We are going to Duke Children’s Hospital today. We will be there at 7:00 a.m. and I’m not sure how long we will be there. It doesn’t matter. We could stay an hour or two, or if they need us to, we will be there until 9:00 p.m. It’s the Children’s Hospital annual radiothon. Seven years ago this month, we made a trip to Duke on a Friday afternoon.
In looking back I guess I noticed that something was “not right” around Christmas. Normally any 6-year-old would have been bouncing off the walls, but McKenna took a nap halfway through opening her presents. She just seemed to be so tired. A few days later she was at a friend’s house and had a nose bleed. Not just any nose bleed, but one that wouldn’t stop. I called her pediatrician the next day, a Wednesday.
They drew some blood and sent us home with an antibiotic and instructions “not to worry.” So I didn’t worry…until Friday.
On Friday she went to school and I went to work. Around 1:00 in the afternoon I got the call. It was her pediatrician. She asked, “Where is McKenna?” I told her that she was at school. The doctor said, “Go get her right now. You need to go to Duke Hospital, they are waiting for you.” She said, “We think that McKenna has leukemia. We just got her blood work back and she has no platelets, no red blood cells and very few white blood cells.” I didn’t know what half that meant. I don’t remember much of the conversation beyond the words “leukemia and they are waiting for you at Duke.”
We walked into Duke Children’s Hospital at 3:00 p.m. They ordered more blood work and we waited. The clinic emptied out, and we waited. At about 6:00 she came back in and said that McKenna’s blood work was concerning and they wanted to do a bone marrow biopsy. Now.
So they applied some cream to her hip, and started an IV and gave her some medicine to keep her calm. They put a Disney movie in and they let me hold her hand while the doctor took the marrow. I remember watching her place something so small, but a part of my baby, into a tube to be tested and being so scared. And then we waited.
We found out that night that it wasn’t leukemia but we knew we had a seriously ill little girl. For months, every Friday, we spent at Duke getting blood drawn and waiting to see if her platelets had started trending upward again. She was diagnosed with aplastic anemia and her life changed completely. No more learning to ride her bike, no more trampoline, no more gymnastics. No more running and playing. No platelets meant that she could bleed internally just from a simple fall and she could get very sick over something very common, like a virus.
A few months later her doctor asked if McKenna could go to camp. The hospital provides camp for a week, free of charge, to patient’s that wouldn’t normally get to go to camp.
My six-year-old, critically ill child, going to camp??
Her doctor assured me that she would be with her and would be keeping a very close eye and honestly, we just didn’t know if she would ever have the opportunity again.
Eventually her platelets started to go back up, her red blood cells and white blood cells increased. We still have go to Duke to have her bone marrow checked and blood draws but right now, she is doing great. I still get apprehensive if she seems overly tired and I tend to be a bit over protective, but that’s our normal.
Today though, we get to go and tell a bit of our story. We get to talk about how much Duke Children’s Hospital means to us and how much we love Camp K. We get to help raise money so that the kid who is walking into Duke today and entering into a new normal can learn camp songs, make friends and bank memories to hold on to while they wait for the next bone marrow biopsy, the next CAT scan result, or for the next blood draw.
The medicine is important, the research is important, but the memories last forever. Thank you Duke Children’s and thank you Camp Kaleidoscope for giving us the memories to cherish for a lifetime. And thank you Bill, Lynda, and Vanna and all of the volunteers at 101.5 FM for doing the radiothon and helping the kids.
So if our story has touched your heart consider making a donation today, for McKenna and all the other kids who have a new normal that they live with every day but for a week each summer they get to go to camp and be “just a kid.” This overprotective, extremely grateful mommy thanks you.
I tried to be obedient when I was growing up. I listened to what my parents said and obeyed (most of the time). As a young child I obeyed out of awe and some amount of fear (they were bigger then me) and as I became a teenager I tested the boundaries and in some respects flat out disregarded my parents instructions. I was radically disobedient. I didn’t understand that my parents were on my side. That other then God my parents loved me more then anyone and that they wanted me to be happy. They were old and old-fashioned and didn’t understand what it was like to be me. And yes mom, you were right, I do understand now that I am a mom.
Obedience means to obey or the willingness to obey.
Radical is “departing markedly from the usual or customary, extreme”.
Moses and Noah were both radically obedient.
John the Baptist was radically obedient.
