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HAPPY BIRTHDAY ELLA! 16th August, 2013

Posted by Scotty in Blessings, Family.
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Ella-and-daddy

One year ago today we were given the most incredible gift: our daughter Ella Joy.

She is the happiest, bubbliest, smiliest, most people-loving baby I’ve met.

And I just love waking up to her huge smiles and babbling.

Happy 1st Birthday baby girl!

We praise God for you!

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Due Date: THIS SUNDAY!! 10th August, 2012

Posted by Scotty in Baby, Blessings, Family, Life, Married Life.
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It’s hard to believe that 9 months has passed! The baby’s due date is this Sunday (12th August). I love how amazing my wife looks…

No idea when baby Ella will come… but any day now!

God heals! 1st May, 2012

Posted by Scotty in Blessings, Cancer, Unmistakeable Hand of God.
2 comments


A lot can happen in 6 months.  It was 6 months ago that I visited the doctor and admitted to hospital.  Can you believe it?!  How can half a year have just “disappeared”.  Yet, how can all that’s happened have taken only 6 months?!  (Sometimes I wonder if there’s ever a day in life when you don’t experience the that-took-forever and that-feels-like-only-yesterday all in the same breath!)

In 6 months I went from feeling healthy to diagnosed with cancer to chemotherapy to an all clear to half-way-around-the-world serving God to Glasgow.  What a ride?!

What I want to scream from the rooftops is:

I FEEL AMAZING!!!

The South America trip came at just the right point!  The few days leading up to the trip I kept thinking “Can I do this?  Do I have enough energy or will this trip be too much?”  While I felt it was good and I was prepared for it I wasn’t sure how all the post-chemo fatigue and things might affect me.

While on the trip I had my days where I felt worn out and I kept asking myself “Am I tired from travelling?  Am I tired from a busy schedule?  Am I tired from doing lots of ministering?  or is this cancer-tired?”  But then I’d look over at Stuart who’d make some comment about being exhausted and that made me feel better!  My tiredness was NORMAL.

Now that I’m back… I feel so good.  And there are a number of contributors to that.

  • I feel great.  The tiredness has gone.  My energy level and physical/emotional capacity seems restored to normal (though with a greater drive to do more than I had before.  You know what also helps with feeling good?…
  • I look good.  (In the not big-headed way!)  My hair is back and the South American sun put colour back in my cheeks.  (On the downside, my 3-4 month without having to shave is over.)  It’s nice to look in the mirror and look normal again. I think I’m going to do something crazy to my hair to celebrate!
  • I’m eager.  I’ve been out of the game for 6 months?!  While I’ve continued doing ministry it’s been on a limited capacity.  I’ve gone through seasons of doing more, and some seasons of doing more than my body could handle.  Being in the zone dealing with recovery meant I hadn’t really noticed the length of time I’d been merely “surviving” with work, etc.  So I arrived back from the trip itching to get back in the game!
  • Im excited. It’s good to get out of context and into other ministry environments.  Watching the various ministries and hearing people’s hearts as they shared their vision helped clarify my own.  I kept thinking about ministry here and what we could change or do better and after an afternoon talking through it with Brian and hearing similar thoughts from him, I’m more excited about ministry than I have been in a long time!

This is a fun season.  It’s nice to wake up in the morning and feel completely free of cancer and the lingering effects of chemo.  It’s amazing to lie in bed and feel my daughter kicking!  It’s invigorating to know that what’s happening in Re:Hope is just the beginning, and to be a part of a vision that is much bigger than any of us… so big that it can only work if God is moving ahead of us and through us.

God puts us on the Earth for His glory.  We each have a unique role that He has for us that is, hands down, the most fulfilling thing we’ll ever experience.  He has put me here to train and equip His church.  And nothing gives me more joy than watching people experience the peace satisfaction joy  wholeness thrill that comes from doing exactly what God made them to do.

It’s been a ride!  I’m not trying to rub it in people’s faces.

