This morning I went to check the weather for today and accidentally clicked the city at the top, taking me to the list of cities I've plugged in my weather app in the last year:
And I had to stop for second. "Wait. How had I been to all those cities in the past year?!" The answer for many of those cities is my brother, Nathan. If you don't know about my brother you can read more about his story here. But two years ago we found out he had terminal brain cancer. My only brother, my baby brother, is fighting one of the most aggressive forms of cancer out there. Two years ago he collapsed and had 3 seizures at work. We found out that same day that he had a baseball sized mass in his brain. This was SHOCKING to us. Nathan is a VERY active person. He didn't have the best diet back then but you'd never find him sitting around on a couch all weekend.
A few weeks after that he had a crainiotomy to remove as much of the tumor as safely possible. Since then he did the chemo/radiation song and dance without much luck and got just enough regrowth to get him eligibility into a clinical trial with an immunotherapy drug. For the past year he's being doing immunotherapy every two weeks in Birmingham, AL. And just to bring you totally up to date, he's having a second crainiotomy on June 13 to remove the fluid filled cyst that's filled the cavity where his tumor was, as well as his regrowth of the existing tumor.
But back to what I was saying, since Nathan's diagnosis he has LIVED more than anyone I know. He created a YouTube account for his son where his made all kinds of videos for him to watch one day, he wrote and published a book written for his son (you can get a copy here), he started running and I mean hardcore ultra marathon running. He qualified for The North Face 50k in the Muir Woods, which was one of our trips to San Francisco last year. He ended up having multiple seizures during the race and had to drop around mile 19. But hell! That's 19 more miles than I could've run! And he did it with brain cancer and without complaining about anything except not finishing.
We also took another trip to San Francisco with Nathan and Elizabeth to do the Napa thing. We took a trip to Carillon Beach, right outside of Rosemary Beach, with all the kids. We went to Boston to see him run (and finish, even after 5 seizures!) the Boston Marathon. In December we went to Birmingham for a surgery to place a drain in his tumor cavity. February 13th was his 30th birthday and Elizabeth threw him an awesome party that we went to Chattanooga for. It's been a BUSY year with all the "nathan trips" as Cal calls them. I told Nathan his next race needs to be in the carribbean (😂) and he said "that's way too hot for a race."
A month ago I started reading 21 Days of Prayer for Your Business by Monique McClean. It's a fabulous book and I highly recommend it. But in it she talks about living a life of worship, using this verse:
"My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts, says the Lord. And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine." Isaiah 55:8
She talks about how giddy it makes her to think about what God has in store for her life. I LOVE that. A lot of her book is about giving God the reigns in your business, which is a super hard trait for me because I'm a CONTROL FREAK and sinfully think my ways are pretty good. But the deal is, HIS ways are better. HIS ways are perfect.
She goes on to say to live a life of worship with YOUR gifts. I feel like Nathan has done this in spades and I feel honored to have gotten to watch and learn first hand him live his life "until Christ is formed in you." He recently got that tattooed on his upper thigh facing him, up so high that he has to be running in running shorts to see it. The full verse:
"oh my dear children! I feel as though I am going through labor pains again for you and they will continue until Christ is formed in you." Galatians 4:19
Think about that for a moment....I never felt labor pains with any of the children that I have living in our home today (thank you epidurals and spinal taps) but I lost a baby at 10 weeks and went in FULL ON LABOR during the miscarriage. It's the worst pain I have ever experienced. I'll spare any possible men reading this the details but I was literally throwing up in pain and ended up having to call an ambulance. I've never felt pain like that in my life.
Life is GOING TO BE painful. But I pray, that if nothing else in my life, that Christ is formed in me and my children. Nathan never hides the reason he's still alive today and will sing Jesus's praises all day long. Sometimes I wonder "did God pick Nathan because he knew Nathan would give him ALL the glory?" Nathan is a walking miracle and would NEVER take credit for how well he is doing even though he eats a very strict diet and has an unreal work/exercise ethic.
So what are YOUR gifts? I ask this because I'm also asking myself. I'm in a facebook group this summer led by 10 of the highest ranking leaders (diamonds, crown diamond, and royal crown diamonds) at Young Living. These women are strong Christian women who have devoted a good portion of the summer to helping our teams grow. They've been sharing their stories with us and challenging us in different ways. So the other night one of the girls, Jen Jordan, spoke about our dreams. She asked what our goals were? My first thoughts were "pay off medical bills and debts." And then she said "I felt like God brought me this business to pay off our 15k in medical bills." And tears started to roll down my face. THOSE WERE MY EXACT THOUGHTS!!! Then she said, "but then we were also able to pay off our cars, our house, and then the pay checks became so big that we wanted to do more." They now own a company that funds adoptions for families that can't afford them. She challenged us to "dream bigger!" Because y'all, God is bigger.
As I started to rack my brain of my biggest dreams, I was coming up blank. I've never thought that far ahead because it seems too far fetched and I'm more of a green personality (if you don't know what the means, check your personality here) and it doesn't seem logical that I would ever do well enough at any job to have those kinds of dreams. My paychecks will never be THAT big. I thought of the company we recently got some adorable travel blankets and bibdanas from, Elliefunday. They hire women in India who are victims of domestic abuse, human trafficking, or societal rejection and give them fair wage jobs making their BEAUTIFUL baby products. They also provide the women with medical clinics, ongoing education, and financial management. You can read more about their mission here. Who's to say I can't have a dream like that? One for HIS glory in the Kingdom.
So this week I've been trying to figure out how to live a life or worship with MY gifts. I know one of my gifts is photography and I pray God shows me how to use it as such. Another one of my gifts (and love languages) is actual gifts. I looooove giving people things. So I decided to do a giveaway with EllieFunday and give one of you our favorite blanket, the nomad travel blanket.
To enter: 1. Follow both @hdavisphotography and @elliefunday on instagram 2. Click here to enter your info 3. Bonus entries for tagging your friends in my instagram post! The giveaway will end at 5PM PST on Friday 6/16/2017 and we will announce the winner in the comments of my instagram post!*
I hope this week you will challenge yourself to live a life of worship and find ways that you can use your gifts. Pray for God to show you how He wants to use you and be still to listen to what He has to say. You have some amazing gifts and are made uniquely in HIS image.
*this giveaway is in no way sponsored, endorsed, administered by, or associated with Instagram.