But now, O Jacob{Jessica}, listen to the Lord who created you.
O Israel, the one who formed you says,
“Do not be afraid, for I have redeemed you.
I have called you by name; you are mine.
2 When you go through deep waters,
I will be with you.
When you go through rivers of difficulty,
you will not drown.
When you walk through the fire of oppression,
you will not be burned up;
the flames will not consume you.
3 For I am the Lord, your God,
the Holy One of Israel, your Savior. Isaiah 43:1-3

Saturday, June 22, 2013

In the Hands of the Great Physician

Written by Jessica

This week Jason and I ended a thirteen day stay at the hospital. During our time there we encountered numerous doctors and nurses, techs, house keepers, pharmacists, charge nurses and support care staff. Each had their role and task in our care. They each used their skills and abilities to care for my needs. Doctors often consulted together; nurses dispensed medicines; techs cuffed me for blood pressure and kept the famous pink hospital jug filled with ice.

Now, no one role was more or less important in my care. Ultimately, each working together created a regimen that is managing my symptoms. For medical care I am truly grateful. Thirteen days was certainly tiring, frustrating and overwhelming, not to mention I missed my girlies. I have to remember though that we are blessed to be able to receive care and medicine as modes of healing and wellness. I am so excited to be home having had my medical needs meet. And I am grateful for the medical professionals who helped make that possible.

During my hospital stay I was also comforted by the sustaining verses found in Exodus 15:26 where God says, "I am the Lord who heals you," and Jeremiah 30:17, "I will give you back your health again and heal your wounds."  With these powerful words from scripture I recognize that while medical professionals have been gifted with knowledge and abilities to bring healing and while they have offered me care, (healing, wellness,) they are not the ultimate Healer, The Great Physician, or The Curer of of all Disease. 

In a recent conversation I with Dr. Assikis (our physician at Peachtree Oncology), his assistant, and Jason, I boldly asked the doctor a harsh question, one I thought I wanted to know the answer to. "For a person in my condition, for the stage of cancer that I am in, what is the life expectancy?" I anticipated lots of different numbers, 4 years, 3 years, 2 years. But, the answer was, "six to eighteen months." WHAT! The wind was blown out of me, the tears came deeply from within and my heart was burdened in deep chocking pain. Six months  to a year and a half, that's it. I know my cancer is aggressive. I know I am stage 4. I know that at this point tumors have not begun to shrink (while there doesn't appear to be any new ones (Praise GOD!)) I know that there is not a cure for Renal Cell Carcinoma. But a six months to a year and a half, that's all?

This is not fair. How can this be? Lord, are you sure? My doctor quickly reminded me that this is the average person. He said to me, "Choose to not be the average. Choose to let your faith lead you. Believe that you will be healed.  Keep the faith. Keep looking for treatments and trials, and new medicines with us; because, there is only one who knows the time frame of our lives."  And, Dr. Assiskis humbled admitted, "And I am not him!"

I have struggled the past few weeks with this new knowledge. Six months,  Twelve months, 365 days, 4,380 hours, 262,800 minutes, millions of precious moments, but, that’s not much time to make and save up a life time of memories that I want, that I thought I would have. I just knew I would prom dress shop with Savannah and Ella. I would hate their first boyfriends, and discipline them for their first speeding ticket. I would plan the most grandest of weddings. I would travel with Jason. We would grow old and fat together. And now, now, you are telling me my life expectancy is six months to a year and a half. What do I do with this knowledge?

How do I live in the reality of medical knowledge and the diagnosis of a doctor and yet in my faith and belief in miracles and healing and "All things are possible with my God?" Let me humbly admit that I am scared. I am mad. I am sad. I am overwhelmed. I feel alone and I wonder if I really have enough faith.If I have a only six months to a year, then you know, I want a plan. How can I do everything I thought I would have a lifetime to do in a year? But, what if I have more than a year?

