Sunday, December 27, 2009

I Want To Be A Separatist

Merry Christmas to all of our friends and family who so faithfully follow CJ's story here in the blog we have kept for him since he was diagnosed with cancer back on September 2008. We are so grateful that so many continue in steadfast prayer and encouragement for him and our family. It is your love, encouragement and willingness to help carry our burden that has enabled us to extend that care and help carry the burden for others going through this.

I pray that somehow in all the business of the season, the demands for your time and energy, and the temptation to get caught up in the routine of it all, you were able to remain focused on the only lasting gift we will receive at this time of year. One of the things I reminded my kids this year on Christmas morning right before we set out to wake up the baby and begin our Christmas morning routine and eventually tear into the presents awaiting them, was that every gift they were about to open would eventually ruin. Most would be gone by the end of the year even.....broken, lost, rusted, replaced. But the true gift of Christmas....The fact that God sent His Son to earth in human form to live and die for us would never ruin. It is ours to keep...forever!

I had personally lost focus of the joy of that gift as I was overwhelmed by pain from the loss I had recently experienced. I was focusing on what was taken from me and continuing to be taken from so many families I continue to meet that I had to cry out like the Psalmist, "Restore me to the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing Spirit to sustain me." Psalm 51:12. And He did that by providing families for us to serve. It wasn't what I expected when I asked for joy, but I realized quickly it was exactly what I needed.

Last year at this time, CJ was so freshly diagnosed and we were still so uncertain of so much of our future, that I remember just staring at him as he opened his presents and thinking 'what if this is his last Christmas with us.' I wanted to engrave that morning on my heart and mind forever. I would never have dreamed that it wasn't CJ I would lose within that year, but my father instead to a tragic and premature death. I would never have dreamed that the Lord would use those experiences one year later to allow our family the privilege to serve other families facing that same deep pain and fear of losing someone they love.

The Lord brought two families to our attention. One we met in Orlando back in September on our family cancer camp trip. You may remember seven year old Andrew Broomfield from a previous blog, who is currently on hospice at this stage in his battle. He is at home awaiting the healing that will come, whether it is here on earth through a miraculous healing, or in Heaven when he stands healed before the Lord. Then, the week before Christmas, the Lord brought us a sweet 5 year old little girl named Mackenzie who has just experienced a relapse of cancer to her lungs that has left her with minimal treatment options available. Thankfully, I was reminded today that the Lord doesn't have 'minimal treatment options' available to Him. (Thank you Katrina for that reminder!)

We were privileged to be able to provide these families with Christmas gifts for their children as well as monetary blessings and gift cards we collected on their behalf through our non-profit organization we began back in the summer. What I thought was us blessing them really served to bless us and everyone involved in making it all possible. I saw it on the faces of the people who helped wrap, deliver and donate to these families. It truly is more blessed to give than to receive and you will never experience the blessing and healing that come from it unless you get out there and start giving so that you can receive.

On Christmas Eve our family drove to Lake Worth to deliver the gifts to Mackenzie's family. Her mother Sue asked me how I am able to do this while I am still going through it with my own son and I am sad to say I was so caught off guard by her question that I did not really have an answer. I think I mumbled something about it helping us focus on others instead of ourselves. But I have thought about that question a lot since then and the only answer is... The Lord! There is no explanation for what we have done. When I look back over this month He is the only explanation. My children and I have all been sick the entire time. Really sick! We have been completely heartbroken and grieved over the loss of Poppa Jerry. We have been through loss and pain that is overwhelming at times. Yet God still brought these families to us and asked us to provide for them and assured us He would provide the strength to do it. What I did not realize when He asked this of us was that it was a precious gift to our family and a part of our healing.

He allowed me to be sick so I would have to depend on others for help. As a large group of volunteers sat on my floor and wrapped presents for a few hours last week I realized I could never have done this alone. My head was so clogged I could barely think straight. It kept me very humble throughout the entire time. When I calculated all that came in for these families with one simple plea for help...I was overwhelmed at what can be done to help others who are suffering. Thank you to EVERYONE who helped make this Christmas a blessing for these two families. We are humbled and grateful to have been a small part of what you did!

Recently, CJ said something funny while we were driving back from an event and talking about all we had to do to meet the needs of these families and organize the gift collecting, wrapping and fund-raising. He was in the back seat and he said, "Mommy, I want to be a separatist for you." I asked him what he meant and he said, "You know, help with phone calls, and take notes and help you." It took a minute to realize he meant to say "secretary". We all got a laugh at that and then we reminded him what a separatist was and talked a little about the Puritans of the 1600's. Then it hit me that in many ways that is really what he already is. A separatist! I guess we are all separatists in God's economy. It's just a matter of sides. We are either separated from God by our sins or separated from the curse of sin and death through Christ.

"...remember that at that time you were separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near through the blood of Christ. (Ephesians 2:12)
"For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said: "I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people."
"Therefore come out from them
and be separate, says the Lord...
...I will be a Father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty.""(2 Cor6:17)

My little separatist will bring in the New Year with chemotherapy. That is right! He has a spinal tap, intrathecal, and chemotherapy on New Years Eve. We pray that all goes well and he is able to be home early enough to rebound enough to enjoy the evening with his family and friends. We are thankful for his continued progress and boldly ask for your continued prayers. CJ has been sick for some time now with a steady cold and some sporadic vomiting that we believe is related to the cold and not a result of the medicines or cancer. But we need him to get better so he can tolerate the chemotherapy and continue to fight the battle within. We desperately need overall healing in our home. We have been dealing with illnesses and severe colds since September.

