Big Tumor, Bigger God

I was supposed to be in my bed last night, snuggled up close to my husband after two weeks away. Instead, I was sitting awkwardly in a hospital recliner, pressed as close to his hospital bed as I could get. My husband has a brain tumor. A brain tumor. A tumor.

No matter how many times I say it out loud or in my head, it isn’t any more real. It isn’t any more okay. It isn’t any more my life. It’s the life of that other person I’m watching go through the motions. It can’t possibly be me. Not my husband. Not my children. But it is. It is. It is.

I’ve talked to doctors and nurses for what seems like forever. I brought him to the ER because I thought he was severely dehydrated after a bout with a rough stomach bug.

A couple of hours later and I was being cupped around the shoulders by a gentle natured doctor being told words that I thought were some sort of hideous mistake.

“I’m so sorry. Your husband has brain cancer. I’m so sorry. So sorry…”

I believe my exact eloquent words were, “What?”

I’m learning medical jargon pretty quickly here, and have come to understand that all tumors of the brain are considered “cancer” but they vary in prognosis from benign to malignant. We have no clear answers yet, but it’s a process and we’re walking as steadily as we can through it.
I’m also learning with ever more clarity this one hugely important thing: God is still on His throne.

You guys, my husband has a massive, raging brain tumor. We’re still in shock. Our kids don’t even know that their daddy is this sick yet. We’re surrounded by machines and weird noises. We don’t know what’s to come. But can I just tell you…God has not turned away from us. He has not forsaken us in this. He has a plan and a purpose in this that we cannot even begin to comprehend. We’re waiting, anticipating the ways this will be used for His Glory. He is a good God. A gracious God, who placed us in this place in this time surrounded by just the right people who are giving Jesse the best care available.

Pray for this man, people. Ask the Lord to heal him as only He can and keep him safe as we transfer him from one place to the next. We need swelling to go down, tumor to shrink, protection from hemorrhage, guided hands in surgery, and we need the transfer process that usually takes hours to take minutes. This is a big request. Jesse has a big tumor. But we serve an even Bigger God.

51 thoughts on “Big Tumor, Bigger God

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  1. Oh Ashley, God is always good, which you know. He is for us, not against us. I know this from personal brokenness, and I know He takes our crisis, redeems them, then gives them back that we can glory in His unfailing love for us. Everything that is happening will be used for the great glory of God. Look how He has used you both thus far!! He is amazing and He is good.

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  2. Ashely, I do not know your family, but am a friend of a friend of yours. Our family has been walking the exact journey you are just beginning now. My husband was diagnosed for 5 1/2 years ago. I would be honored to help you all through these difficult days. Please let me know if you are interested in talking and I will send you my phone. We will be praying fervently to our Father for Jesse and your family!

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  3. Ashley, you don’t know me but I just want you to know I’m praying for your husband and you and your family. Our Father is the creator of the universe! Give it all to him.

    Your sister in Christ!

    Angie

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  4. My husband and I will be praying for you and Jesse. You may not remember us, but we are Susan Wollam’s parents. God “saw Jesse before he was born, and scheduled each day of his life, before he began to breathe.” God will not stop thinking about Jesse, you, and your children.

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  5. Ashley and Jesse, you have both been in my thoughts, prayers and tears since hearing the news last night. Shelly and I continue to passionately pray that Jesus wraps His protective arms around both of you and your children, providing the peace and strength that can only come from Him. The right doctor has come forward, praise to God for this grace and blessing. His hands will be working right beside the surgeon’s hands. Grace and Peace to you all from our sweet Lord Jesus.

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  6. Ashley, Psalm 9:10…”And they that now thy name will put their trust in thee; For thou, Lord, hast not forsaken them that seek thee”. Our prayers are certainly with you, Jesse and those that are caring for him and our confidence is in the Lord for completely healing our brother, Jesse. Phil & Wanda Taylor

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  7. Ashley,
    We are praying for Jesse and your family. May the LORD wrap HIS arms around you and give you strength for the days ahead.
    Because HE Lives,
    Harold and Cheryl Wright

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  8. Dear Ashley and family, Mr. Stan and I are praying for Jesse and all of you. God has all of you in his hands. All our love, The Levy’s

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  9. Jesse, you showed me God’s grace at a critical time in my life, as He will show you. He will lift you up and carry you on His shoulders as you have done for countless others. My love and prayers are with you and yours. Kitty

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  10. Dear Ashley,

    I will be praying vigilantly for Jesse and you and your family. I will add him to my woman’s bible study group prayer circle too.

