Monday, August 3, 2009

Every mile right beside us...

I want you to meet Linda. She and her family fought a brave battle against breast cancer for sixteen years. During that time, Linda had the amazing opportunity to learn secrets about life, about love, and about God that few of us ever have the chance to experience. Linda's son and daughter-in-law are my good friends Donald and Gretchen Butler. 

When I was first diagnosed with cancer, one of the first people to come and sit with us was Donald. It was such a gift to have a friend who understood some of what we were feeling and also some of what was to come as we walked this road. Not long after that Donald told me that he wanted to bring me something. He showed up at our house with a very special gift.

Donald brought me this picture of his mother and he brought me his mother's journal. He told me that she was just an ordinary woman, but he hoped that reading her thoughts and words as she battled her illness would somehow bring strength, hope, and encouragement to me. I cried as he drove away from my house.

I knew what I held in my hands was a priceless treasure. And even more priceless because I had been entrusted with its care. Granted, he brought it to me in a ziplock bag, but nevertheless, it was something irreplaceable, something sacred to me. 

The journal begins with the words, "Things I have read or heard that spoke to my heart or that God has said to me." All throughout the journal you see her great love for her family and her great faith in her God. Even as she struggled with fears and doubts she never wavered in her belief that God is good.

I want to share with you a few of the things she wrote that stuck with me:

"To God, our journey is as important as our destination. as we seek His will and go where He sends us, God doesn't just wait for us at our next stop. He travels every mile right beside us."

"If you and I enjoyed nothing but ease and comfort, we would never learn anything very important or impressive about God. We would never learn that our God is worth serving - even when the going gets tough."

"Though my circumstances may change, I pray my faith will only grow in Jesus."

"As you have helped me to grow in the past in you, help me to continue to grow through the difficult experiences ahead. May the difficulties become a time when I can see your Hand clearly."

And the one thing she wrote that I have been holding on to since the end of May:

"God has not lost control of our lives, and He wants us to trust Him when nothing makes any sense."

I like that. God has not lost control of my life. He's still God! 

Donald was right. Her words have inspired, encouraged, and strengthened me. I hope they will do the same for you today! Thank you, Donald, for sharing your mom with me!


  1. I wish my journals were as inspiring! I've told my kids they are to burn them and not read them... I tend to only journal when I am feeling overwhelmed and at times unreasonable... and not a true reflection of my obvious spiritual maturity (HA!).

    Thank you for sharing Linda today.

    God bless you, keep you and cause you to be radiantly full of joy and energy!!!!

  2. Dearest Laura, thank you for sharing Linda with all of us. What a beautiful trophy of grace, love, steadfastness and hope!

    "Beloved Laura, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth." 3 John 2

    May God fill you today with unexpected joys full of HIMSELF.

    Love in Christ Jesus our Lord,
    Charity Acker

  3. Thank you for sharing Laura! Her words are definitely inspiring!