As the new year approaches I can't help but look back at all this year brought into our lives. We are so saddened by the pain of loss we experienced this year personally and the loss we witnessed again and again in the world of childhood cancer. "Yet we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us." (Romans 5:2-5) I pray that no matter what you have experienced this year you too can rejoice in the hope of the glory of God! If you are able to do that, then you just may be a separatist too!

Stockings, Cards and Presents Collected for the hospital

Volunteers Wrapping for Mackenzie's family

Mackenzie with CJ and Allie and her sister Alicia

CBC and the Miami Dade Mortgage Fraud Task Force with Andrew

My beautiful babies on Christmas morning
CJ Corey Alibrandi and Brett


reta krukowski said...

You are amazing, your family is amazing. You write the most uplifting stories even when it isn't something that is uplifting. I love reading your writings.
You should write a book. You help us or me so much by your strong beliefs.
I am not good at writing. I lost my husband this past June to Cancer and my father and sister too and my brother is in remission. Reading what your write really helps me.
Thank you so much and God Bless you and your family and I will continue to pray for your son's healing.
Hugs and Prayers

Anonymous said...

I am so grateful and so proud of you, Dawn & Chris, and your children, for being willing to pour yourself out for the Gospel of Christ in service to others at a time when no one would blame you if you just stayed home and withdraw from the world around you. The hurt and pain you are suffering is deeper than most people will ever suffer in their lifetimes, and yet you continue to seek the Lord's strength and wisdom in all you do. Like Reta, I am amazed, and thrilled, and inspired to see such love in action! May God continue to pour out His Spirit upon your family and give you His peace! We are praying for CJ! We love you! Aunt Karen

Anonymous said...

Hi George Family, Just wanted to let you know that we put our Votes in for CJ I tracked the results daily. And That our Prayers keep coming. Sonya , Levi, and i always think about you . Happy New Year! and God bless. The Unverzagt's

ily said...

George Family have a blessed New Year!!!!! You will continue to be in our prayers. We love you guys,
The Figueroa's

Break the Mold said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Break the Mold said...

Thank you Reta and Aunt Karen for your kind words. But I must add.... The only thing amazing about me is that God would use me in any way to inspire or encourage others. I am not amazing...nor is my family...BUT the God we serve is AMAZING!

Here is a little confessional truth...."withdrawing from the world and staying at home" as you said, is exactly what I am tempted to do. Depression and attacking thoughts come knocking every morning. But I learned a secret long ago...the best way to defeat any kind of depression is to rebuke the lies with God's truth and then get busy serving others. It has proved to be true again and again in my life.
I am overwhelmed by what cancer has done in your life Reta and so many lives. I meet families like yours consistently who have multiple family members with cancer. Sometimes the mother and the child, both bald, going through chemo. It's dumbfounding.

By the way, a huge thank you to all who voted for CJ on the COLE foundation. He placed in the finalists somewhere and they mailed him a $100.00 check. So that is going right into the account we are keeping for him to help with his continued medical needs.

Thank you all for voting and for continuing in prayer for CJ!


Unknown said...

Thank you once again for keeping perspective in its proper place...focusing and trusting in the Lord. God uses this blog to reach and touch so many people in ways you may never fathom. Praying renewed strength, complete healing, unspeakable joy, and God's blessings for the George family in 2010!! Keep looking up! Happy New Year!!!

Always in our prayers,
The Helton Family

Anonymous said...

We continue to keep CJ in our prayers along with the CBC ministry. Thank you for faithfully keeping the blog updated so that we can pray effectively for CJ and your family. I pray CJ is home to celebrate in the New Year with his family and friends and that 2010 be a year that brings God much glory through your blogging, as this year's blog entries have.
Thank you for sharing your life with us and thank you for your steadfastness in Christ in the midst of what God has chosen for your family.
You are a great example to me.
Much love to you and yours!!!!
Happy New Year!!!!
Ody Fabregas

Anonymous said...

Dear Dawn and family,

We want to wish you a very very special New Year! May this new year be filled with peace and love. We continue to think and pray for all of you.

Lots of love

Nicole, Ana and Alberto

Anonymous said...

Happy New Year Guys. I love you all very much. I admire and adore each and every one of you, my amazing nephews, my beautiful, wonderful neice, my God driven sister, and my strong brother-in-law! I love you guys..

Love, Jacks

Wendy Whitlow said...

Hey Dawn,

I second what has already been so eloquently said. I also love your humble spirit in how God is using you.

I can't wait to see how God will use your family and you in 2010 to make a Kingdom difference. I'm guessing it will be of huge proportions! :-)

I'm hoping you'll partner with me and do a video blog in the near future. It would be an honor.

I will be praying for the healing of what sounds like much seasonal illnesses around your home. And of course continued prayer for precious CJ.

God bless you...and Happy New Year!


Anonymous said...

dawn i can't say it enough I am just so proud of you and all you do in the name of christ, and I KNOW your DAD is smiling down on you saying the same thing, he truly was soooo very proud of you love you so much

Anonymous said...

merry christmas and happy new year
to each and every one of you.
i too, am amazed at your strength,
and perserverance during such a
difficult time and all the your
family has had to endure. i think of you guys always, and you are all
in my prayers. thank you so much
for the picture of the kids, and for all your christmas presents.

love, aunt char

Anonymous said...

Dearest Dawn and Family,
You All Are such an Inspiration!! I think about you Every day! Your strength shines through your eloquent words and you express your feelings so Beautifully!! In the misdt of frustration and sadness, you are able to see the Light and Shine your Light on the world! Thank you for sharing your journey of Hope and Bravery and Determination and Love! Wishing All of You a Very Happy, Healthy, Peaceful New Year! I learned too that Giving is True Happiness. Please Let me know what I can ever do. I am Always here for You and Your family! Your Extremly Large Family of millions who are blessed to know you and are Always with you!
All my Love and Blessings,