"Our family will base our success on one thing...our impact for the Kingdom of Christ." -Rick Burgess

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

The Battle

No one has ALL the answers to why the hard days come.

We just know that they come.

Some more frequent than others.

Some, seemingly unbearable.

All, at least, uncomfortable.   

Life as of late, has been identifying a little too closely with the life of Job. It leads me to wonder… Just how much sadness can one human heart hold? Is it even possible to gauge that? If so, I think mine would be a good case study. I know several hurting souls that would qualify.

Every day that we draw breath on this earth we are in a battle.

No one is exempt.

We all have our daily positions on the battle field. Our family just happens to be on the front line right now.

The question we have to ask ourselves is this…

Are we equipped to fight?
Full Armor of God

Adapted from Dr. Charles Stanley


One of the best habits you can develop is putting on the Armor of God every morning. This is spiritual armor, so you put it on by faith. The way to explain this is to walk you through a routine I follow every morning. I’m sure there are other ways of putting on the Armor of God. Paul didn’t leave directions. The main thing is that you put it on! It goes like this:

Good morning Lord. Thank you for assuring me of victory today. By faith I choose to follow Your battle plan and to prepare myself according to Your instructions.

To prepare myself for the battle ahead, by faith I put on the belt of truth. Renew my mind to what is true. Fill me with truth. Expose in my heart the lies that I am tempted to believe. The truth is that You are a sovereign God who loves me and cares for me. The truth about me is that I am Your child – bought and paid for. Nothing can separate me from Your love.

By faith I put on the breastplate of righteousness. Today I am committed to doing what is right. I pray that I would be known as one who does what is right regardless of what it costs me. Allow the righteousness of Christ to shine through me today.

By faith I put on the sandals of the gospel. I am available to You. Use me in the lives of others. I pray that in my conduct and speech I would accurately represent You. Make me a calming presence everywhere I go.
I now take up the shield of faith. My faith is in You and You alone. Apart from You I can do nothing. In You, I can do all things. Everything that comes against me must come through You, for I am in You. As you walked without sin on the earth, live without sin through me today.

By faith I claim victory over whatever I may face. When I face these trials and temptations, remind me that the victory has already been won.

By faith I put on the helmet of salvation. Thank You for saving me. Thank You for forgiving me. Thank You for sending the Holy Spirit to live inside me.

Holy Spirit, I surrender my will to You today. I surrender my thoughts to You. I choose to take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.

Last, I take up the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God.

Lord, I go now rejoicing that You have chosen me to represent You to this lost world. May others see Jesus in me. May You send your angels to guard me in the seen and the unseen. Cause Satan to flee as Your will is made manifest in my life. AMEN.


Today Kelsie continues her battle as we travel back to Birmingham for another MRI and new round of chemo.  
She has thoroughly enjoyed her break at home these past few weeks.




She’s divided her time between our house and her second home in Pollard. Her best friend has been on the front lines fighting a battle of her own. She and Kelsie have spent their time together in battle and they are wounded and scarred.  God is using their friendship as a balm to heal them.  

We ask that you remember Kelsie in prayer tonight. At six o'clock she will be having an MRI. We will meet with the oncologist tomorrow at noon to get the results. We are praying and believing for a clear MRI. She will start her second round of chemo tomorrow night. She will take this five days each month for a year. Please continue to pray that her body tolerates this medicine well, and that she has no side effects.

As I said…

Hard days come.

Some days it’s hard to even breath.

BUT...

“But the Lord stood with me and strengthened me, so that the message might be preached fully through me, and that all the Gentiles might hear. Also I was delivered out of the mouth of the lion. And the Lord will deliver me from every evil work and preserve me for His heavenly kingdom. To Him be glory forever and ever. Amen!” 2 Timothy 4:17-18


Tracey

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Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Always Hope

For the past month or so I've been trying to wrap my mind around everything that has taken place in our lives. It's like time stopped then someone hit fast forward and now here we are. Here on the other side of surgery. On the other side of diagnosis. Here in treatment. 

I've come to a conclusion.  

The reason I can't wrap my mind around this?

Because who can ever wrap anything around something God-sized? 

Every detail of the past 42 days has been God-sized. 

I'm humbled by the fact that God gave us the strength and vision to see His hand at work. 

The last 42 days have been filled with more grace, mercy, and love than one would expect a lifetime to bring. God has shown us His love in more ways than we could ever explain, but one way that has been abundantly clear is through 
you all. Your love and generosity has been overwhelming. 

Normally people would say they thank their family AND friends, but to us, we consider our friends to be family. So we say thank you to our family. Our church family, our Sunday school family, our school family, our work family, and our friends that have been around so long they are just automatically family. You all will never be able to fathom the depth of our gratitude. 

Now a little about Kelsie...



