Wednesday, February 6, 2013


I am incredibly grateful for modern technology. I kid all the time, "Can you imagine if we were pioneers??" 

Just the other day when we were experiencing weird weather here in Arkansas, I told Brenda (my mom-in-law), "Can you imagine if we were pioneers? And we were just making our way West in a covered wagon, and in the morning it was sunny and sixty degrees and in the afternoon we're looking at a tornado, and the next day it's nearly freezing... There would be no meteorologists or weather updates to tell us what to expect..." 

It's a silly example, but the reason I think about these things is because I am so grateful for the technology in my home and the technology that is being used to help and educate people.

This morning, however, I was specifically grateful for FaceTime. My mom (Janet) and I were able to look at and talk with each other via FaceTime while we unloaded our dishwashers, tidied our kitchens, and ate breakfast. And, it was wonderful to get to look at my mom's pretty face while we got our days started. 

My brother and sister (Paul and Katie) all agree that one of our most FAVORITE things about our mother is her smile. If you've met Janet, or even seen a picture of her, you know exactly why we think this. Her smile is contagious and beautiful, and I honestly think that is what God's smile looks like. Full of joy and happiness and love. And when you see that smile, no matter how you feel inside yourself, you know that love and peace exists somewhere in this universe, because it is there on her face.

24+ years ago when God decided it was time to bring me into the world two weeks earlier than my parents expected, my dad (Randy) was out of town interviewing for a new job. Mom was staying with her best friend Roxanne. They'd been best friends since high school. And, like the stuff that inspires movies, when the cardiologist delivered me not 20 minutes after getting to the hospital, Roxanne was right there by her best friend's side.

Growing up, we used to giggle at our mom because whenever she'd be talking about Roxanne she always called her "my best friend Roxanne." And we'd laugh, because we knew Roxanne. I think Roxanne has always just been that special to my mom, that my mom wasn't specifying to us which Roxanne she was talking about (to this day, she's the only Roxanne I've ever known), she was being endearing. Because Roxanne wasn't just "Roxanne," she's her best-friend. So, to us, Roxanne has never been "Roxanne" she's been, "our-mom's-best-friend-Roxanne." To us, she's not just a lady that my mom's been best friends with forever. She's so special to us as well, that we've each adopted and added that term of endearment to the front of her name when we talk about her.

Roxanne has always reminded me of superwoman. She has always been fit, and healthy, and in very good shape. I remember one time, when she visited us as kids, noticing her arms. They looked so strong! She's beautiful, and confidant, and like my mom, has a smile you wont forget.

One morning, late last summer, I was talking to my mom on the phone as I was driving to work, and Mom asked me to pray for Roxanne. She'd been having this pain in her back and was going to the doctor that day. 

None of us expected the news we got when the test results and scans came back...

I'd taken care of patients with pancreatic cancer before... I knew what it looked like, and I knew about how long those patients made it.

The night we found out, my sister and I sat on our beds, states apart from each other and cried into the phone as we prayed over our-mom's-best-friend-Roxanne. 

My mind kept telling me that Roxanne probably didn't have much time left with us and to be prepared. But my soul knows the power of my Creator. And my soul knows that the answers and projections we get from modern technology aren't always right. As a matter of fact, while most patients newly diagnosed with pancreatic cancer only live for a few weeks, it's February now, and Roxanne is starting a new treatment this week.


I painted the top of a shoebox over the weekend and hung it over our desktop in the office. It's a verse my good buddy Isaac frequently encouraged me with while we were trudging through nursing school.

Moses said this to the children of Israel when they ran into the Red Sea and Pharaoh's army was coming after them. It didn't look so good for the Israelites. I mean, an army behind them, a giant body of water in front of them. They were so scared that they actually said to Moses it would have been better if they'd just stayed back in slavery, because now they're going to be killed. They didn't need modern technology and a mathematician to figure this one out. 

And, God responds to them, "Why do you cry to Me? Tell the children of Israel to go forward." (Exo 14:15).

They're looking at a HUGE body of water, Pharaoh's army is getting closer, and God tells them to "go forward." (I bet a couple dry humored Israelites started laughing at this point, "Good one, God.") But, God tells Moses to lift his rod, stretch out his hand, and divide the sea into two parts. So, he does.

"So the children of Israel went into the midst of the sea on the dry ground, and the waters were a wall to them on their right hand and on their left." (Exo 14:22)

So, amazing, right? They're being chased, and then there's a big obstacle with no way around it, God PARTS THE WATER SO THEY CAN WALK THROUGH IT, I mean, that would be good enough right there. But, God does more! The Angel of God is actually there standing behind the Israelites like a wall protecting them from the Egyptian army (Exo 14:19). AND THEN... He actually sabotages their chariots and tells Moses to stretch his hand back over the water. When he does, the water returns back to its original place wiping out the whole Egyptian army (Exo 14:24-27). 

Can you imagine what the Israelites' faces looked like? I mean, at the beginning of all of this, when all of the data told them they were going to be killed, Moses said, "The Lord will fight for you," so they shouldn't have been too surprised. Right?

No matter what the data adds up to, or the tests say, or the scans show, our Creator is the same today as He was that day when the Israelites, standing on dry ground had a wall of sea on their left and a wall of sea on the right. And, as I look at my little shoe box painting, or the smile on my mom's face through my iPad, I cling to the fact that matters more than anything - my God loves me so much, that He'll do more than I can expect Him to. He'll even fight for me. 

So, we're praying and expecting that a day will come, very very soon, when all test results and all scans say "The cancer is gone." Or as Dietrich Alb says, "The cancer is killed." 

This week, as we stand up to cancer, I stand up for my-mom's-best-friend-Roxanne. AKA Superwoman.