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Trembling Hands

Hands

A Jon Post

For the second time in as many days I’ve held trembling hands in mine and given the news that all is not well.

Fingernails scratched against the concrete walls of cancer while her tears stained her face and I sat with an x-ray in my hand.

X-rays, ultrasounds, CT scans and scribbled doctors notes on paper all telling us that pain will only increase and rest will only flee frail bodies.

There I sat with an x-ray in one hand and her trembling hand in the other.

Last night a different hand but equally as precious lay limp in mine as I repeated the CT scan results about a 6 centimeter tumor eating at liver tissue and causing the growing pain in her abdomen. A cancer that grew with a placenta and a new life inside a swollen mothers belly took the life of that baby months ago and now gnaws at the mother’s liver splashing malignant cells around her body like dirty grey paint.

And her limp hand sat in mine while I pleaded internally with a silent God to give words where mine failed.

I heard none.

An ironic smile appeared on this orphaned-of-her-child mother’s face and she acknowledged the inability in our lungs and vocal cords to blow or shout against this cold wind that cannot be warded off with blankets and grows equally difficult to guard against with chemotherapeutic treatments.

Prayers fell in Portuguese like wounded sparrows from my lips and fell, splat, splat, splat, on this chipped tile floor in front of the bed we sat on.

This silent God once promised He cares for those sparrows and that not one of them falls to the ground unless He knows about it.

Maybe he caught the ones that fell last night but didn’t tell me.

The dark glass that we see through seemed especially dark last night as I hurled my prayers against it and succeeded in shattering only the glass yet not the darkness.

My wife picked up the pieces of this broken window of prayer and held them tight while finishing the plea to a Savior who weeps. I watched in silence marveling that, though so little light pierced through the hole where the glass once hung, how brightly shone that broken glass in the hands of a broken person.

We waited for I do not know what, sat and looked into frightened eyes, then put our children to sleep.

My daughter at bedtime thanked God for flowers and butterflies and in the same breath asked God to help the owner of those trembling hands to rest well. More shattered glass cut its way down my cheeks and I wondered if the faith of a child could be so much more than mine.

I live next to death like he could come over and ask me to borrow an egg or some flour or the soul of a sick friend, and yet each time he closes the gap between us only seems to make me more weary of his presence instead of accustomed to it.

I’ve never looked him in the eye myself but I’ve seen his reflection shining in the wet eyes of too many of my friends here.

And now his reflection looks back at me from two more sets of eyes.

Oh, Silent God.

Speak now.

 

He is Faithful

A Layne Post

My fourth-born daughter’s name is Selah Janelle. We named her that because it was a reminder to pause and reflect that God has been gracious. Sometimes when we are in a season of repeated loss, when bad news hits in steady sequence as waves crashing on top of sand bars, we need to put our emotions on pause, take a moment to breathe between sobs, and remember that God truly has been gracious. A couple years ago when I was doing a Beth Moore Bible study, she taught how God’s faithfulness fuels our faith. When we take time to remember His faithfulness in the past it gives us the ability to have faith for the situation at hand.

My family in the States has been going through a really difficult season, an excruciatingly slow tearing. And while the process of tearing is over, we are all left in shreds and in need of repair. We are desperately digging for treasure, attempting to find Christ in this pile of ashes. I hope in what I cannot even fathom to see right now, a future of redemption and beauty for all involved. I have to remember that God was the gracious Giver and Sustainer of life, and He will not abandon His children. He is faithful.

Also, the new year brought with it delays with the house, multiple mistakes to be remedied, relationships to mend, and a soul trying time of finding the balance between generosity and stewardship. Recently the project has felt like a burden on top of ministry with patients, and instead of a straight path to the top, a slow pace of tedious switch backs. And yet, when we find those moments to sit and remember where we have come from, the generosity and abundance of provision the Lord has poured out upon us is beyond evident. He  faithful.

Regarding our patients, we started 2017 with some painful blows, cancer growth for one, a second mastectomy for another, and a decision that the hospital cannot do more for another. The graciousness of the Lord has been found in doctor appointments that would have never been scheduled without the favor of the God, Chemotherapy arranged on a day anyone else would have been turned away, smiles emerging after the wiping of tears, and one patient going home cancer free. He is faithful.

Judite, patient still living with us

Helena, patient still living with us

Pulena, patient at home, cancer free

Falgeira, patient living at home

Please pray for my family stateside, the new Casa Ahavá, our patients, and our immediate family. We appreciate your love and support and are so grateful we do not do this on our own.

 

 

A New and Glorious Morn

A Layne Post

Christmas music started early this year. It has been difficult to muster up the holiday feeling, but I’m determined. Late November decorating, an extra early Christmas cookie exchange, classic Christmas movies playing in the background throughout the days…

Reality is we’ve been consumed by the building project, more so as it nears completion. Trying to keep things budget-friendly, Jon is personally doing/making lots of stuff. He is BUSY. My current house feels a bit like a warehouse. We hope to move in sometime between Christmas and the first week or so of January. I keep having to pause, shut my eyes, and imagine what the Lord has planned for the new space. It is going to be awesome. Really. Imagine my family, six people, plus possible twelve patients… the afternoon could mean our yard is full of eighteen people! In those moments, my heart leaps. Guys, the Lord’s favor and abundant blessing on every step has been humbling. He deserves all the glory and praise.

