Every year our family is all about traditions, especially when it comes to camping trips. The first camping trip; the one that the CARTER CLAN has been going to WAYYY before I was born is Lake Pearrygin in Winthrop, WA. This is the place where I learned how to gut out a fish. No matter how old you are, if you fish with my family, they will say, “If you catch it, you better clean it.” And for a 4-year-old girl, gutting out a fish will scar you for life.
The next tradition we have made is my favorite trip… camping at Orondo River Park. The only way to describe this trip is when you aren’t on the boat, you are either playing volleyball, ladder ball, spike ball, or a card game. This is the birth place of a lot of family mottos as well. Like “Go Big or Go Home”… that means… let’s jump off the boat going full speed, or let’s body surf just holding on to the rope and keep telling the driver to go faster, or let’s take extreme tubing to a whole new level. In other words, usually our family gatherings aren’t complete until we have a hospital visit.
This last week was our annual Orondo trip. Circumstances were obviously a little different this year. Since my dad has radiation and chemo during the week, he could only go for the weekend. But, that didn’t stop him from making it a memorable trip. Nothing can stop him. The DOMINATOR in him came out while he was playing volleyball… diving and all. But I think the highlight of the week was watching him surf. If you have never seen a cancer patient surf before… well this is what they look like…huge life jacket, full body wetsuit, and the classic boat hat! It was a milestone for my dad to be out on the water doing what he loves. There were tears of JOY flowing when we saw him surf with a RADIATING smile. (No pun intended)
Last weekend was a huge relief; it almost felt like life was normal again. So far, God has blessed us with my dad being able to live a normal life while going through this process. There is no other way to explain how he is doing so good besides God’s SOVEREIGN hand. God’s GRACE has been such a blessing for my family.
Even though cancer really sucks and we don’t understand why this is happening, one thing that I CAN’T STAND is when people say, “How could God do this to me?” or “How could God do this to an amazing human being, when there are murderers and rapist who are perfectly healthy?” The funny thing is, God didn’t do this to my dad. Yes, he knew this was going to happen, but he is using this journey for the good and not for the evil that is behind it. God has a perfect plan and is using my dad to bring GLORY to him.
I think of the verse Philippians 1:21, which says, “For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” In other words, my life is bringing glory to God and when I die, I gain, because I receive the free gift of eternal life. I get to live with JESUS forever. I will defend my faith to the ends of the earth. Living my life fully for the Lord everyday is the best decision I could make. Because when I have him, even through the suffering… I can give Jesus the GLORY.