    Melissa

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  11. All the Leaches are praying….. Love ya’ll…. Our God is indeed more than enough. May His presence be so known for in His presence we have all we need… Aunt Janet

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  12. From the time my daughter, Shelly, told me about this I have lifted prayers along with her and Steve to The One that can make the difference. And I know that our prayers will be abundant and carried to the Father by His Holy Spirit. The “thief” comes to cause havoc, but our God is above all his deceit. God’s purpose will prevail, and ours is to pray with whole hearts….John Newton writes:
    “Thou are coming to a King! Large petitions with you bring.
    For His grace and Power are such, None can ever ask too much!”
    And so we come, in the power of Jesus Name, with our large petitions for this little family that is serving Him, the church family that stands by and with them, for His glory and honor to be accomplished.
    In His Big Love and mine, granny lee

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  13. Hugs and prayers to you and Jesse; you’re married to a fighter, sweet girl, it will take more than this to keep him from doing Our Lord’s work. Jesse has much “chutzpah!!!” And so must we all during this challenging time!!! We love both of you dearly and will hold yall up for as long as it takes!!’ Much much love & blessings,
    Shelly

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  14. Ashley, I have not been given the opportunity to make your aquaintance but your cause for alarm is a never ending battle for the people who are put in your situation. I personally have been put in that situation. Our God works in a very mysterious way. A way in which will make us ask numerous questions. I firmly believe that our Lord will not throw anything in my direction that I can’t handle. The same should apply to you. God loves us more than we can understand. I will pray for you and Jessie. If Jessie does have cancer there are a few things cancer cannot do: it cannot….invade the soul, suppress memories,kill friendship,destroy peace,conquer the spirit,shatter hope,cripple love,corrode faith,steal eternal life,nor silence courage. May God bless you both, Jeff Fogleman

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  15. I’m so sorry to hear this Ashley. Amber and I will be lifting your family up. If there is anything we can do to help, please let me know. God is bigger than a tumor, and I know that this will give you and Jesse another story to tell of His faithfulness.

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  16. Ashley, I’ve been reading “The Circlemaker”, by Mark Batterson. He reminds me to tell my mountain just how BIG my God is!!! Tumor one Jesse’s Brain- Jehovah Rapha, The Healer, is way bigger than you! With one whisper every little cell in your tumor is blast into oblivion. Be GONE, In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

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  17. Doris & I are Praying for healing, strength and comfort as you face the days ahead and the journey yet before you. God still lives and continues work Miracles!

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  18. Ashley-

    Our thoughts and prayers are absolutely with you, Jesse and your entire family. May God guide and give wisdom to the wonderful doctors at MDA and also give you strength. Keep the faith, Jesus has this! Godspeed.

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  19. I know this path you are going down.Hold on tight to the Hand of GOD! Five years ago in Aug I Found out I had a stage 4 Brain tumor! I told the Drs at that time.you have the physical part of this but God has the Spiritual healing.I had no idea what to expect but I had turned it over to HIM.I had my familyHusband,3 daughters and 2 grandsons&1 granddaughter to think about.My church has been with me praying and keeping me close.I know Godhas a purpose for it all.I don’t know what it is but I hopeto be an ecourager to FULLY depend on Him.I am not completely healed and never will but my hopeis that my life will be a witness that GOD IS GOOD! I will be praying for God’s control in the future path.🐸FROG (Fully Rely On GOD)this has been my motto)

