Our Eternal Focus & Foundation Update
Spring is a beautiful season that brings forth new growth and life even in our own family as we await the arrival of our son in the upcoming week. However, it does not erase the harsh experiences we’ve endured prior, but in Christ death is not experienced in vain.
1 Cor 15:54-55 “But when this perishable will have put on the imperishable, and this mortal will have put on immortality, then will come about the saying that is written, "DEATH IS SWALLOWED UP in victory. "O DEATH, WHERE IS YOUR VICTORY? O DEATH, WHERE IS YOUR STING?"”
Death has a way of changing you forever, especially the death of a child. It steals your innocence when you watch the vibrance, joy, and light drain from your child. It removes all your naïve views that your child will grow and prosper as you’ve always dreamed. Watching your child take their last breath makes this world seem less sweet when they are suddenly not in it. Knowing that your child is in Heaven without you shakes your foundation as a parent who lives to take care of and watch over this precious gift. It will reset your priorities in this world, change your perspective on life, and test your faith because reasons, answers, and understanding are unattainable here. Our view of eternity is hindred by our limited minds and narrow glimpse of the larger picture. This past Sunday the preacher said that ‘Fair stopped in the Garden of Eden’. How true that statement is. Cancer is not fair, harsh treatments are not fair, babies losing hair is not fair, the death of children is not fair. Scripture warns us of the certain struggles and persecution that we will face here on Earth. If this is an unchangeable truth, then it should not be our focus, but how we can glorify Christ through them should be. Yes, losing Claire will always be a part of us, and not far from our thoughts, but it should not control us. Grief is a part of our life, but we want to focus on how God can use this experience, and this new perspective to serve Him. After watching Claire take her first and last breath, my desire to be a part of this world has lessened. Death proves that nothing in this world compares to our faith in Christ. 2 Cor 4: “7 But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us….18 while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.”
CLAIRE PARKER FOUNDATION NEWS UPDATE:
The Claire Parker Foundation was a very tangible way for Jordan and I to use our experience in a positive way by helping others in a similar struggle. Before we started the foundation in January we met with our board members and set a goal to create 20 boxes for the year of 2015. Only 2.5 months into the year we have already been blessed with the ability to meet that number. Duke has received 11 boxes, Roanoke Carilion Hospital has received 7 boxes, and we have hand tailored 2 boxes which went to children who have experienced a relapse in their cancer and continue to fight.
The last Claire care box that we sent out went to a young man that we met at Duke while we were there with our daughter. He bravely continues to battle osteosarcoma despite the harsh treatments, surgeries, side effects, and relocation for new treatments. Jordan knew his love for the Tar Heels Basketball team, so we are grateful to Coach Roy Williams for partnering with us to place a personal letter and autographed picture in his personalized care box. His mother said “It was great to see a smile on his face and hear enthusiasm in his voice.”
Our mission was to not only provide initial support, but to use the Claire care box to meet a family and build a relationship allowing us to provide continued financial, spiritual, and emotional support. Currently we have been given the pleasure of continuing to support 3 families, and we are in the process of building a relationship with 2 more families with hopes to provide follow up support for them.
Unfortunately, losing a child is a reality that some families on this road of pediatric cancer must face. Jordan and I know there are no words to take away or relive the pain. We attempt to show families our support through prayer, a listening ear, and a bereavement gift in honor of their child. A way to show them their child was special and dear to all, and will not soon be forgotten. In 2.5 months our foundation has provided 3 personalized gifts to mothers who have lost their children, as well as share our experience, so they do not feel alone.
Upon launching this foundation, we have prayed and asked the Lord to guide this mission so that it may glorify Him as we reach out to families in need. We continue to be amazed at how God provides us the means to grow and expand our reach even in the short 2 and ½ months. Our financial needs will continue to increase as we take on families which need continued financial support, replace the care boxes needed at Duke Hospital & Roanoke Carilion Hospital, and strive to partner with more hospitals. As we grow, you can help us meet our monthly financial needs by signing up to be a monthly supporter to our foundation. Even a monthly donation of $10 is invaluable to us. Providing income we can count on. Giving us the faith to grow and reach more people. We have faith the Lord will continue to provide, and grateful if you feel called to be a part of it.