longer.
But the lovingkindness of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting on those who [f]fear Him,
And His righteousness to children’s children,
To those who keep His covenant
And remember His precepts to do them.

The LORD has established His throne in the heavens,
And His sovereignty rules over all.
Bless the LORD, you His angels,
Mighty in strength, who perform His word,
Obeying the voice of His word!
Bless the LORD, all you His hosts,
You who serve Him, doing His will.
Bless the LORD, all you works of His,
In all places of His dominion;
Bless the LORD, O my soul!"

Psalm 103

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Day 24

Counting down the days. I finish radiation on October 5th. Even the technicians are excited for me and they are so great to work with. I am now eight weeks post craniotomy.

I have been able to begin slowly to work out again. I have always recorded my workouts in a log book so I can see my progress. Today, I pulled out my log and saw that the last workouts I did were July 18th and 19th, just two days before I went to the ER with focal seizures. On the 18th I did an entire upper body weight training circuit, on the 19th the work out was a high intensity plyometic sequence with a step aerobic routine on a 10 inch step. Today, I logged "Basic Step - 25 minutes - 4 inch step." Seeing those two entries was powerful for me. I feel really overwhelmed with gratitude to the Lord to have the strength to finish that 25 minutes.

Reuben had what looked like a seizure out in the yard yesterday. He will be making a visit to the vet this week. Pray for my sweet boy. He has been very out of sorts all along this last nine weeks and anxious about me.

"To those who reside as aliens....and who are chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, by the sanctifying work of the Spirit, to obey Jesus Christ and be sprinkled with His blood: May grace and peace be yours in the fullest measure.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.

In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ; and though you have not seen Him, you love Him, and though you do not see Him now, but believe in Him, you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, obtaining as the outcome of your faith the salvation of your souls." 1Peter 1:1 - 9

Monday, September 26, 2011

Days Twenty Two and Twenty Three.

Now that I am getting so close to the end of radiation, my focus is knocking them out. I had two very quick, uneventful treatments. I am so thankful that I have had comparatively few side effects toward the end of this stretch. These two treatments I was in and out in fifteen minutes. I like that.

"But whatever things were gain to me, those things I have counted as loss for the sake of Christ. More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ, and may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith, that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death; in order that I may attain to the resurrection from the dead. " Philippians 3:7 - 11

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Day Twenty One

I have now an armful of beautiful hats and scarves from all over. My hair loss increases and who knows if and how it will grow back. As I have said, it is a minor in the grand scheme of contending with my foe.

The best news I received today is that we begin tapering Decadron today. I have talked repeatedly about how this medication has by far been the most difficult to cope with. Grateful. So grateful.

I received an email from a twenty four year old woman who was just diagnosed with GBM, Twenty Four. She is about to make the journey.Please pray for Breland. She begins her radiation and chemo in a week or so.

Cheryl Broyles, a remarkable woman and GBM survivor whose tumor has returned four times has been a great encouragement to me.

There are those who are just receiving the news and those seasoned who have walked before. There are many others. The Lord has put us together.

Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul? "
Matthew 16:24-26

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Day Twenty

That's all I have to say about that. Grateful to the Lord.....having a good day.

Isaiah 41: 10 - 13

"Do not fear, for I am with you; Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you, surely I will help you. Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.’

“Behold, all those who are angered at you will be shamed and dishonored;

Those who contend with you will be as nothing and will perish.
You will seek those who quarrel with you, but will not find them,

Those who war with you will be as nothing and non-existent."
(The Lord told me to think about the brain cancer cells when I read this part.)

“For I am the LORD your God, who upholds your right hand,
Who says to you, ‘Do not fear, I will help you.’

My Story

Monday, September 19, 2011

Day Eighteen

How can one tiny green pill cause so much aggravation? Leg weakness, swollen joints and cramps, insomnia, extreme hunger and thirst. Then there are Digestive problems along with mental and emotional instability. Let's just say the one 4mg decadron tablet I ingest twice a day has by far been the most challenging of any treatment I have had thus far. I have been on some form of it since July 21st whether by I.V. or pill.

When I allow myself to focus on the side effects of the steroid and radiation and dwell on my physical pain, I find my life narrows even more and my thoughts become out of control. I cocoon into a self gaze. I did that yesterday. And the Lord in His mercy spoke to me.

