If you know me and Adam, you probably generally know about the good and the sad, but I'll tell you anyways, just in case you are one of my friendly readers whom I've never met in real life.
Adam's dad, Dave, was diagnosed with stage 4 bone and lung cancer back in September. He took the chemotherapy and radiation route for several months, but ultimately those did not help him. The radiation did shrink the cancer that was growing in his hip, though, and provide some relief from the pain long enough for Dave, Cynthia (Adam's mom), and Adam's grandma (whom we all call "Momma") to fly to an alternative clinic across the border in Mexico to try a more natural treatment for the cancer. That treatment was not enough to defeat the cancer either, and Dave passed away on March 22, just a little less than a month ago.
I love this picture. That's Adam's mom and dad, while they were at the clinic in Mexico.
Adam wrote something that was read at his dad's memorial service last week, and if this blog will give me enough room, I'm going to post what he wrote at the end of everything else that I have to share with you. Dave was only 52 when he died, and his cancer was discovered only six months before that. It kind of seems like it all happened too fast, and he was too young to be hit so hard by the cancer. I don't really know what I would think about all of that if I didn't believe that God has a purpose behind the suffering that happens here on earth. God is good, and he cares and provides for his children, and right now, Dave is in heaven, 100% free of pain, worshiping Christ who paid the price for Dave (and everyone who believes) to be there in heaven in the first place. I can see that the suffering that God allowed Adam's parents to go through purified their faith, causing them to rely on God more than ever before, and perhaps giving more glory to Him than ever before. And we may not know until eternity how many other people were impacted by Dave's (and Cynthia's) strong testimony of faith, and of joy in looking forward to heaven.
But that's all I want to say. I want to save room for what my husband wrote about his dad. I hope you'll read it all the way to the end. I'll put it at the end of this post.
But other things have been happening as well, and happening in God's PERFECT timing!
We decided back in December that the time had come to start a family, and less than two months later, well, a family had begun!
I took this picture midway through February, at 5:30 in the morning, after waking Adam up and then texting a picture to my sister-in-law Amy, asking "Does this say what I think it says???" And then of course a week or so later my doctor confirmed that indeed, it is true. And here we are, eight weeks later, and I'm practically ready to go into my second trimester! I get to go back to the doctor this week, and I'm sooo excited to see how much Junior has grown! An app on my phone tells me that she/he is just over two inches long, and that all of his/her organs, nerves, and muscles are in place. Incredible!
But this child is the second main reason I haven't posted in a while because he/she has been zapping every extra molecule of energy I have in me! Lately though I've been feeling a lot more back to normal, and the question everyone asks is, "Have you been feeling sick?" and I can thankfully say "No!"
So that's all my news for now.
I can't wait for summer to be here, and to be done teaching until it's time to start teaching our own kids, and to move on to being a stay-at-home mom.
Life is about to change!!
Well, before I go, here is the piece that Adam wrote about it dad. Like I said before, it may look a little long, but I do hope you will read it.
The first title I knew him by—besides “daddy”—was “Big Fat Daddy from Cincinnati.” When I was three I was sure that my dad was famously recognized by that title. He was one of the biggest, strongest men I knew: At six-foot-four, my dad towered over most other dads; and any furniture you needed moved, he could move it: refrigerators, washers, dryers, dressers, so on and so forth. And on top of that he could fix the car, fix the house, and knew a lot about boats, nature, and history.
Dad had always provided me with a great sense of security; he was one of those firmly established entities in life I looked to for safety. When I was a child, his presence alone was enough to reassure me that I was safe and secure. In thunderstorms, when the thunderclaps were so loud that they rattled the windows and shook the floor, dad was there to tell me that we would be okay. It didn’t even take any words: just seeing him calm and unshakable was enough to calm me. Dad was the person who saw past the trouble, and told us how to get through it in a way that is wise and glorifies God. In all the years I’ve known him, I have seen fear in his face only once.
But every time I came to visit after dad’s diagnosis, he became increasingly smaller and thinner. His face was thinner. His arms were thinner. His hands became smooth, no longer calloused. When we hugged I could feel his muscles had become softer. His legs—formerly thick and muscled—became bony and saggy. And it wasn’t but a few months till walking across the room was nearly an impossible chore for my once-strong dad. It was as though all the air had been let out of my Big Fat Daddy from Cincinnati. For the first time in my life I was bigger and stronger than my dad—and that terrified me. This unshakable presence in my life was quickly crumbling.
The thought of dad dying frightened me. I wondered: What is my dad feeling? Is he scared to die? If he is scared, how will I then feel when it is time for me to die? If dad is scared to die, how can I face death? I’m only his little boy!
At hospice two weeks before my dad died, I asked him if he was nervous about dying. He said, “No, not at all.” He said it with the kind of nonchalant confidence of a man who has been asked if he is afraid of thunder. He said, “I am eager to see the Lord.” I cannot explain the comfort his response brought me.
It was as though nothing had happened to my Big Fat Daddy From Cincinnati. I had been shaking at the thunderclap of death, but my dad was calm and unshaken. He showed me what it is to truly hope in the refuge we have in Christ. With his emaciated legs poking through the sheets, his discolored skin, and his body, rattled by pain and cancer for six months, my dad was living what Paul wrote: “When I am week then I am strong,” and God’s “power is made perfect in weakness.” As weak as my dad was physically, God had made him stronger than he'd ever been, chopping wood, working on cars, or moving heavy furniture.
“To live is Christ; to die is gain.” This was the passage that my dad quoted most often throughout his battle with cancer. He is the only man I’ve ever seen truly live that verse. He lived that verse through his actions; his words; his sorrow; his patience; his pain; and his love for the Lord, my mom, his family, and the church. Those who visited him in hospice might have come prepared to encourage a downtrodden man; instead, they left glorifying God and cheered by a man truly at his best.
Death is an ugly, unnatural beast, and our family has seen just how ugly it can be. I will miss my dad until I see him again in heaven. Because of this, the victory Christ accomplished in His death and resurrection has become so much sweeter to me than it’s ever been.
But I think dad would have been disappointed with me if the only thing I concluded from this is that I had lost a good dad. Nor do I think he would have wanted me to be shaken by his death, as though my refuge and source of support had been lost. Ultimately, God is my rock and my refuge—just as He was, and is, for my dad. The Lord has been with us throughout this entire process; He remains faithful, unchanging, forever. Furthermore, my dad would not have wanted us to view the way he lived in his last five or six months as a testament to what a great guy he was. . . . I believe that this is what my dad would say: His last six months of life showed us what a great God my dad served.
As painful as this time has been—and still is—I don't question God's purpose in all this. God doesn’t ultimately owe me an explanation or justification for what He has done. Besides, Job, who had it much worse than any of us, asked God for an explanation for his suffering, and he only got a verbal spanking from out of the whirlwind that stretched on for several chapters.
God is good, and He is righteous. Nothing we experience in this life negates that truth. This death isn’t the end; I will see my dad again. Christ has redeemed us; Christ is our true refuge and strength; we hope in the salvation and sweet resurrection bought with His life and death. That is enough for me.