Saturday, July 19, 2008

Hallelujah! The Devil Is On The Run!

"And this is the victory that has overcome the world - our faith" - 1 John 5:4

We were so excited by the good news from the doctors yesterday that we could hardly go to sleep last night. It was raining blessings all day and we didn't want it to stop. We woke up yesterday morning very encouraged and hopeful. We had that gut feeling that a good report was waiting for us and we couldn't wait to get to Mayo Clinic to talk to the oncologist. We met with a "fellow" doctor who was being supervised by Dr. Johnson. Her name was Dr. Bueno and that was a "good" sign to me!

She showed us the CAT scan from last month side by side with the CAT scan from Thursday on the computer screen. She said they were AMAZED by the results. The infected and enlarged adrenal glands and lymph node where the cancer had spread to had been reduced in size by half! The tumor on the lung did not show much change but Dr. Bueno explained that it was still excellent news that the chemo drugs were having such a dramatic effect on the areas it had spread to. At this rate we can soon focus all attack specifically on the tumor. She said they had never expected such dramatic results. They had only hoped to relieve symptoms and improve Johnny's quality of life.

So we are claiming this battle a victory and marching onward to win this war one step at a time! We have the devil on the run and hereby serve him notice that he can run but cannot hide in Johnny's body. Our friend Connie Hail from Marianna has received a similar report of victory in her own battle against cancer and we are taking her advice as she writes us:

"Needless to say were are shouting the victory...............but are even pressing harder in our prayer time..............the devil would love for us to lighten up because we have had a good report but he has another thing coming................we are going to blast him even harder.........No devil is going to take me down. He has messed with the wrong chick!!! I will live and not die to declare the works of the Lord."

I love her fighting spirit and refusal to be intimidated. She calls and leaves us messages speaking "the word" and has sent us healing verses to read and speak aloud. Her faith is contagious. It is amazing to me how God sends us angels from unexpected places in times of our need. We have never met Connie. She found us through Johnny's highschool friend Kay Trammel who writes often to encourage us.

So many other angels have found their way to us in the forms of friends, family and strangers. We continue to find our mailbox full of cards, letters and surprises. My cousin Maureen Bowdren has started a "relay for life" raising funds for cancer on behalf of friends and family she knows who are battling the disease and ran a track from 8pm til 6am the other evening carrying Johnny's name on a torch. My cousin Robin sent us a delightful "prayer box" she made filled with pieces of paper she had stamped with bible verses and encouragement. The box was covered with butterfly ornaments. This leads me to a story about why butterflies are significant to us.

Last week before Johnny had made a good turn from the chemo storm I brought him upstairs to the computer and read him my latest blog entries and people's comments. During the one entry describing a couple lost at sea and battling to stay alive I started crying while reading it and suddenly we both just burst into tears and clutched each other sobbing. Johnny told me to remember he would find a way to come back to me and always watch over me and protect me. He told me his biggest regret about dying was worrying about who would take care of me when he was gone.

I told him then about a pact that I had made with Scarlett long ago, that in the event of my death that I would come back to watch over her and Johnny and my special sign would be blue roses. That came from my favorite movie as a child called "The Thief of Bagdad." In the movie the "thief" was on an endless quest in search of a rare blue rose to save the princess. So, because blue roses are a rare sight I determined it would be an irrefutable sign to Johnny and Scarlett that it was indeed me! I had never told this to Johnny because i thought he would think it was silly. But last week I finally told him and he loved it.

He thought for a minute what sign he could send and his first idea was butterflies. I said "but butterflies are everywhere!" He just smiled and told me that was the point. So when we got the butterfly box from Robin we looked at each other and smiled. We placed it on what we are now calling our prayer table.

It is the coffee table next to the couch Johnny lays on when we do our "holy healing" sessions. It is filling up quickly. On it we have the healing water from Ephesus given to us by the Carter family. We have our plaque from my bible study teacher Shirley Howell that reads "I believe in miracles." We have holy water from 3 springs in one bottle given by our neighbors The Mayhues. They also have beautiful rose bushes in their yard and keep us supplied with fresh flowers that we put on the table. The Martins family gave us a "prayer blanket" that has been blessed and prayed over and includes a Catholic Rosary in a specially sewn pocket with slips of paper printed with healing verses. We have our healing book of verses from friend Connie Hail. We have our "Faith" plaque from my brother Jeff and wife Kim and kids Andy and Kellie.

Yesterday another treasure arrived from Chipola college. It was an 8X10 picture taken of Johnny and I with his Coach Johnson from his highschool basketball team. Coach Johnson was one of the greatest influences on Johnny's life as a teenager and taught him core fundamental values of life as well as basketball. We framed it immediately and placed it on the prayer table. Between the hundreds of cards from well-wishers and prayer groups and family the entire house is filling up with so much evidence of the Christian spirit surrounding us everywhere we turn!

Johnny sends his heartfelt thanks to all who keep him uplifted and strong in his faith. We also received a card yesterday stamped with "keep your face to the sunshine and you cannot see the shadows." Thank you Shannon Williams for that thought and your sweet words inside. We hope to meet you one day also. Every card we receive from others is special and such a blessing. It gives Johnny something to look forward to each day. He re-reads each one many times and smiles.

There is only one way to handle such an outpouring and overflow of love. We take it and spread it. Johnny has begun to pray out loud spontaneously for so many people. I love his "man-to-man" conversational style of talking to the Lord. He apologizes for his simple words but I protest and tell him that is EXACTLY how God wants us to speak to Him - heart to heart - friend to friend - son to Father. I believe its not how "pretty" you say it. It's how much you mean what you say.