In the wilderness he was starving, thirsty and mentally exhausted. In the garden he was emotionally spent and left alone by his closest companions who were too weak to watch and pray with him. He was arrested, beaten, had his hair and beard pulled out. Then there is the cross.

Who else would know more about physical pain than Jesus himself? I began meditating on the well documented account of the crucifixion from a medical perspective. Here a trauma surgeon talks about what Jesus endured.

I know that He knows. He is intimately, mercifully aware of what is going on in my body. There is no thing that He has not endured before me or that He is not willing to walk through with me.

"Nothing happens to us but what the Son of God has Himself experienced in order that He might sympathize with us."- John Calvin

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Day Seventeen

I was so grateful my mom was able to come spend a few days with me. I mom raised me and my sister alone, and though at times our lives were difficult, she did everything is her power to provide for us and make certain her daughters were safe and loved.

God gives me a passage of scripture for either the night before or morning of radiation days. I take the index card with me to meditate on while I am in the waiting room or on the machine. Psalm 34 came to me in the night.

Honestly, I felt fearful yesterday. I saw more hair falling into the sink and heard a story of a boy who has battled brain cancer since four and now at nine has a fourth inoperable return with increasing deficits. He will not live. My practice of surrendering daily to Christ seemed to elude me until I truly savored the words. His instructions and promises moved me to that place again of unclenching little trinkets of doubt that though may be in the future, I am powerless to control. Because I KNOW Him, and I believe He is who He says He is, He can do what He says He can do I can let Him take it. I have seen Him move in my life far too many times now to go try to BE Him.

Psalm 34

''I will bless the LORD at all times;
His praise shall continually be in my mouth.

My soul will make its boast in the LORD;
The humble will hear it and rejoice.

O magnify the LORD with me,
And let us exalt His name together.

I sought the LORD, and He answered me,
And delivered me from all my fears.

They looked to Him and were radiant,
And their faces will never be ashamed.

This poor woman cried, and the LORD heard him
And saved her out of all her troubles.

The angel of the LORD encamps around those who fear Him,
And rescues them.

O taste and see that the LORD is good;
How blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him!

O fear the LORD, you His saints;
For to those who fear Him there is no want.

The young lions do lack and suffer hunger;
But they who seek the LORD shall not be in want of any good thing.

Come, you children, listen to me;
I will teach you the fear of the LORD.

Who is the woman who desires life
And loves length of days that he may see good?

Keep your tongue from evil
And your lips from speaking deceit.

Depart from evil and do good;
Seek peace and pursue it.

The eyes of the LORD are toward the righteous
And His ears are open to their cry.

The face of the LORD is against evildoers,
To cut off the memory of them from the earth.

The righteous cry, and the LORD hears
And delivers them out of all their troubles.

The LORD is near to the brokenhearted
And saves those who are crushed in spirit.

Many are the afflictions of the righteous,
But the LORD delivers him out of them all.

He keeps all his bones,
Not one of them is broken.

Evil shall slay the wicked,
And those who hate the righteous will be condemned.

The LORD redeems the soul of His servants,
And none of those who take refuge in Him will be condemned.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Day Fifteen

Breakfast with Nina before radiation this morning.

Today, I have reached the halfway mark in my treatment. So tired, losing more I can see the finish line.

Romans 8:31-39
"What then shall we say to these things? If God is
for us, who is against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things? Who will bring a charge against God’s elect? God is the one who justifies; who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us. Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? Just as it is written,


But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord."

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Day Fourteen

I slept a lot today. Felt a bit alone and tired. I just noticed today my hair is now coming out at the radiation site.

our friends, Phil and Elisa

Despite being surrounded by many people that love and support me, visit me daily....weekly, and have made sacrifice of their own lives to focus on me, I have felt a sense of walking it out on my own. I think it's a normal feeling to have during this sort of thing. Many of you know it. No one else can do the thing but me. I have to do the treatment, take the all the medication and deal with the unknown.

our friends Mike and Kathy

But I am hopeful because tomorrow is the half way mark. Each day is one day closer to the end of radiation. And I am not alone.

Psalm 23

"The LORD is my shepherd,
I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside quiet waters. He restores my soul;
He guides me in the paths of righteousness For His name’s sake.

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I fear no evil, for You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
You have anointed my head with oil; My cup overflows.
Surely goodness and loving kindness will follow me all the days of my life,
And I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever."

Monday, September 12, 2011

Day Thirteen

On the canal path with Reuben this morning.

