Thursday, January 29, 2009

Kidney Issues...

Nichole was seen by the doctor today and found out in addition to (or possibly related to?) her other infection, her kidney is filled with fluid and needs to be drained. Tomorrow she will go in for this surgery, which will include being put under. Please pray for this procedure as it is no small thing to undergo. Hopefully this will alleviate some of her problems, including the fever. She is still not feeling well, but it does seem that her kids are doing fine, according to a friend that was with Nichole this afternoon.
-Nichole was prescribed a small dose of antibiotics, so please pray that they will treat the one infection without disrupting the other.
-Please pray that she will be able to keep food and water in her system, along with the antibiotics (which she couldn't keep down tonight).
-She also was struggling with her fever tonight and was shivering quite a bit. Pray for her strength!
-Nichole is uneasy about being put under and especially wants us to be in prayer for her in that way.
Let's support Nichole in prayer daily- even hourly considering the trial that she is enduring! I will try to keep the blog posted and updated regularly through these days that are particularly eventful. If you are able to help Nichole, please email Sue Leber who is still faithfully coordinating the efforts. She is also dealing with her mother's health issues (and surgery, I believe), so be patient with her response. Her email is Ask to be added to her list and you will receive her update emails and requests for help.
Lastly, Brenda was telling me that this evening Nichole, while struggling through her fever and suffering, was repeating the promises of God out loud to Brenda- reminding herself of the truth that she knows. Please pray that as she reminds herself, her heart would be comforted by these truths, and that she would deeply know the love and care that the Lord is extending to her, even through these most difficult of circumstances.
If you have a blog, I would encourage you to ask your readers to pray for Nichole in these coming days, and even include a link to her blog so others can easily find it and we can multiply our prayers for her and her family!


The tears have been flowing and my heart is weighted down. I spoke with Nichole this morning and when I asked how she is doing, she answered with "not good". She so seldom says words like these. Even when she is in the pit (humanly speaking) health-wise, she is always repeating "the Lord is good". Those words did come today, yet there was definitely sadness this morning. She has a fever that is going up right now, due to another infection (we believe). She took her temperature while we were on the phone, and it was 102. Because of other complications, Nichole shouldn't be taking antibiotics, yet in order to treat this infection, she isn't sure if the doctors will be able to give her any. She is feeling pretty terrible as well, and hasn't been able to get out of bed because of how she feels.
As if this weren't enough to deal with, Levi was throwing up last night, three of the kids have pink eye, and Josie seems to be coming down with something (she was sleeping at 9:30 this morning). Are you having a bad day? In light of this, I bet your problems just diminished to nearly nothing. Anyway, she is off to the hospital yet again, telling herself of the Lord's goodness, and reminding herself that He is in control.
She asked for prayer, and which one of us wouldn't want to stop right now, take five minutes, and go to the Lord on her behalf? Whether you know Nichole of not, please go before the Lord! She has asked that we pray for her- that the infection would be treatable (somehow!), and that she would NOT have to stay in the hospital. Please also pray that Nichole's trust in the Lord wouldn't waver.
To be honest, while I was speaking with her this morning, my mind kept asking, "Why, Lord?? Why and how is this a good thing?" I couldn't stop from crying while wondering how the Lord could be glorified through this seemingly awful circumstance. Nichole is sick, unable to be a mom, and at this point probably unable to have contact with her kids because her weakened body would likely pick up their infections and be magnified in her poor, unhealthy body. She is faced with a battery of upcoming chemo treatments which break down her body even more (fevers, inability to eat and hold down food, etc.)
I'm reading "The Cup and the Glory" (a book on suffering) and will post helpful tidbits on suffering shortly.
Please consider how you can partner with Nichole and the Greene family in prayer, and commit to praying for them every day. Nichole is scheduled for a preliminary kidney surgery next Thursday (outpatient surgery) in preparation for another serious surgery. In light of her health situation today, I would imagine things may have to be put on hold again... please pray. Pray for Nichole, pray for Norm, and pray for the kids.
Though earthly hope seems to diminish, pray that we would all learn with the Greene family that our hope should not be fixed on this world, but on the next...that our hope is not to be on earthly good, but fixed on the Savior of our souls who has purchased us with His precious blood, and we all (who know Him) will be with Him in glory forever...are you prepared?

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Ansel's 7th Birthday Party

Nichole, resting on the couch and collecting cards for Ansel

Norm and Nichole, after the party

Me (Julie) and Nicole

Ansel's 7th Birthday Party

The Greene Family, birthday boy on the far left

Noah, eating his cake and ice cream (yes, sitting on the table)

Josie and Camdyn, playing in the kid room and having a blast in their pretend world. One of the beds was the kitchen, one was the couch, and one was the bedroom.

Sweet Levi and Josie
Ansel, the birthday boy with his brother Noah

Saturday, January 10, 2009

A Sweet Peek into the Greene Home

I spent the afternoon and evening with the Greenes today as we celebrated Ansel's 7th birthday. It was a great time watching the kids go nuts together, and just being in their home. There is a sweetness to their family that I'm sure has been enhanced through their situation, and it is a blessing to watch them. They love each other so much.
They received a Wii from Nichole's mom for Christmas, and set it up today. Ansel was so excited once they got it set up, and was playing (and flailing all over the place trying to hit that tennis ball) and having a great time. But as soon as he saw that Levi had woken up from his nap, he stopped for a moment, ran to Levi, and in his big brother condescending to little brother way, greeted Levi with a quick hug and "Hi Levi!! Hi Levi!!" A 7 year old boy, stopping in the middle of a brand new video game to greet his two year old brother... It was just sweet.
There was a sweet simplicity about the afternoon- Ansel wanted hot dogs for dinner, and we had chocolate cake and ice cream, and watched the five boys run around outside (occasionally making their presence known inside), while the little kids played inside (mostly). The adults convened in the "play room" and chatted while we munched on chips and drank soda. Nichole mostly sat on the couch watching the kids, snuggling with Levi, and talking with the moms (especially when he woke up from his nap), while Norm and her mom took care of the "party things" (hot dogs, cake, etc.). She did get up when it was cake-time and we sang to Ansel, but not for too long. She doesn't have much stamina, and is in some pain as well (abdominal) because of her recent sickness.
Nichole and I spoke for a while and again, I was encouraged. Her perspective is still amazingly focused on what is true, and she is still confident in God's perfect plan for her. She shared with me how she has recently been encouraged so much through reading the Psalms, and particularly Psalm 13.

