Over the last few months, some friends fought their hardest battle to date. A young husband and father experienced a return of cancer, and it came back with a vengeance. Instead of chemo and radiation and clinical trials, they chose instead to go where the Lord led them. The doctors were clear with that any interventions would only be temporary fixes, if they worked at all.
So Amy and Chris chose to rest on the promise of the Father. They soaked up the support of each other, family, and friends across the world. They wrote beautiful entries on their family blog. They prepared for the birth of their third child, due in early spring. They asked for specific prayer requests on a group Facebook page. As you can read from their latest entry, Amy & Chris celebrated their twelfth wedding anniversary earlier this month, in the form of a family mountain getaway. And then? Then he died. He passed away this week, and it feels like this community is reeling a bit.
I only knew the Underwoods from a friendly distance. They’ve passed in and out of our lives over the last decade or so, but it doesn’t make the news any less personal. A young mother is missing her husband this morning. She’s got a monumental to-do list. Break the news to her children. Eat. Preserve memories to share with the baby boy in her womb. Take a shower. Exude a supernatural amount of strength. Survive each day for the next little while.
In Chapter 10, Emily discusses the idea of hiding behind a mask of performance. Good girls like me secretly try to earn God’s favor and grace, even though we outwardly preach we don’t need it. Jesus already paid our debt on the cross, right? This is what my flesh looks like. I strive and hide, strive and hide. When bad things happen, I try to keep a good attitude about God’s plan and this fallen world and blah blah blah. But sometimes, I just want to be angry. Why would He allow something like this to happen? Thankfully, my God isn’t annoyed by or scared of any of that.
Amy gets it. I’m know she’s hurting, and I don’t doubt that her next few months will be painful ones. I literally can’t even get my mind around all that this entails. But we’ve followed this family’s journey over the last few months, and to read her words is to read the heart of someone who gets it. She’s probably not anywhere close to healed yet, but that woman is not hiding. She’s boasting in her weakness, because that’s where her power is found. She knows who she is, and she knows who her God is. She is whole, even in her brokenness. What a beautiful testimony.