As I sat on my porch yesterday and listened to thunder roar and the winds stir, I meditated on our time in Oregon. There are many sweet memories of our family with Josh. I thanked God for giving us those moments we shared together and as a family. However, I was struck by so many dreams we had that were shattered. We had two wooden cracker barrel chairs out on the porch that Josh bought with a vision of him and I sitting out there together when we grew old. Josh wanted to spend the rest of his life in Oregon and that he did. Little did he know how short it would be cut. Despite the tragedy, my heart genuinely is at peace, yet my life has been so drastically changed. The Lord has been so kind to minister to me and use many people to be a pillar of love and support. At the end of the day though, it’s just my Savior and me. I finished a cherished book I was reading by Elisabeth Elliot titled ‘The Path of Loneliness and this quote concluded so well what the Lord has taught me through it. “The answer to our loneliness is love—not our finding someone to love us, but our surrendering to the God who has always loved us with an everlasting love. Loving Him is then expressed in a happy and full-hearted pouring out of ourselves in love to others.”
This past week, I’ve been busy loving on the children at our church’s VBS which has been such an immense blessing to me. However, I’ve also taken the time to re-visit the day that Josh went home to be with the Lord. I have asked the Lord to help me grieve in a healthy way if more healing needs to take place. After going back and reading my posts blog including the ones from the day of Josh’s homecoming, I was left sadden and shed some tears. At the same time though, I was thankful to be able to remember God’s kindness and faithfulness. One of the reasons I wanted to start a blog was to share and record our experiences with loved ones far away and to help others who may have to go through similar situations. There are many out there who have children with the same disease of Fanconi Anemia that is desperately seeking help. I hope the blog can encourage you if you are in the same seemingly sinking boat.
The only reason why I continued to write despite the turns of events that ended Josh’s journey in this life, is because I have seen the lighthouse of the One who conquered death and wanted to share it! God overcame death through scarifying his own life on the cross to redeem us as sinners back to a right relationship with God. No matter how hard we try to find a cure for Fanconi Anemia or cancer, the reality of death is ever before all of us. The truth is any of us can die of a heart attack, a car accident, a freak accident, and a host of different things no matter how young we are. The reason why death came into the world was because of sin. “The wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 6:23. The only way out of death is to put our faith in the One who overcame the sting of death, the person of Jesus Christ. He was both God and man that he could both take our penalty and powerfully rise from the dead to defeat it once and for all. This is the most amazing news even amidst the most horrific news—it is the main reason why I don’t grieve the way most do. Josh is truly in paradise now because of His personal faith in Christ. We will be reunited again in heaven again, but our source and object of love there will be for the Lord!
Firstly, my husband has been, is and forever will be Christ. See the Bible tells us that Jesus came into this dark and painful world to redeem a bride for himself—the church. This bride was not worthy; she had deep scars of sin, she was not clean, in no way able to love Him on her own; and the only way for Him to win her was to die for her on the cross. Sound like Romeo and Juliet? Well, that’s not the end. It is the best love story ever… because it doesn’t end on the cross and in death. Since Jesus rose from the cross three days later and now sits next to God’s throne, he intercedes for His beloved. Now, all who are joined with Christ in His death by turning away from their former way of life and turning to Jesus are also joined in the likeness of His resurrection and will be given a new life. Heaven is described as a wedding celebration where the church as Christ bride will be wed in its glorious day. Here is a description of a majestic wedding feast and joyful celebration that awaits believers, “Then, I heard what seemed to be the voice of a great multitude, like the roar of many waters and like the sound of thunder, crying out, “Hallelujah! For the Lord our God the Almighty reigns. Let us rejoice and exult and give him the glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and his Bride has made herself ready; it was granted her to cloth herself with fine linen, bright and pure—for the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints. And the angel said to me, ‘Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.’ And he said to me, ‘These are the true words of God.’” Revelation 19:6-9
The first book Josh and I read on marriage together was John Piper’s “This Momentary Marriage” The book ironically opens up with a story of a missionary couple who were martyred for their faith shortly after getting married. The point of the beginning of this book basically that marriage is a momentary gift. Most people see marriage as forever. Yet, the Bible teaches otherwise. Our earthly marriage is only for this life. However, Piper does not condemn marriage; in fact, he elevates it. “The aim of this book is to enlarge your vision of what marriage is. As Bonheffer says, it is more than your love for each other. Vastly more. Its meaning is infinitely great. I say that with care. The meaning of marriage is the display of the covenant-keeping love between Christ and his people. This covenant-keeping love reached its climax in the death of Christ for his church, his bride. That death was the ultimate expression of grace, which is the ultimate expression of God’s glory, which is of infinite value. Therefore, when Paul says that our great and final destiny is ‘the praise of God’s glorious grace’ (Eph. 1:6) he elevates marriage beyond measure, for here, uniquely, God displays the apex of the glory of his grace: ‘Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her’ (Eph 5:25)”
The Lord is working on a grand new beginning for us as his chosen bride. He calls this the new heavens and the new earth. God gives us glimpses into this wonderful place from his word and thru His church and the beauty of His creation, to give us hope for our weary exile journey wandering in the wilderness. For me during my saddest moments in life… I long for heaven the most. It is in these times that the Lord gives me the desire for Him more than anything this world has to offer. No matter what happens to me in this life, I know God is not finished with my or your story. He is using everything in my life to refine and adorn me more into the bride He wants Christ to receive.
“Father God, maker of the immensely complex universe and sustainer of all life on it, all-knowing maker, gracious Redeemer, mighty shelter– you are my King! Because of Jesus death on the cross for my sins, I call upon you and you hear me from your celestial throne in heaven. Worthy are you Jesus to receive all my praise and receive the life I owe all to you, to get all the glory for everything good you are doing in my life. I am so undeserving of your gracious overpouring of love both directly through your Holy Spirit and through your church. Forgive me for how far I fall short every day. Thank you that your love graciously covers my sins on the foot of the cross. Thank you that you are so patient with me as I make meager strides to learn from this day and do better tomorrow. Please keep my faith steadfast in you and my eyes set on Christ as I embark on a new voyage perhaps during a still long stormy season. Keep us and our caravan of five vehicles as safe as we travel. Please fill Noah and Nathan with calmness and laughter during the long road trip and grant them peace to handle the transition. May healing come for our broken little family and the spring of new life bloom once again to reveal to the world how you do tenderly caring for us and bring forth beauty from ashes. May I draw nearer every day to abandoning myself and surrendering wholly onto thee. Help me to always hold loosely to what I tend to hold tight, that I may align my heart with yours and seek to lay hold of Christ and your kingdom. In Jesus’ mighty name.”