Life is not perfect… but I serve a God who is!  Life throws us curveballs… but God wraps His arms around us and helps us hit it out the park!  We can encounter the worst situations and feel like we don’t have what it takes… don’t just “survive”, but allow God to fill you and experience peace and joy as He shows His glory in the midst of it.

I’m a walking talking demonstration of the Truth that God heals!  Medicine can help heal us physically.  Psychology can help heal us mentally.  Counselling can help heal us emotionally.  But only Jesus can do it all AND MORE!  And I’m praying that He’ll do that very thing for several people I know who are experiencing major hardship right now.  And I believe He will!!!!

>And so I testify…

I feel amazing….

AND…

To Him be the glory!

CLEAR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 24th February, 2012

Posted by Scotty in Blessings, Cancer.
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Today was results day…  And the scan was CLEAR!!!  To use the docs words “all the swellings related to the disease are gone”.

Man… how good it is to hear that.  I got up and headed to the appointment.  I felt fine right up until I left the flat and then in the 5 mins round to the hospital I had my “what if it’s not gone” moment, followed by my “God’s got this covered” peace.

The last 4 months have been a blur.  Oct 31st… I find out I have cancer.  Feb 24th… I find out it’s gone.  Did the last 4 months really happen?

Right now… I’m TIRED.  A weight was lifted off my shoulders that I didn’t realise was there.  I’m so relieved.  Now it’s monthly blood tests for a while to monitor my system and make sure it doesn’t come back.

No cancer?  Hmmm… someone should get glory for that?  who?  oh yeh… that’s right…

To HIM be the glory!!!!

Amen!

Today wins!: Day 54 16th January, 2012

Posted by Scotty in Blessings, Cancer.
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What a crazy blur of a weekend!

(Day 50)  –  On Thursday morning we went to the hospital thinking we’d miscarried at 7 weeks.  And left thrilled that not only was everything ok, but we’d reached the point where we could TELL PEOPLE!

(Day 51) – On Friday morning we announced our pregnancy to our team at our Staff Breakfast (right before I ran out the door for my injection)

Day 52

On Saturday we’d decided to shoot the email to our intercession team and supporters, so spent the morning writing that and feeling pretty good.  I had a visitor in the afternoon which was really nice but then spent the rest of the day feeling pretty rough (I had back pain and headache and sicky feelings… which was probably the delayed side-effects of yesterday’s injection which happen any time within 24hrs of the jag).

Day 53

For some reason on Sunday morning Mon and I woke up at 4.30am and couldn’t get back to sleep, so we just lay in bed talking and laughing until we got up for church.  Despite the crazy early start I felt REALLY good.  Today we’d announce the pregnancy to the church!

One of my favourite parts of our church service is our “share time”.  It’s an open mic time where people in the church get to testify to the ways they have seen God moving in their life through the week and is always filled with fun stories.  I decided to share the story much the way it was in the blog… beginning with our wrestle with the idea of infertility and finishing with the good news.  As I was sharing about our wrestles I was extremely moved by the number of tear-filled faces looking at me.  And then when I said we were 10 weeks pregnant I thought the roof was going to blow off.  The place exploded in whoops and cheers and applause to God (which set Mon’s taps a-running and got me pretty choked up).  I know that our church has been praying for us through this whole process, but it wasn’t until I watched them weep that I realised just how much they are walking in our pain with us.  And I was on cloud 9 to see them all as excited as we were at what God had done.

By the time the evening service rolled around we were WIPED OUT.  But we shared again and rejoiced with the other members of our church before heading home to collapse on our beds.  Before we could get to sleep though… it was time to SCREAM IT TO THE WORLD!  Then zzzZZZ!

Day 54

Yesterday really took it out of me so I was pretty out of it today.  I slept later.  Then somehow manage to get timing mixed up so that I missed lunch which left me feeling pretty sick and miserable until a few hours after I’d eaten.  (Mental note… don’t do that again).

Today has been a pretty amazing day emotionally… it has been overwhelming to see the response to our news, and just like yesterday at church, it’s been an eye-opener to realise just how closely you have all been walking with us over the past months.

