This walk of faith is a challenging one, all of us understand that on one level or another. Whether we choose to take the walk is our own decision. I suppose sometimes it's easier to give up. But, my God has been so gracious and generous in His promises and comfort to me not only throughout this ordeal, but throughout my life thus far...how can I not believe in Him and His best for me? I want all of you to hear me say this...What do you suppose could happen if we all chose to look up and confidently expect huge things from God for Chad? What do you suppose He would be willing to do for His great name? I believe He's willing to heal Chad totally and fully, and how pleased He will be with our faith in Him! Please hear me, I'm not advocating asking our dear Lord for blessings like He's a magician. Never. No matter what He is God and I am man. I will not question His authority and His plan. But, guys, it's on my heart that He's hurting for our faith, our hopeful expectation, our excitement over Him and His power and love for us! I told my cousin yesterday that since I was a small child I can remember having thoughts that Chad was somehow special, that in some way his story would change people and their lives. I'm not making that up...I mean it. Let's work together by utter faith and make Chad's life, as well as our own, a powerful testimony of the strength and love of Christ. Let's stop looking at God as a Sunday morning date and ask him to give us a glimpse of the abundant life we hear about in Scripture, but have never really grasped or understood. Step out! Allow no room for doubt. To some of you all this may sound ridiculous and unrealistic, so I'll ask you...What do we have to lose? But there is so so much to gain in and through all of us. I'm telling you, the tiniest glimpse of His face will change us all through and through forever.
Praise the Lord, O my soul; all my inmost being praise his Holy name. Praise the Lord, O my soul, and forget not his benefits - who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion, who satisfies your desires with good things, so that your youth is renewed like the eagle's. Psalm 103: 1-5
On Tuesday, September 26th, our church home and some dear friends have worked hard to put together a day of prayer for Chad. First Baptist Church Albemarle will be open all day for those of you willing to take some time out of your day to kneel at the altar and pray in faith for Chad's healing and recovery in the name of Jesus. So many of you have asked us, "What can we do?". This is what you can do for us, you can get on that altar and pray. Tell everyone you know who may not be on this email list, we're asking our community to kneel before Him and tell Him we love Him, we believe in His power to heal Chad, trust Him and expect Him to do so, and thank Him for showing us His face through this struggle. I continue to stand awestruck at all the beauty and glory we have seen thus far come out of such pain and struggle, I can't wait to see what else He has in store.
"Let Him ask in faith, nothing wavering" James 1:6
3 1/2 years ago, after Chad's initial surgery for his melanoma, I came to work one day and had a voicemail from a friend. She had been somewhat of a spiritual mentor to me, I could tell she had been watching me and praying over me for some time. She had a sincere interest in me and my walk, or toddle, with God, and I trusted her. Her message to me, she said, had come from God in the middle of the night, and that He had simply asked her to tell me to Believe. She told me she felt that this message had to do with Chad. Since that day, my sweet Lord has been reminding me gently, but profoundly, over and over. Believe. Please join me.
This email is "the one." The one that I stare at and read again and again, and still have trouble reconciling. Week after week, people come to me, or I read another blog, or see on Facebook..."Please pray for so and so...they have cancer and...". I tell them I will, and I say a little prayer right there, but a little voice inside of me wonders...will it change anything? Will it help?
I think of THIS email.
In this email more than any other, I do something that I have been known to do before, and will do again at times...still...when the importance of something takes me over in such a way that shame isn't even in my vocabulary. My desperation takes over, and I lay all my cards out one by one and say all that I know to say...just praying it will be enough...
When is it ENOUGH?
My degree is in Finance. I like word problems. I like to pull something apart and find the missing pieces and, based on that knowledge, figure out what those missing pieces are until everything adds up. I like equations. I like variable and unknowns. I like to take those variables and make magic with them until the unknowns appear before me! I love when both sides of the equals sign come together perfectly...and for a moment all is right with the world.
God doesn't work that way.
