365 days ago we had a very sick boy on our hands.
Brady was between hospital stay two and three follow his bone marrow transplant.
We headed into 2022 knowing his battle was far from over.
But man we had no idea what was ahead.
This year has brought unbelievable victories as well as heart wrenching struggles.
2022 challenged us.
It stretched us.
It pressed us.
It grew us.
It forever changed us.
We are breathing a bit easier as the past couple days we have seen many bright moments.
We toured Philly taking in some awesome historical sites and made some cool memories with our dear family and friends who drove here to see us.
Then yesterday, Brady went to the Phield House again with Blake.
But instead of walking out frustrated and angry at all that he couldn’t do, he played.
He played two hours of soccer and came home with a huge smile on his face.
And today has been the best yet.
Today we said goodbyes to the rest of the family as they headed back home. Blake opted to stay with us since his time with Brady had been cut so short when he arrived.
So today our two boys hung out and laughed together.
Like, really laughed.
And Brady was so much happier. So much more relaxed. So much more himself.
Slowly the effects of the medication have melted away and Blake has gotten his brother back.
Tonight we had to return the pack n play we had borrowed for Cooper. Unfortunately, it was forty five minutes away.
So we made an adventure out of it.
We drove to three different Targets on our way back to the apartment for the boys to search for some Pokémon cards they were after.
It was a breath of fresh air to hear them laughing and joking around.
To hear them, well, being them.
We were on the freeway back when these words came through the speakers,
Just let that word wash over you
It's alright now
Love's healing hands have pulled you through
So get back up, take step one
Leave the darkness, feel the sun
'Cause your story's far from over
And your journey's just begun”
Today is the beginning of a new year. A fresh start. A new season of hope.
The past couple weeks have been unbelievably exhausting for me mentally. I had all these hopes of coming to Philly and having all this time to write and put together a first draft of my first book, but instead I was hit with just trying to survive.
The ptsd from all our previous battles came back and sucked the inspiration and creativity right out of me. I was left just trying to get through each day trying to hold the pieces together without crumbling into a pile on the floor.
But that was the darkness trying to consume me. The clouds trying to cover me.
Tonight, in our random adventure 45 minutes away from our apartment, at a Target we should have never have been at, we had a chance encounter with a cashier.
I happened to be wearing my hat that says “Be a light”, which, mind you, I haven’t worn our entire trip until tonight. She told me how much she loved it and asked where I had gotten it.
That lead to the explanation that a sweet friend had sent it to me because of our son’s battle with cancer. And, in fact, his cancer battle is why we were in Philadelphia.
She immediately looked me straight in the eye and said slowly “Your son will be healed of this cancer. He will be healed. You need to believe that.” She stretched out her hand and said it again, “he is going to receive healing, I know it”
I looked her straight back and smiled, “I know. I know the Lord has healed him already.”
It was a very powerful moment right there at a random target checkout.
We continued our conversation and I told her how much I appreciated and admired her willingness to share her faith in such a public way with me.
She then confided that she has been recovering herself from severe anxiety and we shared scriptures of encouragement. I told her how we had started our nonprofit in the midst of our battle.
This is what I have been missing.
Sharing our story. Our faith. Our mission.
I walked out of that Target as if the Lord had renewed my focus.
We may have been knocked down for a few weeks here in Philly, but it’s time.
It’s time to get back up and take step one.
It’s time to leave this darkness and feel the sun.
Our story is far from over.
Our journey has just begun.
It’s time to let our hearts beat again.
And it beats by sharing our story and loving others through theirs.
It’s time to get back to work.
Putting on my eye black,
“Close your eyes and breathe it in
Let the shadows fall away
Step into the light of grace
Yesterday's a closing door
You don't live there anymore
Say goodbye to where you've been
And tell your heart to beat again”