Something about my blog has really bothered me.  Wordpress have great statistics on their site, letting you know how many people visit daily, where in the world from, your busiest days and posts etc.  Nice and clear on the control panel is the busiest day.  For years my busiest day was a day back in 2006 when loads of people read my blog entry about a Switchfoot gig I went to.

It was replaced recently.  And for the past few months every time I log in it tells me:

Your busiest day was Nov 19 2011 when 935 viewed your post “I HAVE CANCER??!”

That has actually really bothered me.  I kept thinking, what will I ever write about that would have 1000 people read my blog in one day?  For the rest of my blogging life, every time I log in I’ll be reminded of Cancer Day.

But God cares about the little things.  I posted the announcement last night at 23:30 and by midnight 224 people had read it.  That seemed like a lot in a short amount of time.  But the counter resets at midnight and so I wondered… what are the chances of ANOTHER 936 people reading it tomorrow?  NO WAY.  So I have been glued to my stats most of the day.

Midnight just past and my dashboard reads:

Your busiest day was Jan 16 2012 when 1,485 viewed your post “I can’t believe it… WE’RE PREGNANT”

He didn’t just give me 936 to wipe it clean… He totally blew it out of the water.  And for me the stats are a good picture of the reality of our situation.  He’s taken the joy of our pregnancy and blown our cancer struggle out of the water.  How gracious our God is that He’d even bless me by removing the stain on my control panel?!?!?!

And don’t get me started on the emails and messages I’ve been receiving all day.  I’ll share some another day.

Thanks for weeping when we wept and dancing when we danced.

To Him be the glory!

I can’t believe it… WE’RE PREGNANT!!!!! 15th January, 2012

Posted by Scotty in Blessings, Cancer, Family, Unmistakeable Hand of God.
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Yup… that’s right…. Monica’s Pregnant!

Wow.  Where to start?!  Settle down coz I want to explain this in full because I think it gives God most glory when you see the fuller picture…

One of the hardest things about the cancer diagnosis has been the way it’s affected our plans for a family.  For a while now Mon and I had thought about trying to make a baby this summer, and so it was with shock that I first received the news that I had testicular cancer, that I would have to be operated on, and undergo some fairly intensive chemo.  We were informed that chemotherapy commonly affects fertility in men my age… and that it is possible that after chemo I will be unable to have children.

*two hearts broke*

(As part of the NHS system we were informed about sperm banking and other options that could help for the future.  Which brought to light a whole load of other personal ad theological dilemmas as we tried to process that more fully)

As we got closer to the start of treatment we were given more information… that we MUST NOT attempt to get pregnant while undergoing chemo as my sperm could damage Monica and render her infertile… and on the off chance a pregnancy happened there would be MAJOR complications as the chemotherapy damages the sperm, causing significant damage to the embryo.  That means from finishing chemo we would have to wait a MINIMUM of 1 year before we’re allowed to even start trying to have a family.  And then we’d have to try unsuccessfully for at least a year before they consider exploring infertility issues and solutions.

This has probably been the toughest part of the process for us, as having a family has been such a huge desire of ours.  We both brought things before the Lord and laid it all before Him.  “Whatever the cost!” is part of our mantra… and as with all costs we’ve paid so far, we gave in to the Holy Spirit and allowed Him to take the burden from us as we laid things at the feet of Jesus.

TRUST.

There was a 5 day window between my surgery recovery and starting chemo and we decided to take a chance and “try”.  We got very excited and very hopeful, praying constantly asking God to be gracious to us and allow us to have a child.  You can imagine our disappointment when we got 2 negative results on pregnancy tests over the next few weeks.

We reached the point of FAITH TESTING.  I almost got to the point of despair… “we’ll never have kids, the chemo will mess with my fertility and we’ll not be able to”.  But I felt convicted of my lack of faith.

I can trust God to provide money, to move in our ministry, to bless us materially…. why can’t I trust Him to guard our fertility?