Mornings are usually the best for me. My goal is to get a good walk in before I have to take medication and head off to radiation.

Today was the first day I noticed a significant rise in fatigue after treatment. Typically, after the first few weeks fatigue increases and as I am moving into two weeks, this isn't a surprise. Monica, the radiation tech has been asking me about it for the last four treatments in a sort of knowing way perhaps trying to prepare me. I am praying that it won't be too debilitating. Dr. Poffenbarger referred to the middle weeks as "Gut check time." Gut check showed up in the form of frustration trying to get up the stairs to shower about ten p.m. as I felt a meltdown descend. I have learned to trun right to the Lord.

This I know that the loving kindness of the Lord is everlasting. Every moment of every day this is reality. It is my experience. The weaker I am, the more He shows up. And in that dissolving I cry out, and there He is.

Psalm 118

"Give thanks to the LORD, for He is good; For His loving kindness is everlasting.
Oh let Israel say, “His loving kindness is everlasting.”
Oh let the house of Aaron say, “His loving kindness is everlasting.”
Oh let those who fear the LORD say, “His loving kindness is everlasting.”

From my distress I called upon the LORD; The LORD answered me and set me in a large place.
The LORD is for me; I will not fear; What can man do to me?
The LORD is for me among those who help me; Therefore I will look with satisfaction on those who hate me. It is better to take refuge in the LORD than to trust in man.
It is better to take refuge in the LORD Than to trust in princes. The LORD is my strength and song, And He has become my salvation.

The sound of joyful shouting and salvation is in the tents of the righteous;
The right hand of the LORD does valiantly. The right hand of the LORD is exalted;
The right hand of the LORD does valiantly. I will not die, but live,
And tell of the works of the LORD. The LORD has disciplined me severely,
But He has not given me over to death.

Open to me the gates of righteousness; I shall enter through them, I shall give thanks to the LORD. This is the gate of the LORD; The righteous will enter through it.
I shall give thanks to You, for You have answered me, And You have become my salvation.

The stone which the builders rejected Has become the chief corner stone.
This is the LORD’S doing; It is marvelous in our eyes. This is the day which the LORD has made;
let us rejoice and be glad in it. O LORD, do save, we beseech You;
O LORD, we beseech You, do send prosperity! Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the LORD;

We have blessed you from the house of the LORD. The LORD is God, and He has given us light;
Bind the festival sacrifice with cords to the horns of the altar.
You are my God, and I give thanks to You; You are my God, I extol You.
Give thanks to the LORD, for He is good; For His loving kindness is everlasting."

flowers along the canal path

Letters From 9-11

Here is a series of four letters about 9-11 thoughtfully written by Glenn Lucke on the Resurgence site. They are written by date.
"In the days immediately after 9/11, a friend in her mid-thirties wrote me an email wrestling with the question of how could God allow such evil. Elizabeth had worked for many years in the financial district of New York City...thus, the senseless loss of life of friends and acquaintances was fresh, raw and scarcely comprehensible to her."

Friday, September 09, 2011

Day Twelve

It was a pretty quick radiation day and then on to have blood work and see Dr, Menachery. He takes care of looking after my blood and medications. He is awesome.

I have to admit I walked out of the meeting a bit blue. After hashing through what the next year or years could look like, I felt a bit overwhelmed. At some point, we move into the unknown with glioblastoma multiforme. There is no cure. It hit me hard and clear that this is a something I will have to contend with for the rest of my life, whatever days the Lord gives and according to what He ordains.

So after a frank talk with Dr. Menachery, here is our road. I continue through early October with radiation and chemotherapy and then will visit Duke Brain tumor Center for assessment and eligibility for clinical trials and other treatments. Craig has been orchestrating this meeting for weeks now. In November I begin high dose chemo five days out of each month indefinitely. Then in early December I have a follow up MRI with profusion and see Dr. Poffenbarger, our surgeon, for results. We believe in Christ that MRI will be clean and that I am healed. If Dr P. sees something, I may have another surgery card in my back pocket. I will then go on to regular scheduled MRIs and on into the "unknown" as they call it, for the rest of my life.

Here is Dr Henry Friedman at the Duke Brain Tumor Center talking about GBM MF.
We are greatly encouraged by him and his mission.

