I am remembering last year like it was yesterday. In early April of 2013, after Christina was placed on hospice, we had several worship nights with Christina (at her request). She knew she was moving quickly to the arms of Jesus, and wanted to spend time fixing her eyes and heart on Jesus. I feel so privileged that she invited us to join her.
Many friends and relatives had traveled long miles to say good-bye to Christina. These wonderful guests and many local people joined in our worship nights. Christina was exceedingly joyful and excited to have so many beloved people in the same room praising God.
|Nathaniel Wilson, Adam Lamb, Doug (and babies)|
One dear friend of Christina’s, Adam Lamb, spoke to me after a worship night. Adam is a long time family friend and happens to be married to Stacey, a former roommate of Christina’s. (Christina had quite a reputation for good match-making!) Adam’s words that night moved my heart so deeply, I asked him to write out, in my journal, what he said.
Here are some excerpts:
“My thoughts after last night’s amazing worship/prayer session—
1. I heard prayer asking for a miracle to happen or lamenting Christina’s dying—in response to this my heart wanted to shout out that this time IS the miracle! The fact that we are all together with a pretty (and pretty) pain-free Christina was and is a miracle!! In a way, I felt bad for the people that were sad—we should be rejoicing FOR Christina, and we should be jealous of her situation! How many people get to spend their last chunk of time on earth being so surrounded by family, friends, friends that are family, to love and worship our Father!?
2. We should all be so lucky to have as great an impact on this world and for the kingdom in our “long” lives, as Christina has in hers, even if hers ends today.
3. The impact she has had even in the celebration over this last week has been massive and likely bigger than the impact that many will have in their entire lives! Even after people have long stopped speaking of Christina, her impact in this world will still be present and full as people continue to pay forward the gifts of our Lord that Christina continues to reflect.
4. This time has been like nothing I have been able to share with any other friends I have lost. I’ve never been so happy for a friend, while being so personally sad. I cried a ton and smiled through the tears last night. While I don’t want to say good-bye before it is time, it is great to share the hugs knowing we need to savor each one.
5. So, while the roller coaster will be tough, we will all be worshipping together in heaven before we know it, and there’s a good chance that Christina’s amazing perspective and attitude will help a few more people meet the Lord and join us in that worship.
6. Christina’s soul is super ALIVE and ON FIRE! We should all be so lucky!!!
Thank you, Adam. Christina talked about her spirit “waking up” as she moved closer and closer to heaven. She loved hearing the Bible read out loud, and loved to pray, and loved to sing or just hear worship—even to her last day on earth. She was feeling freedom and life coming her way. Any earthly perspective began to feel like chains around her neck.
Another close friend, Christy Wilson, came by during that time and left a remarkable letter with Christina. Christy wrote the book, “The Serpent and the Sparrow” that chronicled the first few years of Christina’s cancer journey. Christy knew Christina well and shared Christina’s eternal perspective. I have asked her permission to share this letter.
|Christy Wilson, Stacey Lamb, Christina (and babies)|
From: Christy Wilson
I love you!
We see through a glass darkly, and say ‘What a shame.’ But clearly, ‘What a gift!’
You are the gift:
· A beacon to a frightened world; shining brightly here, even brighter where you go.
· A reservoir of peace spilling onto any who dare bring their troubles near you.
· You are friendliness, loyalty, joy.
· A gift.
Your life was a gift:
· You have spent your time amongst us—loved, cherished, a sister, a friend.
· Blessed with laughter.
You leave us a gift, in your baby boy:
· A piece of you, you graciously leave to our care.
· One day he will appreciate why we always look for bits of you in him.
God gives you a gift now:
· He wants you home.
· You’ve run your race…earned your “Well done, Good and Faithful Servant.”
· Relinquish forever your fears and concerns for others—they don’t belong to you anymore.
· Now you can go to a place where the energy never runs dry; where life never fades.
· Your mansion awaits!
We see the gift. You have completed your Holy Task. We stay behind to complete ours, renewed for having seen you do it with such grace and strength and vulnerability.
These tears—we are not sad for you—we’re just going to miss you!
We see the gift. Now Go. Accept your Gift. We are happy for you.
Thank you, Christy.
These two friends, along with many, many others, have shared this intimate journey in such significant ways. Never underestimate the power of a shared path. We help one another along and remind each other to look up. Look into the eyes of Jesus. He is not far from each one of us. He is the power, the love, and the encouragement that we need to keep going. To Him be the glory forever and ever.