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

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Building a Bridge of Hope

For Father's day, Jessica and her brother, Chad, decided to give their dad a beautiful Thomas Kinkade print.  Not an original painting mind you, (holy mackerel the price for one of those is more than our annual salaries); but, a beautifully framed limited edition artist proof. The week of Father's Day, Jessica was in the hospital so Chad went to pick it out.  As he walked around the gallery he found an Elvis Presley's Graceland painting.  He considered purchasing it.  His father is a huge Elvis fan. (I mean huge!  Our dog is named Elvis and Gene listens to the Elvis radio station ALL the time.)  Thankfully, it wasn't available!

Then he spotted "The Bridge of Hope."   It is from Kinkade's Bridges of  Inspiration collection.  Thomas Kinkade writes:

        The Bridge Of Hope is as stable as the massive granite flagstones that form
        its arch and will stand for as long as the quicksilver brook rolls down from
        the hills beneath it. A magnificent white dogwood, symbol of the purity of
        God's grace, shades the bridge. Its over-arching boughs remind us that, while
        we stand on the Bridge Of Hope, we are enshrouded by the loving embrace
        of our creator.
Instantly he knew it was the right one.  You see, what many of you may not know is that this has been an extremely challenging year for our family not just because of Jessica's illness.  In January, Jessica's father, Gene, was diagnosed with Early On Set Alzheimer's.  Later that month her sister, who still lives at home, had to have surgery.  In February, Gene had to have emergency neck surgery and we had to cancel a mission trip.  In March Jessica was in the Hospital, April she was diagnosed with Stage 4 Renal Cell Cancer, June she was in Houston and July she was back in the hospital in Newnan.(We have decided to skip August, September, and October!)

We have a very strong faith; but, life has a way of piling up.  There are more days at the end of the month than money.  You need a root canal and tooth implant.  Your boss just brought you in a project that is due in a week and you are suppose to go on vacation tomorrow.  The car is making a noise.  The kids are making noise.  The dishwasher has sprung a leak. The in laws are coming this weekend.  You are late leaving work and your kids have a ball game in twenty minutes.  Your parent's health is failing and you are beginning to wonder if they might have to move in with you.  And so it goes on and on and on....  You keep looking for a break but there doesn't ever seem to be one.  You try to find a way around the challenges until you realize the only way is to "get over it."  But, the "stuff" is so deep you would need a bridge, a bridge of Hope!

As I look at the painting it seems as if the brook begins in the clouds. It moves slowly and gently down the mountain as the light of God dances across it.   Ezekiel 47 says a stream of living water flows out from under the altar.  I imagine this stream beginning in the hands of God flowing out from under altar through the church and out into the world, growing in abundance as it moves.  It is lined by beauty as flowers blossom in vibrant colors.  Trees spring forth with graceful drooping leaves.  The pathway to the bridge shimmers with the golden light of God's love and it leads right up to the bridge.  The bridge arches over the tumbling stream to a place of promise and hope. 

We all need a bridge of hope, a person of Hope. "He is my safe place and my tower of strength: he is my God, in whom is my hope." Psalm 91:2   Hope is not wishful thinking.  It is confident trust.  We trust God! But, life has been getting in it's licks and we needed something to anchor us. To show us the shimmer of God's grace in our lives right now.  To show us that God is still working for a favorable outcome.  And, we may have found it this week!

Jessica's doctor has identified a drug trial for Jessica.  A drug trial is the concluding stages of the testing of a new drug regime for a specific treatment. In the trial, typically, there are two groups of patients.  Both groups receive the standard treatment.  One group of patients in addition receive the new drug regime.  The other group receives a placebo. (It is a necessary way of evaluating the real potential for a new medication.)  This trial in particular has already been going on for a little while and is showing great promise in treating and SHRINKING advanced renal cells.  This may be our bridge of hope. Jessica and Jason will be going to Augusta for an interview and evaluation to see if she qualifies for the program on July 24. If she qualifies she will be put on a waiting list.

You have been asking what you could do to help.  Here it is!  PRAY for this visit.  Pray that she will qualify. Pray that she will not have to wait to start the program.  Pray that she will get the medication and not the placebo.  Pray that it is a success! 

God answers prayers. He has and is answering our prayers.  We are thankful for all that He has already done for us and are confident He is continuing to work for us building a bridge of Hope.  He is building one for you too.  You will find it first in His word and in His presence. And in the people He has placed around you to "enshroud" you with His loving embrace.  Thank you for embracing us with His hope!


  1. Thank you, Sheila, so much for the update. We will continue to pray for your whole family and for the trial drug for Jessica. Susan Edwards

  2. That's awesome news!!!! I continue to lift YOU up that you are and will continue to be a miracle from GOD!!!! Much Love Jennifer Wilson

  3. Thankful for this. Thank you for posting. I will continue to pray for Jessica and ALL of you and will add these specific requests to the others!

  4. Today is the day, and God is with Jessica and your family. God is good!