Reece has had a great couple of days!!! YES!!! It feels so good to say that. He had his biopsy yesterday to test for GVHD. The first glance of photos showed relatively clear results. After he came back from the procedure, he was doing so well with his breathing, they took him off of supplemental oxygen and he has done great! This morning, the docs had a good report on his progress. His counts look good, his fevers are coming down, his oxygen needs are pretty much back to normal, his rash is basically gone. AND–we found out this afternoon that his tests came back negative for GVHD!!! YES!!!! I love it!! It brings tears to my eyes. Never has the word “negative” felt so positive! Of course, GVHD could still happen–it could crop up later. Today, it isn’t there.
So we’re praising the Lord for answered prayers (and many “yes” answers, at that):
- No GVHD so far
- Off of supplemental oxygen
- No infections thus far (although they still feel that an infection is what he was fighting in his lungs)
- Improvement in blood count numbers
- Improvement in symptoms from earlier this week
Here are our prayer requests:
- Continued improvement in blood counts
- On Monday, they will test to see how much blood is cord A, cord B, or his old blood. Pray that one of the cords has taken over and that his current counts are not from his old blood
- A bone marrow biopsy this next week that shows good results
- Protection from infections
- Protection from GVHD and other complications
- Reece’s energy to return
- For pain, fevers, and nausea to go away
- Improvement enough for Reece to return home
My dad and I were chatting this morning, well before we knew about the results of the GVHD test. I was telling him how I have had a realization during the last couple of months regarding prayer and God’s answers. Of course, we were hoping that this latest test would come back negative. However, this has been a long-term prayer of mine and will continue to be–realistically it will be there for the rest of Reece’s life. We have had some answers to prayer from God that have abruptly been “no” or “not now”. I have tried to resist feeling entitled to a “yes” after receiving some disappointing answers. In other words, “God, you said no to this, so now we get a yes on that.” I know He doesn’t owe us anything. In fact, everything really begins to feel like a gift–each moment, each smile, each day your child wakes up–things that normally are taken for granted. Still, I was so hoping that this test would come back negative and help sort of balance out the equation. God doesn’t work like that. Yet I find my mind getting into those ruts. I have to keep fresh on acceptance of whatever comes our way.
Additionally, I have caught myself many times thinking of my prayer life and what I do with it–how much am I praying, how exactly am I praying, how bold am I with God, am I praying faith-filled or doubt-filled, and so forth, as though it would change the way a prayer is answered. Again, what a brain rut this becomes. I don’t believe God is looking for some sort of formula in how I am praying. His answers have nothing to do with what I am doing or not doing–including frequency, type, or content of prayer. His plan is His plan. Yes, He wants me to ask Him in faith and to trust Him, but His plan is still in place. That is my personal truth in this; I know there are lots of varying opinions on prayer. This is what I have realized for myself–nothing more. Truth be told, my prayer life is very different right now than what it normally is, in that I have spent far less time in concentrated prayer and most prayer time in intermittent prayer throughout the day. I still try to do my devotional at night, but some nights I am so tired, I can’t help but just go straight to bed.
Three big things have come out of this change in my prayer time. First, it has highlighted how naive I have been to think that God’s faithfulness to me has anything to do with my faithfulness to Him. That goes for any situation in my life. Second, His answers don’t change based on length of time spent in prayer. Rather, I have noticed the less time I spend in prayer, the more I miss it. Where for most of my life, I thought if I wasn’t praying, I was somehow going to be forgotten by Him or punished in some way. I now realize that since I have spent more time with Him over the last several years, I miss not spending that time! He has become a trusted friend. The time not spent with him doesn’t change His devotion to me, but it highlights how much I miss Him. Third, the time I am not spending in prayer, doesn’t mean He hasn’t heard my requests. The Holy Spirit intercedes on this one and it is powerful. Much of the time I have had no clue what Reece needs here. Even the doctors are troubleshooting. God knows it all–he doesn’t need a diagnostic test to understand what Reece needs. Yes, the Holy Spirit is doing some powerful work in places we don’t even realize.
My whole realization through this (in my opinion, of course) is that God’s plan is His plan. Just like we are saved by His grace through faith, not by our own actions (Ephesians 2:8-9), so I believe we receive answers to prayer. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t ask, but His sovereignty covers everything. It has nothing to do with how many times I ask, what words I use, how I say something, if I am on my knees, or if I am praying certain prayers. He hears and sees the need, even if we can’t vocalize it or even realize it. I have been harder on myself than God has–he knows every thought rolling through my head. He knows every fear, heartache, painful moment, silent need. And He addresses them; He is near whether I know it or not.
The last piece I wish I had shared earlier in the week, because it was such a great experience, and it was in the middle of some very challenging days when it happened. These last two weeks have been incredibly difficult. On my drive home sometime this past week, I was listening to a song (Big Daddy Weave; Audience of One) and I felt so grateful to God. Truly. It seemed so strange to be in this painful place and all I wanted to do was praise the Lord! I am the kind of person who, when singing songs during a church service, something always holds me back from raising my hands, clapping, or really outwardly worshipping, other than singing the song. While listening to this song, I was overwhelmed with gratitude and I am pretty certain if I hadn’t been driving, I would have flung my arms wide open. Feeling broken down, I have found in this that it makes me so incredibly grateful to know that Reece has a powerful God who loves him, that we are not alone, and that every day we are blessed to be here and to have the things we are given.