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Know When to Hold ‘Em- Holding on in a journey that seems like a losing hand.

Updated: Feb 22, 2022

You never think it’s going to be you. You never think you’ll be the one with that diagnosis, or that this circumstance will be a part of your story. But then that day comes, and you discover that it is you. The cards have been dealt and there is no bluffing to be had, winning with your hand seems impossible. So, what do you do? Throw in the cards? Or hold 'em and wait for the flip?

That is the reality of my current story. But to fully paint the picture, I must start at the beginning of the journey.

Kirby and I were married in 2013 at the age of 28. We both desired creating a family so very much and feeling like we were later in years we decided to try to start a family right away. However, without any success after a couple of years we decided that it was time to seek fertility guidance. It did not take long before receiving the devastating news of being considered infertile with IVF being our only option. With the knowledge of how much those treatments would cost and not knowing whether they’d be successful, we were left devastated.

Fast forward a couple of years, a job relocation, and add in the wonderful, gracious provision of God we were blessed to find an infertility specialist that had the perfect treatment plan for us. We had one little egg that grew into our beautiful, vivacious, fun-loving Conley girl. Born in June of 2017, she is a true miracle gift from God.

Without having extra eggs for fertilization and not feeling the Lord calling us to do IVF again, we had become very content and at peace with being Freeman Family party of 3. God however, in his perfect timing, had a different hand of cards to be dealt.

So, fast forward again a few more years, another job relocation, and celebratory dancing out of the toddler years, then surprise in July 2021 I found out that I was pregnant. That’s right! Supposed infertile couple for 8 years, naturally pregnant by the grace of God. At this point there were no cards to throw away because we didn’t know we even had a seat at the table. We were beyond elated with this news!

Little did we know that this journey, although a complete miracle and display of God’s goodness, would set us on a rough terrain. Unfortunately, that pregnancy led to a loss within the first six weeks. We were heartbroken, but also hopeful that God might bless us with another baby down the road. Then, like any good OBGYN would do with their 36-year-old geriatric patient, the miscarriage was followed by a routine check up. But there’s was nothing routine about it. In August 2021 I was diagnosed with Carcinoma In-situ, stage 0 Cervical Cancer. Course of treatment: biopsies, removal of cells, and hysterectomy highly likely. What did we hear? No baby.

Throw in the cards, right? You played your chips and lost. Game over. Friends, let me pause to tell you this, when you have God on your side and the power of the Holy Spirit, the game is NEVER over!!

I was quickly referred to an oncologist and he began to lay out the course of treatment and dates. I felt so numb and lost. I was grateful for the guidance and wonderful care of my doctors, but this was not the story I wanted. This was not the outcome I had hoped for when I sat down to play.

Guess what? It wasn’t God’s plan either! Prepping for my first trip under the knife and conducting pre-op testing, the procedure came to a sudden halt. My pregnancy test came back…positive. Positive? Could that be right? Again? Rollback the internal dialogue of being deemed infertile, bound for a hysterectomy.

I will never forget the agony of holding my breath waiting for the shoe to drop and miscarriage number 2 to occur. I will never forget the fear of losing a baby and/or losing my human life. But I will also never forget the first time that we got to see Knox’s healthy heartbeat on the screen and being blown away at another gracious reminder of who MY GOD is!! He is a miracle worker and is working even when we don’t feel it, remember that no matter the terrain!

Sweet friends that are still reading, I wish this piece ended today with a picture of my full, beautiful family of Kirby, Conley, Knox, and myself. I do believe, in complete faith of my Lord and Savior, that it will. We just aren’t to that part of the story (as my wonderful Mom would say) YET! Game still on!

Following a check up with my oncologist a few weeks ago, the cancer has unfortunately progressed rather quickly into stage 1 cervical cancer. Out of preservation of my life, my very knowledgeable, caring team of doctors have decided that it is not in my best interest to avoid the knife any longer all while also preserving my healthy, kicking Knox.

Which leads us to the present-day journey. This week I have started receiving steroid shots to progress the growth of this special baby boy and will undergo a procedure in a week to remove the most concerning abnormal cancerous cells in order to prevent them from growing into a more precarious condition which would jeopardize my life expectancy. There is a minuscule chance this surgery could send me into preterm labor, but we are strongly believing against this. We trust that Knox and I are in great hands, both earthly and heavenly. You see, that’s why I needed you to hear the whole journey. God’s been there through it all! Every hardship has led to more revelation of who He is, a miracle working, promise keeping GOOD hero! The infertility led to the display of God blessing us with a miracle beyond our comprehension. Every job relocation has led to teams of doctors that are national experts in their fields and a grand body of believers to come along side us in the midst of trials. Then, what seemed like God’s delayed timing of providing another baby led to the maturing and growth of a helpful big sister in Conley and a life saving diagnosis for me. I’m convinced, this not a time to throw in the cards.

The journey ahead is still rough, unknown! But I can tell you that I trust in my card dealer, God (Prov. 16:9)! We are facing what may seem like a bad hand, but we are choosing to hold ‘em and wait for the flip. I don’t believe you lose with God! It’s not in his character. There will be victory out of this journey, because with Jesus we will all finish the journey a champion!

How to know when to Hold ‘Em:

1. Trust in the Lord, he will guide you!

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.” Proverbs 3:5-6

2. There is more going on at the table than what you can see with human eyes. Don’t quit!

“My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the Lord. “And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine. For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:8-9

3. It will be good. Hold on!

“And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.” Romans 8:28

4. You aren’t in this alone! You have an invisible, yet present teammate.

“God is our protection and our strength. He always helps in times of trouble. So, we will not be afraid even if the earth shakes, or the mountains fall into the sea,” Psalms 46:1-2

Thank you all for your prayers and support as we navigate this journey!

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Andrea. This story, your story…it’s heartbreakingly beautiful. You are absolutely right. God is good and faithful. His story for you,Kirby, and Conley is still unfolding, but we know He is with you. Praying for you and sweet Knox. Love you, my friend.


What a beautiful testimony, thank you for sharing your hearts and journey! I love the cards analogy. So we’ll said. Sending love and prayers to you and your family. May God protect your health as well as Knox. May He give the Drs and all those caring for you wisdom and knowledge beyond what they can see with the eyes or machines to know what to do, to heal you and protect and grow Knox.

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