"How long, O LORD? Will you forget me forever?
How long will you hide your face from me?
How long must I take cousel in my soul, and have sorrow in my heart all the day?
How long shall my enemy be exalted over me?

Consider and answer me, O LORD my God;
light up my eyes, lest I sleep the sleep of death,
lest my enemy say, 'I have prevailed over him,'
lest my foes rejoice because I am shaken.

But I have trusted in your steadfast love;
my heart shall rejoice in your salvation.
I will sing to the LORD, because He has dealt bountifully with me."

Nichole said that she could relate to falling into a similar pattern of complaining to the Lord, feeling like she has been forgotten by Him. BUT, then she remembers his mercy on her life, all of the kindness that He has shown to her (particularly through the saints!), and returns to a grateful, sweet relationship with the Lord, trusting in Him. Remembering all that she has been through, and what she is currently enduring (chemo pill, IV chemo starting Monday, and abdominal pain- having just gotten over a 9 week fever, etc. etc.), let's remember that her faith and hope have been tested and tried through the furnace, and be encouraged by her faithfulness!

Let's also continue to pray for the Greene family.
Pray that Nichole's abdomen would heal and she wouldn't experience the pain that she has been having.
Pray that she would not have a severe reaction to the IV chemo that she will be receiving Monday, and pray for it's effectiveness to kill the cancer cells!
Pray for her family to be strengthened through this trial, and for each of them to be dependent on the Lord.
Pray that more people would come to salvation through their family's testimony!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Childcare for drivers

I have a neurological condition that prevents me from driving Nichole, but I would be happy to watch the children of anyone who is willing and able to drive.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

I just spoke with Nichole for quite a long time, and am once again humbled and blessed beyond expression! Nichole is doing well because of the Lord. Her perspective is unbelievably trusting, and if you looked at her circumstances, you would be amazed. She spent Christmas Eve and Christmas Day away from her sweet family (released from the hospital Christmas day, but was unable to be with family because she was sick), but again she trusts God's perfect plan...
She was in the hospital for almost a week, and had many opportunities to "borrow visitors" as she termed it. She gave a very clear and long version of the gospel to two girls who she met while they were visiting their mother in the hospital (their mother has cervical cancer as well). Nichole has deveolped a close relationship with them over a short period of time and would like us to pray for these two girls, Rita and Jasmine. Nichole was excited to tell me about them and wants desperately for their understanding of the gospel to deepen from knowing about the Bible, to knowing the Christ of the Bible in a personal relationship. Please pray for them!
Though Nichole admits that there have been dark times of deep questioning, her faith remains strong. God has used her in so many ways it would be nearly impossible to count. I'm sure we could all share stories! (Please let Nichole know how you have been able to "use" her situation and her story of hope in the Lord to reach others!) I have personally been able to share Nichole's situation and her hope in the Lord with several unbelievers, and have been able to encourage many other believers with her strong and abiding trust in the Lord through her darkest hours. She has spent many lonely days in the hospital and has only (seemingly) briefly struggled with God's plans for her. She told me today that although times have been really tough, she has felt awful with sickness, and has missed her family desperately- that she KNOWS that God has a plan that she can't fully understand, yet she sees pieces and parts and is greatly encouraged. Only He knows all of what He is accomplishing, and she is glad to be used by Him. She can recollect many opportunities she has had to give the gospel to nurses, doctors, other patients, visitors to those other patients, specialists, family members, and then some. She is truly an inspiration, and I pray that if I were to face her situation, I would have the grace that she does to persevere with hope and trust in the Lord.
Please remember to pray for the Greenes. The difficult days are not over. Though the infection is definitely better, Nichole is still struggling physically. Please remember to pray for Norm. He is carrying an extremely heavy burden right now- working his normal job, then coming home to taking care of the kids (all four of them!) and Nichole as well, since she has been unable to do much. Her energy seems to be returning (not completely, but some!), yet she will be starting chemo again soon- possibly next week. This will mean more opportunities for us to serve the Greene family! Please consider how you can help their family as they endure another phase of this long trial, and please, pray for them daily!

Christmas for the Greenes

I just spoke to Norm and Nichole and they were on their way, in their new clothes, (with the kids) to go eat at a restaurant with a gift certificate in hand! Nichole hasn't had a fever for 3 days - thank the Lord! She wanted me to let everyone know that they just finished opening their gifts 2 days ago. Norm and the kids waited for Nichole to come home before they touched them. They are completely overwhelmed by God's kindness and generosity to them through the church. Nichole is brimming over with joy and wants to thank everyone individually but I told her to please consider a group thank you that I could forward to everyone so she can spend some (feel good) time with her family. I am thanking the Lord for all of you, for giving liberally and abundantly from your hearts, and for the foundation that is being laid up for you in heaven ( 1 Timothy 6: 17-18).

Andrea Moore