I ended up in about a 45 minute line outside in beautiful weather. I put on my sunglasses and Chris's i-pod he sent with me and hit play. I closed my eyes and entered into an amazing 45 minutes of worship and prayer. I cried the entire time! I think the gentleman behind me must have thought I was taking this election thing way too seriously. The tears just came and fell endlessly. I desperately needed this. I was struggling with this release of emotion. I used to cry my eyes out every morning on the way to the hospital and every evening on the way home. All the time spent waiting and being still at the hospital allowed the tears to come easily. But ever since we got home I have struggled with letting the tears fall. I have felt them come to the surface but they stop short of leaving me as if they are determined to stay a part of me. The couple opportunities I had to attend church and spend time in worship also afforded me this release. But ever since CJ's blood levels began to drop we have been unable to attend.
Unfortunately, I rarely find myself alone. No matter how early I wake, the baby seems to wake with me. If I am in the car, there is usually at least one body there with me. Having a young toddler never allows for much down time during the day. But God got me alone in the line to vote that morning. There was nothing to do but stand there and seek Him. I prayed and repented and surrendered and worshiped. Thankfully for everyone around me I worshiped silently. But God heard. I even had to check myself a couple of times to be sure I was not singing and praying out loud. It was as good as any Sunday morning service I have ever attended, except in this instance I stood out like a sore thumb. I was swaying and nodding and bowing and even found my hands leaving my side at one point. Thankfully, I had to hold the i-pod with one hand and was able to shove the other in a pocket to contain it. My eyes would open and I would realize there was a 15 foot gap in the line where I hadn't moved forward because my eyes were closed. I would be embarrassed and scoot up and tell myself to keep my eyes open but they would close and it would all happen over and over again. I kept telling myself not now, this is not the time but it didn't matter. God said it was and who am I to judge His timing.
At one point, Chris called to check on me and he could tell I was really struggling. He had been praying when I left because he was also struggling all day with emotions and couldn't quite get right. Quite honestly, we were both struggling with some circumstances that had come to our attention this past week and how to process them. That is what makes this encounter so sweet for us.
another line for her mother who was physically unable to stand in line for any large amount of time. This immediately made me think of how I tried to talk myself out of coming and standing in line due to my circumstances. I felt this strange desire to tell her but thought it would be crazy to say anything so I just listened to them chat about how she felt it was so important that she was willing to do this. The push to say something to her became a burden. It was incredible. It was like someone was shoving me at her and I was saying 'hold up, wait a minute, let's think about this'. I was having this internal dialogue about all the reasons not to say anything but before I knew it, the words came out of my mouth.
I said to her, " I have something I want you to share with your sister." I paused as she turned to look at me. I remember thinking this was really crazy and it was going to sound insane but instead of stopping like common sense told me to I continued to say, "Tell her that the lady behind you in line today just found out 2 months ago that her 9 year old son has cancer and standing in this line was one of the hardest and most embarrassing things she has had to do, but she did it because she knew it was the right thing to do." All of sudden her eyes get HUGE. I mean HUGE! And she locks eyes on mine and she says, "My son had cancer when he was 6 years old. Aggressive, Stage 3, Large cell Lymphoblastic Lymphoma." Yes, that is exactly what she said! Not only is that a rare cancer but it is the exact cancer CJ has. My heart starts racing. I don't know what to say, I am stunned. In that moment of silence in between her words, I feel fear begin to creep up to the surface from deep within because I am aware that what she says next is going to really affect me powerfully one way or the other. I want to know but am afraid to ask so I just stare at her. I think she senses this and she grabs my arms, squeezes me and says fervently, "he is 22 years old and alive and well."
I felt the tension I bottled up in that moment release and I said something really profound like, "Oh, that is so good to hear, thank you for telling me." She looked at me and said, "You know it is not by chance that you are in this line." I knew that, but I also knew that she did not know I had just spent the past half hour crying and surrendering this whole situation to Him again. She could not know I was praying and worshiping and crying out to Him. She did not know I was seeking some confirmation that we were on the right path. But God did. He heard me. And he met me right there in line to vote. At this point, I am being called in to vote and she tells me her name and says she will wait outside to pray with me when I come out. I must tell you that I know I walked in and voted and bubbled in all the little circles but it was all automatic. My mind
was consumed with what just happened. I wasn't even able to digest it or properly thank God yet because it was all so fast and impossible. I kept thinking how I stood behind this lady for 45 minutes. Had I not said anything and just minded my own business I would never have had this encounter. Even if I would have engaged in small talk it may have never happened. What is the
likelihood of this happening? Please understand that even though it seems like cancer is everywhere, childhood cancer is extremely rare. Only about 12,000 children in the United States get cancer every year. That is really a small number in the overall population. And it narrows immensely when you are talking about the exact cancer CJ has which is not as common a childhood cancer. It just baffled me! I kept thinking, what are the odds? But I know that when God is involved in anyway the odds are perfect!
So I voted and came out and there she was with her Bible and some scripture ready for me. She shared some verses with me and a little about her experience. She said some things that only God and Chris could know I asked of Him. She shared how important it was to know he is God's child and to surrender him to God. She said that God loved my son with a perfect love. I just sat and listened to her, nodding. I thanked her and said my good-byes and drove home. I only live a block from the voting precinct so that did not give me much time to process it all. I walked in and told Chris immediately I had to share something with. I sat down across from him and told him this whole story just as I shared it with you and he cried and prayed with me right there. We thanked God over and over. That is when it finally sunk in God's amazing gift that day. He was reminding us He is in total control. He is Sovereign. He will meet you wherever you are; even in a line to vote.
UPDATE ON CJ:
CJ has been doing well this week. He was quarantined most of the time because of low blood counts. Today we did sneak him out for a little fresh air. It is extremely difficult and physically draining to think through every decision you make, every breath you take, every thing you touch and person you see. Everything is weighed against some ultimate unseen force. Balancing it out with faith and wisdom is a difficult balance to keep at times and yet we have to press on each day and try not to second guess every decision we make.
He has been feeling well and in good spirits overall. He cried because he overheard me say a lady who has little money sent $3 for a bracelet. I did not know why he was crying so I asked and he said he felt bad for her and couldn't believe she would send it for him if she did not have much. He is so gentle in so many ways.
CJ and I will rise early tomorrow (Thursday) and go to the doctor to have his CBC's drawn. Please pray for good counts. Then we will head over to the hospital for an overnight admission. He will be put to sleep and have a Spinal Tap to check his spinal fluids and inject chemo directly into the spine. Please pray for clear spinal fluids. He will receive some chemo through his port, be monitored overnight and then released on Friday to come home and receive home health chemo for the remainder of the weekend. Please pray for Gods favor on the procedures and staff we receive and our ability to see beyond our situation and reach out to others.
Note: We were sent home after having CJ's CBC's this morning because his counts were too low and he was unable to receive Chemo. He will be taken of all chemo for a week to allow his body to recover and bring his counts up and we will start again next week. We are thankful for this time for CJ's body to rest and recover and build strength. We will wait and pray for elevated counts and protection against infection.
Due to our circumstances Chris and I are looking for an affordable, safe, used family car we can purchase as a second vehicle. We realize we have two years of this and we need to have a second car to go back and forth for doctor and hospital visits. Planning our visits has become a burden without having another car. When one of us goes to the hospital with CJ the other is stuck at home with three kids and no way to transport them anywhere or to get to and from the hospital. If anyone knows of someone selling a used car in decent condition please contact us. We don't have the time to do the searching right now but are praying that someone will know of one that we can purchase.
Thank you for your prayers,
The George Family