I had the pleasure of being part of Anna's life in a small way, for only a few months. About a year ago, my husband was reunited with his dad and that side of his family after 37 years and throughout the year we have been meeting extended members of their family. Anna was my husband's uncle's wife. She had beautiful hair, a beautiful smile, beautiful voice, heart, and faith.
Anna was diagnosed with colon cancer two years ago and she "lost" her battle two days ago on November 27. There are quotations on the word "lost" because if we think of it, she didn't lose; she had her complete trust in our Savior Jesus Christ and is now free of any illness and pain. She is now able to worship her Savior and be with Him in person.
While she was in her last stages of cancer, at home, with a nurse at her side 24 hours a day, I was still praying and believing for a miraculous recovery. I knew my God was able. I prayed that He'd be willing. I knew that no matter the outcome, He was in control and only He knew why this was all allowed. I felt selfish in a way to want her to stay, when in a sense, I was happy she was about to meet our Creator and would feel joy, unspeakable joy. Oh, what a glorious day when we will see Him face to face! And yet, I grieved. I grieved before she even died. We visited her often in her last days.
Anna's faith was unwavering, strong, firm, and unshakable. Truly admirable. It's amazing to me how much she impacted me in the short time I knew her and the grief I've experienced. I can only imagine the pain her closest family members are feeling.
In the weeks leading to her death, Anna started a Bible study group that would meet in her home on Saturday mornings. She told them to continue meeting for bible studies no matter what would happen to her.
(I've been grieving her and have a sea of emotions so for the sake of us all, I will leave out most of my thoughts.)
Anna passed away at the age of 46, two days ago in her home. It seems surreal. It seems unfair. It seems senseless, pointless, and terrible. Where is the beauty in that? Where is the beauty in grieving a loved one? Where is there joy in losing someone you so deeply love? I feel for Anna's closest family and friends. I especially feel for the unsaved loved ones who don't know Christ- they don't know the peace that is possible in Him. They may not know that God can and will use the good and the bad for His glory and for a purpose. We see things from our perspective and with our own desires. God sees and knows all. His perspective is wiser, higher, and complete. We don't know the reasons why, but we know God is loving. He is not a God of disorder or chance. He is purposeful and just. He is God. We are not. There is beauty in humbly accepting that.
There is beauty in having known someone as beautiful (inside and out) as Anna.
There is beauty in families growing closer together as a result of grief.
There is beauty in seeking God when we have questions or feel we can't go on.
There is beauty in a God that can sympathize with us. (Hebrews 4:15) Remember, He was tempted and He experienced pain.
There is joy in knowing Anna is with Jesus.
There is joy in the memories Anna left behind.
There is joy and bitter sweetness in the pictures we have.
There is beauty and joy in the hope we have in Christ.
One day, oh, one glorious day, we believers will be with our Savior...."He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever." ~ Revelation 21:4
In our grief, in our sorrow
We have hope for tomorrow
The God of Heaven's armies reigns
And He'll see us through the pain
We will see our brokenness
As His name, we humbly bless
Begin to play a symphony
Of sweet surrender, of victory
Through Christ alone, true joy is found
Where peace, and blessing, and grace abound.
Glory to God in the Highest. Blessed be His name, now and forever. Amen.
The following song helps me grieve as I rejoice and remember God's goodness. It's bittersweet.