#38 Chronically Sick. Abundantly Alive. - Josh & Amy Glasscock, Part 1 | Compelled Podcast

#38 Chronically Sick. Abundantly Alive. – Josh & Amy Glasscock, Part 1

As a child, Josh Glasscock was diagnosed with a rare genetic disease called cystic fibrosis, which has no cure and always causes death in its victims.

But instead of shutting down and resigning himself to a defeated existence doomed to die, Josh and his wife Amy believe that God has called them to live a full and abundant life.


The following is a summary of the podcast interview above with Josh and Amy Glasscock. Many more details are included in the original podcast episode and we encourage you to listen.

A Short Time on Earth

Josh Glasscock’s life has never been normal and has been filled with much difficulty and hardship, but, despite much suffering, his life has always been rich with God’s blessings. 

Josh has lived his entire life with Cystic Fibrosis (CF), a genetically inherited disease that causes the lungs and digestive organs to create too much mucus and fluids. This in turn, creates frequent lung infections and can make it difficult to breathe. The body never stops creating the extra mucus and over time causes permanent damage to the lungs and other organs.

Eventually, the patient will either suffocate to death or die from other complications from CF.  

Despite decades of research, there is no cure.

Choosing How to Live

Josh grew up in a strong Christian family with committed parents who loved him and his younger brother, who also had CF.

Early on, doctors painted a bleak picture for Josh’s parents of their sons’ futures. Doctors said that the boys wouldn’t graduate from high school or college and most definitely wouldn’t get married or have families. They would die as children.

Instead of giving into discouragement and despair, Josh’s parents chose to embrace the life that God had given their sons, and this outlook on life was gradually transferred to both of their boys as they went through childhood. 

Growing up, Josh was not only at peace with the plan that God had for his life, but whole-heartedly welcomed it. Josh lived with a unique perspective about his limited time here on Earth, a perspective that would play an important role over the years to come.

Amy

Josh’s future wife Amy also grew up in a Christian family where she was taught to love the Lord. 

She placed her faith in Jesus Christ at a young age, and even though she had no radical conversion story, God was faithful to slowly transform her over the following years.

In college, Amy was heavily involved in ROTC and was on track to become an army officer. In fact, the summer after her freshman year, Amy was given the opportunity to attend military paratrooper school. But, in God’s providence, she had already committed to working at Christian camp that summer.

A Handful of Extra Years

Since Josh’s childhood diagnosis, the treatment of cystic fibrosis had slightly improved and some of the symptoms could be partially dealt with and the effects could be slightly tempered through various medications, surgeries, and other interventions. The disease still resulted in an early death for all patients, but for Josh, even a handful of extra years on earth was an unexpected blessing.

Josh started using various medications and breathing treatments by age 4 and had been hospitalized around 20 times and undergone various surgeries as a child and teenager. But unlike the doctor’s predictions, Josh graduated from high school, and enrolled in college.

Apart from using an inhaler, none of his classmates had any reason to suspect that Josh was any different from them.

Texas Baptist Encampment

Josh and Amy’s worlds collided that summer when they started working at the same Christian camp during Josh’s junior year in college.

Josh had worked at Christian summer camps for years. However, this was his first summer at Texas Baptist Encampment in Palacios, Texas. Amy on the other hand, had worked there for several summers while in high school.

But even though God providentially placed Josh and Amy at the same camp at the same time, it was anything but love at first sight.

Just Friends. Nothing More.

Neither Josh nor Amy had a romantic relationship on their radars when they showed up at the camp.  

Amy arrived at camp, certain she would continue her plan to be commissioned as an Army officer. But after only a few days at the camp, she began to question whether that was truly God’s direction for her life or simply her own desires. She was earnestly seeking clear direction from God about what He would have her do with her future. In Amy’s mind, she was praying about a career path, not a future spouse.

Josh wasn’t looking for a spouse either. To stay focused on his work at the camp and growth in Christ, Josh was trying to “repel” women, as he called it. He had grown a long, shaggy beard, and the first time Amy met him she thought he looked like Abraham Lincoln.

