Memo: April’s Cancer Update – April 2020

covid 19 blogThe world we spoke of last December has been transformed by the COVID-19 crisis. In our last update, we talked about airplane rides, hospital excursions, and theme park rides. Now, we wear masks to the grocery store, avoid airplanes, and enter hospitals with trepidation. The world of April’s healthcare has also been profoundly shaped by the coronavirus pandemic.

Though the coronavirus threateningly flies above our world, April’s health remains secure from the present threat of cancer. Her latest bone scan and CT scan have arrived full of good news. The tumors in her bones remain unchanged, having neither grown nor shrunk. And the tumors in her breast, lymph nodes, and liver have shrunk. We praise God for this good report. April can continue on with her current treatment plan.

Despite the good news, our home remains on high alert because of the COVID-19 threat.

April resides in the high-risk category because of her cancer and because her medications suppress her immune system. Were she to contract COVID-19, her chances for survival would be substantially lower than the average person. Moreover, doctors have noted that women with estrogen tend to be less susceptible to the virus. Since April has Her2- PR+ and ER+ cancer, she takes medicine that eliminates all of the estrogen from her body, placing her at greater risk than most. Not wanting to chance her health, we have embraced the quarantine, turning our home into a little fortress.

Because the COVID-19 dragon roams about our state, we have temporally shut our door to hospitality. We no longer accept the gracious offers of our friends to clean our house, cook us meals, and to watch our children. To strengthen our defenses, we stepped away from birthday parties and other social gatherings more than a week before the President recommended that all groups be limited to ten or less people. We limited Lily’s butterfly, dance, birthday party to our two fairy princes and one knight. We seldom cross the drawbridge of isolation into the COVID-19 world, visiting stores about once a week without leaving our car. We spend the remainder of our time, working from home, Cloroxing packages, and playing with our little kiddos. Luke, Lily, and Lacey have become acquainted with the virus, telling neighbor that they can’t play because of the coronavirus. Though we lament the need to fortify our home, we do not want April’s health to be undone by secondary causes.

IMG-7678 (1)We have not been the only one to mobilize our defenses. Both the Mayo Clinic and the University of Virginia have locked down their campuses. As the spread of the virus swept across the nation, April remained in contact with both medical teams. With one voice, the doctors at Mayo and UVA recommended moving April’s scans from Minnesota to Virginia, breaking protocol so that April could continue her treatment in the safest environment available.

Though the trip to Charlottesville takes about an hour, April found her trip this past Tuesday to be just as daunting as her six plus hour trips to Mayo. For the first time in her cancer journey, April had to go to an appointment without me. We did not want to expose our family to the outside world. When she arrived at the hospital, she went through numerous screenings. As she walked through the hospital that bore an eerie resemblance to this dystopian movie, she saw orange warning sign after orange warning sign requiring patients to keep their distance and to report their symptoms to a healthcare worker. She then sat in the “high-risk” waiting area, catching only glimpses of fellow, mask wearing patients being overseen by medical staff and security guards. Spaces that usually contained 30 to 50 patients now held only her. Thankfully all the precautions proved effective. April crossed the drawbridge back into our little fortress seemingly untouched by COVID-19.

Though the world suffers under darkness, our little fortress bustles with joy because we have seen God answer our prayers. He has blessed April with good scans. Moreover, as challenges related to the COVID-19 crisis have arisen, God has given April the strength to meet them. When the year began, April lacked the strength to cook meals, to clean, and to care for our kids. The past ten months, we have prayed for God to bless April with the ability to clean and to manage and teach our children at home. Today, she is able to do both.  We can say with the Psalmist, “Out of my distress I called on the LORD; the LORD answered me and set me free.” Our hearts are full of thanks! Thank you for praying for us.

Please continue to lift us up to the Lord.

  1. Pray that God will heal April and keep her and our family safe from COVID-19.
  2. Pray that God will give us wisdom as we seek to balance caring for April and caring for our brothers and sisters in Christ.
  3. Pray that God will continue to give April daily strength and energy.
  4. Pray that the quarantine will strengthen our marriage and our relationships with our children.
  5. Pray that God would save our children.

 

Contact Info:

Email us at: biblefighter@gmail.com 

You can reach us via snail-mail at : P.O. Box 637/ Amissville, VA 20106

You are also welcome call Amissville Baptist Church at: 540-937-6159.

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We will  posting updates here at witkowskiblog.com

Thank you for your love, prayers, and never-ending support.

Sustained By Grace Through Faith,

Peter and April

 

Salvation: Correcting Misconceptions About God

assurance“Salvation, if we may so put it, is entirely the idea of God; it emanates from and has its source and origin in God the Father. Now this is a staggering thought! So often you and I feel we have to placate God because of sin, sin in us, sin in our mind and whole outlook and thought, sin in the world. We tend to think of God as being opposed and antagonistic to us, and therefore we are always thinking of him as Someone we have to appease and placate. We regard God as Someone who is unwilling to be kind and gracious to us and to love us. We think of him as Someone in the far distance in his eternal glory and absolute righteousness who is not well disposed towards us. We feel we have to put forward these great efforts in order to get him to look upon us with favour.

