Thursday, June 30, 2011


I only have a few minutes to post this but I HAD to get the update out fast! Praise God, the polyp was BENIGN and the other areas of concern were just irritation. The pill cam did catch a diverticulum in her small intestines. We will have another test to find out if it's Meckels Diverticulum. If it is, Scott and I will have to decide if we take it out now or wait until it becomes a problem...the answer will probably be to take it out now since they can become dangerous quickly.

Emily will always have to be watched, however, because juvenile polyps that occur frequently have a high rate of turning into malignancies. I'm choosing to cross that bridge when and if we come to it. For now.....I am overjoyed that this one is benign!

I've got to tell you, I have been preparing my heart for the worst. Not in a morbid, hopeless kind of way....but in a trust Jesus no matter what kind of way. This has made me ask myself some hard questions about how far I'm willing to surrender to Him. To be honest, I want to live every day of my life like that.

In the middle of my rejoicing the thought hit me that there are parents today that DIDN'T receive good news. We met some parents like that while we were in Macon at Children's Hospital. My heart goes out to them. Please lift them up with me...I don't know any of them but I know they need us to stand in the gap!


Tuesday, June 28, 2011


Today is day 5 in our 8-11 day wait on Emily's biopsies. To say it has been slow is an understatement and sometimes, with each minute that passes, we find ourselves fighting for our joy. And in the moments when we think we are about to lose our minds, God provides distraction. I'm so thankful for His grace!

I was asked Sunday by my co-worker, Johnny, where I had been in the Word while we were in the hospital. He wanted to make sure I was turning to the right Place with my fears and heavy heart but in that moment, I was so exhausted and overwhelmed to give him an answer. I was in several different places in the Word over the days we were in the hospital. I wrote most of them in my journal and when I reflected over them today, I knew I wanted to share one of the most significant.

I wanted to keep up with my Bible study in Tammie Head's "Duty or Delight". Most of the time when you are waiting on God to speak, it is best to stay on your structured reading routine versus the hunt-and-peck method. This one particular day she touched on a familiar that we almost glaze over because we've heard it so much:

"Therefore let us approach the throne of grace with boldness, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us at the proper time." Hebrews 4:16

The Greek word for "boldness" is parresia and it means "freedom in speaking, unreservedness in speech, openly, frankly, i.e without concealment, without ambiguity or circumlocution, without the use of figures and comparisons, free and fearless confidence, cheerful courage, boldness, assurance, the deportment by which one becomes conspicuous or secures publicity." Does any of this cause a flood of emotions within you? It did for me!

For those of us who have received Jesus Christ as LORD and SAVIOR, we have rights. Yes, you heard that correctly. I, for one, have spent too long walking around as if I don't have any rights. Sometimes, we confuse walking with boldness in our rights with irreverence toward God...and it just isn't so. Prayer...bold our right, given to us by God! And look at how bold our prayers can be! (Go read the definition again...go ahead, I will wait.)

How many times have we edited our prayers before God!?! Plenty. Out of embarrassment. Out of shame. Out of unworthiness. Out of fear. But based on that definition of boldness, however, we have no reason to edit! We can lay out our deepest fears, our worst hurts, our biggest dreams, our intense anxieties...whatever it is...we can bring it to Him! Our words do not have to be eloquent nor our phrases long. It doesn't matter...we just need to get to the heart of the matter.

And my FAVORITE part of that definition is, "...the deportment by which one becomes conspicuous or secures publicity." GOD DOES NOT IGNORE US! When we come before the throne of God, we have secured and audience of One. He listens. We have His attention! In these days of waiting, I have been uttering some pretty raw and honest prayers...and I am so comforted by the fact that He hears!

Another part of that verse that speaks to me is we will find mercy and grace "at the proper time". I'm sure many of you have had opportunities to ask God, "When?" When will You...heal my marriage...provide a job for me...heal my my loved one...etc. This verse reminds me that the answer lies within the sovereignty of our God..."at the proper time." He WILL answer. We just have to wait until the proper time.