Kelsie is doing great!! She is at day nine of thirty in her treatment. She's feeling good and has had no side effects whatsoever from her treatments. Each night at 8:30 we administer her chemotherapy pills. We pray over these pills before she takes each dose. In addition to the chemotherapy, she has radiation treatments. For the remainder  of her treatment she will go radiation at 10:20, Monday through Friday. We ask that you would all remember her in prayer at these times each day. We know, without a doubt, that the faithful prayers of our fellow believers are being heard. God is answering, and Kelsie is the proof of those answered prayers. 

Even at risk of leaving someone out, I want to publicly recognize a few people to whom we will forever be indebted. Huge thank you to Sarah Anne Fountain (for being a great PR person), Mattie White, Kate Smith, the entire Pollard-McCall family, Michelle Lee and Sandy Emmons (and all their worker bees), Mandy Frith (for letting us take over her house), Catawba Springs Baptist Church, CSYG, the best Sunday School class of all time, and of course, both of our families. 

We pray that God continues to change lives with Kelsie's story and that He continues to get all the glory for her healing. 

Living in His Hope,
Tracey
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Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Praise




God is continuing to overwhelm us with his grace and mercy.

Kelsie's MRI was clear!

Yet another  thing going in our favor.

Another step forward.

She will begin radiation tomorrow. This will last for thirty days. Over the next six weeks we will be  praying  that Kelsie has NO ill side effects from this treatment. We pray that it will be the tool that God uses to heal her completely. And by completely we mean FOREVER.

"This I recall to my mind,
Therefore I have hope.
Through the Lord's mercies we are not consumed,
Because His compassions fail not.
They are new every morning,
Great is Your faithfulness.
The LORD is my portion, says my soul,
Therefore I hope in Him!"
Lamentations 3:21-24


Standing on His promises,
Tracey
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Thursday, April 30, 2015

An update...


As most of you know, on April 10th our daughter Kelsie, had surgery to remove an egg sized tumor from the left occipital lobe of her brain. The surgery was successful and Dr. Rozelle was able to remove the entire tumor intact. Kelsie had surgery on a Friday, and was able to return home on Monday. For the past two weeks she as been home recovering beautifully. She is no longer suffering from headaches, vision loss or stomach issues. All huge praises!

After surgery, Kelsie’s tumor was sent to pathology to be studied. Last week her report came back showing that her tumor was malignant. The tumor was labeled a grade four glioblastoma with rhabdoid features. Gliobastomas are typically found in adults not children. The rhabdoid features of her tumor make it extremely rare. There are only twenty-five reported cases of this type of tumor in children.

The treatment plan for now includes six weeks of radiation followed by some form of chemotherapy. They must eradicate all the cancer cells so that there will be no new growth or spreading of tumors. The tumor board handling Kelsie’s case is comprised of some of the greatest minds in their field.  These doctors are in somewhat uncharted waters when it comes to Kelsie’s case. Thankfully though we know that when all of their knowledge and ability is exhausted, God is there with His unlimited supply.

We are fully confident in knowing that God has gone before us already on this journey. He has placed the right people in the right places, and whether they realize it or not He is working in and through them to bless our family. So many of you have asked us what you can do to help. We’ve decided on a few things you can all do.

 First of all, stay positive. Gods word tells us in 2 Corinthians 10:5 to “Take every thought captive.” Don’t let Satan get a foothold in your life by filling your mind with negativity. We are overcomers by the shed blood of Jesus Christ. He conquered, death, hell, and the grave. (1 Corinthians 15:55-57) Second, you can pray like you’ve never prayed before. For some this might mean you have to start out by surrendering your life to the Lord. For others it might mean renewing your walk with the Lord through a prayer of repentance. Whatever the case, we ask that you throw off anything that might be hindering your prayer life so that you can go before the Lord in prayer for Kelsie.

We are a family that believes in praying specifically, so we have a few prayer requests to share with you all.

Please petition God first and foremost for Kelsie’s complete healing. Pray that there will be no new cells found and that there will be no spreading.  Pray that this course of treatment will be successful in killing all of the cancer cells the first time around and that no new cells will form. Pray that the treatment will cause no side effects (permanent or temporary). Pray for Dr. Freidman and his team, for Dr. Fiveash and his team. Pray for each other. Pray that God will use our family to His glory, use us to touch the lives of everyone we encounter.
Above all, we pray that God will use this to change lives and save souls.

As of today, Kelsie is scheduled to start treatment on May 14.

We are so thankful to each and everyone of you for the overwhelming show of love and support that you’ve given us. We will never be able to thank you enough.

We are doing the best we can to keep everyone updated. We realize how much you love Kelsie and are all anxious to hear how she’s doing. While we may not be able to answer every text or phone call, please know that they are such a huge encouragement to us. I will do my best to keep you all updated via this blog. Please feel free to share it.


And now, if you’ll allow me, I’m going to be a mama and brag on our sweet Kelsie just a little bit. For those of you that may not know Kelsie I just wanted to give you a glimpse into the kind of heart she has. You can follow the links below to two other posts that I wrote about her few years ago. This was her heart to help children through World Vision.

http://lifeofeucharisteo.blogspot.com/2012/02/childs-heart.html
http://lifeofeucharisteo.blogspot.com/2012/02/big-finish.html


In God's Strength,
Tracey

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

A letter of gratitude...

