Emphatic Answers


Spring is here, and Andrew and I have never breathed the sweet, fresh air in more deeply than now. We, unfortunately, spent four straight weeks in the hospital last month, and it was 28 grueling days of staring out the window as the flowers began to bloom and the sun began to shine. My chest felt heavier just watching Andrew lay in his hospital bed day after day. Needless to say, we have taken a grand total of zero days for granted since receiving Andrew’s discharge notice. I am thrilled to be able to say we have played tennis a handful of times, ran a few laps around Zionsville Park, and taken our dog to sniff up and down nature trails. It may seem trivial to many, but these are activities that were completely out of the question two months ago. We have been blessed to see so much positive progress. It makes the tough days easier and the long hospital stays worth it. We continue to learn life lessons and are humbled daily. Humbled by the love and support from hundreds and hundreds of people. Humbled by the courage and strength from the patients we pass as we walk up and down the hallways of the oncology unit. Humbled by the continuous protection and provision of Christ. The Lord has emphatically answered our prayers; not necessarily in the ways we had imagined, but answered in the perfect ways that only the Lord can provide.

Andrew has been praying for years to gain a testimony that can speak to the hearts of many and lead those to the Lord. Did he EVER think it would come in the form of cancer? I think it’s safe to say no. And yet, the Lord has provided exactly what Andrew has spent the entirety of his blessed life praying for.

Andrew and I have been together for a little over five years, but we’re just now approaching our one-year anniversary as a married couple. We have spent hours praying over our marriage and our single greatest hope and prayer was to be used by the Lord. Those were the words we used but, in hindsight, what I think I was really asking for was to be sent to an overseas country to shine the light of the Lord while Andrew made a career out of doing what he loved. But yet again, God has provided exactly what we asked and prayed for- to be used by Him and to minister to people across the world.

It has been eight weeks since Andrew’s last chemotherapy treatment. The typical amount of time between treatments is two weeks…again, we’re on week eight. This is nothing to be alarmed about and Andrew’s body is just taking a bit longer to recover from this last intensive round of chemo than expected. We love the break, but we are ultimately adding on more time to the end of this treatment and we are more than ready to be done with daily visits to the hospital for chemo. But I think back and realized what we prayed for: a break. Four weeks straight in the hospital can make you go crazy. Luckily, we have an INCREDIBLE nursing staff who planned random dance parties and allowed therapy dogs to visit and that made our stay more than manageable, but it’s not time spent enjoying the winter melt to spring and it’s not fresh air. And Andrew desperately needed both. So, we prayed for a break. We prayed for a time to go on a date or two and feel like a normal, married couple. We prayed for time to scream and be silly at a Pacers game. We prayed for time for Andrew to not-so-subtly break the rules and invite our dog, Charlie, onto the bed after he had not seen him for a month. We are on week eight of this break we prayed for; the Lord provided exactly what we had asked.

As I reflect on our prayers and how faithfully the Lord has provided, a strong lesson has been learned. I realize that sometimes I ask for the Lord to manifest His answers to prayers in the way I feel will be the best solution to those prayers, not necessarily in the perfect way that He has plans to see our prayers to fruition. I’m so thankful to serve a God who knows far better than I and who provides for our every need, even in ways beyond imagination or expectation.

“I’m thankful for my struggle because without it I would not have stumbled across my strength.” (Alex Elle)


A semi-unrelated, sappy, public profession of love:

            Sunday, May 18th is our one-year anniversary. And what a crazy year it has been. We have moved across the world, put up with the madness that is professional basketball, received a cancer diagnosis, and practically had to restart our lives together. Oh, and we learned our beloved dog has epilepsy last night; that was another rough one. All in all, I think it’s safe to say it’s not what we expected. But, you know what? It’s better. We have lived and loved one another through every single line of our wedding vows. I appreciate you, I respect you, I love you, and can’t wait to continue to grow with you, Andrew! Happy One-Year Anniversary! Aren’t you happy we have a blog so that I can publicly brag on how much I love you? 😉



6 thoughts on “Emphatic Answers

  1. Dear Andrew and Samantha,

    I was so glad to read that you have been able to have some activities that you both enjoy! I am glad that Andrew’s health permitted you to play tennis, run a few laps, and take Charlie out on the nature trails. Thank you for including the picture of both of you on the rustic porch swing. Since Charlie is not in the picture, did he take the picture?! Just joking! But as much as he loves the two of you and you him, I’m sure he would have been glad to do it if he could!

    Samantha, you have a wonderful writing style. I am a former high school English grammar teacher, and I am so impressed!

    Andrew, Tony and I are so sorry that you were given this diagnosis and that you are having to go through all of this treatment with the accompanying side effects. I was so glad to read of how helpful the nursing staff had been during your hospital stays. What needed breaks, mentally, physically, and socially. The therapy dogs are such wonderful creatures. Their sentient nature, given them by God, is employed to heal and help. I am glad you had visits by them as well.

    We continue to pray for you and all the Smith family.

    Suzanne and Tony Twist

  2. Today was a bittersweet day for me at my place of employment. I love my job but have been struggling with some things going on in the workplace. Because we serve a God who knows all, and is personally involved in the smallest of details of each of our lives, he knew exactly what I needed to hear today. I resigned my position today with a heavy heart and some shed tears. Andrew’s journey is much more than I could ever imagine. Reading these words tonight have been confirmation for me that MY GOD has been listening to my prayers and provided answers in his perfect timing and within his perfect will. I don’t know why this is happening to the two of you but I love and serve a God who does. Thank you for these powerful words that have touched my heart in such a special way tonight. Lee Ann Gresham, mother of Alex Houston

  3. Happy Anniversary! I am glad God answered your prayers regarding getting a break, but, I pray Andrew will soon be able to get back to his chemotherapy treatments. I hope you have a wonderful anniversary celebrating your love for one another.

    God Bless,


  4. Was so happy to read the good news about Andrew. Your letters are and inspiration to me. I have dealt with cancer with my family, and we also trusted in the Lord for all the answers. Our God is an awesome God. I really don’t know how people without God in their deal with issues such as this. May God continue to bless. Enjoy your time together. Happy Anniversary.

  5. May God bless both of you, continue to give you strength and courage to face the bumps in the road to come. Happy Anniversary Andrew and Samantha! Thank you for sharing a heartfelt story of your lives.

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