Michael 18, Amy 24, Uncle Kenny, Aunt Vickie, Kari 16. Pray for these precious people.
My Aunt Vickie was a living example of what it means to clothe yourself in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ.
She was the most selfless, humble, joyful and beautiful-hearted person I've ever met. I mean that with all my heart. Even in the midst of suffering, she gave God glory.
After battling ovarian cancer since 2006, she is in Heaven, cancer free. And while I force myself to rejoice that she is with her King, I can't deny the pain of knowing she is no longer with us here on earth. I prayed and prayed and prayed "God, heal her." And when He answered our prayers, I wailed in agony, "God, how could You?" And he said "But Heather, you asked Me to heal her and I did." All I can say is "I know, God, I know."
My mom kept from me for about a month that Vickie wasn't doing treatment anymore. I actually just found out this past Saturday. I literally cried all of Saturday night and all day Sunday. Sunday morning, I read this in my devotional Jesus Calling:
"When you trust Me in a given area, you release that problem or person into My care."
I felt such a deep pain after reading that line because I realized that trusting God can hurt like hell. I had to trust Him that He was going to heal Vickie, whether that meant freeing her of cancer physically or freeing her of cancer spiritually. I cried because it hurt so bad knowing that freeing her of cancer spiritually meant taking her from us. He took her Home the very next day, Monday September 13.
I have to confess that I denied her condition for a while. It felt safe being up here in Tennessee pretending that she was better than I knew deep down inside. I never wanted to see her weak. I wanted to pretend that she was the Aunt Vickie I've always known. After seeing my pawpaw as a stroke victim, I was scarred by having to face the way sickness takes a person's life while they're still alive. The last time I saw my Aunt Vickie was this past Easter when she stopped by my grandparents' house. I don't even think I told her goodbye. I couldn't. I was so selfish just so I wouldn't have to deal with reality. But if my mom would have told me sooner that she might not be here much longer, I would have gone.
I laid in bed last night thinking about her in Heaven. I visioned her on her knees before our Father while he held her face and said "Welcome Home, child." I could literally picture her sweet face filled with beauty and health, crying, looking the King in the eyes, thanking Him over and over again. I KNOW she is thankful to be Home. I KNOW she is rejoicing to feel no pain. I KNOW that Heaven is exactly where she is supposed to be right now.
Next to having a meaningful relationship with the Lord, having a meaningful relationship with your spouse is life's biggest effort. That's why people give up so easily.
This thought was going through my head yesterday morning after Hunter and I had a "discussion" ok, we had a tiff. Gasp!!!! I will say, though, that it was a rather healthy fight. I confronted him about something that hurt my feelings. I said my piece, he said his piece, I cried, we apologized and we overcame it. I'm not saying that we will never fight again about that very thing, because we will, but it just really made think "Man, marriage can be hard work sometimes."
It made me think about how many people don't think it's worth it to make a marriage work and how easily and quickly they call it quits. It made me think about couples who are currently struggling and think they know how to "fix" it, the only thing is, they can't see the future and the consequences that take place further down the road.
It also makes me so angry when couples KNOW they need counseling, but are either too prideful or choose to be ignorant and not get help. I don't know much about marriage, seeing as how I'm a rookie, but I do know that divorce and neglect of marriage doesn't just hurt the couple; it hurts everyone surrounded by that couple. EVERYONE. There is not a day that goes by that my heart doesn't feel deep aching pain since my sister and brother-in-law divorced almost two years ago. Do I think their marriage could have been salvaged? Hell yes. Every marriage can be salvaged, especially when you cry out for help from our Father who longs to fix our broken hearts.
I'm not going to dissect people's marriages and pretend like I know where everyone goes wrong, but I will say that I am very aware that marriage is an effort. And when you love someone, even if you feel like you have "fallen out of love", I can never imagine deciding that person is not worth fighting for, no matter how crappy the situation has gotten.
It doesn't take much to fall into pride in a marriage and begin to love conditionally. We think all has failed and everything seems hopeless. We become disgusted with each other, we grow to no longer know each other, we feel sorry for ourselves, we feel like there's something we're missing out on, we think we hold each other back, we lose our tolerance. We can never reason in our minds how he or she deserves to be given another chance or deserves to be forgiven or how the marriage deserves to remain. How about what our Father did for us? What if after all those thousands of years of the promise He made us, He just said "You know what? You people disgust me. I'm not saving you. You don't deserve My Son." After all, we are pretty disgusting with our actions and with our attitudes when it boils down to it. Give me one good reason why God shouldn't have turned his back on us- given up on us- divorced us as His people? But He saved us anyways, and yet we still fail and we still sin and we still do crap that never deserves to be forgiven. And He still loves us unconditionally.
God honors those who repent and those who make every effort to stay together. He honors the marriages that want to honor Him. It saddens me how many people take their marriage out of God's Hands and into their own hands. God never said we can save ourselves.