Despite all odds, a deep friendship began to form between Josh and Amy as the summer progressed. 

Amy found herself attracted to Josh’s sense of humor, and, even more importantly, the way he treated his faith with the Lord seriously.

Josh and Amy found that they connected naturally over God’s Word. Soon, a Bible study formed organically with just the two of them studying the book of Proverbs as friends.

Seeking Clarity

At the beginning of the summer, Josh had committed to pray for his future wife, even though he had no idea who she was. But it wasn’t long before God began to work through that prayer.

As Josh and Amy’s friendship grew, Amy’s name began to consistently enter Josh’s mind whenever he would pray for his future wife. Determined to stay focused on the camp ministry, Josh tried to ignore it.

But then, on multiple occasions, Josh prayed a specific prayer for his future wife and saw it answered through Amy. One time, he prayed for his wife to have wisdom, then walked out of his cabin to see Amy on the cabin porch, reading the book of Proverbs.

In fact, their friendship became awkward as Josh worried that he was letting Amy distract his focus from the Lord and from whoever his future wife would be.

Josh wondered what God was doing. Then one day God answered Amy’s prayer for life direction and Josh’s prayers for his future wife with undeniable clarity, all in one conversation.

A Blessing or Curse?

Josh and Amy sat down next to each other in the cafeteria for the evening meal on what seemed like an ordinary day when they realized the rest of the staff had left and they were alone. Josh immediately felt the awkwardness of his internal thoughts bubbling up again.

Amy broke the silence, “Is something wrong?”

Josh replied, “Well, I’m trying to decide if you’re a blessing or a curse.”

Definitely not great pick-up lines.

For the next several hours, both Josh and Amy poured out their hearts to each other. They shared their hopes and dreams and the callings they believed God had for their lives. And as they shared, they began to realize that what they saw in their futures looked incredibly similar. 

When Josh and Amy parted ways for the evening, they both knew that they were meant to be together. God’s calling on their lives in marriage was unmistakable. 

At the time Amy didn’t know about Josh’s significant health challenges. But even as she gradually found out more about Josh’s condition, she grew more convinced that God had a divine plan for her and Josh to live the rest of their lives together. 

Early Years of Marriage

Josh planned a romantic proposal on a beautiful hiking trail, and the two were married a year later. They honeymooned in Alaska and returned home to begin life as a married couple. 

Josh and Amy had a strong desire for children in their home even though they couldn’t have their own children due to Josh’s CF. Eventually, they felt God leading them to be involved in foster care.

Both of them would have loved nothing more than to ultimately adopt the children they fostered. But, with the uncertain nature of foster care, they quickly learned to view it as a ministry and not as a means to grow their family. 

God placed 3 children in their home at various times during this season of their lives, and Josh and Amy both found great joy in serving these children and teaching them about the Lord.

Closing the Door on Children

However, this chapter in their lives eventually came to close as Josh began facing more health challenges.

Up to this point, even though Josh’s health had experienced some ups and downs, it had been manageable for the most part. 

But then Josh started being hospitalized 3-5 times a year. He had to have more sinus surgeries, and doctors were discussing the possibility of a lung transplant.

While Josh was on the fence about choosing a transplant, his lung collapsed and was immediately rushed into surgery.

Josh and Amy were uncertain about what their future held, but one thing was becoming increasingly clear to them. With this significant decline in Josh’s health, which meant longer and more frequent hospital stays, they were no longer able to foster children. With heavy hearts they sold all of their baby/kid gear in a weekend garage sale. 

What if…?

Later that very day Amy got a call from her mom… asking if Josh and Amy were interested in foster care or adoption.

“That’s impossible,” Amy said and dismissed the question. Josh and Amy had already concluded that they weren’t in a position to foster children, and they had no money for an adoption. And in fact, they had literally sold all their baby gear in the garage sale that morning.

“But would you be interested if there was a mom who chose you to be the parents for her baby?” Amy’s mom pressed. 

“That would never happen…” Amy replied. “What mom would ever choose to adopt out her child to a parent who had CF? But, yes, of course we’d be interested if there was a way.”

