I’m still taking it all in. This week was a doozy. The schedule was absolutely relentless. The tasks, insurmountable. I needed at least twice as many hours in every day. BUT GOD. Miracle by miracle , it all got done. Not a day went by that I didn’t see His Hand orchestrating beauty and life. Though the generosity of strangers. Through the kindness of friends. Through the support of the Body of Christ.
Tuesday: got to share at Elementary Chapel about how BIG God’s miracles are, and how He used our prayers for Sawyer’s life to multiply into a mission and a ministry to children in our area and around the world.
Friday: GCS Go GOLD Football Game
We honored the 9 GCS families (that we know of) directly impacted by Childhood Cancer. Some have completed treatment, some graduated and off doing well. Some are with Jesus. And one is still receiving treatment. The three current GCS students led the football team onto the field.
Saturday: Tyler Gold Run
THANK YOU JESUS FOR PERFECT WEATHER!!! We had a little rain Friday, and a cool front blew in (“cool” for Texas September). The setup at the new location was a huge improvement, and the 6am crew of volunteers were hustling from the get go! By the time the sun was up, we were rocking and rolling, and the park began to fill up with people. More and more faces: strangers, onlookers, runners, supportive friends and family and classmates, and our honored guests – the Hero families that are the whole reason we were there. There were inflatable dinosaur costumes and tutus, tiny puppies and big dogs, teams in customized matching t-shirts and a sea of Gold in every direction. I still can’t believe it was all real. A literal dream come true. There were at least 600 in attendance, including more than 300 runners and at least 27 of our Hero families. 27!!! I still have no idea how much money we raised, but just the awareness raised and the community of support becoming more firmly established as a presence that is NOT GOING AWAY…I truly could not be happier with how it all turned out. I will never forget watching so many of the miracle children triumphantly crossing the finish line. Or the brave and broken moms and dads who walked or ran in honor of their child whose race was completed at the gates of heaven instead of on the brick streets of Tyler. I could go on for days to list all the different connections I made with people, or that I heard about from others. The touching stories I heard and wonderful families I met. God smiled on us that day.
I can’t help reflect on the progression of the last five years. In 2015 and 2016, Sawyer was still heavily in the midst of treatment. His immunity was so fragile, he was unable to even attend the race that he inspired. In 2017, he was stronger, had just completed treatment, and Josh ran the race with him in the stroller. Last year, he amazed everyone by walking the entire 5K with his teacher and classmates. What an incredible miracle and testimony of God’s goodness! This year he told me he didn’t want to do the 5K race. I’d be lying if I told you I wasn’t disappointed. But I wasn’t going to make him do it. I knew he’d enjoy just being there and seeing all his friends. But as the morning went on, and as my duties started to ease up, I headed to the finish line to cheer on friends and Heroes as they ran in. And what I found stopped me in my tracks. It was my boy. Smiling at the finish line handing out waters to the runners as they completed their race. It was almost too much for my heart to handle. Such a picture of our journeys…. sometimes we are the one in the midst of the battle. The one being served. The one too sick, too weak, too entrenched in the trial to participate. And that is our season to be still. Other times the Lord carries us. He does the heavy lifting, and we are just along for the ride. And sometimes it’s our turn to walk. To put our own feet on the pavement and carry our own weight. To walk, and keep walking even when we’re tired. And He is beside us the whole way. And then there are seasons when it’s not our turn. When our job is to be faithful to see the needs of others. To offer a cold drink of water to someone else who is thirsty. To refresh others as we have been refreshed. Nobody told Sawyer to hand out water. I know he’s just a little kid, and little kids like to help. I know he doesn’t see it as a spiritual thing at all. But I also know that there is something uniquely special about him. And I know that more than just in the physical sense, he knows what it’s like to be thirsty. I don’t think I have ever been more proud of my son.
Saturday night: Tyler Junior College Game
Our Gold Network kids were invited to be honored guests of the TJC Apache football team. We were invited into the locker room where the team chaplain prayed for them and prayed for the team, and then the kids were allowed to run the team out onto the field. So thankful to have 4 families represented. It was awesome.
Sunday: Lone Star Circle of Life Bike Tour
Sawyer was honored as a blood product recipient. Our dear friend and pastor’s wife, Becky is riding across the state of Texas with his name on her back. I know she is thinking of him and praying for him all the way. The opening ceremony at Tyler Christian fellowship this morning was incredibly moving. The stories shared by so many families of organ recipients and organ donors and blood product donors and recipients was just absolutely incredible. You can watch the video of our portion of the program here.
The Tyler Gold Run may be over, but September is not. Kids are still being diagnosed every day. Federal research dollars are still at less than 4%. Cancer and the treatment for it continues to take our children before they’ve even had the chance to live. I hope you choose to be inspired to GO GOLD in some small way. Thank y’all for your continued love and support.
And thank you for giving thanks with me.
“A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed.” Proverbs 11:25
“For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink…” Matthew 25:35