The First Step

Today there were a lot of firsts. First day for my dad to go back to work (half day), first day of radiation and first day of chemotherapy. Appointment after appointment, Providence Hospital knows us well. Whenever we walk into the medical department I just can’t help but laugh. Whether it’s the doctor’s office, the hospital, the cancer center; they know that the Carters have arrived. And I’m not saying that in a bragging way like “Oh yes, we are ‘THE CARTERS’.” No not at all! To be honest… I was actually embarrassed at first. Why? Well… 1. We are LOUD, 2. We Always come in a big pack 3. We are out of the ORDINARY.

IMG_7075Here is a little story to give a summary of what I mean… when my dad was getting rolled out of his room to head into surgery, what does the Carter clan do?… make a tunnel for him to wheel through and cheer him on while he is getting rolled away. I mean that was kind of a no brainer. We don’t ask permission to be loud and obnoxious in the hallways of the critical care center, I guess it just comes naturally. Even the guy in charge of rolling his bed said “This is a first”. And that was just the beginning of many firsts. After that, we made our new home in the waiting room. Two by Two like Noah’s ark, we piled into the surgery floor. Not 10, not 20, not 30, but about 40 PEOPLE were there waiting for the outcome of my dad’s surgery. When more people would arrive at the information desk, the receptionist would say,”Let me guess the Carters?… they’re over there.” Instead of being quiet, sitting there waiting, we decided to show them how the Carters wait. What does that officially mean? The Carters way of waiting for 3 hours… Well, we order pizza, bring out board games, laugh, talk about life and most importantly PRAY. Long story short we ended up being kicked out of the waiting room because someone was complaining, and now in my dad’s hospital file it says BIG, LOUD, FAMILY! In our defense, we weren’t being rude, or inconsiderate, we were just being…well… US. Found out later that we actually set a record for having the most people in a waiting room. That’s how we do it… “Go big or Go home.”

Processed with VSCOcam with b1 presetToday when my dad went into radiation, joyfully walking over while snapping his fingers (might I add SO LOUDLY), he greeted the receptionist in his loud, cheerful voice, with a friendly, “Hello.” I could tell she was so confused and almost started to chuckle. Usually patients aren’t so THRILLED about having radiation. When he was getting fitted for his mask, he was joking with the doctors asking if they could spray paint it purple and gold. I just thought, of course he would…(Go Dawgs!) Then the way that he smiled and laughed when he came out with lines all over his face from that tight mask would bring JOY to anybody that saw him.

Looking at each day as a new Glorious adventure is what the Lord DESIRES. He doesn’t want you to be comfortable. He doesn’t want you to be stagnant. He doesn’t want your life to be a cycle. I’ve realized, he wants you to have new experiences so you can witness to different people. I know the people in Providence Hospital have been impacted by my dad. It just takes one simple look to see that he isn’t a NORMAL cancer patient. He is different, because the holy spirit dwells in him.

We are called to be comfortable in the uncomfortable because Christ is the one who stays CONSTANT. (Hebrews 13:8) For my family, this journey has been very uncomfortable, new, and frightening. But, when I start to get emotional, when I’m about to have a breakdown where I just want to scream and cry, the only thing that I can count on to settle my heart is knowing that…Even though life is changing, my God is still GOD.

Hebrews 13:8 – “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.”



  12 comments for “The First Step

  1. Dawn Williams
    July 14, 2014 at 8:18 pm

    Thank you Ciara. This brings tears to my eyes. Tears because of how the Holy Spirit is working. Love you guys.

  2. Cousin Tammy
    July 14, 2014 at 8:27 pm

    AWESOME Ciara, you are truly amazing in your faith and ability to tell your journey in a way that makes me SMILE! Your dad’s journey was a shock to everyone in the family, “NO WAY” this was happening to Owen. But, what you have so perfectly stated, and what your dad is so perfectly showing us all, is that there is “NO WAY” cancer is going to define you. Nope. The strength, grace and compassion in which you write about your dad, and the spirit of the “Loud” Carter Clan, is an inspiration. So strong in faith, tied together in love, and armed with the power of prayer, you are showing us all how to to find happiness, no matter where we are in life.
    God Bless!

  3. Samuel Hernandez
    July 14, 2014 at 11:20 pm

    This is so great. I took the time to read it all and that is amazing. Inspiring to know through all of this your family stays optimistic. Prayers definetely go out to your family.

  4. Stephen and Sandi Bickler
    July 14, 2014 at 11:51 pm

    God has gifted all of you with joy sufficient for the day and Ciara with a gift for writing. Thanks for sharing so we know how to pray.

  5. Linda in Bham
    July 15, 2014 at 9:25 am

    Thank you for putting this out there, Carrie. This blog is beautiful, Ciara. There are people you don’t know who are praying with you, and this walk you are taking with your clan is inspiring and encouraging.

  6. Cheri Carter Russum
    July 15, 2014 at 10:22 am

    The thing that binds us altogether is God’s lavish love for us in the good times and the hard times. He is there for you too, no matter what you’re going through. Owen and the rest of the Carter clan want you to know that.

  7. Ashley Kesler
    July 15, 2014 at 1:19 pm

    I am a blubbering mess reading this, not because I am sad about what it says, (although really this all is incredibly heartbreaking) but because I am SO proud of your insight, perspective, and joy that you continue to carry. Especially since, being in the medical field, I see lots of families deal with it in the completely opposite way. I know The Lord is watching over your family, and you have so much support, but I also know that He is doing something incredible in you. You have grown and matured 10 fold through this and I am just so proud. Love you so much, ci. Praying for you and your family!!

  8. Shelly Backstrom
    July 15, 2014 at 4:57 pm

    Ciara, Thank you for sharing. Your journey is inspiring, encouraging, profound, and real. It ministers to me as I read it, and I know that many others will be moved by your family’s story. As much as I love reading each new “chapter” — (spoiler alert), we already know that your story has a happy ending. God is so good. Our prayers continue for your wonderful dad . . . and each of you walking this journey with him.

  9. Tina Andrews
    July 16, 2014 at 6:58 am

    Great job Ciara on this blog. Owen’s pic with the lines all over his face made me laugh and choked me up at the same time! There is a saying that popped into my head as I was reading through this that just seems so fitting….”Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass. It’s about learning to dance in the rain.” You guys are truly dancing and loud I might add. What a testimony to others, you guys are an awesome family and we feel honored to be apart of all this.

  10. Clare
    July 16, 2014 at 8:45 am

    Thank you so much for the updates on your Dad….Your family is truly an inspiration for all of us, our prayers are
    with all of you as you continue through this journey,,,

  11. Karin LaPierre
    July 17, 2014 at 4:47 am

    Our God is greater! He is higher than any other. What a testimony!! Our God is bigger than any situation. It is so encouraging, hearing the testimony that you all are shining examples of. Our prayers are with you daily, hourly. Thank you for your testimony and encouragement to all of us. We love you all and appreciate your years of service, as worship leaders at Elim. You inspired us then, as you inspire us now.
    All our love and prayers,
    The LaPierre’s

  12. Jack Storry
    July 20, 2014 at 11:05 am


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