Spoiler Alert: I have a Tumor

I discarded the first post I wrote for this occasion. Just two days before I sent it to the recycle bin, it read like one would typically expect as I talked about our son, who is soon departing for the Air Force. However, recently life took a turn that caused the first blog to be less fulfilling, less accurate, and far less deserving. I started this new post because recent circumstances sparked a particular memory from when Jaymes-Irish was younger. I recalled that he and I didn’t stop giggling until we were both on the floor, holding our tummies from the pain of laughing that much.

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It was better than from the crying he’d been doing for nearly two months. I tried to fill our days with crafts, fun and games in hopes of making Jaymes-Irish so busy that he didn’t miss his daddy quite as much. Still, he had a sadness that was much too deep for a toddler. I sure wish I had known then what I learned later: sometimes you just need to go through it and not forget it. Kids are smart enough to learn these true life lessons at a very young age. One has to be careful how they handle situations. Kids learn to either run from problems and suffer consequences later or stand fast and face them now. After the giggling stopped and I sat up, Jaymes-Irish stood up and reached for my face with both of his hands. He smiled with those happy tears in his eyes. I knew then it would be ok. HE would be ok. And I could see it in his face that he knew it as well. PEACE.

One of Jaymes-Irish’s ex-girlfriend’s mother once asked me if everything in Jaymes-Irish’s life HAD to be about God. “To him it does,” was my reply. He could choose to not see God in everything. That wouldn’t change God’s existence, but the point is, he chooses to see life that way. After all, that is what life is about, right? Choices. I used to believe that it was about right and wrong; good and evil. However, those things are in our life whether we want them to be or not. What our lives are really about is the choices we make. The way we choose to live our life. The way we choose to see others. The way we choose to handle tragedy and despair, prosperity and abundance.

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One night Jaymes-Irish called me from his bed to let me know he didn’t feel so good. Through the night he had extensive nausea and vomiting, (however no fever). The next day, he was determined to go to work because they counted on him. Not even 3 hours into the workday, he was home. That’s when he complained of his side hurting badly. Soon after at the doctor’s office, we found that his white cell count came back elevated, and we headed for the hospital. Jaymes-Irish’s appendix had ruptured. I have a clear memory of hearing him being wheeled back to the emergency room talking to the nurse. Alexis and I just chuckled because he was quoting a scripture. It really wasn’t funny. We were all scared and Jaymes-Irish was obviously hurting as he quoted it. When they reached the room, the nurse noticed our amusement. We found ourselves explaining that even on that much medication and in that much pain, he’s talking about God! She replied, “And all I said to him was ‘You are sad and in a lot of pain but seem happy too. Are you ok?’” That truly made Alexis and me laugh out loud a little. Jaymes-Irish will always tell you where his hope lies. I say if I had to pick one scripture that best fits my son to me, and there are many I could pick, it’s 1 Peter 3:15 “But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.”

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Once the appendectomy was completed, the doctor didn’t have great news for us. He said Jaymes-Irish’s appendix had been ruptured for some time and had released bacteria into his abdominal cavity. He was in such severe pain that even morphine couldn’t help him. After having been deprived for several different medical reasons of eating or drinking anything, including water or ice chips, for nearly 24 hours he said, (and this was by far one of the saddest moments of my life), “This must be how people’s souls feel without The Living Water.” We all just sat there quietly. Soon, though, I had to find another nearby room to duck into and cry. Even through my son’s fear and pain, he chose to see God.

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I reflect on the time when he was young and we were stationed in Virginia. It was often just him, me, and his “vroom vrooms” (He always had a Hot Wheel in his hand.). It soon became apparent that every time he saw another child his size in a waiting room or store, he’d walk up to them and give them his Hot Wheel. I started buying two of the same one so that when we’d go someplace he had one to give away and one to keep. Often I found myself explaining to him that I wasn’t buying more, so he could give away more. I was buying more so he could bless other children, yet still have one for himself. I had to emphasize several times that he deserved good stuff as well. It took a few rounds of buying more and more Hot Wheels for him to ‘understand’ the lesson. I remember clearly watching him make a decision when we were in a waiting room with two other children. He looked at the identical Hot wheel in each hand and at the two children, then at the Hot wheels again. He looked up at me, smiled with his little eyebrows raised, and nodded. I nodded back. He had several choices: he could’ve kept both tiny trucks, could’ve made a decision between the two children on who he would bestow his extra, or he could do exactly what he did: give each of them one. Many of his life choices have been inspiring me ever since.

