Jeremy Statton

Living Better Stories

Whatever It Takes

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This is a guest post by J. Chad Barrett. Chad is the Director of Child Evangelism Fellowship of Greater Houston and Director of Inspiring Evangelism, a ministry dedicated to inspiring and training believers to share the gospel effectively. He is a speaker and has authored two books, Journey to Freedom and The RADIUS Initiative.  He lives with his gorgeous wife, Melissa, and their 4 kids. Connect with him on Twitter, Facebook or his blog.

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August 23, 2010. We sat on our daughter’s bed, silently staring at the floor. Tears streamed down our shocked faces. We had just received the most devastating phone call of our lives.

A Nagging Soreness

Four months earlier life was normal with all its hectic routines of having four children. Homeschooling, fun activities, church stuff, family activities…they filled our weekly calendars. Kristina, our 8-year-old, was in karate. She loved it–could take her older brother down if needed!

One afternoon she came up to me, “Daddy, my arm hurts a little.” I gave it a quick exam and saw nothing, so I told her to go back outside and play.

The next day she complained again. The slight pain was coming from her upper right arm. Nothing seemed unusual about the appearance. I thought it might be sore from playing outside or something.

Later that night, after the girls had their baths and put their pj’s on, Melissa and I watched them play and dance around in the living room. Something caught my eye.

Kristina’s right upper arm was a little bigger than her left. My first thought was that this karate stuff really builds muscles even in little girls!

“Kristina, come here,” I said. I showed Melissa, and we agreed she needed to see her doctor. One arm bigger than the other…this didn’t seem right.

Her doctor immediately led us to another doctor, who led us to Texas Children’s Hospital. We went through a couple doctors there who were trying to figure out what was going on with Kristina. Melissa and I had no idea what was about to happen.

A couple more months went by, and then the journey we were about to embark on began with that devastating phone call.

The Call

“Mr. and Mrs. Barrett,” said Dr. Thompson from Texas Children’s, “I am so sorry to tell you this. Kristina has cancer.”

There we sat on our daughter’s bed. I held the phone in my hand trying to figure out if this was real. We sat. We held hands, and we cried.

Whatever it Takes

So here we are, now, 19 months later. Kristina’s tumor had already spread to her lungs at the time she was first diagnosed. But those 9 little tumors have not grown nor spread.

We attribute this to the many prayers of thousands of our brothers and sisters. God is so good!

I research a lot. I look for other therapies that could cure my daughter’s cancer. It’s a rare cancer called Clear Cell Sarcoma.

I would do anything to save her life. No matter the cost. I would spend it all, go anywhere, do anything if it meant she would have a chance to beat this cancer and live.

She’s my little girl.

This is physical life. But what about spiritual life? That’s a matter of eternal life and death. What about other children? What about other moms and dads? What about people who need the cure for their disease of sin–the disease that will cost them an eternity apart from the Father who loves them so.

Would we do anything to save their lives? Spiritually?

Would we spend whatever it takes, go anywhere, or do anything if it meant someone would have the chance to trust in Jesus?

I believe that when we really think about it, the answer is yes.

Growth through Suffering

This journey we’re on with Kristina has changed us. It really hurts, but we like the change. God has changed us, and it is good.

He has brought us to the point of being willing to do whatever it takes to reach someone for Christ. We understand that if God calls us, He will guide us. He has not asked for our opinion, but for our obedience. We trust Him.

Kristina is doing well these days. Her tumors are still there, but they are stable. We rejoice in that!

But little children all over the world are still sick. Moms, dads, old and young. Someone needs to bring the cure to them.

Are you willing?

Share in the comments.

About Jeremy Statton

Jeremy is a writer and an orthopedic surgeon. When not ridding the world of pain, he helps you live a better story. Follow him on Twitter or Facebook or Google +.

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17 Replies

  1. What a touching story…so moved. Yes I am willing!… this is so timely as I’ve asking God to lead me to whoever, wherever He wants to help them:)  Thanks for sharing Chad…said a prayer for your family.