God sits in the heavens and does as He please according to His perfect will, not ours. We fully trust Him and understand that this entire event is about more than brain cancer. It is about Him making Himself known and that many would know Him. The supernatural power and presence I feel in my own body daily and His constant whisper to me despite my weakness can never convince me of any other truth. You my dear, friends, come from many perspectives and spiritual points of view. My deeply humble prayer for you all would be for you to seek Him out, to ask and knock. To seriously and humbly look hard at the person of Jesus without bias. To be honest, to seek the truth. God has provided all you need, every resource to know that truth if you will but ask. I know a lot of you have church baggage, a lot of religious baggage. Knowing Christ through the gospel has nothing, nothing to do with that. And to withhold yourself because of the ignorance and sin of other people whatever your experience may have been, is to do a foolish thing. Reacting to your experiences rather than engaging from a place of wisdom will hurt you over the course of your life. We have all seen it in ourselves.

You can go back to this post to read the story of my own conversion. And as always I am willing to talk and listen to anyone who has questions or thoughts. I have had great dialogue with some of you and love your honesty and transparency.

Psalm 16
Preserve me, O God, for I take refuge in You.
I said to the LORD, “You are my Lord I have no good besides You.”
As for the saints who are in the earth, They are the majestic ones in whom is all my delight.
he sorrows of those who have bartered for another god will be multiplied;
I shall not pour out their drink offerings of blood, Nor will I take their names upon my lips.
The LORD is the portion of my inheritance and my cup; You support my lot.
The lines have fallen to me in pleasant places; Indeed, my heritage is beautiful to me.
I will bless the LORD who has counseled me; Indeed, my mind instructs me in the night.
I have set the LORD continually before me Because He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.
Therefore my heart is glad and my glory rejoices; My flesh also will dwell securely.
For You will not abandon my soul to Sheol; Nor will You allow Your Holy One to undergo decay.
You will make known to me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy;
In Your right hand there are pleasures forever."

Thursday, September 08, 2011

Day Eleven

Radiation. 11 behind me, 19 ahead of me.

Despite the rain, I was so happy to take a thirty minute walk today with Reuben.

"Therefore, since we have such a hope, we are very bold.We are not like Moses, who would put a veil over his face to prevent the Israelites from seeing the end of what was passing away. But their minds were made dull, for to this day the same veil remains when the old covenant is read. It has not been removed, because only in Christ is it taken away. Even to this day when Moses is read, a veil covers their hearts. But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. The Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate[a] the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit."

2 Corinthians 3:12-18

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Day Ten

Radiation. I am a third of the way there.

I had a dark moment this afternoon. One of the biggest challenges I have had is insomnia brought on by taking decradron, the steroid medication I take to decrease swelling. At this point I am able to get multiple short 20 to 40 minute naps from ten p.m. or so until about three or four a.m. and then I am wide awake. I try to to take these short naps during the day, but often they fail and what feels like an hour or two nap was really about fifteen or twenty minutes. Time seems to freeze. Although I know this is temporary, it can become overwhelming. It is such a weird experience. We all know what sort of crazy lack of sleep can bring on. I have been sleeping on the couch for weeks because I am up so much and do not want to disturb Craig. At the end of the day, it IS temporary. I know it is coming to an end, so my mission is to manage it one hour at a time and ride the wave. I have to remind myself again that there is a benefit to this drug as well as to the Keppra and Temodar. As my doctor said there is a well laid and known path in treating this cancer and it includes these three.

Today, I have been meditating on people who might have the same brain cancer living in parts of the world with have no access to these drugs, no way of getting medical care and maybe living without even knowing what is causing their pain. They will die. They have to live with the effects of their disease daily without relief. It pains my deeply to think on it, but it is a good thing to do when I get squirrely about being unable to sleep or think about the next step of chemo treatment in the months to come. It creates gratitude to the Lord and challenges me in the future mission He may be calling me to out of this whole amazing journey.

I have experienced this power perfected in weakness in the most profound way over the last weeks.
It is runs completely against the grain of our human nature. We don't like it. But for me, that Jesus may be ultimate and all in all, I am glad for where I live today wide awake on the couch at four a.m.

“My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong." 2 Corinthians 12:9-10

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Day Nine

Radiation was pretty uneventful today. I am happy to have had a few days break and no post headache today.

Craig took this photo this morning. I won't go into the multiple side effects of Decadron, but those of us who have to take it for an extended period get what is called"moon face" (I prefer "moonpie face" 'cos it's funny...) When I look in the mirror, I look like a stranger. It's a funny thing to have been so active, fit and capable and be brought to a place that I barely climb the stairs or lift anything. As a weight trainer and runner, watching this dramatic change, a narrowing some of the passions of my life, has been both a sorrow and a grace.

