We were brought to tears of joy and thankfulness when the bone marrow biopsy came back showing that the marrow was still "blank" from the last round of chemo. This was the explanation we needed as to why Steven's counts were slow to recover. The fear of the cancer already rebounding, therefore leaving the odds stacked against him, was always looming in the background. It was the fear that I struggled to keep in check. It was the fear that stole my peace of mind.
It is also the fear that drove me to prayer, time and time again.
Based on the rounding oncologists remarks, Steven's odds of cure are greater with transplant since the last round of chemo was successful. Considering that he was initially given 50% chance of beating this, this means that the odds are NOW in his favor.
My money is on Steven.
As I said in my very first blog post about this journey, he is the toughest guy I know. The strength of this man is unimaginable. Yes, he is physically strong. I have always been amazed at the things that he is able to push his body to do, but his mental strength is equally as strong. Ask anyone who knows us. They will tell you the same. Steven is solid as a rock....and, well, I'm a little less stable. He is everything I am not, and everything I would like to be.
Steven has always believed in God. That much I know. But it was in a hospital room, that the strength of Steven once again showed itself. This time in the form of prayer.
As we said goodnight, and I prepared to move to the opposite side of the room, to lie by myself in the hospital bed reserved for me, I told Steven I wanted to pray with him.
In the past we would pray aloud before meals, or with the kids before bed, but our own personal prayers were said in silence.
Admittedly, the moment felt extremely intimate...and to be honest, a bit awkward. This man who I had shared 22 years of my life with knows everything about me. He knows what is on my heart, and he most certainly knows what I would pray for, especially at a time like this. But, for some reason, doing it aloud, praying to our Creator, seemed to be the highest form of vulnerability that I had ever shown to Steven.
And, truthfully, I do not know why.
I know that Steven felt the same way too. He had been prayed for, and prayed over, multiple times. He never once shied away from that, or was unreceptive. He needs the prayers and wants the prayers, and he admires those who offer them. However, when I finished my prayer and looked at Steven, urging him to begin his own, I saw the same look in his eyes that I knew I must have had in mine.
"I'm not sure that my prayers sound very good. I'll just say them in silence." His words voiced my own thoughts about my own prayers. I urged him on, and wasn't too proud to use guilt to get him to comply with my request. "I said mine...you HAVE to say yours."
I called to mind the verse:
"For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.” ~ Matthew 18:20
I recited the verse to Steven and told him that I had no doubt that God was with us even if we prayed in silence, on our own, but that if there was a chance that he and I, hands folded together in prayer, could enhance our prayer experience, then we would be cheating ourselves by praying alone.
And so he began.
As he said "amen" the differences in our prayers struck me immediately. And I told him so.
When I prayed I spent the majority of my prayer asking God for things. I asked God to first, and foremost, to heal my husband, to watch over my kids, and to strengthen their faith during this most difficult time.
Steven thanked God.
And there, in our prayer, the differences in our personalities showed itself again. I was the needy one....Steven was the strong one.
And, once again, he was everything I wanted to be.
Don't get me wrong. I am thankful. And I tell God that I am.
But...generally I tell Him what I want first. The "thanks" is often after a long list of "needs" that I have addressed. Steven stated that he generally prayed everyday at work, in his truck, before he ate his lunch, and that the prayer was generally the same. Prayers of thanks and prayers for me and his kids.
Maybe THAT is where Steven gets his strength. It seems to me that it, most likely, is a God given gift to someone who remembers, at all times, to say "thanks". Maybe I need to take note.
Honestly, I am not sure that there is a point to this post. I am also not sure what drove me to write this. It isn't what I sat down intending to write. I thought it would be more of an update as to where we are in the process, or what our few days at home has meant to us. This post almost seems too personal to share, but at the same time, I feel compelled to go ahead and hit "publish".
I would be lying to say that we have joined hands and prayed aloud, together, every night since that night. We haven't. But we don't always say them in silence either. I think we are growing...and hopefully it is in the right direction.
Generally I ask for you to pray for Steven and our family, and, of course, I ALWAYS welcome those prayers on our behalf. However, I ask that you also say a prayer to God thanking Him for all the blessings in your life. Regardless of how bleak things look, there is always something to be thankful for.