The September theme for our social media and blog posts is devotion/faith. Gina Craun and her family experienced the ultimate loss, but through it all maintained their faith and devotion to each other and to God. See where it's brought them in the following blog post by Gina.
This was my 3 year old daughter's bold and unquestioning response when I asked her what she learned in her class while I was in service one Sunday. I laughed and asked her what she meant and, without even looking up from the sucker she was trying desperately to unwrap, she informed me, “They said that Jesus lives in my heart… so I think right now He’s cookin’ in there.”
And you know what… I can’t disagree.
When our oldest son, Cainan, was 2 years old he was playing on the floor with his cars and seemed a bit sluggish. When I felt his body burning up again, with yet another fever that month, we took him to our family doctor to get some antibiotics. Little did we know that within 24 hours we would be packing overnight bags and be admitted to the closest children’s hospital. Within hours, our world was turned upside down and the word “leukemia” entered our daily vocabulary. Because of the strength his specific type of leukemia possessed, chemo alone was not going to be enough. We began prepping for a bone marrow transplant. A transplant that our oldest son at 2 would be receiving and our youngest son, at 11 months old, would be donating bone marrow for.
During this time I began an online journal. It was my goal to find God’s plan and purpose in each day and each step of our journey and share that hope and light with others. I found such encouragement in this because… you see what you look for. And I wanted to see what God was cooking up for our family through this.
About 2 years after the bone marrow transplant, our son relapsed. We fought the leukemia even harder this time with newer treatment options and again our son beat the odds. However, at age 7, when he had just started his first grade year, he developed a brain tumor that would, in about 6 months time, end his battles here on earth and bring him to his healthy heavenly home.
Not all ingredients are enjoyable alone or uncooked. I would not just pick up a raw onion and take a bite. But if you trust the cooking process, trust the chef, in time it all comes together and makes a delicious finality. I will be honest, I did not like every step of our journey. There were, and still are, many days of tears and anger and questioning why. There were a lot of times I did not see how these things that were so hard to swallow would come together to make anything resembling even “good”. Do you know what I found? That my faithfulness in the daily little things lead to my ability to overcome the big things.
Here is my recipe for success when overcoming trials:
Train yourself to see the good in each day, especially the bad ones.
Look for the good in those around you and find ways to positively impact them.
Because I clung to God’s truth during each of those trials, because I trusted in His greater purpose and plans for our families future, today I see my family living in that hope and future God plans and promises. Our organization, Cainan’s Purpose, works to help connect when it is most important by donating LEGOs for families going through treatment at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital.
Whatever you are facing, whatever you encounter, just remember “Jesus is cookin’ in there!” He’s not done. He has a plan and a purpose. If you faithfully see it through… He has a masterpiece waiting.
If you would like to read more of Cainan’s story or support Cainan’s Purpose of encouraging and building up children and their families as they go through cancer treatment by providing Lego sets as an opportunity to disconnect from the hospital and connect with each other, please visit CainansPurpose.org.
Lavern & Ronda Nissley are co-directors of Encompass. Married since 1978, both enjoy coffee, riding their tandem bicycle and working together to build strong relationships.