Instantly I was caught in a cloudburst drenching me with panic and disbelief. My mind, unable to comprehend, tried focusing, but my body felt assaulted, struck by the crushing blows of three words.
Stage 4 Cancer.
We sat on the beach, held each other close, and cried.
My husband’s seemingly healthy body was under siege, invaded by an unforeseen enemy attacking every cell with unrelenting potency. He had been ambushed, betrayed.
Thirteen months ago, I kissed his lips, lay next to his broken body and whispered, “I’ll never stop loving you – though eternity separates us, my heart will always be yours.”
I wish I could say that my journey of grief has become more bearable, benign. But that would be a lie. Most days I feel as though I am treading water in an ocean of sadness so vast, I am certain to drown. I have become, “see sick” – struggling to see the value of my life apart from who I was as Tyvin’s wife. The dream we shared of a future together has receded like the tide, leaving me a mangled mess of seaweed strewn along the shoreline.
Swells of guilt overtake me. I sense I am somehow veering off course, failing to navigate grief the right way. I am sinking. I fear I am dragging my children into the depths with me, failing them. Failing everyone.
Last night unable to sleep, I cried out to God. ”Father, take me home, just let me die.” I stretched my leg over the cold sheets on Tyvin’s side of our bed, continuing my lament. “I am lost, Jesus. Caught in a cyclone, unable to swim my way through. Wouldn’t it be better for everyone if I were swept away by the next wave?”
Ashamed by my lack of courage, I quickly ended my prayer with two simple words, “Please help.”
This morning He did, but not entirely alone.
“Mom, you have to fight. You have people to touch, lives to change,” said my fiery, determined youngest daughter. “Finish your race well, because God’s not done with you here on earth. So get out of bed – now!”
I shook my head and turned up my sound machine, which she then grabbed and took out of my room. When I refused to get up and eat breakfast, she brought me coffee and a banana. Defiantly I rolled over and covered my head with a pillow. That’s when things got ugly.
“No, not my blankets! Are you crazy?” I shrieked. “This isn’t the kind of help I asked for; it’s freezing in here!”
For a moment I lay there shivering and woefully exposed until distinctly hearing the Holy Spirit say, “It’s time for Job.”
“Really God? Job?” I snatched my blankets piled outside my bedroom door and crawled back into bed.
I was curious. I grabbed my phone, accessed my audio bible and began listening. My heart began to race as the narrator read Job’s words. It was as though he had eavesdropped on my conversation the night before.
“If only my anguish could be weighed and all my misery be placed on the scales! It would surely outweigh the sand of the seas—no wonder my words have been rash. Oh, that God would grant the thing I long for most—to die…”
I felt seen. Heard.
A tidal wave of tears streamed down my cheeks bringing relief, washing away the overwhelming condemnation I had been wrestling with over the past few months.
Jesus. The Great Physician.
This morning I intimately felt Him as such, sensing that He had been working through the night, making a house call if you will, diagnosing my heart as broken, my spirit as crushed.
He heard my plea to die and, instead of crushing me, identified with me. Instead of shaming me, He threw a life-line pulling me back into the safety of His steady arms, speaking to the storm besieging my soul, “Be still.”
Maybe you relate to my story. You feel adrift after receiving a diagnosis that your marriage is over, or someone precious to you is ill. You feel powerless, unable to spare yourself or those you love from the squall of suffering coming your way.
Cry out to the Great Physician. Fall into His healing arms and receive a personal word for your need right now. He loves you. He sees you. His compassion never runs dry and I assure you, my home is not the only home He makes house calls to. Perhaps He is knocking on your door this minute, waiting for you to invite Him in…
“It strengthens my faith when I see that God is not conventional, He is not boxed into a limited, finite, restricted mode when communicating to His creation. He is creative in His expressions of love to us. Revelation of His will and His ways come to us on Wings of Wonder – with spiritual power, igniting faith in our hearts – renewing our courage.” – Tyvin Whittaker