There is Always Hope

 

The Pet scan is gruesome. Black dots everywhere; clearly not what we were praying for. The cancer vaccine did not work. I was too late. There are more tumors, more fractures, more pain; and yet I am here.

Peter and I held hands as we listened. His body began to shake, tears streamed down his face and I joined him. The word hospice entered the conversation; a social worker came in, the DNR forms were signed. And the wonder of Gods great plan flitted through my brain.

Looking at the dead body on the screen one can only marvel that fear does not rob me of peace, that my legs still shuffle, my heart still beats, and an unending well of love continues to overflow. Maybe the miracle is that I am still alive.

Days before the results, my body had broken out in a terrible case of shingles. The purple and black welts covered the left side of my body. To top off the action, I got pink eye, a herpes zoster on my lip and my jaw locked up. Despite the onslaught of trouble, Peter and I chose to ignore it all and relax on our raft. As I floated in the waves with my noodle praising God for the ability to float in the glorious clear lake water, my right foot hit the chain that held our raft. It was loaded with zebra muscles and I sliced it badly. When we got situated on top of the raft, it didn’t take long for the blood to soak the raft.  I looked at Peter and pondered and mumbled that perhaps my jaw issue was bells palsy. He looked at me with the blood on the raft, the shingles covering my left side, the herpes lip bursting forth, the right eye gummed shut, the mouth unable to open and said “you think you have bells palsy now?” We stared at each other and were overcome with the absurdity of it all. We started laughing and could not stop. We laughed for 30 minutes. It was so healing. (Praise God I do not have Bells Palsy)

The brilliant sun hit our faces and gave us renewed hope as I hobbled out of the hospital holding Peters hand. Forget the medical reports. God knows the number of my days and He has already extended them beyond what is humanly possible. I am not done with my earthly mission and I refuse to waste energy on negative reports.

The boys needed to be told. Chase and I hugged for a long time, cherishing the fact that we have this blessed anointed time together. Stetson new right away when I failed to call immediately. I didn’t want to tell him over the phone but had no choice. As the words hit our love and tears were tangible despite the distance. We then told our immediate family and spent the day in the sun weeping, laughing, hugging and treasuring the gift of the day.

We chose to dive down to Stonehill College to tell Trent in person. It broke my heart. He’d been praying every night for a miracle. Upon hearing the news, he informed us that if God did not fully heal me that he would not believe in God or ever step foot in a church again. It gutted me and yet I know it is a 20-year-old boy expressing his anger and being “oh so normal”. I reminded him of all the miracles God had performed in our lives. How He is good and how the trials have helped each one of us grow, transform and become more of who we were created to be. I told him that I am not giving up and that I need him to continue to pray for a miracle. It was then that I saw a ray hope enter back into his glistening eyes. He nodded, squeezed my hand and told me he would continue to pray.

The next morning, Peter and I had the great privilege of cheering Trent, his partner and the whole tennis team on at the doubles invitational. God’s favor fell upon everyone. 8 hours later, Trent and Russell were crowned the champions. It was incredible. To God be the glory.

On the way home my breath came in gasps as I wept uncontrollably wondering if I would ever get to watch Trent play another tennis tournament. I closed my eyes and prayed “God heal me completely, use me in a mighty way. I will testify and give you all the glory and the world will know who you are. I will set captives free and be a conduit of your great love”

I kept my eyes closed and asked God to show me a rainbow to assure me that He had heard my prayer. I called to Peter from my make shift bed in the back of our Volkswagen and told him to be on the lookout for a rainbow because I knew God was going to send me one. I opened my eyes and looked to the right, nothing. I turned my head and looked to the left and there running across the entire sky was an enormous rainbow with each gorgeous color perfectly visible. Hope infused my spirit.

God sees each one of us and despite the often-devastating circumstances; He does have a great plan. We must trust Him and lean not on our own understanding. We must choose life. We must not let the negative reports steal the minute, the hour, the day, the week, the years we have in front of us right now.

I need your prayers. The pain continues. Still I am remarkably able to write today, I am not in the hospital and hospice is not here. Friends and family and angels are helping me thrive.

I am learning that my suffering is not being wasted. In the natural it would seem there is no purpose for suffering. However God remarkably uses our suffering for breakthrough in our own lives and those of many others. Last Sunday a wonderful young man approached me in church with tears in his eyes. He told me how watching me rise and lift my arms and praise God in spite of the tremendous pain helped renew his faith. I thought back to the many people who have inspired me in my faith walk. It has often been the people who have suffered and triumphed and praised God through it all. I realize that I have never been closer to God than in my suffering. And even now, God is using me to help others through their own trials. And He will use you too.

I have so much to do. There are books I want to finish, blogs to be brought forth, Sermons to share, and hope that needs to be showered on this earth. My journey is not yet done. And yet Chase informed me that I have already done more than I ever dreamed possible. That my short time on this earth has been rich, that my life’s work has infused hope and transformed lives. That even if God calls me home that my legacy of love will continue and maybe just maybe go further.

While I don’t understand what it all means, I praise God for this bonus round. It may look like my old body is dead but my spirit is more alive than it has ever been. I am at peace and trust God completely. If my time to come home is soon, then I praise Him for His perfect timing. After all, heaven is the ultimate prize. Jesus won the victory for us and He will be there to welcome us home. It is then that we will see the magnificent movie of our lives and marvel at God’s perfect plan.

God bless you all. Tonight is a full moon. I pray you go out and bask in the glory of it all.

Trent and Russel,Karen; Double Tennis Champions

Thank you all for your unending love, support, words of encouragement and prayers. We are forever grateful.