Amy thought that the conversation was behind her. But the next day, her dad called her asking the same question. Amy was perplexed but he wouldn’t explain further. He just asked her and Josh to spend time praying about an opportunity for adoption.

6 Days Later

Puzzled, Josh and Amy began to pray. They had no idea how powerfully God was working behind the scenes. 

Amy’s parents had a roundabout connection with a birth mom, Katherine, who was looking for adoptive parents for her child. Katherine had heard through the grapevine about Josh and Amy and their situation.

Katherine knew all about Josh’s health challenges including him being in and out of the hospital, surgeries, etc. Katherine had even lost a close friend to CF. 

So, when she called up Josh and Amy just 6 days later and told them she wanted them to be the parents to her baby, they were completely stunned at God’s work on their behalf.

Yes!

Of course, Josh and Amy’s response to Katherine’s question was an emphatic “Yes!”

A sweet friendship formed between them in the months to follow, and when the time came for the baby to be born, Amy was present in the delivery room and Josh was right outside the door to hear their new daughter’s first cry. Amy even cut the umbilical cord.

The Glasscocks named their daughter Lily Rahab.

Fourteen months later, on April 11, 2018, Josh and Amy invited their friends and family to come to the county courthouse and witness the official adoption of their baby girl, LilyRay.

Over 100 people showed up to support them, and when the judge walked into the room, she was overwhelmed by the love represented by their presence.

When the official ceremony was over, the judge was in tears and asked to be included in the group photo, holding Lily.

God Simply Showing Off

Now, in case you’re wondering, there is way more to Josh and Amy’s story, and they will share it in the 2nd part of their story next week in a whole other episode.

But there’s already so much to reflect on. And three things immediately come to mind.

First, the attitude that Josh and his family adopted when they realized that Josh and his brother had been diagnosed with a terminal sickness. Instead of growing angry at God or resigning themselves to a victim mentality, they embraced the trial God had given them and chose to live for His glory, no matter how short their time on Earth might be.

Second, how God changed the heart and affections of Amy, a perfectly healthy young woman, who set aside her dreams of being a military officer, and instead married someone with an incurable disease, knowing very well that she would become a young widow.

And finally, the joy and anticipation that Josh and Amy have exhibited throughout their marriage and their life together. Even though Josh has a life-threatening disease without a cure, they eagerly seek ways to minister to others and share the love of Christ that has been lavished on them so abundantly.

And of course, the improbable and miraculous adoption of LilyRay is simply icing on the top. Or as Josh and Amy say – God simply showing off.

Part 2 Coming Next Week

We’ll continue the 2nd half of the Glasscock’s story next week.

Josh’s cystic fibrosis will take a turn for the worse, and he and Amy will be confronted with several life and death decisions.


Josh and Amy’s Recommended Resources

More About Cystic Fibrosis

Photos

Josh Glasscock growing up
Josh growing up
Josh growing up
Josh Glasscock with his parents at homecoming during his senior year in high school
Josh Glasscock as an Athletic Trainer at Cisco Jr. College
Josh as an Athletic Trainer at Cisco Jr. College
Amy in ROTC. Amy is on the far left
Amy in ROTC. Amy is on the far left
Josh in Alaska while working construction at a camp
Josh on an evangelism trip in Venezuela
Josh at a church construction project in Los Angeles
Josh at a church construction project in Los Angeles
Working at Palacios Texas Baptist Encampment the summer Josh and Amy met. Josh is wearing the red hat. Amy is standing in front of him.
Working at Palacios Texas Baptist Encampment the summer Josh and Amy met. Josh and Amy
Amy and Josh Glasscock on a mission trip in Los Angeles
Grand Canyon with friends. Josh and Amy in the middle.
Amy and Josh at the Grand Canyon
Amy and Josh’s engagement photo
Josh and Amy’s wedding getaway on a jet ski
Honeymoon in Alaska. They took an introductory course on how to fly a helicopter

Doing foster care
At LilyRay’s birth
At LilyRay’s birth
At LilyRay’s birth
Adoption day with LilyRay and the Judge

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