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

Friday, August 9, 2013

Bracelets of Emotions

When we went to MD Anderson in Houston, they had counselors available to help parents and grandparents talk to children about their family member having cancer.  They gave us some great resources and an age appropriate book bag for each of the children.  In Misty, Jesse, and Justin’s bag was a stuffed animal to cuddle with and talk to, a treasure box to paint and put all their good memories in and emotion bracelets.  There are five bracelets.  There is a yellow one.  On the outside of it is a smiley face on the inside is written the word happy.  The red one has a heart and the word loved.  Blue has a tear and the word sad.  Worried is convey with a cloud and is on the green.  And a lightning bolt and the word angry on are the black bracelet.

Today we sat down with the children and explained that Jessica’s cancer has gotten worse.  That the medicine is not working.  They asked questions and you could see their eyes redden and tears begin to collect in them.  (I once told Jesse I could tell what he was feeling by the way his eyes changed.  He immediately went to the mirror and looked in it opening his eyes wider and turning his head this way and that way to examine them.  Finally he turned to me and said, ”My eyes didn’t change they are still the same color.”  LOL! He is so literal.)  You could see the emotions in their eyes as they flooded their hearts, minds, and souls.   

I explained to them that the bracelets were a way for them to share how they were feeling.   So I asked them to put on the bracelet that represented what they were feeling right now.  Jesse sat there and played with them but couldn’t decide what color to put on, what he was feeling.  Finally he choose black, anger.   A tear drop of sadness was Misty’s choice; but, Justin he put on green, blue, black and red.   I laughed and explained once again the purpose of the bracelets and told him to put on the one that said what he felt.  He looked at me with teary eyes and said,” I feel all of these things except the yellow one.  It is happy and I don’t feel happy right now.” Worried, angry, sad and loved!  A mix of emotions. 

Cancer is a devastating disease, not just for the toll it takes on a person physically; but, the emotional and spiritual stress it creates on a whole dynamic of family and friends is overwhelming.  A crisis or stress of any kind can do that.  It seems to bring out the best and the worst in people.  Not worst in the sense of mean or bad; but worse as in it seems to intensify everyone’s emotions.  Worry, angry, sadness, frustration, fear, doubt, and love are all amplified and mixed together.

We all had sensed Jessica wasn’t getting better.  She was still losing weight and still needed blood every two weeks, still feeling sick and nauseated.  We just didn’t want to hear this week’s report.   The disease has continued to progress.  The tumor in her kidney has grown by about 15% and there are spots on her liver and on her lung.  We had thought the medications were doing their job of slowing down the cancer and maybe it did.  But, the cancer is still every active and aggressive in her body.  Worried, angry, sad, frustrated, fearful, doubt……and love.

For years we have worked with Justin to teach him social skills, to understand emotions and feelings.  And now he understands them perhaps even better than we do.  We are a mix of emotions and fears even as we try to move forward and live life in a time of uncertainty.  Perhaps Jessica said it best, “Our God turned water into wine and fed thousand with some crackers and wine.  Let His will be with my life.  God is in control and I am confident He loves and cares for me in a mighty way.”  Loved.

We are loved, loved by God, loved by each other, loved by family, loved by friends and loved by the church.  And when nothing else can express what we are really feeling, when nothing else can convey our hope and confidence it is His love.  Love conquers all.  You are loved!

16  "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in
him shall not perish but have eternal life.
John 3:16 (NIV)


  1. I completely understand these feelings. We have lost my husbands mom and his sister at age 34 to cancer. Each day you feel lots of emotions. Happiness is there too, but sometimes all the other feelings are stronger. God is in control and we are praying for you all.
    Love, Tabitha Hunsucker

  2. I am so sad to hear the news that Jessica's cancer has spread so much. We who love all of you have been waiting anxiously for a new update. But we were hoping for yellow. She is in God's hands but as a daughter- sister- and a close friend I have walked in those shoes. God's grace will cover and enfold you but the walk is almost unbearable at times. Love you all. Our prayers are with you every step.

  3. We Have a sticker on our car that says "love wins". And I am confident in that promise made to us by our mighty God. One day all those fears, anger and tears will pass away and only the love and happy will remain for those who have been faithful. Praying for you and all the little ones.

  4. Sometimes words just won't come. This is one of those times. Wish I physically hold each of you in my arms and make this "go away". My prayer is that you will feel His arms around you and know that only He can give the comfort, strength and peace that each of you need right now.