Our last performance together was in November of 2020. One year before, in the fall of 2019, our sister, Shannon, began to get sick. As the months went on, and our parents took her to many doctors, did much research on their own, and Shannon underwent many tests and procedures, we began to realize that Chords of Grace must be set aside so that proper focus could be placed on Shannon's healing. So that last performance in November was bitter-sweet. Shannon sang her heart out, but was suffering in pain and physical weakness the entire time.
Fast-forward to today, November 10, 2021, Shannon has finally received a diagnosis. Over the last two years we have prayed, and wept, and grieved. We have seen our family transformed in many ways. Although we do not play together as a four member band anymore, our relationships as siblings have deepened and our trust in our Mighty Creator has been tried and strengthened. God promises in His Word that we, as His sons and daughters, will experience trials and sufferings in this life. He tells us in John 16 that in this world we will have tribulations. And he tells us in the book of James that we should count it all joy when we experience trials. He promises us in Philippians that we can do all things through HIS strength. And He challenges us in 2 Timothy to fight the good fight and finish the race...not losing faith in His promises to us. He tells us in Romans that all things work together for good, to those who are called according to His purpose. It is God's Word that has been and continues to be the rock on which we stand, even in the midst of great suffering.
Shannon has been diagnosed with a genetic disorder called Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome. This is a connective-tissue disorder, affecting the collagen in the body. There is no cure for this illness. EDS has effected Shannon specifically in the area of digestion and autonomic nervous system function. Shannon struggles with severe abdominal pain on a daily basis. Also, while most of us experience a proper balance in our autonomic nervous system (parasympathetic=rest and digest: sympathetic=fight or flight) Shannon has experienced an extreme upset in this system of her body. Her body is usually in flight or fight, causing a myriad of symptoms that affect her daily life.
Shannon still needs more testing and we are hopeful that in time, as she sees doctors and begins therapies, she will find relief from many of her symptoms and will learn how to live within the body God created for her. Countless people have prayed and continue to pray for Shannon's healing. We are so thankful and we know that God hears the prayers of the saints!
Psalm 139 has become especially precious to us as we ponder the sovereignty of our mighty God...none of this is a surprise to Him. His plans are perfect, and so we keep running the race, looking to Him, the author and finisher of our faith!
For You formed my inward parts; You wove me in my mother's womb. I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Wonderful are Your works, And my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from You, When I was made in secret, And skillfully wrought in the depths of the earth; Your eyes have seen my unformed substance; And in Your book were all written the days that were ordained for me, When as yet there was not one of them. How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God! How vast is the sum of them! Psalm 139:13-17