But this month my inbox seems flooded with CaringBridge updates.
We receive updates on a regular basis from a beloved aunt who is slowly losing her battle with cancer. We are also receiving updates from a dear friend who has been in chronic pain and recently had major lung surgery to try to bring her relief.
Every time I check email....is there an update? If so, it is good news? Hard news? Sad news?
"Her lungs are filling with fluid, back to the OR she goes."
"Watching her deteriorate slowly. It hurts. I cry a lot."
"It's been a good day, I think we are turning a corner."
"No guilt in life, no fear in death...this is the power of Christ in me."
You learn a lot about a person when they're walking through fire. Take for example, a couple of young guys who boldly declared 'even if' before their king and literally ended up walking through fire.
I came across this quote recently:
“Anyone can give up, it's the easiest thing in the world to do. But to hold it together when everyone else would understand if you fell apart, that's true strength.”
I watch the parents of my friend be strong. I read about our uncle who reflects strength that is supernatural.
And I know that I know that I know that these people are being held up by the power of prayer. They walk through deep valleys. They face painful times ahead.
Their strength does not come from inner strength that they themselves possess. Their strength comes from our Living God, the Author and Creator of life.
Last night Ryan and I watched this video and I've watched it multiple times since. It's called Even If by Kutless.
I stand amazed as I watch my friend and our aunt go through heartache and long for healing. For our aunt, healing will not come this side of Heaven. For my friend, we are waiting to see the outcome of her surgery. But through the years of pain and illness, both individuals have declared 'Even If' with her words, her actions, her faith, her trust.
As the lyrics to this song touch and challenge my heart personally, I can't help but think of you all (my blog readers and your unique journeys) as well:
"Even if the healing doesn't come and life falls apart and dreams are still undone.....you are God, you are good, forever faithful one, even if the healing doesn't come. You're still the great and mighty one. We trust you always. You're working all things for our good. We'll sing your praise."
And I wonder...and I pray...would we each still sing God's praise even if our healing doesn't come the way we hope and pray it does?
Reading CaringBridge updates this year has left me undone. I cry. I cheer. I question. I plead and petition the Lord. I praise Him for His goodness and faithfulness even amidst the hard.
While the CaringBridge updates are not Holy Spirit-inspired words of Scripture, they are lovingly written about living, breathing, humble servants who are courageously walking the path God has called them too. They do so with grace and strength and with a declaration of 'Even If.'
And their stories and their faith have forever changed my life.