Finding Extraordinary in Death
Suffering and death. Two aspects of life on earth that can be completely impossible to understand.
Today I find myself confused, angry, and despairing.
A young woman, a wife, a mother to an almost three-year-old little girl, is losing her 2 year battle with cancer.
I have never met this woman in person. We were members of the same church body in Louisville. We had many mutual friends. I knew she was a talented photographer and reached out to her through email when I was just starting my own business, and she was so kind, helpful and encouraging.
We became Facebook friends, so when they first discovered her stage 4 cancer in 2015, I became a small part of the journey.
I have seen what a beautiful soul she has, not only from her own posts but through the outpouring of love from so many who know her well.
I have prayed fervently for their family. I have begged God to heal her body and give her many years with her little girl. I have rejoiced through several successful brain surgeries to remove a stubborn tumor, and when I heard the news that tumors in her lungs had grown after radiation, I felt in that moment God may not do what so many have begged and pleaded for. Then last night, her husband updated us all with the news that a tumor had been found in her shoulder, her sternum, the middle of her spine, her hips, and one on her right knee. These tumors were inoperable and radiation wasn’t an option.
Not long after they heard this news, she began experiencing intense pain in her back, which then led to intense pain throughout most of her back, hips, knee, shoulder, sternum, and arms.
They were informed that this is the end of the battle. There is nothing more that can be done. Their family has to say goodbye much too soon.
And I weep. I ask why. I am frustrated, angry, broken for them, for this little girl who has to grow-up without this amazing woman who loves her deeply.
The only answer I have is that we have no idea the beauty, majesty, glory that is heaven. We cannot see or experience the beyond from where we are now.
We read about it.
We dream about it.
We try to construct an idea of what it could be like.
But we are so far from comprehension.
And I have to just believe. Not “just”, as if it were easy, but “just” because there is no other option.
I have to cling to the truth I read in God’s Word, have faith that something so unlike this world around us is very real, that it exists, and the overwhelming pain we experience at the prospect of leaving everything here behind or saying goodbye to someone we love so very much, is nothing compared to the joy that is in store for those who believe.
It is extraordinary. There are only four things that come close to this joy that is to come for me…
The time in high school I tangibly felt God’s arms around me and heard him whisper, “I am your Father who loves you more than anyone on this earth.”
When I said ‘I do’ at the alter.
Each time I held my babies for the first time.
The moments in parenting I am able to see how blessed I am to have three beautiful souls who love me so unconditionally.
How do we find extraordinary in suffering and death?
We cling to the hope we’ve been promised, have faith that it is indeed true, and realize that God’s love for the ones He calls home is immeasurably greater than our own.
It doesn’t take away the pain. It doesn’t stop the tears. But it is my feeble attempt to make it through the impossible. If/when my day comes to lose my husband or one of my children or say goodbye to them myself, I will have no other hope than this.
P4J means Pray for Jenna. It is a reminder to pray throughout the day for this sweet family.
Please pray for this family. Pray for a miracle. But if that is not God’s decision, pray the time they have left together will be sweet, that the peace which surpasses understanding would settle over them in a way they have never experienced before, and they would cling to what God has promised in their darkest moments.