RAW, REAL PRAYERS
Good Friday, April 15th 2022, was a day that Kendyll and Preston McFarland will never forget. They woke up and noticed a massive lump on their 21-month-old son Nash’s body and called the pediatrician. They attended the Grove’s Easter walk and enjoyed the stations and the petting zoo, and then headed to the pediatrician to get the lump checked out. From there the doctor immediately sent them to the Phoenix Children’s Emergency Room. The nerves and monotony of waiting all day to be seen in the ER was stressful enough, but during that time Kendyll found out that her dad was being placed on hospice and wasn’t going to make it much longer. By the end of the weekend, Kendyll would have said goodbye to her father and found out that her baby had a form of liver cancer called Hepatoblastoma, all at once. The medical team leapt into action right away placing Nash’s port, doing various blood draws, ultrasounds, and x-ray, all while Preston and Kendyll were trying to process the fight that lay ahead of their family. But every step of the way, Preston and Kendyll said they saw God moving in some small and very large ways. “We no longer believe in coincidences. We saw God’s hand in so many things,” Kendyll said.
From that day forward the McFarland family went on a journey. Countless hospital visits, 10 rounds of chemotherapy, a liver resection, which then required a liver transplant and all the emotions that come with being put on a transplant list: this past year was one that truly tested and matured the faith of Kendyll and Preston. “I truly learned how to pray differently,” Preston said. “Our entire perspective on prayer changed. Before, we would pray for generic things, but now we’ve prayed raw, sorrowful prayers to God. They went from simplistic, to deep prayers like, ‘God take him softly, or heal him fully!’”
Nash was able to get the transplant he needed when he needed it and is now healing and healthy: cancer free. But the journey wasn’t over at that point either. Post-transplant, the McFarland’s were exhausted. They were only home three to four days at a time before they would have to go back to the hospital because of a fever. Kendyll commented, “I said enough! The enemy doesn’t get our family, our marriage, and our home. That’s where God comes in. We get to have peace and know this is all for a reason; we get to choose joy!”
Kendyll wrote about each story that came throughout Nash’s journey, to catalog his cancer battle over this last year and many people were able to witness the miracle unfold for Nash and their family. “We asked God all along: let this help others and bring hope to other people. Let them see our story and see that they can have strength for their battle and darkness,” Kendyll said. Preston added that God is using this entire journey to heal their family. He said, “You appreciate life a little bit more going through the hard times. God was with us and still is.” Now Nash gets to continue to grow at home with his older brother Knox and parents, who are expecting baby number three this fall.