Has something you learned at a Hearts at Home conference, on the blog, on our radio program, or in one of our books, stuck with you in a way that you were able to apply it to your life? If so, we’d love to hear your story too!
Send your story in 800 words of less to firstname.lastname@example.org!
It’s the kind of story that happens to other people. You read about it in the newspaper- or you see a flyer for a benefit dinner hanging at the local bank. It’s a story you definitely hope doesn’t become yours. And even though the odds were against us, it has become our family’s story. We’re still in shock.
Our living room is now filled with costly medical equipment. My dishwasher is filled with nebulizer cups for sterilization, bottles and boxes of prescription medicine are on our counters. Antibacterial wipes and hand sanitizers are in every room. Our daily routines are changed permanently. All because of two letters… CF.
I wish that CF stood for “Chocolate Fudge”, or better yet, “Cure Found”. I like that better. But there’s no hiding the fact that indeed CF stands for Cystic Fibrosis: an inherited chronic disease that affects the lungs and digestive system of about 30,000 children and adults in the United States (70,000 worldwide).
Back in the 1950’s if your child were to receive this diagnosis he or she would not make it to school age. Today, life expectancy is well into the late 30s. I’m supposed to feel good about this. But I don’t. As a parent you have high hopes and dreams for your children. You want them to have a healthy childhood, go to college, get married, have a career, have children, retire and live until they’re 80. And the letters CF seem to turn all of these things into a “maybe.”
Our story is about 4 years in the making. First our 3rd child Anders was diagnosed with CF after years of symptoms. Once CF made it’s appearance in our family, we began genetic testing only to find out that both my husband and I were carriers. That meant our two other children needed to be tested.
I’ll never forget the day we received the dreaded phone call with the results of the testing of our older daughter and son. We happened to be on a houseboat trip near the Canadian border. I had terrible cell phone reception and it was a miracle that the phone call even came through but I heard the nurse loud and clear. “Your daughter is completely negative for the defective genes, but your other son, Carson, has the exact DNA make-up as Anders.” She said it so matter-of-fact and the news hit like a blow to the gut. And yet miraculously the old hymn, “It is Well with my Soul” popped into my mind.
Years ago I had attended a Hearts at Home conference where a speaker shared with us how to find peace, no matter what circumstances life may bring. It might seem contradictory or even inappropriate to feel well in our soul when tragedy strikes, but with God all things are possible.
At the same moment I was on the phone receiving terrible news, I could see 11-year-old Carson, who had never had a single symptom of CF, out on the lake in a kayak fishing. It was his favorite thing to do in the whole world and he looked so happy and content. An overwhelming sense of peace came over me like a blanket. I hung up the phone and began to sing and cry at the same time.
After a regime of tests, Carson was also diagnosed with CF. We were overwhelmed as a family and couldn’t stop the tears from flowing. And yet that blanket of peace never left my shoulders.
I would never ask for CF to be a part of our family’s story, but in many ways it’s been a blessing. It has made us realize all the more that we need to be thankful for each day with our kids. We need to hug them more, play with them more. And find joy in all things.
God has never left us during this dark time in our lives. We’ve felt His love in a tangible way by the care and generosity of friends and family, through prayers, meals, cards, and financial donations to the CFF. Our family has become closer than ever and we are gaining strength and perseverance each day.
CF doesn’t always have to stand for Cystic Fibrosis. In our minds, it also means Cherish Family.
Would you like to have an experience like Leanne’s? It’s not too late for you to join us at our North Central Hearts at Home Conference November 8-9! Early registration ends next Wednesday (a savings of $30!). I’d love to see you there!
Can you share a time where God has carried you through something very hard?
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