God is a God of miracles...He is the Great Physician, I could be the above average person, I might not be the above average person. How do I not think every day, this could be the last time I do this? or that? How do I manage the feelings of despair I feel when Savannah asks me, "If I will teach her to drive when she is 15?" and I know the answer is no. Oh, I have so much to work through and to consider. What knowledge do I cling to, medical knowledge of trained professionals, or with faith that maybe they are wrong?!?!?

 As I have debated these questions I am reminded of the lyrics of a wonderful Casting Crowns song, "Already There."

From where I'm standing
Lord, it's so hard for me to see
Where this is going
And where You're leading me

I wish I knew how
All my fears and all my questions
Are going to play out
In a world I can't control

When I'm lost in the mystery
To You my future is a memory

'Cause You're already there
You're already there
Standing at the end of my life
Waiting on the other side
And You're already there
You're already there

And all the chaos
Comes together in Your hands
Like a masterpiece
Of Your picture perfect plan

And so in the midst of all my questions, in the reality of knowing I have a six months to a year and a half to live according to all medical knowledge and with faith in the Greatest Physician I am trying to remain trusting and thankful for a loving, omnipotent God who can see further than I can and who can and will "work all things together for my good." (Romans 8:28) I will trust that all the chaos will come together in His hands like a masterpiece.

As I do just that, I ask that you pray for me. For Jason and the girls, for my family and friends. We all are trying to process what we know in our heads and hearts. Support us please with your prayers, presence and love. I do not know what the future will hold, but I do know I am choosing to try to live abundantly, for my God has called me to to such! I will spend every moment I can with friends and family. I want to go out to dinners with friends. I want to go to a Braves game, I want to stay at the beach for a week. I want to take the girls to the Coca Cola museum, the Aquarium, Wild Animal Safari. I want to travel somewhere for a a romantic weekend with my husband. I want to eat chips and dip until I can't eat anymore. I want to be with friends. I want to worship with my family. I want to spend every moment I can with loved ones and friends.

Join me in this journey of a lifetime! I love you all and can't wait to make some wonderful memories with each of you. Call me!! Invite me! or I'll track you down! Pray with me and for me, encourage me, love my family, and together may we conquer whatever tomorrow holds.


  1. Jess you have always been above average in my book. Keep up the faith. Love from the Scroggs

  2. You have always been a BLESSING. You continue to be - at a monumental level! I pray for you every day - multiple times a day. I keep praying, and believing in a miracle for you.

  3. Keep the faith! I have walked that path except in the caregiver roll. Life and memories are so precious! I wish I had some way to encourage you.

  4. Jess,you are a Blessing to all of us-Keep the faith and hold tight to it-last time I checked our God was still in the business of miracles!! Love and praying for you all-the Doughties

  5. You are a very special person I can tell by reading your story. I can not tell you I know what you are going through, because I don't, but I can tell you that I know the God that you are serving and I believe in miracles because I am a walking talking miracle. The Lord brought me through a serious time of depression that had me in the hospital for about three weeks, one week for tests of every kind and then two more weeks in psychiatric care. It was about six years after that before I was completely out of my depression state of mind. I thought I was going to die but God had other plans. Did I have faith at the tme that I would ever be better, NO!!!!! but alot of other praying, full of faith Christains did. I praise God for them. I just want you to know, let other men and women of faith carry you if you have to, but "DON'T GIVE UP!!!!!!" Don't give up on God or yourself. I love you, my sister n Christ. I am praying for you.

  6. You have GREAT FAITH. My oldest sister was 51 & found out she had pancreatic cancer, it had already spread and was around her aorta, she was at a Great Hospital, But she had FAITH, SHE BELIEVED, and she told me "I'm in a win win situation, God's going to heal me and I'll be a witness to MANY of God's healing powers or I go home to be with my Lord & Savior, walking the streets of Gold, Praising HIM for eternity." I found that so strange to be THAT STRONG. But like you she was strong in her belief in GOD. She did make it 18 mos. and they were WONDERFUL months for her. She and our daddy are together now. And WE KNOW IT. WHAT BETTER THING TO KNOW. The PEACE it has given the rest of the family and the hope that one day we will be reunited again. Keep your FAITH, YOU CAN BE HEALED. "It's a WIN/WIN situation".......Many prayers sent to you and your family!!

