We have been so blessed as a family. We have brought 4 beautiful children into this world, and we have shared their light. We have been filled with their light. We are better because of these kiddos, and we have also learned that we are flawed because of them too. We have learned so much about our own weaknesses, our own flaws, our own inadequacies because of these children. We have been faced with obstacles most cannot imagine. Cancer has affected us in a way we never imagined possible, but we have not forgotten that our promise from above is greater than any disease or illness.
Now, let me get real for a minute. Anyone affected by a critical or terminal illness will tell you all the right things. We will tell you scripture that gets us through, or what amazing things we have learned, but the reality is, in the midst of it all, we are human. We are flawed, meaning we hurt, we cry, we get mad, we are confused and don’t understand why this would happen to us once, twice, three, four, well, how many times can this really happen to one family, seriously?!? Yet, we come back to our faith, and we are grounded once again and find HOPE. Why? How? Because we have faith. Not religion, folks. This has nothing to do with religion or church, this has everything to do with a personal relationship with Jesus.
He promised my girls eternal peace when they find it is time to rest forever. When Elizabeth was just 8 years old, she met the Power Team at Bethany Road Baptist Church one night. She knew that night that she wanted to give her life to Jesus, and she did. She knew if she died, she would spend the rest of her eternity in Heaven. Her remaining two years were peaceful. She had no fear as she faced cancer again. She didn’t look at us and beg us to make it stop. She planned her funeral with peace and welcomed everyone to her bedside with grace like a little old lady having friends over for tea, until she decided it was time to go. At that moment, she left. Peacefully. Abruptly, but peacefully.
Madeline has been raised with the memories of her sister’s faith, and she knows Heaven is where her sister lives. It is a real place, just like Arizona or Budapest. Someplace she has never been, but she knows it is there and must be amazing because her sister is there. Now, she knows she will go there too. She knows many people there. It is not a scary place, and the journey there isn’t frightening anymore to her. Unfortunately, with cancer, the attempts to keep her here are more agonizing and painful some days than the measures to let her go. Yet, we all know how the heart hurts deeply, so we suffer through the pain to keep her here for a little longer. Her siblings know she will go be with their big sister one day. They think all big kids go to Heaven.