Cancer day 4: follow the leader

24 May 2017

Sometimes when we surf our kids' waves, God meets us too. This is how Rachel's son helped her meet with God in the week following her diagnosis.

In certain seasons of life, people arise around us and spiritually help us cope. It’s why we are the body of Christ, knitted together. One part benefits the others. It is such a relief at certain times to relax into the joy of being part of a community being propelled forward in their faith together. Sometimes you just have to shut up and follow the leader.

This week, I’ve been following Kid.

Kid has pretty much forgotten about my uterus. It barely features in his life, and it doesn’t really live in his head. But, wowsers, has God been using Kid to lead me to key places.

Yesterday morning, I was awoken by ‘MUMMY!’ at 5.30 in the morning. Now, some of you parents are right now looking at me blankly with the thought That’s when my children normally get up. I hear you. And I’m sad for you. And I’m in awe of how you haven’t punched anybody on the street due to lack of sleep. But in my house, Kid rolls out of bed between 7 and 7.30, so a 5.30 scream in pitch black night is annoooooooying.

So I go into his room and climb up the stairs to his bed and give him a hug while he describes his bizarre dream. I’m pretty sure I start to drift off (we all do it) with my head on his mattress and my body propped on the ladder, when his little voice finally gets to the question, ‘Please pray for me. In your normal English voice. Then your special Daddy God language.’ Fine. Pray. Done. He shifts to his other side and I start to remove my arms from our hug to finally stumble back to my Bed of Wonders (I love my bed).

But then his little whispers drift to me. ‘Daddy God, mmmm hmm hmm power my mmmm hmmpf.’ I freeze. He’s praying. Classic group prayer faux pas – sorry! Evidently we both are praying. Sweet. Fine. The mumbles continue and I shift uncomfortably on the ladder waiting for him to be done. ‘Your turn, Mummy,’ he says clearly and turns to hold my face. Oooookay. I pray again about general stuff. Done. His little face smiles, ‘My turn.’ His whispers get louder. ‘Mmmm hmmm, and Daddy God make us like a leaf on your river, flowing wherever you go. Thank you that you are the river making all trees come to life and have fruit. Hmmmm mmmm.’

Wait, what? Am I in the middle of a full blown prophetic picture prayer meeting? ‘Your turn, Mummy. Don’t forget to use Daddy God pictures and Bible words.’ Dude raised the bar. Back and forth we went. For 45 minutes. Finding people to pray for, scripture to pray, pictures from God to use. He flowed away contented and focused, where after about 30 minutes I was stuck and started circling back around to stuff I used at the beginning. I was encouraged to try again.

Together, in the darkness, we met with God. I wanted to bail quickly, where as long as he had thoughts in his head, he wanted to pray. He wanted to cuddle in the darkness with me and meet with God. We prayed for many of you. And not once did we pray for the cancer. I loved it. If I had no more days past that moment, I would have been content. I learned about perseverance. I learned about simplicity. I followed my son’s lead and had a morning to remember. Kid, of course, doesn’t remember it at all. Pffff. Kids.

After a full day and the natural wrestling of getting Kid into bed (liquid, book, cuddly toy, the poles aligning and all spider webs facing the right direction), the yell came again about 15 minutes after bedtime: ‘I’m scared!’ I have a policy that once the light is off, it doesn’t go back on again. I want my kid to find peace and connection with God in the dark, instead of taking comfort in the light. If I’m having a lazy day, I normally just yell up a prayer and then help him problem-solve it for himself. That night, glowing from my morning memories, I skipped upstairs. He wanted to cuddle, and after a quick kiss I denied him more (God’s our comfort, not Mummy). I then lay on the floor in the blackness to give him some time to find his peace. He asked me to sing. And so we sang. We sang worship. We sang together, we gave each other song requests, we told Bible stories. I sang ‘No Longer a Slave to Fear, I Am a Child of God’ for the first time, which blew his mind and he made me sing it five times in a row.

Hands down, it was the best worship time since the diagnosis. It was peppered with bodily noises and giggling, and the tangible feeling of God’s presence in the room. Occasionally, random thoughts would jump into the conversation (‘Would peanut butter feel nice if it was a shirt?’ – that was me.) along with holy moments of silence, where I would see his hands in the air as mine were just waiting on God in the darkness.

No matter how many times I have worshipped, read the Bible, and chatted with God in the past week, these moments have been by far the best. The raw, real, unprettiness of two disciples of God meeting with him in the dark. It’s the joy of my life.

I am grateful for the leadership of Kid as he stepped into being his little part of the body of Christ that I needed yesterday.

To read more about Rachel’s journey of cancer, you can read the full journey at

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