Things that matter

Jun 27

Dr. Wonderful asks, as he does at every appointment, “So Jen, have you noticed any changes after the last week or so?”

“Well, I had some tingling after the last chemo for the first time.  That was cool.”  He nods.  “And I think it is a bit smaller, but I have a hard time assessing.  The biggest thing that I did was to send out a request on the blog for everyone to pray for some dramatic changes.”  I laugh and explain,  “I told them you wanted it to shrink faster, so that is what I told everybody to pray for.”

Dr. W., “Okay, well, we’ll take a look.”

After the exam he says, “Well Jen, I think that you should continue to call upon whatever higher power is working for you because I see a lot of difference.  The three-dimensional quality of the tumor is continuing to shrink down and I am happy with the receding nature of the cancer.”  He pauses, then looks at me, “Definitely keep praying and call on your people.”

Yes folks, I do believe my oncologist just gave me a prescription for prayer.  Yes, sir!  

Me, first thinking, “Yes!  I will tell everyone to keep praying!  God is answering our prayers.”  Also thinking, I don’t have a clear idea about what he means by the three-dimensional nature of the tumor, but I do understand “shrink down” and “receding nature”.  Sounds like o b l i t e r a t i o n to me!!!  Prayers matter!

Praying the big hair scary prayers is hard.  It takes guts and risk and putting your heart on the table, knowing that if you don’t get what you ask for you’ll have to pick up the pieces and soldier on.  But.  Today I feel like I got a yes to a big hairy scary prayer.  And, oh my Lord, it is sweet.  Isn’t life like that in so many instances?  Big risk and big reward.  Amen.

Tonight I sitting here feeling grateful.  And I’m also busy tingling.  (Which I love.)  Living with cancer is a plate full of perspective.  Some things matter, and some things don’t.  I’m working every day on the It Matters list.  I’m turning my back on the things that just don’t.

My Maren matters: I’m reading Maren her first American Girl book.  She’s a bit young for it.  I admit it’s tedious to stop often and explain context, and geography, and vocabulary.  But, she’s into it.  And that makes it so worth it.  It’s a monumental moment for me, as I read all the American Girl books when I was a young girl, and I even had one of the very first dolls.  My Kirsten doll sits on a shelf in the playroom.  Maren will be allowed to play with her after she’s read (or I’ve read to her) all of the Kirsten books.  My parents, especially my mom, was brilliant in making reading rewarding and fun.  I credit the original American Girl books with the historical characters as being a big contributing factor to cultivating my love of history.  Ultimately, I think it laid the early groundwork that lead me down the path to being a social studies teacher.  I am thrilled to be experiencing this milestone with Maren.  I love that reading is expanding her world.  She is such a cool kid.  I love her.

My Greta matters; she is such a little sponge and is watching us all the time to learn new things.  Her vocabulary is exploding.  She’s had a long-established love of shoes.  From the time she could use her hands, she has had an obsession with shoes.  I didn’t need to carry toys or teething rings because she would cast them aside in favor of pulling off her shoes and gnawing on them.  Actually, both Greta and Maren have a genuine love of shoes.  Maren has developed a strong love of glitter and shine when it comes to shoes, something that befuddles me.  Again, I think my mom has something to do with creating my shoe monsters.  Today Greta learned the word socks when I put them on her.  Once her socks were on, she strutted over, got her shoes and plopped down in my lap and said, “shoes.”  This girl is ready to take on the world.  Literally.

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention Brad.  This man matters.  He intercedes and stands before me in all of the challenges that we face.  He takes on every burden he can so that I will be free.  I love my man.  So.  Much.

Thank  you for your prayers and your thoughts.  I’ve read the comments, emails, and notes from you with gratitude and praise for the way that God is using you to encourage me.  Writing is therapeutic, and your words back to me are even more therapeutic.  Thank you.  My humble words her don’t do my emotion justice.  Just know.  You matter.


  1. Kim Anderson /

    This is so awesome! Still praying every time I think of you!

  2. Kelly E. /

    Wonderful news!! We are keeping the prayers coming. Miss not seeing you guys over the summer, but know you are in our thoughts and prayers daily.

  3. suenitz /

    Oh Jen. I am smiling and feeling your joy. Thank you for sharing beautiful, wonderful self. I am so thankful to God for answering our prayers. He is our most precious source of goodness. He taught me that if I remain faithful in prayer He will be there listening. So we have many conversations about you and your mom and your family. Your eyes are open to watch Him work and He is rejoicing with you. This cancer thing is so, so much more than the cancer itself. It is about accepting God’s Will knowing He loves you so much. You are allowing His light to shine through you. You are such a blessing to all the lives you touch. The cancer is shrinking and your faith is growing! I am here if you ever need anything. Praying and rejoicing with you.