Time to trust God and pray.  This situation is no different to any other faith test I’ve walked through.  Why wallow in despair when we serve a God who all through the Bible opens barren wombs and protects those He loves from calamity?  So we decided to pray…

God, we trust you!  This will all happen in your timing and in your way. 

There has been extra emotional turmoil along the way as we walk with other friends of ours.  Some, got pregnant and we rejoiced in the midst of our grieving.  Others are struggling to conceive and we joined them in their pain.  Others are grieving miscarriage and our hearts break with them.

Just before Christmas Monica wasn’t feel well.  I was standing in the kitchen cooking when she walked through from the bathroom with a puzzled look on her face… she sat a pregnancy test on the counter that seemed to be POSITIVE??  NO WAY?!?

But where we would normally have been thrilled… we were terrified.  What if something goes wrong?  I don’t know if we can deal with a miscarriage on top of coping with cancer.  We can’t tell anyone… it’ll be hard enough dealing with it without worrying about everyone else’s response. And so we kept our mouths shut. (*lack of faith*).  We decided we wouldn’t mention anything until we hit the 9 or 10 week point so we could be more certain that things we ok.

Last week was TOUGH!  We were estimating 7 weeks… and Mon came in to tell me she was experiencing spotting and cramping.  She looked online and all her symptoms were similar to miscarriage, so she phoned the doctor… who made her an appointment at the Early Pregnancy Clinic at the hospital… things didn’t look good.

That was Wednesday.

We went in to the hospital in the morning, extremely nervous but once again holding fast to the Truth… God is on the Throne and His will is best whether we understand it in the moment or not.  God is on the Throne whether the result is good or bad.

*pointing* that there is the heartbeat… you’re around 10 weeks pregnant

WE ARE 10 WEEKS PREGNANT 

AND

EVERYTHING IS GOOD AND HEALTHY!

Needless to say there were tears shed.

We are excited and in shock.  We are a mix of emotions as we continue to process the emotional ups and downs of the last few months.  We are rejoicing with our newly pregnant friends but feel an even greater burden of pain (and hope) as we grieve with our friends who are also struggling through similar things.

We are truly amazed at God in this.  We had a 5 day window from Mon coming off birth control to me starting chemo… and He has intervened to make those 5 days enough.

In the midst of this the dark season He’s placed a light reminding us that He is the Light and the Life. 

Once again, God moves in a seemingly impossible situation to blow our narrow minds open and to show how much bigger He is than the apparent storms we face.

We now have one more feather in the cap of God’s faithful love and abundant blessings.

TO HIM BE THE GLORY!!!

On the Up: Day 50-51 13th January, 2012

Posted by Scotty in Blessings, Cancer, Life.
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Today was my PENULTIMATE injection!  What a wonderful feeling to sit at the hospital knowing that at that time next week, I’d be waiting on my final piece of chemo.  (Monica just walked in and said “What’s that grin about?”  My answer… “I just realised that this time next week I’ll be DONE with my chemo!)

As I’ve mentioned in past blogs, it makes such a difference when the steroids are done.  I feel soooo much better today.  Usually, too, after getting the injection I have the mild flu-like symptoms for the evening, but today I seem to have gotten away without them.

It definitely feels like I’m “on the up”.  The team came over for breakfast this morning and I didn’t have to sleep to recover!  The antibiotics have finished and the cold I had is gone… so no coughing and sneezing and runny/blocked nose.  I’ve still had a bit of the acid reflux preventing me from sleeping properly but I’m fully expecting that to settle in the next day or so.  And already, just a couple of days away from the steroids my bloated pot belly is starting to feel less like a pregnant woman’s stomach.

I can’t believe it.  This time next week, I’ll be done.  They showed me my tumour marker levels today… all back to wonderful numbers.  Now I just have to wait on the date of my February scan.  The key nurse commented today on how well I’m doing.

“Usually at this point men are exhausted and struggling.  How well you are doing is clearly a reflection of your perspective and your outlook on life.”

