I cannot even express, with a thousand words, the thousand things I am feeling tonight. Everything in life is real. Right now I do not have any fake things in my life. Everything is life or death. The stuff that doesn’t matter is truly gone and is not affecting my thinking. How often do I live like this? Not often. I hope it last forever. I can see clearly.
You are my wife. My dear, you have cancer. Lymphoma. You more than a conqueror in Christ. I think I am worried more than you. The first tears I shed over you last week were selfish ones, I am ashamed to say. In fact, you just found my keys that I couldn’t find, for the life of me. You are magic when it comes to finding things. You make so much of my life work and make sense. Now I am coming around and hurting for you unselfishly, hurting with you, for you, and realizing that you are going to go through suffering and that I can do nothing about it.
Lately, like never before, I have been looking into your eyes and seeing this incredible, sturdy, surprisingly rock sturdy, woman that I did not know, but whom I have known since 2005. I was so excited the other night when you were sleeping peacefully. You have not slept well lately. That is breaking my heart. I remember looking at you and thinking about the corners of your mouth and how they poke out when you smile. And Ava’s do the same. When I see them on Ava its like finding gold. You have taken care of her with great persistence. The other day when I was putting her to bed I told her you were sick and what that meant, and what you will most likely endure. I told her that I would be there for her when you are tired and that she shouldn’t worry. She kept drinking her milk (you call it “sucky” formula) and looking at me. She knows.
When we had Ava, I thought I had seen strength. But this is different. I know very few people who have walked this road. I know very few people who have gotten these kinds of calls from doctors (be in my office by 5pm, and bring your husband), and not just stayed in bed. Baby, I will never forget this past Monday, July 26th, 2010. When we set in that Dr’s office together something incredible was put into motion. A new understanding of our partnership.
You said it was “my fault” because I had been praying for you to be more passionate about Jesus (I hope you are still praying that for me as well). Of course, neither of us saw this coming at all. It was NOT in the plan. But it is in our plan. I did not read the Bible for two days after I found out. I couldn’t. I was numb for one thing, but honestly, I was afraid of what it might say. I was afraid I would see that God gave my wife cancer.
Now I know that God had this planned for US. I don’t doubt it. This is a week old and I feel like a different person. How? How can something change two people so quick?
I have to get honest. I used to bring work home with me. I guess just the “stresses” of ministry and the “things” I wanted to see get done. I think I forgot so many things I am waking up to.
Our sweet and tiny daughter Ava is restless. She will not sit down and rest peacefully in my arms. This is how I have lived for the last 3 years of my life. Very little rest. A lot of running around. I don’t care if I ever run again. Like I said, everything is real. Everything is alive. I can see past my small goals for life, past my stubborn heart. I can see a glimpse of freedom in Christ. Let's teach Ava to rest in the sovereignty of God.
And in you, my darling Libby, I see a picture of endurance. I can’t honestly say that I have felt more in my heart that someone should be lifted up as an encouragement to people. I would be proud to say I know you after this week, much less call you my wife. My joy KNOWS NO BOUNDS with you. My sweet wife whose hair always reminds me of winding rivers. My sweet wife, like I told her first, who has always been a gift. Libby, be who you are, my darling! Be you. IN Christ, its perfect. Mess up. Scream. Hit me. Cry on me. Ask me for help. Break down if you have to. Its OK. I will serve you, I promise and I promise again. As the three of us do this, figure this out, you do not have to be right or on time or collected. You just have to be you, and if you do that, you will have done this authentically. And relied on Jesus, who is the Greatest Friend you will have throughout the coming months. And you will fail, but He will not fail.You said it yourself. Don’t waste this cancer. All for Jesus my love. Let’s do this.
Love you like Day 1, but more. J.