“Joy is an outward sign of inward faith in the promises of God. It is a way of acting, and it is evidence of spiritual maturity.
Joy is not a distant destination at which you arrive; rather, it’s a path you choose to travel each day.”
― Tommy Newberry, The 4:8 Principle
We’re smack in the middle of our Lent devotional, 40 Days to a Joy-Filled Life. Yesterday we heard from Jonathan about renewing our mind and our story. So we feel like this is a good time to share this incredible story. This family is one of our own. They are walking an unbelievably difficult road. You will be blown away by their pursuit of joy in the midst of the hard.
On January 5th, 2016 after coming home from work, I was helping my wife Christy with dinner when she was telling me about our son Noah’s day. He had headaches off and on for weeks which we attributed to being a teenager and having a stressful work load at school. But that night was different. Christy went on to explain that he didn’t leave his room all day and had been sick with intense headaches. I went to check on him and knew something was wrong. As we were trying to get him around to take him to the ER, he was passing out. I picked him up and rushed him to the local hospital.
At the ER, the doctors quickly rushed him to get a CT where they found a small tumor deep within the center of his brain that was causing pressure in a ventricle (small gap of fluid in the brain). They were advised from the Neuro-surgery team to move him up to Denver and prep him for surgery as pressure from the brain was seriously harming him. We were transported to Children’s Hospital in Denver around midnight and were moved to the Nuero-PICU to stabilize him before surgery. While waiting in the PICU the Neuro-surgery team decided not to remove the tumor because it would have been fatal. Instead they put a shunt in to relieve the pressure in the brain.
Our son Noah was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor in January 2016 at the age of 14.
He has been on various treatments over the year and had a lot of ups and downs. In December of 2016 Noah was given a diagnosis of a high grade Glioma and underwent radiation treatment. Currently he is on another chemotherapy treatment.
It has been a hard journey, but we have felt God’s love and his peace through all of this.
We do not know what Gods ultimate plan is, but we do know He is a good God and He loves us. We have had a lot of blessings through all of this. Including a Make A Wish trip, where the family was able to rest and let our worries aside. We have felt such love and support from our families and friends. We thank God for Noah and are cherishing every moment we have with him.
From Suzy Bates (Student Pastor)
I’ve known Noah for a couple of years now. I remember the Wednesday night I met him in the Gathering Place. He was an 8th grader with a lot of heart and eyes that literally smiled, not at all afraid to come right up to an adult he didn’t know and chat me up. Noah’s sweet spirit and kindness were impossible to miss. I met his parents and sisters that night too, and a wonderful family friendship immediately began to blossom.
These days when I swing by his house to pick him up for our weekly hangout, that sweet spirit and kindness and joy are still impossible to miss. But they are truly remarkable because a lot has changed in his life between now and the night I met him. Noah was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor a few months ago.
Even though he is carrying a weight that no 15 year old young man should ever have to carry, HE IS STILL HIS JOYFUL OLD SELF.
He hops in my car and adjusts my radio to play his favorite music and doesn’t miss the chance to highlight the simple joy of cruising around with the windows down and the music blaring. In our more serious moments, I ask him how he’s doing. He says, “Oh, I’m ok. My relationship with the Lord is the best thing to come from all of this. Pray for my parents and my sisters. Tell the other students that I’m doing all right.”
It’s funny, because I started hanging out with him after his diagnosis in hopes to minister to HIM somehow amidst all of this. But he truly is the example to ME on how to be joy-filled when life doesn’t give you many reasons to be so. The Spirit of the Lord is upon this young man, you can literally see it in his face! The great purpose and meaning of Noah’s life are undeniable. I am so blessed by him and his family.
Having God in my life has strengthened me in many ways, from my spirit, to being a witness to the people around me. Before my tumor was diagnosed, I was struggling with standing with God and making Him first. I would get distracted by the world, school, and friends. But when I was diagnosed with that brain tumor – on that unforgettable day – I left my door open to God and it was unreal the connection I had.
To this day I feel like I can turn right to God and He is there with me always.
People ask how I got this connection and I all can think of is several nights before going to the hospital I felt fearful about where I stood with God. Then I went to one of the people I look up to, my Grandma. I said that I didn’t feel like I knew God enough. We prayed and it settled down. A few weeks later I found out I had the tumor.
I feel like that was God preparing me for this journey, it truly was a gift from God.
How’s that for a powerful example of renewing your mind and your story?!
We’ve set up a way to help the Hobelman family with the medical bills. When you donate, just note that it’s for the Hobelman family and your donation will be put in an account we’ve created specifically for them. (Please note: donations directly to the Hobelman family are not tax deductible. Contact us if you would like to make a tax deductible donation.)