I think about the weeks before David and I got married. Several people had reservations about our union because in their eyes we were unequally yoked. This perception of others grew heavy on me for years. I searched the bible on what it was that would give this perception. I too had this same perception. It has only been in the last few weeks as I grow in my faith, I learn more, I understand more then ever. Our marriage was only unequally yoked, because of my Americanized version of Christianity. Let me explain................... but first off.....know this is my own conviction. Not that of others. This has been a long journey for me and I am still transforming into the person, mother, friend, daughter God wants me to be.
The first 8 years of our marriage I would harp on David about my concerns from day one. It was a constant argument. What I believed a Christian to be. He would always come back with the same answer. Dana, I believe in God, I believe Jesus is the son of God. But, to ask me to go to the front of church to say I accept? I believe I already have. My relationship with God is one that takes work. And I am not going to lie and say it is perfect just so people will think we are equally yoked, because as far as I am concerned we are.
So, that was it. I loved him, I knew he believed. His way was not my way, but he believed. This started our marriage. This constant conversation that went the same way. For 8 years I had a perception of what a Christian was and is. I was that. I was the one who had it right, David did not. I prayed and prayed and told others to pray for David's heart, because it needed work. I would say his life never really grew closer to God those 8 years, but neither did mine. But, again, I was right.. Why? No not because I am always right:) I think I just heard thunder?:)) But, because I made a commitment in front of the church at the age of 8. And I was right. I was the Christian in the eyes of the Church, David was not.
Two weeks before David was diagnosed with Cancer we had friends over. I can't remember how. But, in some way our conversation went to our faith. I was always the first to " defend mine." A friend looked at David and said, How can you believe in God, when you see young children get sick and die in the hospital? Those are children? I was curious for David's answer. I mean what did David know? I never saw him attend bible study? He went to church with me Sunday. But, his faith was not mine. He plain and simply said, they aren't our children. They are God's. They are going home. Perfect, true, not a defensive word in his bone, just truth. And the conversation went on to faith and hope. Two weeks later David was diagnosed with Cancer.
David was always great at all he did. He prided himself on his amazing health, his work ethic, his expert shot in hunting, his dare devil non fear of skiing. Oh and his wonderful wife. You name it, David was good at it. And he had it all. When the Cancer was discovered. It was a shock. David? He never did anything that would harm his body or give him Cancer. How could this happen? To him? If you read David's first blog you can feel and hear his frustration on why him?
In that first week we prayed with the Elders of our church. David prayed in front of everyone, Lord, I know I will be in heaven with you, but I am not ready yet. I need more time with my kids. Of course this brought tears to all. It was then that I knew in my heart that David would be OK and in heaven and I was the one with the unwavering faith. Miraculously, God provided. He gave us two years of trips and memories. Not only more memories, but besides a scan, David showed no change in quality of life. Many will look at this and acknowledge that God heard that prayer, loud and clear.
John 9: 1-7 As he passed by, he saw a man blind from birth. And his disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” Jesus answered, “It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him. We must work the works of him who sent me while it is day; night is coming, when no one can work. As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.”
From that day on. David's life changed. He grew in his faith, he grew in his relationship with God. His faith did not waiver. You would ask him if he was scared, his response until the day he passed no. He always said Heaven will be beautiful and that he will never stop watching over the kids. He was a leader in his faith. When asked how people can pray for him, he would always respond, don't pray for me. Pray for your families.I remember our Pastor walking out of David's room a few days before David passed and saying, I hope when I pass, I am half the man he is. WHAT? Never in my mind did I imagine a Pastor to say this about David.
It has been in these last two months, that I have grown more then I ever have in my relationship with Christ. I have started meditation and have a yearning for feeling and knowing. I journal and anticipate so much on what the next day brings. I have started wonderful friendships with a native American, and a Hindu. Did you know we have the same God? Did you know they also believe in Christ and the spirit? I didn't. In our conversations we have talked about the mysteries of God, the beauty of the creation all around us. About eternal life. We have developed a great respect for each other. We reference scripture. We talk about the gift of life, the reward of heaven. We talk about the ways God still shows David is watching over the kids and I. We have deep conversations on what it is to live your God given purpose and feel the presence of God. All of this has helped the grieving process and the joy in Christ I find despite my circumstances.
Romans 8:18 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us.
So, as I sit here. And recall the question I was asked about David, 10 years ago. I wish I could replay it back and answer this time. I don't know? But, what I do know is God loves him and he loves God. And I do too. And in God's eyes that is what matters.
Romans 14:1 As for the one who is weak in faith, welcome him, but not to quarrel over opinions
Galations 5:14 For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”
It was through our circumstances, David and I both realized what knowing God really does mean.
I encourage us all, as we go through this holiday season, to simply love. God does not need you to speak truth on your opinions. He may use you. But, he does not need you. So, when it comes to loving or speaking your faith or religion of truth, I believe the most effective and Godly way would be to start with loving first.
The kids and I have been overwhelmed with thankfulness for your love for us. Everyday there is a new item being delivered from people we know and don't know. Our tree has become a daddy tree:) You all have sent amazing ornaments made with pictures of our family. It has also become an angel tree with the angel ornaments from those in the Waco community. But, most importantly it has become one that shows love from all of you. Thank you. It has brought us joy this season. It has also given us the courage to spread joy to others in small ways.
Tonight I go to sleep with the sweet ornament that came at the perfect timing.........
I still hear the songs
I still see the lights
I still feel your love on cold wintery nights
I still share your hopes and all of your cares
I'll even remind you to please say your prayers
I just want to tell you, You still make me proud
You stand head and shoulders above all the crowd
Keep trying each moment, to stay in his grace
I came here before you to help set your place
You don't have to be perfect all of the time
He forgives you the slip, if you continue the climb
To my family and friends,
Please be thankful today
I'm still close beside you, In a new special way
I love you all dearly,
Now don't shed a tear
cause I'm spending my Christmas with Jesus this year.