One Year Ago Today…

One year ago today, Brad and I sat in the surgery patient center, waiting for Brad to go into brain surgery.

One year ago today, we thought it was a low grade tumor, and surgery was hopefully all we needed.

One year ago today, Brad’s parents and I sat 6 hours anxiously waiting for surgery to be over.

One year ago today, the neurosurgeon pulled Brad’s parents and me into a little room, and told us the tumor was more aggressive than anticipated. I cried.

One year ago today, I was by Brad’s side right out of surgery. He was in the most pain I’ve ever seen anyone in. He repeated over and over, “Why? Why can I feel everything? Just knock me back out…” At one point he passed out from the pain, and I could do nothing to help.

One year ago today, marked the first night of four straight days of being in the hospital, not leaving his side, as we navigated through and tried to process everything that was happening.

Doctor after doctor. News, news, and more news. Some good, some not. Bad sleep. Stomach in knots.

One year ago today, our kids stayed with family, and didn’t see their parents for the longest stretch of their little lives. Not fully understanding what was happening.

One year ago today, we were told Brad has aggressive brain cancer, and there wasn’t much that could be done…

One year ago today, we began a journey that nobody expects to take. A journey that few understand. Our lives came to a complete halt. Information kept coming at us, and we had some major decisions to make.

But today…

Today we stand as a family. A family whose faith has completely been tested and stretched. A faith that has become stronger than cancer, because it’s held firm in a God who is. We asked God to show us what to do, and He has. Step by step. Letting us know what we need to know for the moment.

So we said “no” to chemo and radiation. We said “yes” to God, and dove head first into every natural treatment that we could implement into our lives. Trusting in Him the whole time.

Is what we are doing “normal”? Nope.
We’ve chosen to listen to God, and not man.
Do we fully know what’s going on in Brad’s head? Nope. We don’t.
Do we know what tomorrow, next month, or next year will bring? Also nope.

But we do know this…
Brad shouldn’t be doing as well as he is.
According to the doctors, he should already be dead, or at least on his way.

But he’s not.

He’s working full time as a carpenter.
This summer we vacationed in the Upper Peninsula for a week.
We’ve gone on multiple camping trips.
He’s working out, and in my opinion, looking more defined than he ever has.
He’s focusing on detoxing the bad out, and replenishing with all the good we can.
(And this isn’t just for the physical, but also mental and spiritual!)
We’re eating our healthy diet, and drinking our green juice too.
We’re using our oils, and taking a lot of supplements.
His immune system is staying strong.
We focus just as much on spiritual health, as we do physical.
We live for today, and don’t worry about tomorrow.

Have things always been smooth? To be honest, no. There have been a few headaches that have shaken us, scared us, and made us doubt. Sometimes when he comes home from work he needs to take a nap. His neck and upper back are often tight. The emotional and mental stress we’ve experienced has taken its toll. We’ve had panic attacks. This hasn’t been easy.

That’s where faith and trust come in. That’s when I pull out my journal and re-read all the things I’ve written. Things that have happened that are unexplainable. Reminders to keep going, and to always be strong and courageous, just as God commanded Joshua when he was going into battle.

I’ve often been reminded, when you call on God, He answers.
And, boy has He…
I have a long list of things written down that have happened over the last year. Things that have reaffirmed we are on the right track.
God has used:
-His Word
-Other people
-A metal sign
-A vision
-The post-it notes on the back of my closet door
-Our children’s bible
-A note from years ago
-A dream
-The Bible App
-and even social media
All of these things to continually remind us that He is indeed with us, and to stay obedient.
(And that’s just what I can think of off the top of my head. There are more, I promise!)

We know that God put us on a healing path years ago, in preparation for this time. Treating illness naturally wasn’t new to us. We had already been doing it for years to treat Lyme Disease. Now, we just advanced it to a new level, with a focus on treating cancer.

So we continue on, marching around our Jericho walls. Taking the “not normal” approach, and trusting in God to have those walls come crashing down in defeat.

Has every day been easy? Absolutely not. In fact, I broke down pretty bad just the other day. Just because God leads us to it, doesn’t mean it’s going to be easy. But He does promise to be there with you through it.

I try to make it a habit to look for the good in the bad. There has been a lot of good this year too.

–Our family has grown closer
–We have a new appreciation for life
–We have learned to be more disciplined
–We’ve been humbled by the amount of love and support that has been shown to us
–Our bank account has never been empty, and no bills have gone unpaid, even when Brad couldn’t work
–Our faith and spiritual life has grown stronger
–Our marriage has grown stronger
–We are improving ourselves in every aspect of our lives
–We are sharing our story, and hopefully pointing others toward Christ
–We’ve really tested the “in sickness and in health” part of our vows and have learned how to support each other better
–We’ve been showered with gifts and surprises
–We are raising our kids with more purpose
–We have a clearer understanding on what is important in life

Many of these things wouldn’t have happened if our lives didn’t go down this path. God is certainly using this. In fact, I have a feeling He is using this for something bigger than us.
Please continue to pray for us. Pray that God continues to heal Brad, and that we stay strong and courageous no matter what comes our way.

Being strong and courageous one year later,
Lindsey (and Brad) Holwerda

One thought on “One Year Ago Today…

  1. You two are an amazing inspiration and encouragement to so many. What a journey you have both been on….praying constantly for both of you and your sweet little girls.


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