I want to share two pieces of encouragement that I have listened to several times. The first one is a sermon by Judah Smith at the New Spring Church Leadership Conference in 2010. He talks about living in the mean time while you're waiting on the proper time. Click here and then select Judah Smith, session 4.

The other is "While I'm Waiting," a song by John Waller. This is my personal battle plan while I'm serve Him, worship Him, commune with Him. If you are waiting on God to move in your life, I hope you will do the same!

Sunday, June 26, 2011


I am so sorry it has taken a while to update everyone on Emily. My antivirus program would not allow me back on the hospital's wireless internet...and by the time we arrived home I was too exhausted to pull out this laptop. So, here is the update a few days late.

Emily was taken Thursday, shortly before lunch, for her endoscopy and colonoscopy. She was so brave. During the colonoscopy they found the polyp that you see below. Scott and I were able to see it in person after the scope. Personally, the name "polyp" doesn't do it justice. When I think "polyp", I think small and puny. As you can see, this was no small or puny growth. The doctor has sent that polyp as well as other biopsies to pathology. We anxiously await those reports this Friday (July 1) or the following Monday. There were other concerning areas but this polyp, by far, is the most concerning.

Emily came out of her scopes like a champ! After 30 minutes or so in recovery, she was ready to eat! BUT, not so fast! The doctor decided to insert a pill camera that traveled through the parts of her intestines where no scope can go. Given his findings in the colonoscopy, he wanted to cover all bases. This meant another 9 hours without eating and an extra night in the hospital.

Eventually, 9 hours passed...and a milkshake party commenced in room 306! I wish I could have videoed Emily's response after her first sip of chocolaty goodness after 5 days of no eating! She was in heaven.

That night, we also had some therapy dogs to visit! They were a bright spot and provided some distraction by performing various tricks.

Then, Friday morning we received the OFFICIAL word that we were going home! We happily loaded Emily up and headed down I-75 South.

And now...we wait. We wait to hear from pathology about the biopsies. It's probably the hardest thing I've ever had to wait on. I got up for church this morning...thankful, by the way, that I lead a team of worship leaders who truly live worship as their lifestyle and could easily step in and take charge...but the one thing I asked God was, "How do I act (in front of our people) as if this wait isn't worrisome and excruciating?" He reminded me of my ultimate example of the way I should act and that example is in the person of Jesus. When Jesus was in the Garden of Gethsemane we know it was an excruciating and intense time of waiting for Him because we are told that he began to sweat drops of blood. He knew what was ahead of Him and in His waiting, He did not put on a mask. He poured His heart out to God in complete honesty. And somehow He still considered with joy the cross set before Him. I'm not sure what that looks like for us entirely, but I do know this: Jesus knows every anxious thought we have, every fear, every worry...and we can pour our hearts out to Him in complete honesty as we wait.

Thank you, again, for praying for us. You have no idea how much your prayers have been felt. It has been humbling and overwhelming. I would ask that you pray also for the Thompson family, whose father is in the hospital with congestive heart failure after undergoing the removal of a kidney as well as the Sims family, who has just learned that their grandmother has brain cancer. That news comes on the heels of the death of their grandfather last year. There are some hard things going on within our church family but as we proclaimed this morning, JESUS reigns in our midst. HE is freedom. HE is hope. We look to HIM. We hold on to HIM. God is still God and God is still good! Praise be to God!

soli Deo gloria

Wednesday, June 22, 2011


Where to begin? We were informed this morning at 3:30 that Emily could possible have her scopes today. Our doctor decided to try something new...go through the Operating Room for the endoscopy/colonoscopy so that we could come home today if the course of treatment allowed. We were excited and very prepared! Anesthesia came to have paperwork signed and discussed the usual things with us. And then...Dr. Muhammed came to deliver the news..."We cannot do procedure today. I just finished fussin' out a whole bunch of people!" I'm not sure what his ethnicity is but his thick accent made this statement pretty funny. Apparently, every team in the hospital was ready to go except the endoscopy team. Since they are just slightly crucial to the test we have to wait until tomorrow.

