As we started planning this MOPS year, I was really drawn to our game-related theme of Momsense – The idea that developing a mothering strategy is somewhat like playing a game. For example, you want to have fun being a mom! Playing games involves being bold and taking risks, loving those in the game with us and being sensible while figuring out what works and what doesn’t… just like being a mom.
But the part that really stood out to me was - Just as in real-life, sometimes in games, unexpected, “chance” events occur, abruptly changing our paths. We must regroup and determine our next steps. I want to share about an unexpected event that occurred in my life and how God has used it to teach me to trust him and to experience his love through those around me.
Two years ago, we received some news that has dramatically changed our family’s life. My youngest daughter, Leah, was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis. Cystic fibrosis is a genetic, life-shortening disease that affects her lungs and digestive system. The genetic defect causes Leah’s body to have thick sticky mucus in it. This allows infections to settle in her lungs and will eventually lead to lung disease. It also blocks her pancreas from releasing enzymes needed to process food that she eats.
Right now there is no cure for cystic fibrosis.
I still remember receiving this news and how devastating it was. But even in that, I feel God gave us his first gift. We now knew what we were dealing with. We had been treating her symptoms as if she had asthma and she was constantly sick as she was not responding to the asthma medications as was expected. But knowing what we are dealing with, allows us to treat her symptoms properly. Her CF doctor now jokes that we “cured” her asthma!
The next gift we received was an amazing outpouring of support and love from those around us. Family and friends were praying for us and encouraging us as we sought to adjust to our new normal. Part of this new normal is doing whatever we can to help find a cure for our precious Leah. We created a team called Leah’s Front Line for the Great Strides walk, an annual event to help raise money & awareness for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. Last year, we had so many people get involved, especially through this MOPS group. It was fun to see people on our team come up with creative ideas for fundraisers, like the Clean your Closet for a Cure garage sale (headed up by Stacey). So many people helped us raise money and even more donated to our efforts. Our team was represented at five different walk sites. Nationally, we raised over $20,000 all in honor of Leah! And our Joliet walk day was incredibly amazing. I was completely humbled when we had 100 people come out and walk with us. I can’t even put into words how it feels to have that kind of community coming out and physically surrounding us. I want to thank you as my MOPS group for being such a big part of that. You are truly a gift from God. Through your love and support I have felt God’s love in a very tangible way. I have been in awe to see the many ways people have stood by us and helped us fight to find a cure for this disease.
Probably one of the most significant gifts that God has given me came through a conversation with a pastor friend. Soon after Leah’s diagnosis, I was really struggling with how to pray for Leah. I had people asking me if they could pray over Leah that God would heal her of cystic fibrosis. I was having a hard time, asking myself if I don’t trust or believe God enough to heal Leah. In my mind, I would say that of course God can heal, He is all powerful and can do anything He wants. But at the same time, God made her this way. It is in her genetic make-up. This is God’s plan for her life.
Right when this was literally fresh in my mind, I ran into this pastor friend. As I shared about this struggle, he spoke some words of wisdom that I felt were straight from God. He reminded me in a gentle way that none of us know how long we will live. But we have the opportunity each day to live our lives in a way that glorifies God. Really that should be my prayer for all of my girls – that they would know and love God with all their hearts and that their lives would be pleasing to Him and glorify Him, no matter how long that life may be!
This gift from God has been one I keep coming back to. It is really a gift of perspective and focus. It helps me stay grounded and remember what is really important in life. It also helps me to live each day as if it is a gift from God that He has given us as a family to live for his glory!
God has been so faithful. He truly is good and gives good and perfect gifts, even through difficult times. I want to encourage you this Christmas season to look to God. He wants you to put your hope and faith in Him, trusting that He knows what is best and loves you.
Before Christmas, I had the opportunity to share with my MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) group a testimony of “Gifts from God” in my life. As this talks about how God helped us adjust to our new normal after Leah’s diagnosis, I wanted to start our blog by sharing this story with you:
God does truly know best and loves us deeply. We trust in his goodness and plan for Leah’s life. We also earnestly hope and pray for a cure to be found for cystic fibrosis. We pray for God’s healing and protection over Leah’s health. Please pray with us… May God receive all the glory and honor!
We are truly blessed. We want this to be a place we can share updates on how Leah is doing with her CF. As well as a place to share our hopes, dreams, and prayer requests. Thank you for loving and supporting Leah as she fights everyday to add more tomorrows.