Through brain cancer, I see is how the Lord has taken away so that I can truly see what is eternal and what truly has value. I have opportunity to examine myself. There are many things that are good, like exercise and taking care of the body, but they are not always the BEST thing. The good things we do often keep us from focusing on the best or wisest thing for us. Often times they even become obsessions that take over our lives, exhibit a narcissistic preoccupation with ourselves and need to control. Of course, this sort of thing can manifest in all kinds of behaviors. Name it. We all do it.

The physical body is perishing. Make no mistake. Take care of it, exercise, eat well and do all you can. But we are all terminal. This is a reality to me now that has come into my life in just the last six weeks. I am grateful for the gift of this narrowing life this whittling down so that I can see.

"Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day. For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen ; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal." 2 Cor 4:16-18

My Amazing Community of Sacrifice and Service

Recently, I was approached local artist friends offered to put together a benefit to help Craig and I with medical expenses accruing from my recent diagnosis. I am overwhelmed, humbled by and grateful for the generosity of artists and volunteers who have committed to be a part of this act of service and sacrifice. The event will be on November 5th from 4 to 6 p.m. here in my town of Fredericksburg at my church, New City Fellowship. I am speechless, to be honest.

Monday, September 05, 2011

Day Eight

So many of you have asked about radiation so I taped treatment on day eight so you can see what happens. Two blasts to the tumor cavity and I am done for the day. You can see the video here.

The long weekend has been good. Trying to catch up on sleep, get some exercise and connect with my husband.

On the Canal Path with Reuben.
Psalm 73:26 "My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever"

Friday, September 02, 2011

Day Seven

The Machine.

Today was a hard day of battling headache and fatigue. I never could quite get any naps in.

Lamentations 3:22-25

"The LORD’S lovingkindnesses indeed never cease,
For His compassions never fail.
They are new every morning;
Great is Your faithfulness.
“The LORD is my portion,” says my soul,
“Therefore I have hope in Him.”
The LORD is good to those who wait for Him,
To the person who seeks Him."

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Day Six

I don't know how I feel today, other than I have a bad headache and my eyes hurt. Those who know me, know me to be very independent. My life in many ways has become a strict regime of timed medications and insomnia interrupted cat naps. It has become a daily schedule of radiation, chemotherapy and a complete reliance on others to drive me anywhere. Most of the things I could do before GBM I cannot do for now. As a person who has wrestled with depression, I have mulled over the possibility of a visit from "darkness, my old friend" while going through treatment. I struggle with the medication. Today, I have to work hard to focus on the positive realities of the drugs and not the very real negatives that also come along with them.

In His mercy and goodness (yes, I said mercy and goodness) I have been confined and forced into utter dependence. I believe I have been healed of GBM. Ultimately, the Lord will make that decision according to His perfect will that extends far, far beyond my small life. He has turned my life over and over in His hand like a stone. I am learning quickly the priceless treasure of what is eternal and on what truly has value. You idea of control over your life is an illusion. Make no mistake. Like Matt Chandler said "We are all terminal."

Psalm 86
A Psalm of Supplication and Trust.

"Incline Your ear, O LORD, and answer me;
For I am afflicted and needy.
Preserve my soul, for I am a godly man;
O You my God, save Your servant who trusts in You.
Be gracious to me, O Lord,
For to You I cry all day long.
Make glad the soul of Your servant,
For to You, O Lord, I lift up my soul.
For You, Lord, are good, and ready to forgive,
And abundant in lovingkindness to all who call upon You.

Give ear, O LORD, to my prayer;

And give heed to the voice of my supplications!
In the day of my trouble I shall call upon You,
For You will answer me.
There is no one like You among the gods, O Lord,
Nor are there any works like Yours.

All nations whom You have made shall come and worship before You, O Lord,

And they shall glorify Your name.
For You are great and do wondrous deeds;
You alone are God.

Teach me Your way, O LORD; I will walk in Your truth;
Unite my heart to fear Your name.
I will give thanks to You, O Lord my God, with all my heart,

And will glorify Your name forever.
13 For Your lovingkindness toward me is great,
And You have delivered my soul from the depths of Sheol.