Mary, David, Saul/Paul, Timothy, Stephen, Mother Theresa, Billy Graham,
Matt and Martha Fry, all have been radically obedient in their own time.
Matt Fry was willing to be radically obedient to our Heavenly Father and Martha, his wife, was willing to be obedient to her husband’s calling and vision. They both trusted God completely and it was through that obedience Matt and Martha opened a door for hundreds of people to come to know God and to understand salvation and redemption. Because Matt was willing to obey God’s instruction for his life, even if he didn’t understand it, God, through him, is able to reach people that would still be walking around in the dark, lost, and in despair.
I know this to be true because I was one of the lost. My husband and daughter were surrounded in that darkness as well. Did we know what was missing at the time? No. Did we have any idea a little over 3 years ago that we would be making the changes and taking the steps we are today? No, not in a million years. But you know what?
God knew that what was once woods, and then a field growing tobacco and cotton, would one day be a house where Christians would be planted and would grow and here, 10 years later lives are being changed, impacted, marriages restored, children and grandparents giving their lives to Jesus, the harvest is ripe.
Is our church perfect? No, thank God, if it was, they wouldn’t let sinners in and then it wouldn’t be a church, it would be a country club, and I don’t get to love my Jesus at the country club. If perfect is what you are looking for you will not find it in ANY church. But what you will find in churches that are living for God are people that are radically obedient. Not just in the church that I love, but in churches all over the world, God’s cool like that, He can be everywhere at once, as long as He’s welcome.
Are you obeying the call God has placed on your heart to become radically obedient? It can start small my friend. Saying yes to daily quiet time. If you have never had that with our Father, then this is radical obedience. Are you faithful with your tithe? Giving your tithe, first fruits, for a lot of us that is radical obedience. Are you serving at your church? Opening a door, helping with the children, parking the cars, these are all forms of obedience and if it is stepping out of your comfort zone, then my friend it is radical. And once God sees that you will be obedient to Him, then what He asks will stretch you and you will grow and you will be working WITH God to further His kingdom.
Not everyone is called to start a church. Not everyone is called into the mission field.
Everyone is called to be obedient. Make it radical and see what God will do.
Thank you Matt and Martha Fry, thank you staff and leaders, and volunteers at C3 church for opening a door, pouring a cup of coffee, giving a hug, saying a prayer, singing a song, and just wrapping your arms around every person that walks through the door. Because you each have said “I will do it” God’s love is growing and touching lives in ways you will never know this side of heaven. All because you were radically obedient to Him.
I have heard that a lot in the past few weeks. Satan has whispered it in my ear. Friends that God has put into my path, people that are hurting or have made mistakes, stumbled and even fallen, they too cry out, “I am not worthy of God.”
And they are right.
None of us are worthy of God. Not one.
Mother Theresa was not worthy of God. Billy Graham was not worthy of God. John the Baptist, the 12 disciples, Mary or Moses, none were worthy.
(25As John was completing his work, he said: ‘Who do you think I am? I am not that one. No, but he is coming after me, whose sandals I am not worthy to untie. Acts 13:25)
No matter how great, no matter how small. No matter if we cure cancer, fix the national deficit and balance the budget, feed every mouth, shelter every body, and adopt every orphan.
It still won’t matter; we won’t be good enough.
How good we are makes no difference because we cannot be good enough. We will always mess up. We will always fall short. Which is why we need Jesus.
I have a debt I owe. It’s more then I can ever repay but Jesus has paid it in full. There are so many people walking around who cannot put their head around that. They doubt their salvation, they doubt that God could love them, they don’t believe that He could love them. But this is a lie that Satan has planted in our heads.
It is impossible to grasp the enormity of our God because we believe that God views us as we view each other. God doesn’t work that way. You need to take Him out of the box, break down the walls and open up the door to your heart.
Think with me for a minute about a person in your life that you love. Just picture that person standing in front of you. It could be someone living or dead, a child, a parent, a spouse, but just one person. Think about how your heart fills when you think of that person. Think about how much you miss that person if they are gone, how your heart hurts if they have passed. Taking this journey right now might be painful, but it’s important, because my friend, no matter how much you love that person you are thinking about, GOD LOVES YOU MORE.
Think about that for a minute.
And then accept it.
It is simple, but it’s not easy, but I promise, it is worth it, and so are you, through Jesus.