For years now, my son has been a wise counsel to me on Godly matters. Yes, he’s younger than me and yes, I have been told a number of times that seeking counsel with your kids is stupid. According to them, I should only seek out older people with experience. However, God’s Word says “wise counsel”. I have very few people that I fully trust with that honor (some of them older). My son is at the top of that list because he is wise to the things of God. He chooses to see God in all things. He chooses to place God’s word above his own. He chooses peace over strife; mercy over cruelty.

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When Jaymes-Irish was in kindergarten, there was a bully who would go around the playground and trip other kids. Then he would stand over them and laugh. One day J.I. came home so angry because this boy tripped him right in front of his best friend, Katie. Larry told J.I. to go back to school the next day and punch the boy in the nose and it’ll never happen again. However, Jaymes-Irish didn’t waste time letting his dad know, “Oh, no sir, God wants me to turn the other cheek; unless I’m defending others. I’m just mad”. Needless to say for those of you who know my husband, that didn’t go over too well. The next day the principal called me to come get Jaymes-Irish because he had tripped a boy on the playground. She proceeded to tell me that it was school policy and the other boy had to go home as well because he tripped someone else first; Katie. The principal then said while it was a no tolerance school policy and she had no choice but to send J.I. home, she was still very proud of Jaymes-Irish, because after he tripped the boy and the boy was on the ground crying with all the other children over him laughing. J.I. bent over and offered him a hand. Larry just shook his head and chuckled at the news…”That boy is going to be an ambassador one day.” From that day forward, they were friends and the boy never tripped anyone else in kindergarten.

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As I stated earlier, recently life took a turn. After going to the dentist (the most phenomenal dentist and dental staff in the world), following a weekend of pain and swelling mixed with antibiotics and pain meds, I learned that my annoying abscessed tooth isn’t an abscessed tooth. I was then sent directly to an oral surgeon by my dentist (the one he quickly scheduled for me after telling me that the mass on my jaw isn’t tooth related). The oral surgeon soon confirmed that I have a tumor. One of a substantial size. He hopes it will be benign since most of it shows “clear lines” but voices his concerns that the other part of this massive form staring back at me from the x-ray has somehow deteriorated my jawbone and reached my nerve canal. I will have to have a biopsy as soon as possible, tomorrow he says. Surgery within a few weeks, he says. Then he says: we’ll go from there.

What sparked my memory and changed this blog post from its original text is that after I left my dentist office, on my way to the surgeon’s; I stopped by Jaymes-Irish’s work to have him pray with me. I was scared. Standing, staring up at my well over six foot tall son as he smiled down at me, I knew the same truth that I did after he held my face and smiled up at me all those years ago. PEACE.

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I didn’t always make such great choices when I was younger. Sometimes I still don’t make such great ones. When I was younger, I didn’t weigh consequences very well and I was selfish. God has shown me repeatedly, through blessing me with my family, that he has mercy and grace for me regardless of my previous mistakes. I’ve also learned that making great choices doesn’t have to do with age. Whether we are a toddler giving away a $1 Hot Wheel or a toddler left with no toys, a child showing forgiveness by lending a helping hand or a child being bullied out for revenge, an adult finding God in the worst of circumstances or an adult in severe pain; it’s all in the way we choose to look at things. It’s all about making choices. I thank God often for my son. He has been such a witness to me over the years by making choices based in love, peace, grace, mercy and forgiveness.

In any case my day to die doesn’t change. It’s already decided. The only thing that changes is my circumstance. I can choose how I react to those changes. My life is choices.

I don’t know what the future holds in this circumstance for me. However, I do know that I have peace with whatever it is. I made the decision to see God in this situation; to be blessed and try to be a blessing. I have made the choice to seek peace and joy.

And I am sure I’ll have to make that choice a few more times.

”The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace.” Romans 8:6

”The way of fools seems right to them, but the wise listen to advice.” Proverbs 12:15

”Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?” Matthew 6:27

”For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.
My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.” Psalm 139:13-16

”But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.  That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” 2 Corinthians 12:9-10

”Listen to advice and accept discipline, and at the end you will be counted among the wise. Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the LORD’s purpose that prevails.” Proverbs 19: 20-21

Scriptures courtesy of biblegateway.com


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