O God, arrogant men have risen up against me,
And a band of violent men have sought my life,
And they have not set You before them.
But You, O Lord, are a God merciful and gracious,
Slow to anger and abundant in loving kindness and truth.

Turn to me, and be gracious to me;
Oh grant Your strength to Your servant,
And save the son of Your handmaid.
Show me a sign for good,
That those who hate me may see it and be ashamed,
Because You, O LORD, have helped me and comforted me."

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Day Five

I got a fairly immediate headache after radiation today. I tried preemptive Tylenol which did help for a while. My attempt at a nap when back home failed. I guess I was kind of wired thinking about the headache and weird eye sensitivity I have had for the last few days.

About two p.m. I was dozing on the day and heard footsteps on the roof. Someone came over and cleaned our gutters. I have no idea who. The sacrifice of neighbors and even strangers has been stunning to us and the wreckless manner in which God has poured out abundantly on top of our heads is overwhelming.

A few nights ago in my insomnia I began to talk to the Lord about how amazing the medical technology available to us is in current days. Just a few years ago with this diagnosis I would have been told to enjoy what short time I have left to live. He said "I freely give without measure. This is who I am. I want you to freely give as I have freely given. I saw a windshield, a glass, wet with clear water being wiped clean.

Jeremiah 29:11-13

"For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD,
“plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.
You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.
I will be found by you,” declares the LORD, “and will bring you back from captivity."

Monday, August 29, 2011

Day Four

Today was the fourth day of radiation. Last Wednesday, the first day, I had a seizure about an hour after treatment. What a way to start and in particular to begin the all too human practice of building anxiety around an traumatic event. Though these seizures are short, they are very uncomfortable and apparently, unpredictable. Two things we hate.

At this point what I am experiencing are headaches about a half hour after the treatment. The battle in my mind is not to look down the long road ahead of 26 more exposures and wonder how bad it will get. I am being forced to live each day within it's day.

Matthew 6:34
"So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself.
Each day has enough trouble of its own."

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Glioblastoma Multiforme Arrives

It is about three in the morning thanks and to the last month's journey and I am awake in more ways than one.

I have been mulling over how to write about the flooding hurricane that has been the last four weeks. Do I even want to? How much should I share? But my commitment to vulnerability and openness of myself and especially my faith in Jesus Christ propels me forward. You'll just have to bear with a painter attempting to write and then come to your own conclusions. I am fine with whatever they may be. I love and am friend to many kinds of people with all sorts of world and spiritual views, but under the circumstances given the massive work I see God clearly accomplishing beyond myself I must be honest with you all. And, I am prepared as well for your honesty.

The first thing I want to link to is my story which you can read in the previous post called "The Gospel." It is my journey of faith which began in 1994. Actually, it was a downright supernatural conversion accomplished within a matter of days. Overnight.

So, here we are now. On July 21st a series of focal seizures sent me to the ER, a CT scan showed a tumor. Within a week, I was admitted to the hospital, diagnosed with a brain tumor, stabilized on I.V meds, and had a complete resection craniotomy. Pathology revealed Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM). This is the most aggressive and malignant of brain tumors. I began six weeks of radiation and chemotherapy last week. My plan is to write about each day. I welcome your comments and thoughts.

My husband, Craig, has been keeping a thorough Caring Bridge journal specifics here if you'd like to read the entire story of the last six weeks.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

The Gospel

How do I put into words the incredible circumstances that led me to follow Jesus……I have talked to many people about it, yet always feel so inept at describing the spring of 1994.

I can start with telling you a bit about my background. I was raised in a single parent home. My parents divorced when I was 6 over my father’s violent alcohol fueled temper. I was not raised in the church and it was not until my mom remarried my step dad when I was 12 that I first went to church with my family. Mostly, I didn’t get it and rather ended up loathing religion as years of unresolved pain, anger and depression lingered in my system into my 20’s. When I was 13 or so in a very real moment I did pray with my Sunday school teacher to believe in Jesus. All I can say to describe what transpired is that something went out through the top of my head and something else came entered. It freaked me out so much I never said anything about it to anyone.

