The Suburb Woman
Fix Our Eyes On The Unseen
Posted on June 18th, 2015

‚ÄčThis is a photo I've never shared, but I look at constantly... Michael smiling at me from his hospital bed on Sept. 27, 2013, after we were told he had a cancerous brain tumor. We still didn't know the full extent of what the beast Glioblastoma could and would do, but we knew it was life threatening. 

While I couldn't stop crying and was terrified, my amazing husband never did. He was full of faith and confidence that he was in God's hands no matter the outcome. He comforted me with the reminder that in trials of life is when our faith matters most. He said we needed to hold on to God's promise we were taught all our lives, "For God so loved the world, that he sent his ONLY begotten son, that whosoever believes in Him will not perish, but have everlasting life." Simply put... Michael believed if he died he would be in Heaven.

He was never afraid. He never asked why. He never complained. He loved life and desperately wanted to to be with those he loved, but he wholeheartedly believed to be absent from the body was to be present with the Lord.

As I sat with Michael at the funeral home yesterday trying to make sense of this profound loss that seeks to crush my spirit and terrify me of living in a world that this beautiful soul of a man is no longer in, my brother David shared something I had never heard. It is Michael talking in his rich Southern Oklahoma voice on Christmas Eve talking about his reaction to the news that the tumor was back in an inoperable and dangerous location, and the fact he might have four weeks to live at best: "I'm saved, I know I'm saved, I know I'm going to Heaven and I'm ready to go!"

Michael fought with all he had for six more months - 20 months total. He had the sweetest spirit and countenance through it all. While he was not in pain, he lost his ability to walk, to write, to read, to talk and a limited ability to see. The last few days he was unable to open his eyes no matter how hard he tried as the tumor took control of his brainstem. He never gave up, but in those final hours I thanked him over and over. I talked about the excitement of going to heaven, of being whole, of being healed. I sang hymns to him... Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing, What A Day That Will Be, Great is Thy Faithfulness, Rock of Ages, It Is Well With My Soul... and I just held him as close as I could. I memorized his face and I cherished his warmth.

To my amazement, a few minutes before his final breath - Michael opened his eyes with all the strength he had left and looked at me. Through tears I smiled as big as I could and proclaimed, "You're going to see Jesus! Thank you for fighting so hard, for loving me, for marrying me! I will love you every day the rest of my life and I can't wait to see you again. But, go to heaven - we'll be ok. I love you!" And as he closed his eyes there were tears. Something I haven't recalled seeing since January... And then my loving husband flew to be with Jesus. 

As I reflect now I believe he was on his way to Heaven and God gave he and I the sweetest gift of letting Michael take one more look at me and I saw his soul one more time. It was so unexpected, but undeniably real and I know he heard me. 

I realize this morning as the sun rises on the third day without my love's physical presence that I am not alone. It doesn't mean I don't have a gaping hole in my heart and am not experiencing excruciating heartache, pain, anger, loss and emptiness... Wherever Michael was WAS my home. He is and was the love of my life here on earth and it's going to take a long time for my heart to heal. 

So I just look at the love and confidence he displayed for me in this photo when he should have been terrified - but he was not. Michael had full confidence we were and are in God's hands no matter where our journey was to go. 

I have that same HOPE and I want to fulfill my words to Michael that we'll be ok until we meet again. And as we begin to take small steps forward in our new and painful reality, I still feel Michael's love and God's arms surrounding me, my children and our family. 

So we FIX our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. (2 Cor. 4:18)

Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this GRACE in which we stand, and we rejoice in HOPE of the glory of God. More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces ENDURANCE, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because GOD'S LOVE has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. (Romans 5:2-5)

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