Pathology and the Red Sea

Anna Marie shares the tough news they received today. Thank you for praying. Love, Sarah

Dear Friends,

We just met with our family doctor and learned the basics of my pathology. It is Stage II cancer; it sounds like it was just beginning to spread to the lymph nodes, and margins may be questionable. “Margins” refers to how much clean tissue surrounded the tumor when the surgeon removed it. Because of its size and location, mine had a very small margin—but we don’t yet know if that means there were cancer cells left. 

The good news is that it sounds like this type of cancer is fairly responsive to treatment. We have an appointment with our oncologist on Monday and will find out more information and next steps from there.

Meanwhile, my recovery from the surgery continues to go well. The doctor said the incision is looking good, and my pain has been minimal. We’ve been blessed with lots of help which makes it easier that I’m not able to use my arm normally quite yet. My parents and sister arrived yesterday. It was special to introduce them to Simon Peter, and we are enjoying having them around.

A dear friend sent me this poem the week of my surgery and it’s been a great encouragement to me.

Have you come to the Red Sea place in your life,
Where in spite of all you can do,
There is no way out, there is no way back,
There is no other way but through?
Then wait on the Lord with a trust serene
Till the night of your fear is gone;
He will send the wind, He will heap the floods,
When He says to your soul “Go on.”

And His hand will lead you through – clear through –
Ere the watery walls roll down,
No foe can reach you, no wave can touch,
No mightiest sea can drown;
The tossing billows may rear their crests,
Their foam at your feet may break,
But over their bed you shall walk dryshod
In the path that your Lord will make.

In the morning watch, ‘neath the lifted cloud,
You shall see but the Lord alone,
When He leads you on from the place of the sea,
To a land that you have not known;
And your fears shall pass as your foes have passed,
You shall no more be afraid;
You shall sing His praise in a better place,
A place that His hand has made.

-Annie Johnson Flint

Since she sent that, I have been thinking a lot about the Red Sea. When God told the Israelites to go through, there was a strong wind blowing, water piled up on either side of them, Egyptians following close behind, and they were going into a land they did not know. None of those sound like particularly restful elements of the situation; in fact, I might say it sounds downright scary! But God told them to “fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord, which he will shew to you today” (Exodus 14:13). Despite their perception of the situation, God had it completely in His control and the story has been told for generations to recount the faithfulness of God.

And that’s our prayer, whatever the outcome of this: that God will be magnified and His faithfulness clearly seen.

Thank you for praying!

Anna Marie

“Nevertheless he saved them for his name’s sake, that he
might make his mighty power to be known. He rebuked
the Red sea also, and it was dried up: so he led the
through the depths, as through the wilderness.” Psalms 106:8-9

Waiting, Day by Day

Anna Marie shares another update with you. Love, Sarah

Ever since this journey began, I have prayed that I would learn to simply rest and trust God with a humble heart, rather than in my pride wanting to always be in control. Perhaps one of the best ways to learn this is by waiting. And it does seem that waiting is a continuous part of the path on which we find ourselves. While we had anticipated pathology results yesterday or today, the answer to our inquiring hearts is once again, “wait.” I’m hoping we will hear soon, but meanwhile, we wait.

This hymn by “the Fanny Crosby of Sweden,” Carolina Sandell Berg, has been a blessing to me especially during this time:

Day by day and with each passing moment,
Strength I find to meet my trials here;
Trusting in my Father’s wise bestowment,
I’ve no cause for worry or for fear.
He whose heart is kind beyond all measure
Gives unto each day what He deems best–
Lovingly, its part of pain and pleasure,
Mingling toil with peace and rest.

Ev’ry day the Lord Himself is near me
With a special mercy for each hour;
All my cares He fain would bear, and cheer me,
He whose name is Counselor and Pow’r.
The protection of His child and treasure
Is a charge that on Himself He laid;
“As thy days, thy strength shall be in measure,”
This the pledge to me He made.

Help me then in eve’ry tribulation
So to trust Thy promises, O Lord,
That I lose not faith’s sweet consolation
Offered me within Thy holy Word.
Help me, Lord, when toil and trouble meeting,
E’er to take, as from a father’s hand,
One by one, the days, the moments fleeting,
Till I reach the promised land.

The last verse especially reminds me that there is joy and peace to be found in the place of trust. Thank you for praying for a trusting, peaceful heart!

