After about two weeks of intense training and hands on experience in
the Kindy classroom the day comes for the measurement test. We’ve
spent 45 minutes of almost every day and a few incidental learning
experiences in between drilling the children in the ‘terms of
measurement.’ We’ve lined them up head to head, we’ve taken our HB
pencils around the room and found things longer, shorter and the same;
we’ve cut lengths of string; we’ve read the big book together; we’ve
paced out the playground in giant steps and in fairy steps and finally
we are convinced every child in the class is ready for individual
There are three key words required for them to get full marks: width,
height and length. One by one we call them and we remind them of all
the fun we have had measuring. “Can you remember the three words we
use the most when we measure?” the question is posed. “Hmm,” the first
little person will respond rocking back and forth from heel to tiptoe,
looking over my shoulder or up to the ceiling, then tapping his
forehead in the hope that it will bring forth the unloading of the
“Is it width, height and ummmm?” struggling with the final answer.
The next child purses her lips and twists them sideways, “I know this
answer, don’t I?” she responds, “Can I just go to the toilet first?”
We don’t like to be tested. Do we? Even when we’ve studied, even when
we’ve prepared for the exam; even when we know it will take us to the
next level. Testing is a drag.
Every now and then a child skips up to my desk when their name is
called, rattling of the three words perfectly: “width, height and
length”, then to check they understand, they must demonstrate what they
My favourite response of all is when a child stands beside me
announcing confidently “width, height and STRENGTH” so close to the
right answer it even rhymes.
After six months of sitting at Sam’s bed or by her chair while she
undergoes bone marrow biopsies, lumbar punctures and chemotherapy, I
feel like I’ve been tested on so many levels.
My faith in God
My thoughts on healing
My relationship with Reid
My mother guilt
My ability to receive help from others
My selfish desires
My dreams for the future
My judgment of people
I see all my flaws. I am not who I want to be. I’m angry with
difficult and evil nurses. I’m infuriated with the holes in the
hospital system, I’m lacking in strength and reminded of the little
people in my Kindy class. Indeed strength could be used to classify
measurement. Surely God himself has come to measure my life. There are
so many days when I do not pass the test.
I’m tired of the monotony of waiting. I’m discouraged by all the bad
news. My heart has become like a rubber band either stretched
completely or reverberating in heavy pulses on the rebound of shock.
I return to Zechariah again and again finding treasures in God’s word.
I read Chapter 2:
1AND I lifted up my eyes and saw, and behold, a man with a measuring line in his hand.
2Then said I, “Where are you going?” And he said to me, “To measure Jerusalem, to see what is its breadth and what is its length.”
3And behold, the angel who talked with me went forth and another angel went out to meet him,
4And he said to the second angel, “Run, speak to this young man, saying, “Jerusalem shall be inhabited and dwell as villages without walls, because of the multitude of people and livestock in it.
5For I, says the Lord, will be to her a wall of fire round about, and I will be the glory in the midst of her.”
I’m not really sure how this relates to my life in the literal sense
but I feel many walls of my prejudice coming down. Surrounded everyday
by people suffering from cancer is the ultimate wakeup call. My
compassion is increased daily along with the hopeless anguish I feel
on the days when they cart out the dead on beds without mattresses
covered with slate grey sheets. Yes, the width and length of my
experience has expanded. I will never be the same. I pray that God’s
fire will surround me as the walls of my own making crumble on all
I am constantly humbled in this place, seeking advice from the
qualified. Last week I was wondering if my daughter’s memory would
return, this week I’m begging for blood transfusions. I am desperate
in every way. Fighting for her life. My thoughts go out to the ones who
have no voice to speak on their behalf. (Proverbs 31:8)
I’m finding this journey difficult to say the least but God says to
James 1:2 Consider it wholly joyful, my brethren, whenever you are
enveloped in or encounter trials of any sort or fall into various
3 Be assured and understand that the trial and proving of your
faith bring out endurance and steadfastness and patience.
4 But let endurance and steadfastness and patience have full play
and do a thorough work, so that you may be [people] perfectly and
fully developed [with no defects], lacking in nothing.
So this is my hope, that through it all I’m changing and growing and
being equipped. That the day is coming when there will be less of me
and more of God.
He’s teaching me not to judge others because every life is valuable to
Him. On the day we most needed the transfusion and all the nurses were
too busy, it was difficult nurse who reached out to help us.
So I am learning that God gives me wisdom if I ask just as James 1:5
says, “If any of you is deficient in wisdom, let him ask of [b]the
giving God [Who gives] to everyone liberally and ungrudgingly, without
reproaching or fault-finding, and it will be given him.”
No, I don’t like the test but God is equipping me and preparing me just
like I do with my Kindy kids. He knows best the road ahead. He lets
me do it with an open book. His word is my strength, and my obedience
to it is His only measure.
Day by day He increases my ability to grasp His magnificent plan and
when all my strength is gone His gracious words come to remind me
Isaiah 40:30 Even youths shall faint and be weary, and [selected]
young men shall feebly stumble and fall exhausted; 31 But those who
wait for the Lord [who expect, look for, and hope in Him] shall change
and renew their strength and power; they shall lift their wings and
mount up [close to God] as eagles [mount up to the sun]; they shall
run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint or become tired.’
Last Thursday Sam was sent home after 7 days and nights in 12D at RNS.
It was a grueling week of high dose chemotherapy, an LP and a BMB. One
of the drugs she was given had such severe risk of anaphylactic
reaction, that three doctors, three nurses and a CNC stood by with a
fully stocked resuscitation trolley. Needless to say, I was petrified
watching them administer these treatments. The anti -histamine drugs
given to protect her from the dreaded reaction had negative effects of
their own. Sam has no recollection of those three days. I watched her
try to eat an apple but ramming pieces into her chin instead. She told
me Grant had a new Aunty instead of a new baby niece. She told me she
couldn’t find a song on her iPod when I watching her search through
her emails. She was completely confused for days and the side effects
sheet I was given listed memory loss as a rare but possible side effect.
When her counts return to normal we can leave RNS. We are off to St
Vincents in September for a Matched Unrelated Donor transplant.
For now we have daily blood tests and transfusions. She is tired and
isolated due to her lack of neutrophils but God is faithful, He will
restore her strength and mine.