We headed to the activity room after the news was delivered. This is Emily's favorite room because there are lots of creative things to do. She painted and worked on more Fuse Beads. During one of our activity room visits we had guests! The Greenbriar Church Staff (minus Mike who was feeling sick but plus Jaye because it is summer and she's out of school and she is such a great friend!). They came bearing a HUGE bag of goodies. Johnny provided some laughter as he made his own Fuse Bead penguin for his son, Baby Judah. I'm sure no one has trouble believing that he had the room laughing the whole time! After their visit, Melissa Bullard, one of Emily's small group leaders, came by to see Emily. We are so blessed to have family and friends who care so much. We are so thankful for each one.

At some point this afternoon we discovered that Emily might not be as, ummm, "prepared" for her procedures tomorrow so the doctor decided to add 4 more rounds of Mirilax. So far, the results haven't been as bad as I expected. After a shower and a new hospital gown Emily literally fell into the bed and sacked out!

As I sat here looking at her sleeping tonight, the perfect sovereignty of God floods my mind and how we can be at perfect peace when we surrender our worries and fears to Him. Honestly, I'm good at that....until it comes to those I love the most in the whole world. Then, I have to fight for it! Fight for the mind set on Jesus Christ...Fight for the demolishing of negative thoughts...Fight for the peace that comes with total surrender to our God. I found a verse that reminds me of the rest Emily is experiencing right this moment:
"In peace I will lie down and sleep, for You alone, LORD, make me dwell in safety." Psalm 4:8
You alone. No doctor. No test. No medicine. No prognosis. Jesus alone brings peace! As we face tomorrow and whatever lies around the corner, I'm taking this peace with me!

Things I am looking forward to tomorrow? 1) Hugging the stuffin' out of HG! I have missed her so much. 2) Watching my baby girl finally get to put something solid in her belly after 4 days of a liquid-only diet (hopefully) 3)The possibility of coming home.

Now, with Em sound asleep and me having a few quiet moments, I'm going to get in the Word and then go to bed!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011


I finally have some quiet moments to provide a more detailed update to you all. First, let me say how overwhelmed by how many people have emailed, texted, called, tweeted and facebooked over the last 2 days! God has encouraged us through them…and when you are 2 hours from home, family and friends in a situation like this, you need a lot of encouragement! The body of Christ has been amazing!

So many people have asked what began all of this, so I want to take a minute to explain it. Emily was diagnosed with Celiac Disease when she was 21 months old. The only treatment for that is to be on a strict gluten-free diet. When a person who has CD ingests wheat gluten, their body actually turns against itself and begins attacking the intestines. The result is malnutrition, extreme gastro symptoms, etc. and if not cared for properly, it can be extremely threatening. The good news is that God placed Emily in a family with a Mom and Dad who are pretty rigid rule followers! We do everything in our power to make sure she eats safe foods. That being said….

Sunday began with Emily not even eating a grape because her stomach wasn’t feeling well. By the afternoon she had severe abdominal pain and bleeding. We went to the ER and were dismissed but within an hour and a half of returning home the pain had returned and increased. We were then admitted to Phoebe by our pediatrician’s office. Yesterday, after our physician, Dr. Holwerda, examined Em and consulted with her pediatric Gastro doc in Macon, they decided that the best thing for Emily was to be transported by ambulance to MCCG to undergo more specific testing.

Our first night was chaotic, to say the least. Emily began the “cleansing” process for a colonoscopy and endoscopy. We had our choice between an NG tube (through the nose to the stomach) or a tasteless solution in apple juice. DUH! Hands down we chose the solution in the juice! It did come with a price however. Emily had to drink the solution every hour during the day…and every other hour during the night. Needless to say she was exhausted by sunrise!

