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Sunday, December 8, 2013

Never alone

“God has said, ‘Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.’ So we say with confidence, ‘The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?’”   Hebrews 13:5-6

I have said more than once along this journey there are times I haven’t “felt” the Lord’s presence. I know the passage in Hebrews (and so many others) promises He is with us – always – but it sure doesn't always feel like it.

And yet, it is often when I feel most alone, a dear friend (or quite honestly a person I don’t even know) will encourage me with a timely scripture, a hand-written note or a simple text letting me know I am not forgotten. It is then I realize Christ’s presence is often “felt” most strongly through His body of believers. It’s as if He’s whispering to me, “You see, daughter, I do love you. I know you don’t think so, but I’m pouring out my extravagant love on you through others. They know and I know what is going on. We ache with you. You are not alone.”

Time and time again, I have been overwhelmed to tears by the sacrificial love shown to me and my family (and that’s just the tangible stuff I am privileged to experience). I can’t fathom what is happening in the heavenlies when my precious army of prayer warriors lifts me and my family up to the Father. I am confident He hears each request, and I believe He can heal me if He wants (and that is our continual heart’s cry). With your petitions comes peace, so please don’t stop. BIG things happen when we plead to the Lord. (For example, I never wouldve dreamed I’d be able to make a heart shape with both of my hands again & look at what prayer, hand therapy and a big God did – see pic above.)

Although there are so many more reasons for which I’m thankful, I’m going to end my “thankful” posts with one dedicated to – YOU!! There are no words to adequately express what you’ve meant to me . . . no words. Like the paralytic man in Matthew 9, you have carried me to the foot of Jesus when I couldn’t come to Him myself. Like Aaron and Hur lifting Moses’ hands to defeat the Amalekites, you have held me up in prayer when I was too weak – physically or spiritually – to proclaim victory over the Enemy and believe big.

Although, I continually ask the Lord to remove this painful thorn from my life, I am grateful for the ways He manifests His presence to me (through you) in the midst of great darkness. I know I never would have experienced His presence in this way otherwise. Truly, truly – we are never alone.

We pray the Lord blesses you in abundance for the many, many ways you’ve blessed ours!! Here’s a small (and I mean small) sampling of the thoughtful ways you have loved on me and my family. I included the song by Matt Redman (below) for you to listen to as you read through this post. Even though the song is about the Lord’s presence with us, it always comes to mind when I think of my precious support system – for those I’ve met and for those I don’t know personally. Thank you for never leaving me or my family abandoned on this often desolate road. It would be quite desolate, indeed, without you.

Here’s a pic of the fighting wall in my room. The wall displays cards, artwork, quotations and poems from my supporters. It will soon have a verse from my sis-in-law above the boxing gloves. Our postman, Mr. V (see him below), said he’s never seen an individual receive as many cards & deliveries as I have in his tenure with the postal service. Now – that is saying something! Needless to say, I need a larger wall for all “the love” that comes my way.

Our precious postman (yes, I said postman), Mr. V has followed my story since the beginning. He has such a caring (and generous) heart. We could chat all day if he didn’t have more deliveries to make. After he found out we’d be going to MD Anderson for treatment, he dropped by our home one day after his work and gifted Alexa with her very own iPad Mini. He said it would give her something to do on the long road trips. It was all ready to go with her name on the wallpaper. She was elated! We didn’t even know what to say. It blew us away.

My dear friend, Candelon, took the reigns as my juicing guru when we began the enormous task of altering my nutrition. (Just so you know, organic juicing takes a tremendous amount of time and money.) She sacrificially gave of her time to grocery shop, clean and juice numerous jars of fresh produce for me – even delivering them fresh to my front doorstep. Then, she educated me and my mom on how it’s all done. You’re a gem, sweet Candelon!

Emily, the redhead on the right, has organized numerous “cleaning parties” at our home, where gals from our church bless my Type A, OCD heart with a wonderfully clean and anti-bacterialized home. Ty for cleaning our toilets, sweet sisters!! I don’t know if it’s more humbling for me or for you.

