My best friend and the woman of my dreams was barely able to communicate by the time she slipped into eternity in our home at 11:37 pm on Tuesday, Feb 13th just minutes before her birthday. The vibrancy of her fire had been waning by the day, but we were told we had a couple of weeks left so her friends were coming in to help us celebrate her birthday. Instead, we got to celebrate her home-going the evening before. We had to accept the fact that she wanted to spend her birthday with Jesus more than us. For the final two days that she was slipping from my grasp some thoughts I had been struggling with on my own sense of hope began to take shape and a realignment was happening.
During our 4-year struggle with stage four cancer, I bumped into hopelessness on several occasions and realized that I couldn’t go on living if I didn’t regain some hope. Something in me cannot exist if I don’t see and believe that things have a chance of getting better. If I can have even a sliver of this hope, I can fight any enemy for however long it takes. But, As I was facing the end with Monette I realized that my hope, while outwardly valiant was in fact narrow and selfish because it kept me from being fully present at times and distracted me from the daily miracles we were being given to sustain us.
My hope and prayers were so focused on divine intervention and supernatural healing that it felt like a betrayal of the gospel and complete loss of hope to believe in anything less. I fought to retain the hope that Monette would be healed and that we would be scuba diving or flying together or taking mission trips and wine tasting tours with romantic candlelight dinners interspersed.
But, as I tried to come to grips with the harshness of Monette’s rapidly failing condition, I realized that my hope for a supernatural intervention was slipping. I knew I couldn’t let go of hope or my soul would die. I kept thinking, if Monette dies now, what happens to our dreams? Our calling? Our mission? Is it all gone? Was it all for nothing??? These things and our relationships are the essence of who we are. How can I live without that which has defined us???
While battling this despair, an epiphany began happening that seems supernatural in how it’s changing me. A few days before Monette’s home-going I began to recognize a new kind of hope coming from deep within that had a different feeling and rhythm. This hope is so powerful that I wondered how I had not recognized and embraced it before. It was always there for me, but my hope and prayers were so fixated on the miraculous intervention that I expected (and demanded) that I missed the opportunity to be present in the current reality where the Trinity was manifesting his love and glory in amazing ways all the time. Seeing the intensity of Monette’s ongoing struggle and her more acute decline in recent months almost paralyzed my hope and my prayer life, all because I did not understand how broad and deep hope can really be, and how I needed to grow in the God kind of hope that not only reaches for miracles, but also recognizes and enjoys the glory of God in a loved ones transition from this world to the next.
A river has been carrying Monette to heaven for some time. It didn’t start at her death. This river of God’s love is meant to anchor all our souls in eternal hope during unexplainable hardship.
I have always felt like I am a man of hope, and my hope for Monette getting to spend eternity with Jesus never wavered. What became elusive is the joyous hope that is able to be present and celebrate God’s miracles in every day ways during dark times. What is new for me is that during this transition, instead of focusing on what’s not happening, my hope has been exploding as I recognize there has been angelic encounters, prophetic moments, supernatural provision, people turning up right when we needed help with loving words to be shared and countless other things. This is a river of hope we can swim in where songs are sung and prayers are uttered in the spirit, a place where worship is expressed and tender voices from heaven are heard. It is a place where weeping for joy eclipses weeping for sorrow and where light is peeking out around the edges of the door. It is a celebration of a strong spiritual life and a glorious testimony of an adventuresome and beautiful spirit that has always longed for eternity. A place where family and friendship are expressed.
In essence, my hope which was so limited to temporal expectations has been set free to be fully present in the glory of Monette’s transition, to celebrate every relationship, every God moment and every supernatural whisper of the Holy Spirit as His wind blows through our lives. An old poem about the Holy Spirit captures what I’m trying to say and how easy it is to overlook His work:
Who has seen the wind
Neither you nor I
But when the trees bow down
We know the wind is passing by
What was Monette feeling? As her husband, friend and lover, I want to speak on her behalf – she couldn’t say much in the last short while. Here is what I felt she was feeling and wanted me to express:
While we see the trees bowing down, she is glimpsing the Savior and the wind Himself. She is the excited child knocking at the sleepy parent’s door early on Christmas morning – “Is it time yet?” She is sitting in the left seat of the jet waiting for our Father in the heavenly tower to give the clearance for takeoff. She wants the throttles forward and the wheels up. The skies above are sunny, and the wind is favorable – the weather is perfect.
Monette was not without hope – joy filled hope was flowing like a spring breeze into her spirit! Look at how the scriptures express this:
“But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that you sorrow not, even as others which have no hope.” 1 Thess. 4:13
“Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.” Romans 5:5
“This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which enters the Presence behind the veil.” Hebrews 6:19.
Dear friends and family – I urge you to share in Monette’s joy and hope with me. It has carried her into the Presence behind the veil.
You and your prayers, care and love completed our joy and hope. Together, let’s celebrate the divine encounters along the journey and be present in every moment of relationship. Know you are loved, deeply, as you have shared and now share in this message in this wondrous and glorious time of transition. A transition to her new home in heaven where she will be awaiting our arrival and planning the celebration.
If you are wondering about me and what I will do going forward, I can easily answer in general though not specifically. Monette and I were drawn together by a Kingdom love and Kingdom calling. We fought hard and daringly for what we believed in. It has been a romantic dance of the spirit. That passionate calling and mission is not diminished in my spirit but intensified. I will honor Monette all the days of my life on earth by pursuing that calling and continuing to build the dreams we dreamed together. Perhaps from heaven she will be an even greater intercessor and support to me than she has been as my earthly partner so that in the end we will fulfill our calling together!