six hours to pawleys island and six hours back to atlanta.
we drove this distance so the kids could hug their grammie.
we drove this distance so they could tell her they love her.
we drove this distance so that their grandma could hug them tightly ... whisper words of love ... and even share a few little laughs together.
it was a moment, both precious and painful.
tomorrow morning grammie will begin hospice.
this cancer battle has been unfair from the very beginning. unfair and unrelenting. and, frankly, our grammie has better things to do than hang out with this insidious beast.
our grandma, our mom, our marilyn, well ... she has Jesus to meet.
it's not that marilyn’s given up. oh no -- she's a fighter! she is! this amazing mother-in-law of mine, well, she'd wrestle and wrangle with the best of them (you know, mom, i mean that in the sweetest way possible)! but this dear woman has always been a big believer in quality over quantity. any of you who know her, know this about her --- she’s a quality gal through and through. and, let me tell you, for her, the quality hasn’t been all that great these days.
this earthly body is failing and God's heavenly hand has been clear.
and saturday she asked to see her grandkids.
(jen's kids -- from utah -- had just been with her over christmas).
it was a quick trip.
a short visit.
and a not long enough hug.
mom was amazing this morning with her grandkids. she really rallied! this week has been especially hideous and hard on her, but when the kids walked into her room today she had her beautiful smile and even managed a little spunky bantering with all of us.
and it was worth every one of those 700+ miles we traveled.
toward the end of our visit we had a chance to read through today’s Jesus Calling devotional. it's the daily devotional which marilyn and i have both been using this past year. and, this morning, when i woke up and read today's passage, i knew i’d have to share it with her -- and so with all of us together in her hospital room, we read these words:
"Come to me with a thankful heart, so that you can enjoy My Presence. This is the day that I have made. I want you to rejoice today, refusing to worry about tomorrow. Search for all that I have prepared for you, anticipating abundant blessings and accepting difficulties as they come.
Come to me with all your needs, knowing that My glorious riches are a more-than-adequate supply, Stay in constant communication with Me, so that you can live above your circumstances even while you are in the midst of them. Present your requests to Me with thanksgiving, and My Peace, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your heart and mind." ~ Jesus Calling
what a day to be reminded of God's promises ---
"this is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it." ~ psalm 118:24
and, "do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." ~ philippians 4:6-7
reading these scriptures to my mother-in-law, i was overwhelmed with the assurance that for her these words are pure truth, pure treasure, and yes, even pure triumph.
marilyn isn't facing hospice tomorrow morning, she's facing her Holy God, her Savior, her Redeemer.
cancer isn't going to win this battle, because we know, just as she knows, Christ has already won the war.
and that's what marilyn would want you to know --- no matter how this looks and feels here on earth, cancer is only a vicious disease, but Christ is her Victorious Defender.
"He will swallow up death forever! the Sovereign Lord will wipe away all tears." ~ isaiah 25:8
cancer, do you hear that?
do you hear that?
you can bank on it.
"o death, where is your victory?
o death, where is your sting?" ~ 1 corinthians 15:55
yes, hearts are heavy and tears keep coming. we are sad. brokenhearted. we had all hoped this would go differently.
but this weekend, we went to south carolina and hugged grandma, told her we loved her ...
in some ways those words and hugs felt sadly insufficient. just not enough.
but sufficiency comes knowing that she loves Jesus and that He loves her.
no matter how much we love each other in our earthly way ... it is only the heavenly love of our Father which can ever be enough.
rick, his dad, and his sister, jen, continue to stay close by mom’s bedside. they have been an amazing team especially in these past few days. they love her so much.
after getting the kids home to georgia and settled, i’ll fly back to be with them this week.
we covet your continued prayers. it's hard to express our gratitude for your words, encouragement and kindness.
we know so many of you love marilyn dearly.