You’ve met Miss Carol in our Fall blog. She is a beautiful, selfless sister who took it upon herself to adopt Alexa (and Mommy) during my chemo treatments this summer. Alexa continues to visit Miss Carol each week (while I go to hand therapy) because she loves her and has so much fun. From swimming to making cookies, Miss Carol has given Alexa something to smile about each week.

My hairstylist of twelve years, Marcie, surprised me with her generosity when I had gone to her for a simple bang trim before our photo shoot in Galveston. She not only reshaped my locks but also gave me completely fresh highlights. Viola! I looked like a new woman. I posed for this pic right after the style to send my family. We love you Marcie!

One of my besties, Shannon, offered to photograph our family in Galveston before chemo claimed my hair. I will always treasure these images because I don’t when I’ll look like that again. It was a special time with Shannon’s family as well as we hung out on the beach. Shannon, you know how much I love the way you’ve captured our story from the very beginning. And, you know how much I love you. Thank you for such a meaningful gift!!

These are all handmade prayer quilts made by various friends or friends of friends. I feel quite loved when I wrap up in a quilt symbolizing the prayers of so many. Aren’t they beautiful!?

Another prayer quilt I recently received from my cousin. Ty and love you Judy!!


Another blanket and two handmade prayer shawls that are used religiously for surgeries and to keep warm in the morning when I read. Alexa sleeps with the pink blankie every night. For some reason, she thinks it is hers. This is what the label stitched on it says (my favorite verse through this season).

I love this leather wrap bracelet given to me by another sister who is fighting her own cancer battle. Ty Andrea!! She also gave me a turquoise one when I feel more funky. The bracelet also has my fave verse for this season on it – Isaiah 41:10.

On occasion, I receive gifts like the one above from an anonymous supporter. Ty to this thoughtful individual who has been faithfully praying for me for several months.

Chris’ co-workers at OU recently gave us this “blessing” tree loaded with gift cards to our favorite places. I cried when he texted me this picture – I just cried. For me, it was another indication of how deeply Chris is loved by those with whom he works. And of course, I feel deeply loved too.

This was another evening, I broke down in tears. Another body of believers (Norman Community Church) gathered together in a home to spend an evening praying over us. It was so beautiful to hear the saints cry out to God for my total healing and then sing praises to His name. Your faith deeply blessed my heart.

Robin, you know I love these socks. I wish this sentiment were true all the time but it’s a good reminder nontheless – especially when I go in for scans.

Other inspirational plaques I see every day as a reminder not to give up.

Had to include these beauties picked by Alexa Hope early on in my diagnosis.

The pink banner says “flourish.”

As I said, these are only a sampling of the love that’s been shown to us over the past eight months. There has been lawn mowing (ty Jonathan & Bo), meal providing (ty TBC ladies and BSF friends), Alexa watching (too many to thank) and so, so, so much more. We truly feel so blessed by your partnership with us to pray for healing and encourage us in big ways and small. We love you!!

In a post coming soon, I’ll share about a gift given to us of such magnitude & generosity, it will blow your socks off. Let me just say, it includes plane tickets!


  1. Dear Kelsey and family: Once again you overwhelme us!!!!!! Thank you for being so selfless in your writing during such a difficult time in your life. We offer our tribute to you through prayers and posts. God is indeed with you. Go girl!!!!!!! Will keep the thoughts and prayers coming. We think of you and pray for you every day. We know you will have a blessed Christmas with your family and friends. Love, Sharl and Doug Taylor

  2. dearest kelsey, though i do not know you, i followed your journey through natalie devero and dana smith posting updates on Facebook. soon after i facebook'd chris- we went to college together and were both involved in the BCM, just to let him know that ya'lls story had touched my heart and i was praying for you guys. i hate to hear cancer striking so close to home, to a precious family, it breaks my heart. but i love to see how God is at work in your family. what a blessing to read about all of the people and the gifts they gave in this post. i love it. i also remember sweet emily winkle from BCM as well. what beautiful and blessed friends you have. my thoughts and prayers are with your sweet family, daily and for a blessed holiday season.-Larissa Holquin

  3. I love this post. Love it, love it, love it.