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In other news, the three patients that are currently with us have added such joy and pleasure to our family. They have each endured many disappointments with their health and it is obvious they are wearied. This is a weighty week, as we will receive some health news on each. Will you pray with us for some good news?

Also, we had the awesome privilege of Jon’s parents coming last week! They spoiled us rotten, showering us with love. It was such a good time to fill us up and give us the extra soul energy needed to finish this year out. The girls adored their grandparents.

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This morning I was reflecting on the song “O Holy Night”. I always love the part about the “thrill of hope” that the Christ baby brought to a weary world.

O holy night
The stars are brightly shining
It is the night of our dear Savior’s birth
Long lay the world in sin and error pining
Till he appeared and the soul felt it’s worth

A thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn

And though we may still feel wearied, we are living in the new and glorious morn! No longer do we wait for our Savior. He is no longer just a hope, for He has come! He is ours, and we are His! Such good news.

 

Dusty Shoes and a Copper Ring

A Jon Post

Here I am again sitting on this worn green bench in the shade of a 6:30 AM pre-summer morning. “Oncology Service” hangs written in red block letters on the large sign hanging above the door, announcing in stark honesty the tools used to hold back tides of uncontrolled, malignant cell division.

I’ve spent more hours in these halls than I can count.

Here weariness lays on beds like thin white sheets, bleached and stretched and covering sick bodies in its embrace.

Here joy is eked out like a spoon of sugar in morning tea poured in to cover the bitterness of the dark, hot liquid, but as of late, too often forgone because there is just not enough in this hospital to go around.

Here tears are the dusty shoes we walk around in… ignored, expected, necessary to walk these corridors of pain and medicine.

This morning those shoes are worn by an old man in a thin blue windbreaker. The morning is murderously hot and humid but he clutches his windbreaker tight against his back, pulling it taught around his heaving shoulders.

Today he wears these tired shoes along with the large copper wedding ring on the hand he is using to wipe away his own unrelenting tears.

The woman for whom he wears that ring had lain in a bed here in this Oncology Service under her thin, bleached weariness for the last several weeks trying to find some sugar to flavor her tea.

This morning the hours I’ve spent here lay heavy on me.

Psalm 56:8I’ve seen so many Creator-image-bearers wear those dusty shoes that I’ve forgotten how precious they are in His sight.

This morning the Angel of Death stung the wife of the image-bearer and he put on his shoes and wept.

I’ve seen those shoes walk these halls often, even worn them myself many times.

But I’d forgotten their worth.

Now a copper ring, because cancer comes to the copper wearers more often than the gold and platinum wearers, shines bright on a shaking finger.

A husband weeps on a rickety green bench for a wife stung by the reason creation groans for redemption. The Angel of Death came for the copper-wearer’s wife and offered him those dusty shoes to help walk these grey halls of pain. And I sit in witness of the shoe-wearer.

Too often I’ve forgotten how valuable those shoes are. I’ve forgotten my Savior wore them often. He wore them when he heard his friend died. He wore them when he prayed in a garden. He wore them when he walked up a hill.

We have His promise that he’ll take those shoes and burn them one day. But until then, they can help us walk these halls.

Updates

A Layne Post
img_9865Our Annabella has gone home to her two boys.
I miss her.
I miss playing hopscotch and singing kids songs, yelling “Meow!” at the end and laughing together. I miss her quick hands playing the equivalent of Jacks with stones. She was patient with my uncoordinated swipes and encouraging despite little improvement.
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I don’t miss her moaning because of mouth sores, or seeing her throw her head back and wince to swallow a sip of water. I don’t miss seeing her sip porridge because nothing else would go down. I am thankful the side effects to Chemo will fade, but we know the tumor will grow. Pray for the days ahead. Pray that she will be able to maintain some physical comfort. Pray for sweet memories with those she holds dear. Pray for a undeniable presence of Jesus, our Comforter.

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img_1141We also received news that Guedez, who was with us for the better part of last year, passed away in July. His brother has been out of the country, which is why he hadn’t been answering our phone calls. We had suspected his death, but the confirmation has allowed for some closure in our hearts. We loved him dearly. He won over everyone he encountered. Seriously, heart of gold. His smile and laugh were absolutely contagious. He suffered a long, long time. I pray he now knows a wholeness he never imagined possible.

Our patient Judite received news that she needs more rounds of Chemo. It was not the news we hoped for, but we are encouraged by the way her body is responding. Pray with us that the next couple of cycles are effective in ridding her body of cancer. Pray for strength of heart as she forges ahead. She has Chemo this week. A specific request is that they will be able to find veins to administer the drip. Her veins are so burnt up they struggle even to draw blood and she usually endures so many pricks.

Another patient, Falgeira, found out that her home up north was robbed and everything was taken. Pray for comfort and peace of mind and heart. Pray for justice. Pray that Jon and I know how to love and support her well in this.

As for happy news, the house is coming along so well and so fast. The Lord and His mercies have been astounding. We are humbled and desire that He receives all glory. We look forward to the unfolding of plans the Lord has for this property.

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Our Family Home + Hospice/Guest area

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New half of Casa Ahava

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Casa Ahava! (as best can fit in the picture)

Thanks for loving and praying with us. We really do cherish your support.

Don’t forget to check the “Pray” section of our website. It is updated each time we post here. Please feel free to ask us to pray for you as well.