  2. Lorna, thanks for your prayers. Today is her 10th birthday! We are celebrating life! It’s encouraging to me that you are asking God to lead you to share His gospel with someone. Go for it!

  3. Chad, thank you for sharing your story about your daughter. As a man, I can only imagine the thoughts that raced through your head when you heard the diagnosis. 

    As for Am I willing? I say “Yes I am.”

    My wife and I have been pouring into students lives through the youth ministry at our church. We’re faithful, we give of our money, we give of our time. We try to go above and beyond and let them know that they’re special and God has a plan for them. All they need to do is accept it.

  4. Chad, thank you for sharing your story about your daughter. As a man, I can only imagine the thoughts that raced through your head when you heard the diagnosis. 

    As for Am I willing? I say “Yes I am.”

    My wife and I have been pouring into students lives through the youth ministry at our church. We’re faithful, we give of our money, we give of our time. We try to go above and beyond and let them know that they’re special and God has a plan for them. All they need to do is accept it.

  5. Michael White

    You know, I have never met Kristina but I have a love for her because I know and love you.  I think about my five children, three of which are daughters.  I try to think about receiving news such as this and what I would do.  I love your faith Chad.  I love how you yield to the will of God, no matter what.  Also, I love the way you tied this into evangelism and the disease of sin.

    I must disagree with your conclusion that, “I believe that when we really think about it, the answer is yes.”  If you really think about it, the answer is an emphatic, “NO! We would not.”

    Evidence of this, most of us continue to work 40 to 60 hours per week just to pay our mostly unnecessary bills.  We have a car that looks just like everyone elses and a house that is no different than the average “Joe.”  We continue to accumulate “stuff.”  I don’t see many donating their entire contents, except for real necessities and devoting their life to sharing the cure for the desease of sin.  Think about it.  It is so easy to say, “Yes, I would,” yet so hard to donate and go.  Jesus told his disciples to take no money, no extra change of cloathes and just go and the group of men obeyed.

    If we really would, wouldn’t we just do it?

  6. You and your wife are two of a kind, bro. I’ll bet you inspire others to show this kind of sacrificial love. Way to go!

  7. I see your point, Mike. Let’s inspire others to go. No better way to move people than through building them up and inspiring them to do it! 

    As for my faith, it has been tested. I do have days of withdrawal. I have battled anxiety and depression for years. Those days still come. I battle my thoughts. My faith isn’t always strong. many times it’s diminished. Those are the times when God sends someone else to help carry my burden. 

    Thanks Mike, for your comments.

  8. What a great story of faith and family.  Two subjects near and dear to my heart. :-)

    Please extend my “Happy Birthday” wishes to Kristina.

    And to you and your entire family: may God continue to bless you and hold you.

    Thanks for sharing.

  9. Thanks Michael. I just told her! God bless.

  10. Chad,  I have lost my father, sister, a brother, and best friend to cancer. Many, however,  many more members of our families and also friends have survived cancer and are doing great, being  testimonial of the power of the human soul and spirit which, with God’s help can survive and overcome just about everything. Your faith is going to pull Kristina through! Happy birthday to her, we will keep her in our prayers! She is such a beautiful little girl!
    God bless all of you!

  11. Wow Katia. And I agree, she is beautiful.

  12. Katia, you have definitely been through a lot. God’s grace carries us through these difficult times. Thanks for your encouraging words.

  13. Mike Zserdin

    Chad, thanks for sharing your family’s story. It reminds me of all that is most important.

  14. You’re welcome, Mike. Times like these certainly puts things into perspective. God bless!

  15. Oh how my mommy’s heart hurts at your story. But I’m also thankful for your heart of obedience in your suffering. “He has not asked for our opinion, but for our obedience,” hit me between the eyes. Thank you. I’ve been wrestling with God and giving him my opinion when what I really need is to obey.

  16. I hear ya, Beck. I’ve got tons of opinions to share with God! And I struggle, too. We’re all in this together. Prayers and blessings, my friend.

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