Let’s get personal.
Back in 2016/17, we were living in Zaragoza, Spain.
We initially landed in Madrid with just our suitcases, an Airbnb reservation for one night, enough money to buy some food and a couple of gentlemen’s agreements for regular freelance design work.
We knew Spain was our next step and arrived there god is greater than the highs and lows without fully knowing what the city would be.
We had friends in two different cities and we ended up moving to the location of the people who text us back first that night.
Wild right? We were younger and had no kids so the thrill of the adventure was strong.
Anyway, we saw God show up DAILY in Zaragoza, from providing housing supernaturally for us (a story for another day). To needing financial breakthrough and receiving it in unexpected places.
Zaragoza was our first married home and the testing ground of our faith now as one. We experienced great highs, like finding out we were pregnant and finally getting a Visa. We also experienced lows like not having money for food or public transport to visit places.
All this to say, when I look back on my own life, I visualise the timeline and I see the highs and lows marked.
The thing that stands out is God’s faithfulness and his hand on both ends of the spectrum.
It’s all about the process
The more I journey through life, the more I realize life is less about an outcome or completing something.
It’s about the journey itself and who we are becoming. Most importantly it’s about God and our relationship with Him. Learning to lean on Him and trust Him in every moment.
An unexpected diagnosis
Sunday, February 3rd 2019 was somewhat of a normal day. Normal in the sense of church, family time etc.
Not normal in the sense of what happened that evening.
Earlier that week I had my wisdom teeth removed and it hadn’t healed up.
I’ll save you the gory details, but it was swollen, disgusting and stank. It just wouldn’t heal up and so I asked my parents to take me to A&E on that Sunday evening.
I had a blood test done and waited in a room alongside my parents.
We were there a while and there was a bit of commotion outside the door.
The kind of commotion where you could just sense something was a little off.
At this point in life (other than the tooth issue) it’s a high moment. Judah had turned 1, we were getting settled in the UK and at our church, I had new freelance clients and life was good.
Then the consultant came in, and everything went into slow motion.
Mr Stannard, your white cells are extremely high we think you have cancer.
Now, 5 minutes prior I had phoned my wife to say goodnight and let her know I was staying in overnight and they would operate on my mouth in the morning.
That second phone call was a change of plan.
“baby, change of plans, I have to go to a different hospital as they’ve said apparently I have Leukaemia”.
Maha: “Oh…. Well we’re not going to accept that, and we’ll pray for healing”.
Listen.. If there was ever ANY doubt in my mind that she was the one for me (which there was no doubt) it would have evaporated in that second! What an incredible human she is!
The prince of peace walked into the room
Back to the moment, the nurse delivered the news.
I can only describe how I felt and experienced it.
It was like the words came out of her mouth and were suspended in the air, and before they had the chance to land on me, they were caught/held by this presence of peace that filled the room.
It was as if they took the death sentence and gave me peace instead.
WOW. I have never experienced anything like it before or after, and here is the crazy thing.
I had prayed for encounters like that one. To experience the presence of God in such a tangible way.
To experience the Prince of Peace and to be marked, was my deep longing, and I experienced it!
It just didn’t come in the package I would have wanted.
A high and a low mixed into one.
I would be lying to you if I said I felt scared, anxious, and afraid. I felt none of those things except immense peace, hope, and faith in what God was doing and would do.
The call from Maha just further backed that up!