  4. You matter! Don’t forget that you matter.

  5. Praise God for your progress!!! I pray for you every morning with my own little girl, Lily, who will be a year old next month?! Thank you for sharing perspective and helping to shape mine. Blessings!!

  6. Jen, how is your mother? I check her blog but have seen no updates.

  7. Laura /

    Praying praying praying! I think about you often and lift up a little prayer (actually a big prayer) for obliteration! My heart sped up as I read those words that your doctor spoke! Praise the Lord! I’ll continue to pray!

  8. Lisa L /

    Such wonderful news!! Been praying for both you and your mom. Keep going strong!!

  9. Angela Johnson /

    Hairy Scary coming at you from Michigan!!!!

  10. Thank you for honoring us with this personal, intimate life of yours. Thank you for allowing us to rejoice with you.

    You lift us up.

  11. Again-YAY! Jen, great news! I am always excited when I see your blog pop up. We (some of your “fans” in Seattle) start to worry when we haven’t seen a post after a few days. Never fear, you are still being lifted up. -And you have “fans”!

  12. Yay!!!

    I am thrilled for you and for us. I love being a part of God’s plan. Sometimes the many voices saying the big prayers are what wakes Yahweh up (think Exodus!) I can’t wait to hear more. You, your family, and your words are truly an inspiration. YOU Matter!

  13. Thank you, Jen, this is beautiful. I am so happy for you. My NHL disappeared after 4th chemo; I had the 5th last week, and the last on 7/12, then radiation. So we are still working to obliterate…

  14. Praise God!

  15. Ellen Foss /

    Jen, Great news! I do believe in the power of prayer and you are seeing it. You and your family are in my thoughts and prayers daily. I will continue to pray for obliteration and for your strength.

  16. Peggy /

    What wonderful news! Last year when my husband was diagnosed with cancer, our own Dr. Wonderful spent about 2 hours explaining the course this particular cancer tends to take and what typical follow-up treatments might be like. He ended by saying, “Having said all that, what I really want the two of you to do is pray. Ask your friends to pray. Having been a surgeon for nearly 25 years, I’m more than a little positive I can successfully cut this tumor out. But I also know prayer is the most powerfu tool in my bag of cancer-fighting tricks. So everyday, pray, laugh a lot and surround yourself with postivie people. Do your job so I can better do mine.” That was an amazing “prescription” from a well-known surgeon! (BTW, it worked!)

  17. Bonniebj /

    Wonderful wonderful news Jen, we continue to hold you up and pray on. The army of God is a mighty one and the Goliath in your life and the ones in ours are most definitely worth the FIGHT….

  18. I am the BIGGEST follower of authority, especially doctors. So if Dr. Wonderful tells me to pray, pray I will do! Amazing news, the prayers continue!!

  19. Dave Schreier /

    Praying, praying, praying. I will not stop. Lots of love from the Schreier family! Surrender to Him.

  20. jen powers /

    HALLELUJAH!!! Doing a massive happy dance. Been stalking your blog to hear an update. Praise God for o.b.l.i.t.e.r.a.t.i.o.n!!! Continuing to pray for more tingling. 🙂

  21. Amen, Doc!!!


  23. dear jen,
    i just want to chime in and thank you so much for sharing your story. YOU matter so much to each of us who stumble upon your writings, and it is bafflingly amazing to me how much we all must matter to God that He would go to such crazy random lengths to bring us encouragement through you (and vice versa!). it’s the end of the work day, so i’m not quite sure how much sense my words are making, but i have been wanting to say something. if i knew you, if i visited your church or met you somehow, i know i would want you to be my friend. i have been praying for you as it crosses my mind to do so (which is the best i can do for anyone, myself included) and it has been so awesome to hear of God’s faithfulness in shrinking your cancer! may He continue to richly bless you and your family.

  24. So awesomely wonderful to hear the great news! Will keep praying for you and giving all the glory to God.

  25. Katie /

    You don’t know me, but I found your blog awhile back. You are a true inspiration. I will continue to pray for you, your mom, and your family.

  26. Amber /

    I grew up reading the American Girl books too. I got my Kirsten doll in 1990 and would pour over the catalogs every time they arrived. I too still have her and all her accessories and look forward to passing her on to a daughter of my own some day. Visualizing those dying cancer cells as I pray…

  27. jeni /

    Praise God. HE is good. Prayers continue to come your way, for you and all of your family.

  28. Love the idea of an “It Matters” list- so true. Love & prayers to you always

  29. Rebecca /


  30. Hanna /

    Praise God! He is worthy of our trust in Him. Will continue to pray for His peace to surround you at all times. His peace in the storm is the biggest gift. Much love!

  31. YOU matter. Still praying the obliteration prayer here. ♥