The blessings after #NotGoodNews

Kari Lewis

Less than a month ago, Kaleb’s doctor visit led to an ultrasound, urology appointment, then cancer surgery.  In these past weeks, we’ve considered how both we and others have responded to our trials.  We’ve experienced the tremendous blessings of friends and family, and despite our circumstances, we’ve certainly known God’s peace.

Early on, we determined that we didn’t need to worry, because there were lots of people worrying for us!  Joking aside, it seems some wear worry like a badge of honor and pride themselves on carrying a burden that they weren’t meant to bear.  Jesus told us in Matthew 6:34, “Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.”  Worrying about tomorrow accomplishes little, so instead we take this process one day and appointment at a time. 

When we look around at this world, it is easy to become discouraged.  But on a personal level in small-town, rural Montana, we have been met with phone calls, text messages, grocery cards, dinner deliveries and the best home baked cookies Cut Bank has to offer.  Yes, I can cook, but every crock pot and dish dropped by was a tangible display of someone’s love and support for us.  An evening dinner delivery was something for Kaleb to look forward to.  Interestingly, it would also seem to prompt him to eat when he had no appetite, merely out of curiosity of someone else’s cooking!

Each dinner delivery reminded me of Luke 6:38, “Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over… For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you.”  Those 9 x 13 pans and crock pots of soup illustrated that verse to me, and I trust that each person who blessed us that way will be blessed as well!

Nothing brings healing like the hugs of a Kaci Bear!

Kaleb and I are both task oriented, but this was a reminder that it’s not our work but the relationships that we develop that matter.  It was the 4-H moms who organized dinner deliveries.  It was our friends and family who asked if we needed Kaci watched, cows fed, or fence fixed.  Some of those offers came from Kaleb’s coworkers who likely haven’t gotten much closer to a cow than the burger on their BBQ, but they were absolutely willing to feed our calves or stretch wires if that’s what Kaleb needed.  In the end, it is the people who matter most, not our jobs or ranch. 

I have asked myself how we have had such peace through this?  Certainly, we’ve accepted years ago that Kaleb’s lifestyle and career is riskier than most.  Any day that he climbs a 300-foot wind tower, chases cows up and down the coulees on a 4-wheeler, or literally drives down the highway, he is in a risky situation.  However, I believe our peace comes from something much deeper than a simple Kaleb Lewis risk analysis. 

First and foremost, we know the Prince of Peace and have accepted His plans for us.  Through knowing Christ and having hundreds praying for us, we have truly experienced peace that can only come from God.  Secondly, Dave Ramsey is right.  Delaying short term pleasures to prioritize building an emergency fund (and medical savings account), purchasing life insurance, and having a written will really does bring security in these situations.

We’ve had people say how much they hate to see us go through this and while we certainly appreciate their compassion, the reality is that none of us should expect tomorrow.  I’m always reminded of James 4: 13 – 15, which was preached at the funeral of a high schooler gone too soon which says, “Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, spend a year there, buy and sell, and make a profit”; whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away.  Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we shall live and do this or that.” Just because someone is ‘young and healthy’ does not mean that tomorrow is guaranteed, and we need to live each day in this reality.

So, did we dodge the bullet?  Is surgery really all that will be needed?  Time will tell, and this week’s conversation with oncology is the next step to knowing if follow-up treatment will be needed.  Meanwhile, we appreciate the continued prayers and feel free to stop by for coffee, we have plenty of cookies to share!