Jan 16th, 1999

IMG_0511.JPGJan 16. The exact date I sometimes forget, but I always remember it was a Sunday.
We went to church last night, and coincidentally we went over the verses in Mark where the sadducees are trying to stumble Jesus and ask him hypothetically if the same woman married a man who then died and she then proceeded to marry his subsequent brothers as each died and eventually she dies. Who in heaven would she be married to? And Jesus responds that we aren’t given in marriage in Heaven (Mark 12). Pastor Eric then went on to describe that we are complete in heaven, and we will recognize each other, and there won’t be any lack. As he went on, describing a difficult topic and question so beautifully about loved ones in heaven. I remembered Debbie and could hardly believe the timing of the message, two days before the anniversary of her death.
I wish I could say that when I think about Debbie, that the first thing I think of is how great she was. How I used to love going out to the barn and milking the goats with her. Fondly, I was nicknamed her “barn buddy”. But because Debbie was diagnosed with cancer when I was around 5, my memories of her before are few.
I remember the hospital bed and throw up bowls. I remember her losing her hair from the radiation and wondering at it growing back a darker color. I remember her being in a coma. I remember Dad, Mom and Grandma taking shifts of staying at home with us kids and staying at the hospital with Debbie. I remember her being to weak to walk, and Dad daily helping her out of her wheel chair and holding her, trying to help her learn to walk again. I remember her speech being so slurred, I could no longer understand what she was saying. I remember the nurses coming and going, the friends and family bringing meals, babysitting. I remember selling the animals and crying when they were sold. And I remember that Sunday night, when Jeremy was on a date with his first girlfriend, and all of us younger siblings were home watching Tom and Huck on the “Wonderful World of Disney” when Dad and Mom came in the family room, crying, and told us that Debbie had gone to be with Jesus.
For a long time I thought I was okay with Debbie’s death, but after becoming a mom and having my own babies, I didn’t know it would open a flood gate of fear and anxiety about the nightmare my family lived through. No one wants to ever lose a loved one. And after having a baby, the thought of anything happening to that baby makes me sick to my stomach and question life, God,and what the heck is the point of life! It has been and is a very real struggle.
The message Pastor Eric gave could not have been more perfect for me to hear. Focusing on the pain of Debbie’s sickness and death isn’t the whole story. This life isn’t all there is. Jesus conquered death so I don’t have to fear it. I will see Debbie again, and there will be no lack.
I don’t want to ever lose another loved one, but someday, hopefully in the very distant future, it will happen. And if I’m going to survive emotionally in this life, I have to believe and hold on to, that there is more. Heaven is real, and God is good. I don’t understand Him, and I’m walking the path of healing, and learning to trust. But it is hard.
“When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written: “Death is swallowed up in victory.” “O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?” The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.”
‭‭1 Corinthians‬ ‭15:54-58‬ ‭ESV‬‬


One thought on “Jan 16th, 1999

  1. Sarah, this is such a beautiful reflection. Thanks for sharing, and being so open about your journey. Your interpretation of Eric’s message was definitely something I needed to hear. Love you!

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