At 14 I left secretly from home to Florida to live with my dad….after five years, I went on the Altanta College of Art where I formed my philosophy of life, slowly becoming more and more convinced that there was no god. I became heavily involved with the underground punk scene. I spent alot of nights going to see bands and drinking A LOT. The magnitude of my anger and depression was oppressive. I was working as a vet tech at the time in Decatur, a suburb of Altanta, spending evenings seeing bands. I didn’t do much art at the time being so busy with a demanding full time job, but somehow in the spring of 1994, I had the idea to paint a large scale work of Jesus. To me, he was just a great teacher, a historical figure. I thought it would be really cool to paint him nude. My first order of business was to do a little research. So, I would visit the local library to check out any books I could find. I read books from many different perspectives on who Jesus really was…..and this is where it becomes challenging to articulate.

In that little house in Decatur Georgia at some moment of time I cannot place, the presence of God filled the room surrounding me in a sort of bubble. It was the purest most beautiful thing one could ever imagine. To describe what the very presence of God feels like in words……impossible. This went on for several weeks. I slept little and even had multiple experiences with demonic attack. It did not take long for me to understand that the Spirit of God was pointing me to Jesus as the way, the truth and the life. As a matter of fact, the scripture speaks of a literal “rebirth”, a moving from death into life. And that is exactly what happened to me. I noticed that colors were more vibrant, I heard sounds with a certain new clarity. It really was like being dead and then brought to life. From that day on, nothing could convince me of any truth other than that Jesus Christ is exactly who the scripture says He is: The son of God sent to take on the sins of the world and offer reconciliation with God. Thus began a 16 year journey of study, prayer and following Him.

I cannot count the times He has spoken truth to me, blessed and worked in me, changed and healed me and I owe Him my life. I challenge each of you to truly examine the Jesus.

So, my friends, this is my story. And this is the gospel:

God, out of an overflow of His being and His glory, creates. He speaks and things come into existence. He creates the universe, the planets, and at the apex of His creation, He creates man in His image. He creates out of love. And He breathes His spirit into dust, and man is created. And then he creates woman. God created this perfect, harmonious, beautiful creation, and man decided that he could do things better than God, that he was smarter than God, that he could be a better sovereign than God could. So he rebels against the word of God. God told him how to live, what life was supposed to be like, told him want to do and what not to do. He gave man a path that leads to life. He displayed the way that leads to our ultimate joy which is only found in relationship with Him.

In love He said,
“Go this way, not this way.”
And man said, “You know what? I really appreciate You giving me some heads up, but I really think I know better than You, God. So I’m going to do this.”
So man sins, rebels against God and thus separates himself from relationship with God. And death enters the word, and it infects and shatters everything. And all of us now, in Adam’s fall, all sinned. All of us became sinners by our nature and by action; we join in this fall. And we do it every single day. All we have to do is look around and be honest about our own hearts and we can see the trail of pain we leave.

How in the world is God going to deal with this problem of having sinful creatures that rebel against Him and at the same time finish what He set out to do, which is namely to have a planet full of creatures who image and glorify Him?

After the fall, the rest of the Bible is preparing for Jesus Christ to step on the scene. It is the grand Metanarrative. It is a preparing for this great news to be trumpeted. He prepares for the coming of His Son by raising up a people, the Jews, who by covenantal stipulations, temple worship, systems of sacrifice and a priesthood, by kings and by prophets are taught something of what God is planning and what He expects. This is the Old Testament and then in the fullness of time, His Son comes. Jesus of Nazareth, born of the Virgin Mary, in Bethlehem comes and takes on human nature. Jesus was fully man and fully God. Onto the stage of history in response to man’s sin and rebellion steps Jesus. Our problem is that we are separated from a holy God because we are sinners, because his wrath is deserved by us, and there is nothing we can do about. There is no amount of good works that we can do. Nothing. We can’t fix it. We can’t sacrifice it. We can’t do enough good. As a matter of fact God calls the “good” we do “filthy rags.” We will never be able to live up to God’s standard. So Jesus Christ went on the cross and died, and herein really lies the heart of the gospel. So, He lived the perfect life, performed miracles as a sign of His Godhead and then died for our sins. There is substitution that happened at the cross, a supernatural
substitution where God took on our sins. God the Son took on our sins and died for them
and gave us His righteousness. He got what we deserved, and He gave us what we don’t
deserve in dying for our sins. And then God raised him from the dead. The gospel is that Jesus Christ is Lord, He’s been raised from the dead and has come with Saving and transforming power. The great news is that God has decided not to leave this world and us in the mess that we got ourselves into. Through His Son, He’s decided to make all things new, and He’s invited us into that if we would trust Jesus Christ and submit our lives to Him as Lord and Savior.