Anna Marie

Ruthie with Simon Peter last night at Bible time

“Lead me in thy truth, and teach me: for thou art the God of my salvation;
on thee do I wait all the day.” Psalm 25:5

Caleb’s Newborn Photos

Happy Monday! We wanted to share some of the photos from Caleb’s newborn photo session. It was a great afternoon filled with sweet times, capturing this adorable family.


The Joseph Maxwell family
Aren’t these three siblings so cute?
Lots of love for their little brother
Caleb Alexander Maxwell (natural light here)

“Only be thou strong and very courageous, that thou
mayest observe to do according to all the law, which
Moses my servant commanded thee: turn not from it
to the right hand or to the left, that thou mayest
prosper whithersoever thou goest.”
Joshua 1:7

Home Sweet Home

Hello everyone! It’s Saturday evening, and Anna Marie is sharing an update. Love, Sarah

Christopher and Anna Marie Maxwell and Family

As I sit here with our sweet baby sleeping next to me, I’m overwhelmed by God’s goodness and faithfulness over these last few weeks. Life has been a somewhat fast-paced journey down a path we never would have chosen for ourselves, but though it has been difficult at times, God has been with us all the way, giving the grace needed step by step. And for us, the next “step” will be the full pathology report on Monday or Tuesday.

Christopher and I arrived safely home last night. It’s so nice to be back, enjoying baby snuggles and surrounded by a happy houseful of chattery children with lots of news and stories to share!

My recovery has continued to be very low pain, and Christopher and I were able to enjoy some sightseeing before flying home. I’m not supposed to use my left arm for a couple of weeks, while my incision heals, so the surgeon recommended I wear a sling as a reminder (to myself as much as anything, although it definitely helps the children remember to be careful). Being temporarily one-armed has its challenges, particularly with not being able to pick up the baby, but Christopher and others are so helpful and I’m able to hold and give Simon Peter bottles and snuggles once he is placed in my arm!

God has used your encouraging notes, comments, and prayers to help bear us up. We cannot possibly express adequate gratitude to you all, but praise the Lord for the Body of Christ around the globe surrounding us with His love. Thank you!

Anna Marie

Sightseeing together

“And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee:
for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most
gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the
power of Christ may rest upon me” (2 Corinthians 12:9).

Surgery Recovery Update from Anna Marie

Dear Friends,

Thank you all so much for your sweet comments, prayers, and encouragement!

Surgery went very well, though due to the continued growth and location of the tumor, the surgeon recommended a more extensive surgery than we were originally hoping for. Christopher and I understood the necessity and agreed that it was best the approach at this point. While the tumor was very close to the chest wall, following surgery the surgeon said it appears that it had not yet penetrated. The surgeon removed some lymph nodes for testing, so once pathology comes back in about a week, we will know the full nature of the tumor and whether it has spread into the lymph system.

I am feeling great other than some muscle-type soreness (feels like I just did a left-armed pushup workout yesterday after not doing them for a few months), but I’m not in pain. That’s what we had heard about the laser surgery from other ladies who had come here, and it seems to be holding true for me as well. We came back to our hotel shortly after surgery, and I’ve been getting good rest, eating well, and have been walking frequently at the recommendation of the surgeon.

We have loved seeing photos and updates of our children’s activities sent to us from Grandma and the aunties. It’s hard to believe Ruthanne turned six years old yesterday! I remember her birth like it was yesterday … only it seems like it was forever ago in many ways. She was thrilled to help decorate cupcakes for her birthday celebration last night (her second celebration since we did our own family party on Saturday)!

Again, thank you all for your support. As I was preparing for surgery and then on the operating table before the anesthesia kicked in, it was overwhelming to think of a world-wide prayer team lifting us up. The Scriptures and encouragement you all shared really encouraged me, along with verses from Psalm 18 which carried me through another day of unknowns exactly one month prior, when Simon Peter entered the world!

Anna Marie

Special birthday lunch with Aunt Anna and Aunt Mary (and Joshua blessing the food)

“For who is God save the LORD? Or who is a rock save our God?
It is God that girdeth me with strength, and maketh my
way perfect. He maketh my feet like hind’s feet, and
setteth me upon my high places.” Psalm 18:31-33

Anna Marie is Out of Surgery

Thank you for your prayers! We truly have felt them along with your overwhelming support and encouragement.

Anna Marie is through surgery and working to wake up. The surgery went well. We’ll share more later.


“He shall cover thee with his feathers,
and under his wings shalt thou trust:
his truth shall be thy shield and buckler.”
Psalm 91:4