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  20. Ashley and Jesse, Your blog post is beautiful and inspiring… and good therapy as you go through this season of illness. My daughter-in-law, Melissa Westergard shared your news of Jesse’s cancer. Just want you to know we are lifting you in prayer, God loves you and hears all theses prayers, He will carry your family and bring glory to Himself through this challenge. Continue to post prayer requests so we can pray for your needs, it is a blessing to us to walk with you, our sister and brother in Christ Jesus.
    You may remember me from John & Melissa’s wedding… my goodness 10 years ago this week!
    God’s love and blessings, Rhonda and Doug Henderson

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  21. I remember that shock- I felt it when my son (also named Jesse) was diagnosed with cancer at age 7. I could not know the depths and heights God would take us through on the journey with cancer… I woke up every morning thinking, “it’s still real. He still has cancer.” But I can honestly say I learned to trust God far more, and to believe in His goodness far more. He is faithful! My family will be praying for all of you!

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  22. Hi, my name is Caitlin Tyler, and I’ve tried very hard to find some way to tell Jesse what he means to me.. unfortunately, since we aren’t personal friends on Facebook or anything, I was afraid he wouldn’t get my letter..here goes:
    A few years ago, I was in a deep depression. My heart was dark and heavy and weary.. when headed to meet my sister in league city, I had a nagging, instinctual feeling to go to BAFB. Giving into the notion, I pulled in to the church with summer activities in full swing. Ashamed of being in need, I persisted through the crowds and found my way to Jesse’s office. Although I could tell he was busy, and he didn’t know me from Adam, he sat down with me and asked me what brought me there. I laid out my heart, telling him how dark my world had become and how tired I had become from so many responsibilities I felt too young and unequipped to handle. Listening to me, he said to me something so profound it stopped me in my mental tracks. “You are not alone, and God has given you everything you’ll ever need. Everything will be okay.” He gave me a verse from the Bible that said that God cuts off the vines of a plant that bare no fruit. That God is taking away things from my life, not to deprive me, but to watch me grow. Jesse McMillan saved my life. He gave me hope when I had none. He cared for me when I couldn’t care for myself. He showed me a light I had been blind to. Years later, my sister, Courtney Cockerham, tells me about Jesse’s condition.. I look around my life now, my husband in bed next me, our daughter kicking within my stomach, and I realize that the Lord sent Jesse to my path which led me here to my blessed, new life. All of which wouldn’t be if Jesse hadn’t shown me the way of God.. I could never repay him. I pray for Jesse now. I push all my strength into prayer so that God will deliver him from this burden. I pray for his health, his comfort, his family, and for his recover. God bless.

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  23. Jesse, Ashley and family,
    The Bentley family is praying for you–for healing, strength, courage, and grace to make it through the days ahead as you come to grips with this shocking situation. We also lift up your medical team and your support network that loves you so much! Big hugs!! Renae & Howie

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  24. You may not remember me (went to high school with both of you, played tennis with Jesse), but I am praying desperately for peace and comfort during this difficult time. We are all sadly aware of Satan’s destructive power on this earth, but it is always hard to hear about good people suffering. I live just up the road in College Station so if I can be of service in any way, please do not hesitate to get in touch with me. CJ Wilson

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  25. There is a Dr. In Houston who has miracles with brain tumors. Dr. Burzinski. Im in my 18th month of stage 4 breast cancer with metastisis to the brain. God has shown me I was stronger than I believed. MY PRAYERS ARE WITH YALL!

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  26. Dear Ashley and family,

    I don’t really know you, or you know me, but we are sisters and brothers in Christ and that’s what really matters. While I was reading your post this verse came to mind: Matthew 7:7-11

    “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives , and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. Or what man is there among you who, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent? If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!”

    I believe that this a testimony being written. The ways of God are perfect. Be still and know that He is God, that He is powerful and His hand still performs. This will be for His glory, that you guys may be His open letters. “Now thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and through us diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge in every place.” (2 Corinthians 2:14)

    I’m praying for a miracle. I’m praying for your peace, strength, reliance and faith in God.

    Your sister in Christ,
    Charlotte Sanchez

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  27. hello, I am the pastor of Emmanuel Baptist Church on Rosehill just up the street from your new property. I learned of Pastor Jesse’s illness this from one of my professors at SWBTS. I am praying for your family. May God grant you a special sense of his grace and presence in these days.

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