Once again GOD WINS!

Looking forward to updating you over the next couple of days.

WATCH THIS SPACE!

Hidden Treasures 18th September, 2011

Posted by Scotty in Blessings, Books.
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In my last minutes sifting through a suitcase packed with odds and ends from mum’s house I dropped a stack of papers.  A card fell out its envelope and as it hit the floor it spilled its contents:

These book vouchers (£11 worth!) were given to me back in 2006 by one of the girls on our volunteer staff at the Ark where I worked.  Book vouchers rarely last long with me but somehow these ones managed to escape being spent.

Wonderfully, they don’t have an expiry date, so I think I’ll take a trip down town to by some new books!  Thanks Louise!

Goodbye PC! Hello Mac! 23rd August, 2011

Posted by Scotty in Blessings, Support.
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I finally made the switch!  I’m now officially a MAC MAN!

I’ve spent the day installing software, shifting files, etc so that I can officially close the old Sony Vaio (which you can see hiding behind my new laptop in the pic of my messy desk) and use nothing by my shiny new 13″ MacBook Pro.

I’ve had PCs as long as I can remember.  I’ve gone through a crazy number of laptops that have all served me faithfully and each has died slow and valiant death.  Over the last 10 years I’ve regularly contemplated switching to mac, but each time the issue has been the same:  I could probably eventually save enough money to buy a mac, but I’ve got so much software that is windows only (or expensive software that I only have a windows version for) that if I ever managed to afford the mac, I wouldn’t be able to afford the software too.  A stalemate.

Enter God.

Through some incredible supporters of ours God has blown our minds.  We were given enough money (specifically) to buy new macs for both Mon and I… AND SOFTWARE!

{insert dropped-jaw face}

Can you believe it?  So a couple of weeks ago we launched out and bought our new computers… and the new software.  And just when you think God can’t get any crazier… He connected us with a microsoft rep who got us MASSIVELY discounted microsoft software (letting us both get office, and me get a copy of windows so I can run all my windows only software)… and then adobe were WONDERFUL… and gave me a whopping $600 off the software because I’d bought a windows version before.

We are mindblown.

The money was given to get all the laptop stuff we needed and so with the money saved we did something CRAZY!  Mon took my blackberry… and I got an iPhone?!?!?  I have to say… it is the most amazing tool I’ve ever owned.  In the couple of days that I’ve been playing with it, I’m amazed at it’s functionality… it syncs seamlessly with the mac (of course)… and it has so many free apps that allow it to do amazing things.  I used the blackberry all the time for work, but it really struggles with certain things I have to do online.  Well… not a problem any more.

For the duration of our time back in Scotland we’ve quietly prayed…

“God, our computers are dying and we can’t buy new ones.  I don’t know if we’ll ever be able to get the money together and feel comfortable spending it on technology, even though it is so central to ministry and keeping up with family and supporters.  We don’t need anything special or flashy… just laptops that will work and last.  Move God.  We need you to.”

We’ve prayed that so many times over the last year… and BOOM!  God takes care of it and goes WAY beyond what we’d asked for.  Straight away one of my favourite lines from Paul’s prayers comes to mind…

Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.  (Eph 3:20-21)

My First Wedding: The Evensons 18th July, 2011

Posted by Scotty in Blessings, Friends, Fun, Furlough, Life.
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Saturday was a special day… I officated my first wedding!  Two years ago I did my first baptisms.  The first person I ever baptised was my friend, Josh Evenson.  The next person in the water to be baptised was Ashley Leister, his girlfriend.  Well, two years later I performed my first ever wedding… The marriage of Ashley Leister to Josh Evenson.

It was a special day.  The weather forecast said rain (which is not good for an outdoor wedding with no backup plan) but in His mercy it stayed dry all day, including the sun making an appearance a few times.

I was so nervous for the wedding but it went extremely.  I feel so honoured to have been able to play such a key part in their wedding.

A big thanks to the Mr & Mrs Evenson for asking me to be a part of it!