All my love into eternity, xo Karen

16 Comments

  • Cindy Soule says:

    Sending prayers and strength from the Bold North Mn. Hugs cuz

  • Dear Karen,
    I have fond memories of you at Genesee Hills elementary– you were such a kind and beautiful soul, and I was glad we shared a name. Congratulations on raising three amazing young men, and all of your other accomplishments. You are an inspiration!
    wishing you peace now and forevermore
    Love, Karen Parfitt

  • Patti Riordan says:

    Beautifully said Karen. You look radiant in the photo with your gorgeous Trent. You give me hope and strength and I am praying for miracles every day. We love you and wrap our arms around you. The most magical moments in life — sunshine on your face, floating on the water with your love, the wise words of your handsome successful and smart young men. Love you and thank you.
    Patti Peter Megan and Will xxxxxooooo

  • Karen,
    You will always be an inspiration. One of the most positive, beautiful, and vivacious people I ever met. No one could ever surpass you. It’s been years since we have seen each other (some UVM reunion when you were 4th in your age class in triathlon) and you were as impressive then as in college. I am happy and proud to have you as a friend.
    Love and prayers,
    Darcy

  • Sarah Jones says:

    We love you Karen! Thanks for sharing your life, your love and insights and your sparkling spirit that carries on and on…. sending love hugs and prayers to you, Peter and the boys!! XO Sarah & Regg

  • Angela Ackerman says:

    Karen I learned about you through a friend we have in common. You are beyond inspirational and embody amazing strength, values, faith, and character. I love that you choose hope and love. You will continue to be in my thoughts and prayers… ❤️❤️

  • Barbara Russell says:

    I read your book. Very inspirational. By the way, Max Burcham is my first cousin! I was a library director until my retirement and have your book in our library.

  • Monica Murphy says:

    Karen,
    I am praying for you each and every day. I had a battle with breast cancer three years ago. Your strength and faith is so admirable! Keep doing what you are doing! God loves you!

  • Johanna Chodkowski says:

    Be assured; your life’s work HAS infused hope and HAS transformed lives. Your precious legacy of love WILL continue forever. YOU have taught me to NEVER give up during my breast cancer journey, and to know that God is GOOD in everything. And this carries over to my daughter and son, who see me fight, and they take my strength and my love for our Lord and lock it deep within themselves, safe for when their hard time comes. Your legacy of love will never be forgotten. You are loved and treasured beyond words. Thank you for all you do. And thank you for being YOU.

    I pray that the loving Arms of Jesus wrap you tightly in comfort and healing. God bless you, Karen and your sweet family.

  • Maria Roemhildt says:

    I love the theme of rainbows throughout your summer. A bow- an instrument of war facing upward toward the heavens and reestablished as a sign of peace and God’s promise of love and faithfulness.

    As I’ve followed your story through Church at the Well and other places over recent years, the words “well done my good and faithful servant” continue to come to mind. Well done.

    I join with you in continuing to pray for healing, and as we wait, I hope that you are able to rest in the shelter of God’s fierce and mighty love. You have done all that needs to be done. Well done good and faithful child. May you rest in his love and delight in the love of all those gathered around you.

  • Wilma says:

    My Dearest Brave Warrior Sister

    I just read your beautiful blog and what comes to mind is, “Inspiration of God’s Love” that is what you described in this blog. God’s beautiful Love for you through it all. I am heartbroken over your recent report, yet I take joy in what the Lord has done through you in the years of your cancer battle. You. precious one, have touched thousands of lives, many that know you, and many that don’t. You are super “Star” not because of you, but because of HIM in you. You truly exemplify Jesus Love in your daily life. Its a beautiful thing to witness. I am blessed and privileged to have been a witness of your Godly life thus far,and am blessed to call you friend and Warrior Sister. I continue to link arms with you my friend in this battle and refuse to say its over for you, only God has the right to say and I am Believing God to have you finish that book and get many more opportunities to be HIS continued Light to a lost, hopeless, darken world without Christ. I love you very much and look forward to more exciting chats with you. Love you my 4Ever friend.

  • Drew Chace says:

    Some Times, No words are best, Just Feel the “Spirit of Love “

  • Toussaint says:

    Dear Karen,
    I have been thinking of you & praying while reading your book. I really want to thank you for the gift of hope and courage. I prayed God to give me the courage you demonstrated on my darkest days as well. I cannot wait to see you. I love your spirit, you are the angel we all want and need in our lives. Yes I want to see you and hug you, until then I will hug David here in PA.
    I love you and thank you for the books you wrote. I thank you for the confidence you have demonstrated & thank you for reminding us again that Jesus is Lord. Our life belongs to him and he is the Alpha and Omega. I thank you for the copy of your book and for the lovely notes of encouragement!

    Sincerement,
    Jenna, Skyler & Toussaint

  • Diane MacDonough Pluff says:

    Karen, I have just finished your incredible book. I can not tell you how moved and awestruck I am with your incredible story and faith. God is ever-present and you are truly a soldier for him. I know he will be with you and your family always. I will continue to hold you and your family in my heart and prayers. I believe we ran together at JDHS… I, not being as talented as you, but always remember your kind spirit. Prayers and continued blessings, Diane

  • Kathy Keleher says:

    Karen – thank you so much for your precious words & for continuing to share your difficult story. It helps so many of us, as we walk similar journeys. The strength & courage that you provide is a priceless gift. I know that God will continue to keep & bless you. Know that your life matters!!!

  • Olga Sychev says:

    Karen you’re in our prayers and all who I’ve meet in Mexico while going through treatments and vaccinations. Unfortunately my mother in law (Nadezhda) did not make it. She left us on September 13th. We excepted that as Gods will.

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