  7. I don't think I have ever heard such a scared but abundantly determined lady, Jess, I am so proud of you, take that stand of FAITH, and do ALL the things you mentioned you want to do, I believe God has this, and his will shall be done. Spend lots of time making memories for yourself and your family, like your Doctor said he is not the time maker.
    My most gracious heavenly Father, I lift Jessica up to your mighty hands tonight, Lord We don't know your plan for her life, but I pray Lord that you heal her, and if that is not your plan I pray that you will allow her to do the things she wants to do, touch her Lord with your marvelous Grace. In your almighty name I pray, Amen. God Bless You Jess

  8. I was so blessed by this and I am praying for you and your family Jess. I pray The Lord's Peace upon you and your family in Jesus' name. Amen

  9. What an amazing and inspiring testimony! Our family will lift you and your family up in prayer daily. Please keep fighting and believe in earthly healing. Your attitude of defiance against this beast will surely lengthen that time span. Make tons and tons of precious memories. The entire community is rallying behind you and your family.

  10. You are an AMAZING and PRECIOUS woman whom God, the creator of the heavens and the earth and you, is clearly with. His Holy Spirit shines like a radiant star in your words. His thoughts and ways are above ours and not always well understood, but His promises are CLEAR, as in Isaiah 41:10 "Do not be afraid, for I am with you. Don't be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand". Amen. May you feel all the love that is coming your way today and every day... a great admirer and friend of Susan G. Richard

  11. Sending prayers and healing thoughts to you! I am a childhood cancer survivor, and stories such as yours continue to move and inspire me and remind me of how fortunate I truly was to "make it out alive," and to always remember those who are in the midst of the battle. I will keep the faith that all will go well for you!
    Love and Blessings,

  12. Not knowing you but having read your story, it seems to me that you are not the normal person this diagnosis would apply to. Keep the faith and H e will see you through this for much longer than anticipated. My thought and prayers are with you and will remain there. Much love, Carole.

  13. God bless you and yours, dear young woman. May He hold you in the palm of His hand and fill your days with joy and abundance until you are home with HIM.

  14. Jess, Miracles happen everyday. Keep the faith and know you have many people praying you get your miracle. Your faith is inspiring and your words certainly put things into perspective. I wish you all the best and will say a special prayer for you, Jason and your girls today.

  15. Dear Jess, I'm so humbled. I sit with a 92yr old woman two days a week. She gets up each morning wondering why she's still here. She's mad at God because she wakes up each morning to the birds singing, the sun shining, a full day ahead of her. I tried encouraging her for the longest time. Be grateful, I would say. There must be a reason, I would tell her. I finally stopped. It was like beating my head against a wall.I will be sharing your story with her. Thank You for encouraging ME! I love you.

  16. The Prayer of the righteous is powerful and effective. James 5:16 NRSV
    Jess I will keep you in my prayers and thoughts.

  17. You are in my prayers. Thank you for you open hearted sharing. God may be doing miracles right now using you as the voice.

  18. Heartfelt healing thoughts and prayers sent your way and prayers for strength for your family and friends. So glad you have family and friends who surround you with love and care like a favourite blanket from childhood. Dr. Assiskis is a gem and surely must have been sent by God to lead the war against your disease.
    Thank you for writing and sharing such a moving and heartfelt testimony and keep on fighting the good fight.

