He wouldn’t bring her this far to stop, right? He wouldn’t heal her halfway, would He?
I would ask Mark this question or a version of it so many times as we drove home after having spent time visiting Shan at the hospital. On the phone, as I cleaned out cereal bowls and filled up Beckett’s sippy cup, I would ask my mom. I’d ask the question in texts to my dear friend late at night.
For those who don’t know our story–in May 2016, medically speaking, Shannon should have died. She had a life-threatening infection, a heart that stopped multiple times, organs that were failing, and leukemia still attacking her body. But God, raised Shannon out of that bed–doctors were astounded; she was a walking miracle. And this is what made me ask this question about halfway healing so many times.
For every one time I asked a person aloud, there were a hundred more times my spirit asked God. Some mornings, I would feel a boldness in my belly and could declare, by faith, that God would not heal her halfway. I would echo the words of Psalm 27:13 over my precious sister, “I remain confident of this: I (she) will see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living.” But there were afternoons that my spirit would lack boldness and rather be pleading with God–please, please, please heal her entirely and do it here on earth. Let her live to tell of your goodness and might.
Most of you know our story–but, again, for those of you who do not. God did heal Shannon completely, but He did it by taking her home. Our family rejoices that she is in perfect health and in the presence of her Savior, but she leaves a hole behind here on earth that knocks the wind right out of us. Once, as a child, eager to try out a new treehouse at a friend’s house, jumped onto the plastic slide before her dad had a chance to tell me he had only propped it there; it wasn’t yet secure. The slide hit the ground with me on top of it and for a minute I couldn’t catch any breath–the wind was entirely knocked out of my lungs.
It is terribly hard, to not ask God, why. But, there is no comfort in begging this question–God is one of mystery and sometimes that has to be enough of an answer.
But, I have found some answers to the question, what — what is God doing, still here on earth, as a result of Shannon’s healing being a Heavenly one? On this side of eternity we will never know the number of people touched, powerfully, for the Kingdom because of the way Shannon lived her faith as she was oppressed by leukemia–the stories keep rolling in.
What I see God doing in me right now, is a boldness of faith to speak into other people’s tragedies and fights. I saw mountains moved in that ICU room in May 2016–I saw God do what man could not do. So, when a friend’s has a family member with a scary diagnosis, or another has family members laying in beds in the ICU, I can confidently say, “Our God can move this mountain.” So, what is God doing? He is allowing my faith to strengthen that of others because of what He allowed me to witness.
Does this make it okay with me that Shannon is no longer on earth? Nope.
Does it make her suffering all feel worth it? Not a bit.
I still want her story to be different. I want the ending to have her whole and healed here on earth. I want her at Beckett’s third birthday party and Ryker’s dedication. I want her to meet us tonight for dinner at the beach and to be able to text me back, plan peach picking and sibling camping trips with me. I want to not have this hole in my heart and this tightness in my chest. But, the enemy would have me stay here, in this list of all that I miss doing with Shan. And, so, because I refuse for her suffering to be in vain even after it is done, in the missing I will keep asking, what is God doing now, because of Shan?
I am not sure what you’re walking through or what you are mourning–it may be a person, it may be a season that has ended, regardless of the reason you find yourself in tears, I encourage you to ask, what is God doing now because of this and join Him.
Every single momma knows that we should read with our people regularly–teachers tell you beginning in preschool, posters and programs and the public library proclaim it, and for those who actually watch live television, there are even public service announcements about reading to your children.
Reading equips our children to be better communicators and thinkers–I agree, wholeheartedly, with every read to your kiddo campaign–I am an english major after all. But, I’d like to add a reason to your list that the library and your child’s second grade teacher won’t tell you.
You should read with your children because stories are powerful. For generations, Christ followers have struggled with what to do with literature–they have banned it, burned it, and called it a waste of time. Though, these concerns are not often associated with children’s books, I want to assert that as mommas who are raising arrows for the kingdom, it is essential that we create habits of regularly taking in excellent stories at a young age. My argument, even though I’m an english teacher, has little to do with our children being advanced readers or better writers at school, but rather because I believe that we “…were created in the image of one who expressed his inmost nature from the beginning as the Word” (Donald T. Williams).
Of all the ways our Father could have chosen to reveal Himself to us, He chose words–He chose story. The Bible is many smaller stories all telling the greater story of God’s love for us and what He would do to preserve the chance at a relationship with us, His beloved.
So, yes, we should fill out our students’ reading logs for school, and participate in summer reading club at the library, but not just so we raise smart kids. Let us do this so we raise great storytellers. I would agree with Donald T. Williams when he writes, “…for people are most like God the Maker when they create a world and people it with significant characters out of their imagination.”
Imagine what might happen if instead of just proficient students, we were to raise up a generation of storytellers. What might happen to the music industry? What kinds of truth-filled movies might be produced that are not shallow or filled with mediocre acting, but rather stories so captivating the world can’t ignore them? What blogs might pop up? What kinds of novels and poetry? You may be raising a pastor who will help capture people’s hearts for Jesus by the use of story–Jesus sure loved to use stories.
So, read stories, tell stories, let the Bible be a BIG, glorious story in your home — let us raise up a generation who knows how to tell a good story and captivate those who don’t know our Creator.