From an article originally posted October 7, 2013…
Nearly four years ago, Jason’s beloved Uncle John was suddenly taken home to be with Jesus. Our family was in utter shock, and Jason and I flew out to beautiful Eugene, Oregon, to be with our family. There was a haze that descended that I am now very familiar with from this journey through suffering, although it was new to me at the time. We were all very murky in our thoughts and new to this sudden grief. I only briefly knew this special uncle. Meeting him once, one knew what an amazing treasure this man was. His absence would be greatly felt. John had a gentleness and care that filled a room with peace and love upon his entering.
It was a long, hard week in Oregon, walking through grief unimaginable. But I distinctly remember one morning I woke with an impression of something I needed to share with Jason’s Aunt Cali. I remember feeling fearful as I was not close to this amazing woman. We loved each other much, but this funeral was only our third meeting. I felt timid in what was brought to me as it felt invasive and a bit too bold, even for me.
As a group, we all decided to lunch beside this beautiful riverwalk. I had Story Jane with me and she was a small baby. After lunch, I asked Aunt Cali to take a walk with me. She was unstable in her grief and asked to push the stroller. I was anxious in my spirit to be bold with what I felt prompted to tell her. She started the walk with her caring way of turning to me and asking me about myself and our family. I turned to her and asked that we not talk about me, and then I proceeded to ask her the question laid on my heart that morning. Aunt Cali, what are the lies you are tempted to believe about John’s death? She quietly looked at me and we slowly began to try and identify the lies. The lie that joy was gone. That she would be utterly alone. The fears of managing a household without John. Fears of parenting/grandparenting alone. We simply started the conversation. What God had planned from that moment extended much beyond that beautiful riverwalk.
God has used that conversation in ways far beyond my grasp. Cali took hold of that simple question, What are the lies? And God used it to walk her through a very dark season. As she would begin to lose her peace, she would use that angst to begin to do the hard work of meeting out lies she was believing in her life. This past weekend she spoke at a retreat on the Oregon coast on the very topic we talked about all those years ago.
Yesterday, I got in the shower with my guy, and I brought this question to him. I asked him what are the lies about my diagnosis of metastatic cancer that he is tempted to believe. We talked through the big and small fears and lies that plague our thoughts. Mine are: leaving motherless children, leaving Jason lonely and brokenhearted, suffering without joy, the pain of dying, the fear of a lengthy end, watching the pain in others as they watch me struggle, just to name a few.
Jason had a much more large and beautiful thought that I’m going to struggle to articulate, but here goes. He said, when we are united to Jesus, it’s an eternal, forever, unbreakable uniting. So unbreakable we cannot comprehend it. It transcends this world and is kept in eternity. He said his struggle is to grasp the totality of this truth. That the brokenness of cancer, disease, devastation of this world is so different from that eternal bond, that keeping his focus on that feels like a challenge.
In this life, we all have the challenge of keeping our mind set on truth. We all tend to fall into the pit of unbelief and despair and the believing of lies. Big and small they can all leave us broken and without hope. Yesterday I snuck in the back of Westside Church to hear the sermon. I desperately needed truth. Truth was graciously delivered. But I want to pass on the beautiful thing Jason asked of our congregation. He asked three things: 1. Pray for us, our kids, our hearts, our life. 2. Remind us of the gospel. Tell us the greatest story ever told. Point us to Jesus in our dark hour. 3. Treat us like we are normal, just like you. We are still living, experiencing joy, conflict, life like any other.
So my concluding question to your heart dear reader: What lies are you tempted to believe?