They are so, so dear to us. We met at church. They always sat somewhere close to us and eventually we said "Hey - come over for dinner some night!" and a beautiful friendship was born. We do lots of hanging out, sharing meals, and loving on each other. They are the ones that took Madison and Jason to Peru. They have helped us financially over the pat few years in ridiculously huge ways. They have shared our burdens and we have shared theirs.
Now, we have certainly been blessed by them financially - but the greatest gift they have given my family is the testimony they have right now facing the newest trial in their lives.
Colby was diagnosed just weeks ago. Days before he graduated from his residency as a pediatric ENT he had his first symptoms. What an earth shattering revelation. And yet, the testimony these two have is amazing. The very first night Emily and I talked on the phone (the day after they got the results) she was so obviously being divinely held. She gave me all the details and told me all her fears but she could not have communicated more clearly their greatest desire was to bring glory to God and advance His kingdom with this cancer. We cried. We prayed. And she talked as if they had been given this great gift. I mean, who does that? These two.
There is SO SO SO much more I could say about these two precious friends and their commitment to Christ and to encouraging fellow believers but this post will be epic long as it is. I have ended this post by copying just one of the letters they sent out to friends. Please read it. Please share it. I really have never cared if people are reading my blog but I desperately desire that people would read this letter.
We spent our last evening wih them last night. They treaed us to chocolate fondue at the Melting Pot (boy do they love me or what?!) .
Dear Friends and Family, July7, 2011
Thank you all so much for your sweet prayers and words of encouragement. We are now three weeks out from our initial discovery of Colby’s brain tumor and it is a joy to be able to share with you how faithful God has been. Because of God’s tender mercies EVERY day, we have hope and are continuing to trust that this circumstance will be for our good and for the glory of Jesus Christ. “So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison” (2 Corinthians 4:16-17). Many of you did not receive our first email explaining the details of how we learned of Colby’s tumor. If you have any questions after receiving this update,please don’t hesitate to ask. We are both happy to answer any questions you may have.
Over the last few weeks, we have watched God provide so abundantly. When we needed time to simply celebrate life, we had the opportunity to do so with both of our families as we celebrated Colby’s graduation from residency 2 weeks ago. When the emotional battles were tough,your phone calls, hugs, emails, and texts came at perfectly timed intervals. When we needed to hear from God, he has shown himself powerful in his Word, the Bible. He has led us to so many helpful passages in our daily readings, sermons online and at church, and through many of you who reminded us of passages to study.
We have been overcome with the immeasurable value of Christ in our lives. “Because your steadfast love is better than life, my lips will praise you” (Psalm 63:3). His love is worth living for, and is even more valuable than life itself. It is that Love that has carried us, and is what awaits us in even more awesome clarity after this life. And we have this assurance not because of anything good we have done to deserve a reward, but because of Christ and the free gift of grace He offers to anyone who just trusts in Him. It is Colby’s absolute desire that each of you know Christ in this way before he leaves this world. There would be nothing that would give us more joy in this life. In fact if anyone is unsure of his eternal security or would like to talk to someone about starting this relationship with Christ, Colby would like to talk to you personally, anytime, night or day. You may email him directly at ____________ or call his cell phone at 405-XXX-XXXX. You may also call or email Emily if you would be more comfortable. (friends- message me if you would like to get in touch with Colby or Emily)
We have also been reminded that this battle is not our own. Each time we made plans to fight the next step, God was one step ahead of us and showered us with a new blessing. When we thought our next steps for finding the right neurosurgeon would be difficult, God gave us two excellent options – both in Houston and in San Francisco. Both neurosurgeons called Colby personally and were very kind and helpful. We have prayed through our options and have chosen to move forward with the surgeon in San Francisco.
Though we were initially hoping we would be traveling to San Francisco this week for a consultation visit, from his standpoint, there is nothing the surgeon could gain from examining Colby in person that he could not gather by telephone or from his MRI. In fact the 2 telephone calls and several email communications with him have more than answered our questions and concerns. He confirmed that the tumor is almost certainly a low-grade glioma and is located in the part of the brain called the insula. The great news is that the neurosurgeon expects Colby to have a nearly 100% chance of being alive 10 years after diagnosis based on his published data, though we maybe battling recurrence by that time. He also has published data that shows <2% risk of serious complications (such as paralysis on one side) in his relatively large experience in removing tumors from this area. Because this is a slow-growing tumor and Colby feels so well,we have the luxury of time and ability to schedule a surgery at a mutually convenient time. Colby’s surgery will take up an entire operating day and the surgeon would not be able to do anything else that day, so it is understandably difficult to find a day with that kind of availability. At this point we are waiting to hear from him with possible dates for surgery, and hope to hear this week. We will send another update when we know our travel dates.
In the meantime, please continue to pray for the following:
1. Healing. God is able to heal in ways that doctors cannot. We know that is one way that God could glorify Himself, and we are asking him to remove the tumor before the surgeon can even get to it. However, we know that is not the only way God can glorify Himself in this and we trust in His perfect will for us.
2. We are still looking for ways that Colby may be faithful to this calling and not waste his tumor. He may have one such opportunity this coming Monday that we are excited about. He is open to sharing his testimony and the gospel in any format or event.
3. That we would have news about surgery date soon. Though not urgent from a medical standpoint, many things in our lives are on hold until we can get this part behind us.
4. Multiplication of time to read, study scripture, and write for both Emily and Colby. The lessons we are learning in these days are priceless and we want to meditate on them and record them for us to look back on and give God the praise He deserves.
Again, it is our privilege to walk this road together with your support. We will send updates as they come and are grateful for your love and prayer. If you wish to be removed from this prayer list for any reason, please don’t hesitate to let us know. We won’t be offended at all. Also if you know anyone else who you think would like to hear from us and pray for us, we would be happy to add them to this list.
Emily, Colby, and Jireh
Romans 8:16-17 "The Spirit bears witness, along with our spirit, that we are children of God. And if children, then heirs--heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if we may suffer with him that we may be glorified together."