We have spent today in the activity room…well, between the activity room and the bathroom every 10-20 minutes to be more specific. She has been a trooper through the whole thing and has amazed everyone with her constant smile…even when prodded with needles and other things you don’t want near you!We found out this afternoon that the scopes will take place Thursday…not sure of a time yet. Emily is starving and will not be able to eat until after the test…so, pray for her endurance.

So, what will these tests reveal? Well, for a person with CD, a view and biopsy of the intestines is the only definitive way of knowing if their intestines are healthy or damaged from ingesting gluten. If she has ingested gluten, we will have to find the source and eliminate it. If this episode is NOT CD related…well, the possibilities are many. That is when we have to fight the battle of the mind…the “what-ifs”. You can pray for that as well.

As I type this, Emily is sound asleep in her hospital bed. I’m hoping that the bathroom trips are finally over. There will be no reason to wake her up tonight so I’m asking God to give her a deep, restful sleep. I will try my best to keep this updated. Photos and quick pics are easier to post to Twitter or Facebook so look there too!

Again, we love you all! Thank you for lifting us up and providing encouragement! And many of you have asked about HG…she is with Frosty and Cathy. I hear that she ran the title search business today, traveling over a few counties showing Frosty and Cathy how it’s done! LOL! She also is apparently baking according to the pics we keep receiving. We miss her so much and can’t wait to have Kav #3 with Kavs #1, #2 and #4 on Thursday!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Pondering my BLIP...

I am a thinker. I do not mean that I think about my grocery list or what to buy people for their birthdays. I’m talking about full on, contemplative analysis of life situations. I’ve been dubbed by the young women I mentor as “Mary Mother Pondering” because as they sit across from me, telling me of their struggles or decision they must make, I think. I weigh every possible scenario and ask God for His wisdom and direction before I speak. And sometimes, He doesn’t release me to speak…which can be quite aggravating for the person sitting there waiting for a response.

My contemplative side kicked in a few weeks ago while I was running errands and carting my children from one event to another. The thought I had was a game changer for me and here it is: According to the average age of death for women in the US in 2005 (80 yrs), I have lived almost half of my life (about to be 34 years). I began to think of how incredibly fast my 34 years have gone by and how much those 34 years contain. Many good things, many bad things, fun stuff, hard stuff, heartbreaking stuff. To be completely honest, however, it didn’t contain enough KINGDOM stuff. Then, the thought of how much time I may have left on this earth compared to how quickly life has already passed caused me to get a grip of urgency in my chest.

You know those heart monitoring machines in hospitals…the ones with the screen that shows heart rates and blood pressures? I began to think of how many billions of people who have walked the earth before me, from creation until now. If we were to chart those lives on a heart monitor, each life represented by a blip…I am only one blip among billions. Yet within that blip lies opportunity…opportunity that is brief compared to the line that contains the billions of blips of the past and future. That is a sobering thought for me…and even more sobering than being one small, fast, tiny blip, is that almost half of my blip is gone.

My next thought was, “Why do we wait until half our blip is gone before feeling the weight and seriousness of the blip we have?” Then after that the thought was, “I’ve got to get serious!” You see, as a Christian, I cannot wait to see Jesus face-to-face after traveling through this weary world…but there is work that I must do before I get there. When thinking of death, people sometimes make a bucket list. For some it will include traveling. For Tim McGraw, he wants to ride a bull named Fu Man Chu…just kidding…I totally get that. But for me? I want to make a mark on this earth for the Kingdom of Jesus Christ. I want to see spiritually dead people come to life in Jesus. I want to watch physically sick people be healed. I want to watch hope being given to the hopeless…marriages put back together…people bound in chains of bondage being set free…I want to see a sweeping revival in our city..state…nation…world. Jesus, please let it be!

I only have a little over half a blip left, if God allows me that. But whatever time He allows me to have I’m pressing on…throwing off EVERY hindrance placed on me by myself or by others…eyes on the prize, I’m running ahead. Will you join me?

“…What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.” James 4:14