Wednesday started out like any other ordinary day. Alarm beeped too early, lunches got packed, sleepy kids asked for five more minutes. All things we take for granted as we walk through our overbooked, hurried, hectic days here on this earth. Wednesday’s agenda was fairly low key. Just a couple doctor appointments to be on time for (Promptness is not always our strong suit).  By the time Wednesday afternoon rolled around, life as we knew it had come to a screeching halt.

“The MRI has shown a spot on Kelsie’s brain.” In an instant we went from planning our days to not knowing what to do with next second. Our instructions were to go straight to Birmingham, where a neurosurgeon would be expecting us. As we left the doctor’s office I just kept thinking about how we talk all the time about having faith in God, and how this was our time to live out what we profess.  With that at the forefront of our minds, we headed north.

The five days that followed held more than we could ever imagine. I’ve heard the testimonies of believers that speak of an overwhelming and inexplicable peace that they’ve felt during times spent in the valley.  I can now say that not only have I heard testimony of this peace, I’ve lived it. I’ve felt it. Foremost, we petitioned God for Kelsie’s complete healing. We also prayed that God would use this experience to change lives. If one soul is saved, if even one person surrenders their life and accepts Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior, it would all be worth it. I told God, no matter the outcome, I would still love Him and still praise Him.  

During this time we vowed to look for God’s hand in every moment. He was faithful to reveal Himself to us. We saw Him revealed, in the confidence of the surgeon, in sweet Mary the nurse anesthetist, in the quiet spirit of Emily our PICU nurse, in Justin, the CA who worked a twenty four hour shift and always had a smile on his face. We saw His subtle gestures in “Amanda” one of our nurses, in Cassie our nurse that reminded us of our precious Kaitlyn, in the chicken picture beside our level on the elevator buttons, in the corner room location that overlooked the Birmingham Barons baseball field on opening night. A thousand little ways that our Great and Glorious God showed us that He was there with us and He loved us.

Above all of that He showed His love through each and every one of you. Don’t ever let Satan tell you that you can’t be used by God. Your fervent prayers on our behalf are what carried us through. The phone calls, the texts, the visits, the cards and gifts. You were and are the hands and feet of Jesus. My vocabulary doesn’t contain words that are adequate enough to describe how thankful we are to you all. I can’t begin to put in to words how thankful we are to our Heavenly Father. I find myself at times throughout the day, compelled to fall prone before Him and do nothing but weep and praise just how amazing and awesome He truly is.

We thank our families and our friends that we consider family, for taking care of Kaylee and Kensley while we were away. Thank you Mandy for driving us to the hospital Wednesday night and for staying there and translating all the doctor lingo. Thank you June and Larry for getting the girls up to Birmingham to see us. Thank you  Mama and Daddy for getting them to and from school. Thank you Twilight and Pat for loving them like your own. For making sure Kensley was dressed for Spring picture day.  Thank you Twilight for remembering to fix them an after school snack because they are always starving when they come home. Thank you to all my precious sisters who came to sit with us on the day of surgery and made the trip back the very next day to bring Mama and Daddy. Thank you to Kasey Bossard, who made two trips so that Billy and Eric could see that Kelsie was ok with their own two eyes. Thank you to Brother Jeff and Becky who came and stayed prayed with us before and after surgery. Thank you to Kelsie’s principle Hugh White and his wife Traci, who brought their daughter, Kelsie’s precious best friend, to see her. To all the visitors there that day and the days that followed. Andrea, Sharon, Mal, Grace, Casey, Chad, Bill and Terry, Jolene, Deborah, Katie, Callie, Amanda, Savannah, Emmy, and Bailey. Thanks to all the teachers, staff and PTO officers at Pollard-McCall that text and called to check on Kelsie. Thank you to Mr. Steve Sellers, friend of Charles Jackson, from the Alabama Children’s Home who came and prayed with us after surgery. To everyone we encountered at Benjamin Russell Children’s Hospital in Birmingham, you were outstanding.
As we wait to hear from the doctor this week, we ask that you continue to pray for a good report from pathology. We are praying expecting a result of benign, and give God all the glory for that report.

Lastly, we ask that you use the same diligence you used in praying for Kelsie, to pray for our sweet cousin Elle and her family. We won’t know, this side of Heaven, why God works His miracles swiftly on some and lingers on others. What we do know is, He is a merciful and gracious God and He is indeed a God that heals. We ask the Holy Spirit to fill them with peace and strength and we ask God for nothing short of complete healing for Elle.

Thank you friends.
Thank you Jehovah Rophi, our God Who Heals.
We are overwhelmed by your love.

Standing strong on the Solid Rock,

Jeremy, Tracey, Kaylee, Kelsie, and Kensley Padgett

Day of surgery in PICU

Three days after surgery. Home sweet home. 

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