If anything Mary should have it.
I talked to Mary yesterday in the kitchen at the church. She was volunteering her time to help with the gardening outside. Honestly I usually try to avoid Mary because she is a chatty lady... and when I am in a rush it is extra difficult to get away. Yesterday I set aside my selfishness and decided to talk.
I'm so glad I did.
Mary is a mother of 2 and a widow. When her sons were in 4th and 6th grade her husband was diagnosed with a brain tumor and given between 3 months-3 years to live. He passed away 18 years later.
During those 18 years Mary's husband became a quadriplegic.
Complete paralysis of the body from the neck down.
So while Mary was busy raising her two boys.
She also became the full-time caretaker for her suddenly paralyzed husband.
Mary told me that her husband had moments where he wished, for Mary's sake, that they had never gotten married. She said that he felt like it would have been easier on her if they would have separated. She relayed this to me as if I would understand how much that idea surprised her. Mary was reminiscing to me, "Where else would I have wanted to be? We said 'for better or for worse, in sickness and in health…"
I wanted to understand, but truly friends, I don't have the faith that Mary has. I love my husband to the moon and back, but to be entrusted with a task like she had… that seems beyond me.
Mary went on to tell me that though her husband's body was failing, his heart and mind remained strong. He praised Jesus and loved his family faithfully during those years of being literally helpless.
His goal was to make it through both sons' weddings.
And he did it. He passed away within 2 weeks of attending his youngest son's wedding. People told him not to attend it at all, because if his body was exposed to ANY sickness, even a common cold, he was guaranteed to die from it. But this had been his dream, and even the risk of death wouldn't keep him from celebrating his son.
Sure enough the day after his son returned from his honeymoon, he breathed his last breath.
Mary said that he had already helped to plan his funeral and had some specific requests for how it would go.
First, the dear man asked the nobody wear black to his funeral. He wanted people to celebrate that he had finally entered heaven. The day of his passing, he said, would certainly be sad for those who missed him, but he sincerely hoped that people would look past their sadness to see the true joy of him finally being in eternity... healthy, whole, and with the Lord Jesus.
Second, he wanted songs of celebration to be sung. His favorite was "It is well with my soul".
Finally, he wanted this scripture to be read:
"I have fought the good fight,
I have finished the race,
and I have remained faithful."
2 Timothy 4:7
He had remained faithful.
Mary said that before he passed away they both agreed… "Even though we wouldn't want to go back and do it all again, we also wouldn't change any of what we went through during these 18 years. Our relationship with Jesus would not be what it is today if it weren't for all we have experienced."
I won't avoid Mary anymore. This woman is a hero. Her husband is too. Most people will never know Mary, but I know her, and I pray that as I grow up I am able to live a life of love and faithfulness the way she has.
Faithful to the people God has placed in my life.
Faithful during circumstances that are darker than my nightmares.
Faithfully trusting my Lord, the always faithful lover of my soul.
I am not there yet. Which is why I feel like I really shouldn't have this blog.
There are people far more qualified to speak into your lives than I am.
People like Mary.
But since we are here. And since I do have this blog.
And since you are trusting me...
or at least trusting me enough to read what I have to say…
You should know that it is truly my honor to have this time with you.
I am praying for you and I'm thankful for you.
God bless you today.
|From an early morning walk in Malibu a few days ago. It is a gift to be alive.|