And so, I encourage each of you to walk towards the light of victory in your own battles of everyday living. Stay strong in YOUR faith. Talk to God everyday and lift your concerns to Him. He can accomplish that which we cannot. He is a promise keeper. He fulfills that which He promises. It is up to us to claim those promises by the simple faith of believing what He says is true. Keep the devil on the run in your own life with a faith that refuses to give him the smallest toehold.

It is a heavenly cause that is worth the battle we get up each day and fight again and again. The good news is - if you fight you will win. So never give up - never, never, never! Keep fighting. Keep winning. Keep the faith.

Beautiful Blessings!


Brenda said...

You have no idea how your faithful fight is encouraging those of us around you who read your blog. Thanks for your transparency in sharing your stuggles and your victories with us!!!! Brenda Mc

Kit Crews said...

Great is His name and greatly to be praised!!!
Johnny, Rene and Scarlett;
Nancy and I have been waiting to hear the news and rejoice with you at the doctor's confirmation of the work that God is doing. As you continue to fight perhaps the verse below will continue to remind you of the greatness of the Partner who is with you every step of the way. It is from the first three verses of Isaiah 43:

Fear not, for I have summoned you by name; you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. For I am the Lord, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior;

We continue to pray and thank God for you all.

Kit Crews

robin said...

Rene, you know how special butterflies are to me so I had to send them to you a johnny, I was hoping it would arrive by the time ya'll got the results that way you would know I was there in spirit.butterflies are Jesus's way of letting us know that we should not be fearful and that prayer does work, there is a cycle for everything!!
I love you both!

love your Soul Sister!!

jen harris said...

it is so good to hear the news!!!! I could not be happier. Keep your spirits up and continue to fight with everything you have! You are, of course, in my prayers! Much Love.

Ken said...

Hello Johny,

I have drawn a lot of hope from Colossians 1:15-20. It is His blood that is His mercy for us and now in real time for you.

Jesus when he healed people did egregious acts in His culture. He healed on the sabbath,He told some to leave him and go the priest and in going they were healed. Many tried to keep a blind begger quiet, but he kept shouting to Jesus, "Have mercy on me". He called him son of David. Jesus healed him.

Sometimes Jesus would heal people who did not ask for it, He had compassion and mercy and healed them ALL, sometimes not.

What if Jesus told you to wash in mud or walk down your street and dress in some outfit that would make you feel foolish?

I would think that Jesus will step out of your "box of who you think he is" and show His mercy and goodness, his wonderful Joy of you, and His delight in you.

He may send the most unlikely person, perhaps someone you don't like or trust to pray for you, and watch your life unfold.

Ken said...

Praise God for the good news! I am praying for you as if you were my own father. -Ashley

Amy C. said...

What wonderful news!! I am so happy for your family, and I pray that this victory will lead to many more triumphs. God is doing amazing things through this trial, not just physically, and not just within your family.

Rachie said...


Scarlett Lillian said...

Thanks everyone for sharing in the miracle with us!!!!

Anonymous said...

Praise God!

What wonderful news! This is such a blessing!

You are all in my thoughts, heart and prayers!

Dannielle Rodriguez said...

This is the most amazing news to hear! I am a frequent reader of Scarlett's blog and I haven't ever written a comment but have kept a careful eye and a prayer for your family. This is the greatest news to hear and end the day with. God is such a blessing and he really is a miracle worker.

I was very touched by your family and how much you appreciate life.

God Bless!


Lo-Cal Lori said...

I found you through your daughter's website. I am so happy to hear the wonderful news. Prayer is so powerful! I want to share my grandmother's story with you....

She was a sweet southern gal, full of love and a mischievious twinkle in her eye. She has the cutest laugh...I can still hear it today. Anyway....she never really went to the doctor...only if she was feeling really bad. Well, she got some bad news. Her heart was bad and she needed surgery. When the doctors went in to fix her heart they found cancer everywhere. She had ovarian cancer and it had spread to her other organs. The doctors were grim. They basically said there was little they could do and gave her 3-6 months to live. The doctors said they could give chemo a try, but we should be prepared for the worst, since it was in the advanced stages.

Granny did chemo and was always her sweet loving self. The twinkle in her eye never left. But the cancer did. Just like your doctors, they were shocked. Just like you, my Granny had so many people praying for her.

She lived for another 10 years. Cancer free and full of life. :) Miracles happen everyday.


Anonymous said...

God is forever amazing or more faithful than we will ever understand! I am lifting you and your family up in prayer. I am thankful you have found my mom, Connie. She can't stop talking about you and your encouragement.

Lift God up in praise!


Rebecca said...

YAY!!!!! Praise GOD!!!!! I just heard from Scarlett the other day (I'm WAY behind on checking blogs) and I started to cry and thank our Father!! :) So, just know that I'm dancing around and thanking God and still praying up here in Lancaster, PA :)

Sending love and hugs and prayers! xoxo

Katherine Estelle said...

Hooray!!! I am so happy for all of you. I wanted to let you know that I think that the blue rose/butterfly idea is beautiful. I wanted to share with you our story.

When my grandmother was alive, there was a flower that she and my Mom loved that only bloomed once a year, about mid-September. I don't know the name of it, but it was gorgeous and red, and it nearly always blooms on my mother's birthday. Bamaw (my grandmother) never planted any, but they would just show up in her flowerbed. After Bamaw died, my mom was going through some terrible grief just trying to deal with things.

One afternoon, she was out in our yard, and I heard her shout for me. I came running, and she was just overcome with tears of joy. We had one of those flowers blooming in our yard, in a place where one had never been before, and way too early in the year for it to be there. She told me that she knew her Momma had sent that flower for her when she needed it most.

Over the years, the flower has popped up a few more times, but not with any regularity. It only shows up when Momma really needs to see it, and it comforts her. We both know in our hearts that Bamaw is watching over us every day, and it brings us both such peace and joy.

God bless you and your family.