"So do not fear, for I am with you;
do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you;
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand."
Our family's story is unfortunately not unique-- a devastating cancer diagnosis took our husband and Dad, Reb McDaniel, to Heaven far too soon (in our humble opinions). What IS unique is what we learned in the process about our God and the road He paves through impossibly dark valleys. When Reb was diagnosed, doctors gave us 90 days to say our goodbyes which left us with a choice. What kind of days would those be? Through brutal sickness, fatigue, and treatments that upended our lives, the word that miraculously managed to remain was the descriptor God used when He first breathed life into Creation--GOOD. We were able to call them (all 560 of them) good days because we knew to whom Dad belonged, because we knew cancer could never change that, and because we were surrounded by a village of people who affirmed the same. This village inspired what is now known as the More Good Days Foundation. When we gave it a hard look, the details that allowed us to keep the main things in focus during Dad's cancer journey were the most basic acts carried out with the most extravagant love. God’s love. The kind that jumps right into the mess and says “I’m with you,” affirming His goodness and nearness despite and throughout deep loss and suffering. This is the kind of love we seek to pass on to those who need to hear that indeed, More Good Days can and will remain. Our story may not be unique but the way God has chosen to use it is.
When Dad was sick, we took things day by day, hour by hour and often minute by minute and whether of not Dad felt “good” often changed this quickly. Specifically, we wanted the eyes to see the good that our broken hearts and situation often tried to confound. We lowered our expectations from years to months and from months to days and simply began praying for more good days for him, for those eyes to see the Lord mining beauty from the ashes, or to at least trust that He was, even when we couldn’t see. Before we knew it, these three simple words were inspiring a community to live out each day with more intentional gratitude and heartfelt love. More Good Days became our motto not in an attempt to minimize the pain and heartache of Dad’s cancer journey nor the rest of our lives without Dad here on earth. In all candor, our journey and our subsequent days without our guy have contained our darkest moments as the brokenness of the world is made daily and painfully evident. Rather we decided to proclaim these three words because we know the truth of John 16:33: “In this life you will have trouble but take heart, I have overcome the world.”
We know that there are many in our community who will experience similar diagnoses, tragedies, moments, seasons of unspeakable pain that forever mark and change us; there is no sugar coating that. We know that no one but God can ultimately take away this pain. However, it is in such moments of weakness and vulnerability that being encircled by a village that is committed, tactful, and abundant in grace helps to remind us with each step how to keep noticing evidence His mercy and goodness where we previously could only see ruin. We may not be able to erase the hurt, but we sure can take each other by the hand and walk together, magnifying each and every ‘good’, wherever it may be and whatever form it may take. We may not be able to do it all, but if we each faithfully use the time, talents, and resources He’s given us, the result can be something like the indescribable lifting our family felt and continues to feel- something like a glimpse of Heaven where there is an endless supply of, you guessed it, More Good Days.
We believe community has immense power in:
Showing up for one another with grace and space
Leaning in with our unique giftings to fulfill specific needs
Affirming His goodness, especially amidst trial
Being joyful in hope, patient in affliction, and faithful in prayer (Romans 12:12) as we walk the brokenness of life together