God isn't a piece of a word problem, or a variable in an equation. He cannot be "solved." No one will ever say, "I've got it!!!" about God and His ways. This has been a hard lesson for me to learn, and I really have to relearn it almost every day. I ask Him, when I want something so so badly, "What can I do for you to make this happen?! What else do you want?!"
God doesn't work that way.
I have seen that even when God gives me glimpses of His will, when I see Him molding me and fashioning me in circumstances that I see His hand in, and I wonder when a Victory will come...I cannot buy that Victory. Victory is His alone to bestow. He doesn't give me a list of requirements, and then He will...
God doesn't work that way.
When I wrote this email, I believed with every piece of my being that Chad would live. Here on earth. I went to the end of myself and my faith, and thought that would surely be enough.
So, the point of my the story is that I still struggle with that at times. If I can literally go to the end of myself...and find heartbreak beyond what I ever imagined...why ever go to the end of myself again?
A few days after I wrote this, the prayer service for Chad was held. It was actually moved up, because he began to decline very quickly after I wrote this email. We didn't know why...the docs told us he had 3 months or more left. So, I called the church and asked them to move the service up, that we needed the prayer badly, and they graciously agreed to do so. I came late in the day, with Alex, and we cried and prayed together on the altar...it was a sweet moment, and I had done all that I knew to do.
The very next day, a Friday, Chad's pain was so bad he told my mom he needed to go to the hospital. We knew at the hospital, he could get meds that they couldn't give him over-the-counter. We loaded up the cars and headed for Charlotte. At this point, there was no position he could find relief for the cancer in his spine. I have some pictures in my mind of that day I wish I could forget. I was helpless.
Chad entered CMC that Friday, and in just over a week, he would be gone...home to be with Jesus. It took folks by surprise. It took me by surprise. I had sent out no emails preparing folks for that. I just didn't know...they said we had a few months...
I believe that God, after that prayer service, decided to be merciful and go ahead and heal Chad...in His way. Families of cancer patients don't want to hear that...I know this. I've been there. Over the last few years I have struggled with that very question. To be honest, at times I have felt a bit tricked. He TOLD me that Chad would live...and Heaven wasn't the "live" I had in mind. It sounds so selfish to say out loud. I know...I KNOW...that if I saw Chad's reality today, there is no way I would call him back here. I know this...
But this really isn't about Chad at all.
This is about me and God...and if I really do trust Him at all.
After all this time, Believe does not mean what I thought it meant. Not at all...
After much weeping and searching and praying, this is my conclusion...if only a piece...
I believe God loves me, and that when I weep, He weeps.
I believe that God is in control of the events that occur in my life, and if He chooses to bring it upon me, if is for my good, and will bring glory to Himself and growth to His Kingdom.
I believe that God is FOR ME, and never ever ever ever against me.
I believe God sees the whole picture, and I just see a piece of it.
I believe God's timing is absolute perfection.
I believe that God wants my life to be a beautiful thing.
I believe God wants to make me a beautiful woman, full of light, joy, peace...and character and wisdom.
I believe my heartache matters to God.
I believe I cannot and will not ever figure God and all His mysteries out out...and I believe that is a GOOD thing.
I believe that God is good. Only good. I believe there is nothing bad in Him at all.
I believe that through His strength, I can "do hard."
I believe that even in pain, God is in control, and working it all for good...for those who love Him, and are called according to His purpose.
I believe that God's redemption is real, and it's beauty is beyond words. He really does make our bad things so good. Only God can do that...
I believe only God can save me, and He did through His Son...and I believe that is the bottom line.
I believe I can trust God. No...
I know that I can trust God. I know that in full submission to Him, He will make a beautiful story out of my life. I know there is joy to be had. I know that Victory is assured.
I now know God cannot be "figured out," but the pursuit of Him is where peace and joy are found...
"Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart." -Psalm 37:4
My brother's death taught me all those things, and that is the place where healing lives.