  19. Sending up prayers for you and good wishes to you.
    -from a Claymate

  20. God is with you. Emmanuel.

  21. Jessica, thank you for pouring your heart out to those who know & love you. This took much courage to put on paper but we all know already that you are a woman of faith, strength & courage. Sometimes in life we, as individuals, know just the right way in which to respond. Other times we find ourselves searching for just the right words. In this moment, we can only promise you our love, our unceasing prayers and encouragement as you travel each step of this journey. You are the example of those words we hear so often, i.e., "None of us knows what tomorrow holds." Many think that miracles are a thing of the past, but we know better and that is what we will pray for in Jesus' name. At this point, it is all in God's hand and we know He will hold you close as you take each step and you will have the love & support of many prayer warriors in your camp. In His Love, Fletcher & Faye

  22. Dear, dear Jessica. I am praying for you every day, and for your family. I pray for strength and grace; I pray fro a miracle with all the hope I can muster. I am grateful for your faith: http://betweentheinterruptions.wordpress.com/2013/06/10/the-rubber-meets-the-road/
    in his peace, medi

  23. Jessica,

    Do all of those things that you wanted to do. Life is short which is a different time frame for all of us. You are blessed, as they say, God has a plan for you. We just don't know the details of his plan at this time. Stay strong, live life to its fullest and keep a positive attitude.

    Love and prayers from Uncle Donald & Aunt Pat

  24. Jessica and Jason, I am praying everyday that you both will feel God's presence unlike ever before!
    Brenda Clifton
    Newnan, Ga.

  25. Bless you Jessica. Bless your family. And Bless God that He has a plan for you that we as mortals can't understand. Keep living your life to the fullest. Miracles DO happen. You are a beautiful person and I pray for a miracle.

  26. I can't image wiser pastoral words than those given you by Dr. Assikis, Jessica. From what I can see, you are definitely above average. Expect a miracle, and never question the extent of the Father's love for you and yours no matter what happens. We are holding you up in prayer at New Covenant Church.

  27. Dear Jess,

    I was inspired by your story and your wonderful courage. Keep up the faith and I'm sure your time will go much much longer. Sandy

  28. Praying for you, your family, friends and medical team. You have been blessed to have a doctor who shares your faith and openly speaks of it, that alone is beyond average.

  29. What a powerful post, Jessica. I admire your determination and truly believe that you are waaaay above average. If Anita could tell you one thing it would be what she told me regularly - live life and not cancer. Whether you have six months or 60 years, don't waste a moment. None of us knows what the future holds but we do know Who holds the future. Praying for a miraculous healing!!

  30. Jessica, you are far above average. You are the most determined, courageous lady I know. I pray God will continue to give you strength. Each day I pray for you and your precious family, and that God will provide a miracle. Love and Prayers, Laura Spaller

  31. Jessica,

    In John 11, when Jesus heard his dear friend, Lazarus, was ill, he told his disciples that this illness wasn't about death but about showing God's glory. In fact, he tarried until Lazarus was four days dead. He could have saved Lazarus's sisters, Mary and Martha, their agony of loss, but he CHOSE not to. Was Jesus being cruel? We know better, don't we? We know that he was teaching Mary, Martha, his disciples, the other Jews present, AND US the greater lesson: horrible things will happen to us and to those we love, but we must continue to proclaim God's goodness, mercy, love, grace, and salvation. Jessica, it's my belief that your illness is not about death, either; it's about showing the greater glory of God. How God's glory will manifest itself in you can already be seen by your beautiful faith in God's purpose. And just like with Mary and Martha, Jesus weeps with you now(and with those who love you), but his glory will continue to manifest itself through you forever and ever.

    Love, your daddy's cousin Deborah

    1. This reminds me of the Bible passage pf the many parts of the body and how each one has its purpose. Everyone who has entered your life has a purpose which will be revealed in His timing. You are touching many lives. I too have been a caregiver. God loves us and gives us just enough strength to carry us through each day.His will be done because His timing is perfect.

  32. Mark 11:22-24. Keep the Faith! Our prayers continue for you and your family.

    A sister in Christ at NFUMC

  33. We are praying for you Mrs Jessica! Stay strong. If anyone has a chance to receive a miracle of healing, it is definitely you. You are so deserving and the most faithful woman I know. You are very inspirational for sharing your story with others. <3