I took my eyes off of her for a couple of minutes and my baby girl scribbled with a pen all over the page of my “Lord, I’m Torn Between Two Masters” study guide. Instead of getting upset with her, I simply jotted down beside her scribbles – “Eden’s first participation in Inductive Bible Study”. It was 2009. That study was so timely for me. When I joined the study, I was really struggling in my marriage. Being in God’s Word and applying it to my life and marriage was so transforming. My husband, Ronny, couldn’t help but notice the change in me. Our marriage was becoming restored and I was hooked on studying God’s Word. I signed up for study after study without a break for the next 8 years. I learned so much about who God is, but what settled deep in my heart was that God is always just and God is always good.
Eden is the youngest of our three children. She’s still “my baby” (even though she turned 9 in January). Our precious oldest daughter Evangeline, or Evie as we like to call her, is 14 years old. And then there’s our sweet middle child, our son Elijah, who is 12. I felt excited about this year. My family was planning to travel to Israel with my parents, and for the first time, all of my sisters were joining me in studying God’s Word together. All four of us sisters were part of a group of 16 ladies studying, “Lord, Only You can Change Me”, a study on the Beatitudes. My mom was also participating in an inductive study group at the same church on the same evening, so we would often linger long after the discussions were finished, enjoying some extra family time.
We were quickly approaching our trip to Israel, planning to depart on March 20. But on March 15, we received some devastating news: Eden had huge masses growing in her liver and on her bowels. We have since learned that Eden has B-Cell Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma. It’s a fast growing cancerous tumour that responds quickly to chemotherapy. She will be undergoing intense chemo for 13 weeks.
During that first night in the hospital, I wrestled with trusting Eden to God. All I could say over and over was, “I don’t want to lose my baby”. But by morning, I stopped wrestling and gave Eden to Jesus, no matter the outcome. I felt Him with me. I felt Him saying that whatever we went through, He would be with us. I realized that placing her in His loving arms was the very best place she could be. And at that moment, I felt a deep peace for the first time that hasn’t left me since. I didn’t feel angry at all towards God. I knew from all the years of studying His Word that He is always just and that His goodness doesn’t change, even though our circumstances do change. I could feel His love for me and Eden, and for the first time, I truly understood the truth of how “perfect love casts out fear” (1 John 4:18).
The next morning, my entire family was at our bedside. My mom told me that my 10 year old niece had been praying fervently for Eden the day before and how while she was praying, she felt she should open her Bible to Hebrews 4:16. The verse said, “Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need”. My mom’s faith and hope was written all over her face as she shared this. It was contagious. I began to boldly approach God’s throne and ask Him to bring us through this. My mom wrote the verse out on a large poster board and hung it in our hospital room.
Eden’s own faith journey has been beautiful to witness. Before this event, we had been daily singing the hymn, “Tis So Sweet to Trust in Jesus”. In the toughest moments of this ordeal, when my voice was too shaky to finish a line as we sang it together, Eden would sing it out where I left off: “Oh, for grace to trust Him more!” She prayed one evening as the nurses were struggling to get a blood sample from her. I watched on nervously as a nurse brought in three more syringes to make a final attempt. Yet Eden watched on with a confident expression. The third syringe drew blood. When the nurse left, Eden exclaimed, “I knew it! I prayed and said ‘Believe all things are possible’ then I knew the first 2 syringes wouldn’t work because the third one would be the one to draw blood!”
While we’ve been living at the hospital, my sisters have continued on with our ladies Bible study. They can’t believe how perfect the study applies to everything we are going through as a family! I am finally catching up with the study myself and am amazed at how reassuring His Word is to me during this trial in my life. The last chapter I completed was called, “Meekness in the Face of Sovereignty”. Psalm 131 really stood out to me:
“Oh Lord, my heart is not proud, nor my eyes haughty;
Nor do I involve myself in great matters,
Or in things too difficult for me.
Surely I have composed and quieted my soul;
Like a weaned child rests against his mother,
My soul is like a weaned child within me.
O Israel, hope in the Lord
From this time forth and forever.”
I cannot change my circumstances. So instead of trying to fight for control, I’m just trusting in my loving Father to carry me through. He is in control and He has gone before us and prepared us for this difficult time. Though Eden’s diagnosis took us by surprise, both my husband and I have been equipped to handle this trial because of knowing God through His Word. Deuteronomy 1:30 says that He has gone before us and that He fights our battles. We just need to remember that He is the One that carries us through. We can rest in Him.
I’m believing that Eden will be doing Precept studies in the future, but instead of scribbling in my book, like she did as a baby, she’ll be marking up her own. There is nothing more important in life than personally knowing our Lord and Saviour.