Tuesday, July 20, 2010

heartache and hope

Cancer has been a very present subject in our house this year.  In December, when a friend's 4 year-old daughter was diagnosed with leukemia, I began praying intentionally with Gabby, Ian and Evie for her to be healed. Evie was in her Sunday School class at church, and we were driving her brother once a week to an appointment, so I knew they would be asking questions, and decided that confronting the subject head-on was best.

We celebrate with the family (via their web updates) everytime they pass a new hurdle. It is a long battle they have ahead of them --20 more months at this point, but she is doing good right now.

Through their website I was reintroduced to a young man (only a few weeks older than Gabby) that I had heard of back in the summer of 2007 when I did Relay for the Cure. His team was the largest and best decorated on the track. His name was Luke, and his cancer came back for the third time in March.

We added his name to our prayers. But his battle ended in May and I tried my best to honor his life and his family's legacy of faith by explaining to my children how he had gone home to be with Jesus.  Two months later, my 4 year-old still sometimes says 'Luke' when she is praying for people needing healing, then she stops, pauses, and says 'oops, no, not Luke. He is all better now.' It makes me smile on the outside, but still feels like a kick to the gut inside.

Another name that just left our 'needing healing' list is Miss Rose. She is the mother of Shell's best friend, Maria. Rose is also Shell's boss at work.

She battled breast cancer a couple of years ago, but the cancer came back.

These past few weeks, she has been getting weaker, and concern had been growing, but because she was such a strong person, she carried so much at home and at work all the time, it was unfathomable to those around her to imagine her not recovering.

Early this morning Shell, who has been staying at Rose's house to be a support to Maria, texted that Rose had passed.

The words of a song keep going through my head... "no more sorrow, no more pain. I will rise, on eagle's wings, before my God, fall on my knees..."

Because we do serve a God who is greater than cancer. Because He knows our days before we live them and walks beside us in everything. Because He loves us. Regardless of what we believe, what we do, what we say.

I am angry right now. and sad. But I have faith that God knows what He is doing. I don't want Rose to be gone. I don't want her two beautiful daughters to have to miss their mother. I don't want my beautiful daughter to hurt.

And, so, I do what I am training my children to do. I pray. I give this to the One who set it all in motion. The only One who can handle all the hurts of this world. The One who loves us through our darkest moments. The One who has a plan, who is shaping and molding his children.

And, as I sit here at my computer, trying to put all of this into words, feeling lonely and wondering who I can call at this hour... my phone rings. The name on the display is a friend who lives near St. Louis--it is not that early for her (!)--and as I answer, I realize it is a 'butt-dial'...her children are talking in the background, I can hear her, very muffled...I smile and hang up. Thank you, for the reminder of how not alone we are :)


StefRobrts said...

It's hard to make sense of such tragedy. I'm glad you are able to find some comfort in your faith.

Shannon said...

I wish I had known the phone had called you, would have loved to chat! ;-) I am sorry for all the sadness going on, but thankful for a God who loves us. Miss you all so much!