71Wwnwoz12LThis is a complete fallacy. Salvation has originated in the mind of God – it is God’s own purpose…

It is not only God’s idea…it has been perfectly planned from the very beginning to the very end. Here we come to something that is the source of the deepest assurance and consolation that any Christian person can ever know in this wold of time. What could be more comforting and reassuring than the fact that there is nothing contingent about this salvation. nothing accidental, nothing that needs modification? It is a perfect plan. God has planned it from eternity before the foundation of the world, it is eternally in the mind of God.”

The above selection comes from pages 57-58 of D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones’ book, The Assurance of Our Salvation . Click here for more info.

Christians Should Be Confident People

confidentChristians should be confident about life.

Such confidence is not derived from ignorance nor from an over appreciation of one’s ability. The faithful Christian is not the person who thinks himself or herself adequate to every task whether that be run-blocking for the New England Patriots or trading commodities in Tokyo. The Scriptures clearly state that God has given people specific talents to specific people for the purpose of blessing humanity. Though equal in value, we are not equal in function.

When God zeros in on his people, the church, he describes them as a body. God designed us to work in unison with our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ. We are not competent for every task. But we should be confident in the Lord regardless of what we are doing and what is going on around us.

In short, our emotions should be determined by our understanding of the Lord and not our circumstances. And those who understand the power of God cannot help but be confident in their God.

In 1 Samuel 14, Saul and his army had become so petrified that they can no longer act like an army. Their fear is not without merit. The Israel’s army had 3,000 men who had recently assassinated a Philistines governor and his security detail. Responding to Hebrew’s bravado, the Philistines sent 30,000 troops crashing into the Hebrew countryside. Saul’s small and terrified force was no match for the Philistine army. Saul who had boasted of his military muscle only few days earlier now sat motionless. While he waited, His nation and army feel into disarray. People were literally running to the hills for safety. Saul had no hope because his circumstances contained only gloomy clouds of despair.

But not all in the Israelite camp were despairing. In 1 Samuel 14:6 we read,

Jonathan said to the young man who carried his armor, “Come, let us go over to the garrison of these uncircumcised. It may be that the Lord will work for us, for nothing can hinder the Lord from saving by many or by few.”

Jonathan knew that God was not limited by Jonathan’s circumstances. God did not need his health, money, power, abilities, or connections to carry out his plans. God rules. He controls the stars, the waves, the hearts of men and women, the birds, and even the tiny blades of grass. God reigns! But God is more than sovereign, God is good! Jonathan’s God had promised never to “abandon you or destroy you or forget the covenant with your fathers, which he swore to them by oath (Deut. 4:31).” Though the odds were stacked against Jonathan, he went forward boldly for he knew the power and character of his God.

Friends as we wrestle through life, we should have Jonathan’s confidence times two. Jonathan went forward knowing the promise of God’s power. We go forward having experienced the fullness of God’s power. Jesus has died on the cross for our sins and he has risen from the dead, delivering us from the power of sin. Because of Christ work, Christians have a confidence that atheists, Mormons, and Muslims can never have. We have the confidence of knowing that we are right with God. We know that nothing can change that status. Nothing take away our hope of salvation. As Paul writes in Romans 8:31-38:

31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? 33 Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. 34 Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? 36 As it is written,

“For your sake we are being killed all the day long;

    we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.”

37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Christians should be confident people. Even when we feel the pain of cancer, the pressures of being jobless, and hardships that come with broken relationships, we can be confident in the power of Christ.  Like Jonathan, we can say, “Let’s see what glorious thing God will do today!”

Our circumstances do not define us. Our God does!

We should expect our God to work. God hears Jonathan’s expression of faith and gives the prince an incredible victory over the Philistines. Jonathan, his armor bearer, and the discombobulated army of Israelites defeat an army of 30,000 well trained troops. God does the impossible.

God is not done doing the impossible. He has not kicked off his shoes and sat down to play Candy Crush while we eek out an sad existence in the twenty-first century. Paul reminds us that our God “is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us.”  Our Lord and savior is still in the business of healing the sick, redeeming the broken, and sanctifying the redeemed. God used Luther to begin the reformation, Wilberforce to overturn slavery, and Jim Eliot to reach the Huaorani people. If you find yourself overwhelmed by circumstances that seem beyond rescue, implore the Lord for help! P. B. Power reminds us, “Man’s expectation is generally a prelude to God’s action.” Expect God things from God! 

This is not to say we expect God to do all our holy will. Yet, we should expect God to do all that is good and all that is best for us. We should always be confident of God’s goodness and love. We should be confident in our God!

Do you have the confidence of Jonathan?