Birthday #3

Birthday #3  Three and a half years ago I was diagnosed with a very aggressive form of leukemia. Today is my birthday #3 to be alive a second time! Happy day! On April 4, 2012, a miracle of new birth took place as I received my brother Paul’s stem cells in a transplant. What a great weekend this is to be celebrating new life!  I love that this birthday falls on Easter weekend this year. Easter is our celebration and somber appreciation for what Jesus Christ did for us on that cross. He died so that we could celebrate new life with Him forever in heaven. He died so that in Him we could live triumphantly through the ugliness and sadness and difficulty that we face living in this broken and sin-scarred world. I’m so glad that this earth as it is will not be our forever home!  I have to say to my family, “Thank you. By my side. Never giving up. Unfailing love. You are a beautiful picture of the place of grace with skin on. I have needed you and you have been here for me in countless ways, requiring great sacrifice and determination. My heart is bursting with love for you today.”  I sincerely thank all of you who have prayed for me and stood with me these last 3½ years. Your prayers and encouragements have carried me. The treatments, the relapses, the paralysis – all extremely difficult. It has challenged every bit of endurance and will that I have inside of me. This is only possible as I turn to God every day, filling up with His Spirit, His power, His faithfulness. Your prayers have helped me through many rough days.  This week has been a particularly rough. On Wednesday during what we thought was going to be a regular doctor’s appointment, she told us that the leukemia was back in my brain and then she rushed me into a chemo treatment. Devastating. Our family was reeling with what this could mean. The sadness and uncertainty was so thick. AND THEN on Friday afternoon the doc texted: “I would like to let you know that the brain fluid sample from Wednesday was negative for malignant cells. This is great news.” What?! Amazing! Unbelievable! What a crazy roller-coaster of emotions. For 48 hours, we thought maybe “this is it” and now it isn’t. Hard to know how to feel, other than relieved and grateful. Praise our Great God!  I still get to hear those little voices call me, “papa!” I still get to see, hear, and touch family… including my IHC church family. I am very grateful. I wasn’t ready to leave the planet and still am not because God has a bigger plan. I trust that plan and will do my best to make the most of every single day He gives me here with you.  Pausing on my 3rd birthday to say to my Heavenly Father, “Thank You!” You get all the credit. You are the beginning and the end. You’ve got this! Without you I am nothing. Your grace and mercy are sufficient and all things will work together for good.  God unleashes his power when people pray. “Not my will, but thine.” That’s the prayer.  Wherever you are at today, just say that to Him. Say, “Dear God, this is your deal before my deal. Your Kingdom before mine. Show me how to embrace what I have now, today, and serve your purposes. I know you’ll take care of the rest.” No, it’s not a “whatever” prayer; it’s a gut wrenching, hope-filled, awe-inspired, heart-felt, best hope and only real option prayer. Acknowledging His sovereignty in spite of our humanity. Acknowledging our great God who sees everything and is not silent, actively unleashing and arranging next steps, even if we don’t understand it all.  Love you all,  Dave

Birthday #3

Three and a half years ago I was diagnosed with a very aggressive form of leukemia. Today is my birthday #3 to be alive a second time! Happy day! On April 4, 2012, a miracle of new birth took place as I received my brother Paul’s stem cells in a transplant. What a great weekend this is to be celebrating new life!

I love that this birthday falls on Easter weekend this year. Easter is our celebration and somber appreciation for what Jesus Christ did for us on that cross. He died so that we could celebrate new life with Him forever in heaven. He died so that in Him we could live triumphantly through the ugliness and sadness and difficulty that we face living in this broken and sin-scarred world. I’m so glad that this earth as it is will not be our forever home!

I have to say to my family, “Thank you. By my side. Never giving up. Unfailing love. You are a beautiful picture of the place of grace with skin on. I have needed you and you have been here for me in countless ways, requiring great sacrifice and determination. My heart is bursting with love for you today.”

I sincerely thank all of you who have prayed for me and stood with me these last 3½ years. Your prayers and encouragements have carried me. The treatments, the relapses, the paralysis – all extremely difficult. It has challenged every bit of endurance and will that I have inside of me. This is only possible as I turn to God every day, filling up with His Spirit, His power, His faithfulness. Your prayers have helped me through many rough days.

This week has been a particularly rough. On Wednesday during what we thought was going to be a regular doctor’s appointment, she told us that the leukemia was back in my brain and then she rushed me into a chemo treatment. Devastating. Our family was reeling with what this could mean. The sadness and uncertainty was so thick. AND THEN on Friday afternoon the doc texted: “I would like to let you know that the brain fluid sample from Wednesday was negative for malignant cells. This is great news.” What?! Amazing! Unbelievable! What a crazy roller-coaster of emotions. For 48 hours, we thought maybe “this is it” and now it isn’t. Hard to know how to feel, other than relieved and grateful. Praise our Great God!

I still get to hear those little voices call me, “papa!” I still get to see, hear, and touch family… including my IHC church family. I am very grateful. I wasn’t ready to leave the planet and still am not because God has a bigger plan. I trust that plan and will do my best to make the most of every single day He gives me here with you.

Pausing on my 3rd birthday to say to my Heavenly Father, “Thank You!” You get all the credit. You are the beginning and the end. You’ve got this! Without you I am nothing. Your grace and mercy are sufficient and all things will work together for good.

God unleashes his power when people pray. “Not my will, but thine.” That’s the prayer.

Wherever you are at today, just say that to Him. Say, “Dear God, this is your deal before my deal. Your Kingdom before mine. Show me how to embrace what I have now, today, and serve your purposes. I know you’ll take care of the rest.” No, it’s not a “whatever” prayer; it’s a gut wrenching, hope-filled, awe-inspired, heart-felt, best hope and only real option prayer. Acknowledging His sovereignty in spite of our humanity. Acknowledging our great God who sees everything and is not silent, actively unleashing and arranging next steps, even if we don’t understand it all.

Love you all,

Dave

Kayla Stoecklein