Saturday, September 26, 2015

Looking Up

As I've searched for an eloquent way to update all of our amazing supporters, blog readers and prayer warriors, I've struggled to find words.  While the surgery went better than expected, the past two weeks of recovery have been filled with challenges.

The surgery itself was incredibly successful in removing all visible cancer in my abdomen.  Praise God for answering the thousands of people praying over my surgical teams and operating room!  We are so grateful to each of you for praying.  It is unbelievably encouraging to know that friends, families, prayer groups and churches across the world were praying on September 9th.  I was blown away that people who didn't even know myself or our families were committed to pray and that friends/family of ours who shared that although they weren't typically prayer people, they were choosing to faithfully pray.  The genuine awe and excitement on the faces of my surgeons post-surgery points to God's miraculous guidance and healing hand during surgery.  Thank you for praying.

I was so focused on pursuing peace going into the big surgery date on September 9th, that I was quite caught off guard by the challenges of recovery that followed.  Aside from my body adjusting to the loss of so many items in my abdomen, more than I can even recite, my left leg has significant nerve damage.  This likely happened as a result of a combination of factors; the epidural, 12 hours of lying flat in surgery and the invasive surgery itself.  I cannot feel my leg from my hip down to mid-calf. My physiotherapist believes these nerves will eventually regenerate after 3-4 months of using a walker.  Trying to walk for the first time after surgery was humbling, my family cheering as I took one measly step with my walker and two nurses helping.  I'm slowly making tiny progress each day. Please pray for complete healing of my left leg, while praying that I'd find a way to glorify and trust Him despite this setback.  

These past two weeks have been the most difficult in my life.  The "patient in affliction" portion of my Romans 12:12 verse has become all the more real and challenging.  My personality is to set goals, achieve them quickly and then set new ones.  I am not patient, but boy has this recovery demanded patience when I make tiny progress one day and then experience new setbacks the next.  There were moments in the hospital and after moving into my parents' house last week that I just felt so discouraged by the whole situation.  

It is in that place of discouragement and uncertainty that I've been reminding myself of Hebrews 12:2, "fix my eyes on Jesus." Why would this be helpful amidst suffering?  How would looking to Jesus make the reality of these challenges any easier?  The answer is this: He knows suffering.  I'm struck by God's relentless love for mere humans.  In love, He experienced the mockery, betrayal, shame and physical pain of dying on the cross.  He is no stranger to suffering, pain and discouragement.  And it is because of His suffering that we can have faith and life.  It is because of His suffering that I can not grow weary and lose heart.  It is because of His suffering that I can run with perseverance the long road ahead.

He's not a god detached from human experiences and emotions.  He's not a god eager to rule with an iron fist.  God, who created the universe by spoken word, chose suffering.  In doing so, He chose relationship instead of vengeance in response to our rebellion.  I don't know of any other religion where the god chooses suffering out of love for humanity.  The humility and unconditional love demonstrated by Jesus' death on the cross is my ultimate source of hope and joy.  As I experience some of the darkest moments of my life, I will continue to fix my eyes on Jesus because He knows suffering and He loves me.  Praise God!

"Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, 
let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, 
and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.  
Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, 
who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, scorning its shame, 
and sat down at the right hand of the thrown of God.  
Consider Him who endured such opposition from sinful men 
so that you will not grow weary and lose heart." 
- Hebrews 12:1-3


  1. Julia, we are all praying for you. The successful surgery is a blessing, every step forward is Jesus trampling the enemy. Keep your eyes on him and you will find an abundance of strength to lift you out of the hard times. We love you very much.


  2. Julia ... I cannot even begin to tell you how much of an inspiration you have been to me throughout this trial that you are going through. In Kingdom Kidz we are teaching the children that "God created the world and everything in it for His glory". Your struggles and how you have responded to them glorifies God on so many levels. You are an object lesson in how to glorify God amidst times of pain and suffering. Thank you again for your transparency and faithfulness. You are so greatly loved and prayed for constantly. Diana

  3. Hi Julia,
    What a great birthday gift to hear from you.
    I am watching your journey, hearing from Glenda how you are doing, and praying for you and your family.
    You are a strong, compassionate woman, and we are with you every day.
    Love, Deb Anderson

  4. Ohhh Julia, this is such a welcome surprise after 2 weeks of obsessive compulsive praying! It is so clear that even though being Christ is far better, God needs you here, I mean we need you to encourage us and bless us in the years to come! Someday your journey will fill our shelves and we as your crowd of cheering witnesses will scramble for your autograph as living proof of His ability to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we can ask or think! I continue to pray often throughout each day for you and count it an honor to be a profit sharer of what God is doing in you amazing and miraculous journey. "He is faithful who promised"

  5. Our whole family continues to pray for you and Andy. It's so good to read an update. Thanks for sharing your heart and your thoughts with all of us, and we will continue to join so many others in praying for you and cheering you on with each step you take. - Mary Catherine

  6. You have been on my mind and in my prayers so much and it is good to hear from you with this update. I'm sorry to hear about your leg nerve damage and will definitely pray for that healing as well. You are facing this battle with courage that can only come from God. May the prayers of thousands continue to hold you up and support you during these difficult days

  7. Julia you are a remarkable woman! Praising God as you go through challenges after the surgery! You are an inspiration to so many of us and we continue to lift you up and pray specifically for the feeling to return in your leg and complete healing in your body.And also praying for patience as you go through this journey, ( I can so relate to that one, as patience is not my forte either!) Sending hugs to you and Andy! love sharon and pierre xo

  8. Dear Julia and Andy, Julia, we are praying for you, Andy, your family and friends during this difficult time and during this trial of all trials! "Saviour, He can move the mountains, our God is mighty to save, He is mighty to save." We pray for your strength, energy, and for God's almighty love and protection to be poured over you in abundance. xoxox Love, Gayle, Einar and the Einarsson family.

  9. Julia, ( we wanted to share this poem with you ) Love Gayle, and Marilyn Todd ( my mother )

    The Master Weaver's Plan

    My life is but a weaving
    Between the Lord and me;
    I may not choose the colors–
    He knows what they should be.

    For He can view the pattern
    Upon the upper side
    While I can see it only
    On this, the under side.

    Sometimes He weaves in sorrow,
    Which seems so strange to me;
    But I will trust His judgment
    And work on faithfully.

    ‘Tis He who fills the shuttle,
    And He knows what is best;
    So I shall weave in earnest,
    And leave to Him the rest.

    Not ’til the loom is silent
    And the shuttles cease to fly
    Shall God unroll the canvas
    And explain the reason why.

    The dark threads are as needed
    In the Weaver’s skillful hand
    As the threads of gold and silver
    In the pattern He has planned.

    -Author Unknown

  10. Dear Julia and Andy,
    Thank you for sharing so honestly and humbly about this most difficult diversion in your life journey, and your "confidence in our all powerful, all loving God." I am sorry to hear of your pain and cries. Your focus on scripture for hope and daily strength is a great reminder to us all. Like Proverbs 37:23 "The Lord makes firm the steps of one who delights in Him" is precious , along with the Lord's great compassion to our cries as you note in Lamentations 3. I am praying for you both, in your day to day struggle....with your suspended lives .... and praying that there is miraculous healing happening within you. I will pray that you will be able to experience God's goodness, peace and hope this Thanksgiving holiday. I pray also that your leg and mobility is improving. David Jeffrey


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