When someone becomes pregnant, they have about 9 months to prepare for the birth of the baby. Sometimes that feels like eternity and sometimes that feels like just NOT long enough! Preparing for a life is a really big deal! Families that adopt often wait for months or even years preparing for their future child. There is paperwork to fill out, appointments to go to, names to choose, books to read, rooms to decorate, classes to attend and so on. Preparing for birth or the placement of a child is a very exciting time! There are showers and parties and registries and so much preparation!
The preparation for death, however is not nearly that exciting. There is an element of excitement, no doubt, because HELLO...Jesus. The after party of this life is far better than the hotel lobby...it's technically what we have been waiting for since the moment we were born. To be reunited with our Creator. To feel no more pain...to be whole...to sit at His feet. Gah. I take it back. It is more exciting. It is just too much for the human brain to comprehend. And he created it that way. Our mighty God made heaven a place that our earthly brains just can't even fathom.
There aren't death showers or death scrapbooks. I mean maybe some people do that...but not anyone I know. There surely are ways to prepare for death. There are plenty of pamphlets and articles and opinions on how to do so with dignity, with finished business and closure.
And then there is this majestic and truth filled book called the Bible. And wow does it prepare us for death, dare I say FAR more than it prepares us for birth. HE is the resurrection and the LIFE. What a miracle birth is....but through HIM we experience LIFE. Through death we approach God who breathed life into us in the first place. Our true citizenship remains in heaven. This earth is a sweet place for us to experience His grace, mercy and gifts...but what lies ahead is far more of a gift than any moment of pleasure we may experience here.
Why am I talking about all this? Because, after four. FOUR. FOUR. Years of watching my husband FIGHT. Persevere. Defy all odds. Shock doctors. LIVE. Four years of traveling to the country's best doctors, trying chemo, new medications, finding (in our own sweet little town nonetheless) a doctor that would manage and fight for Justins life like it was his very own, beginning the frightening stage of hospice...it has really been a LOT.
We have lost friends, welcomed friends, felt lost, felt hurt, felt found and embraced and redeemed. We have seen God remove things that needed to go and fill those gaps with beauty only He is capable of. We have seen LIFE in a way that I wouldn't have asked for...because it has been HARD. But, don't you dare ask me to trade it for anything.
We have entered a new season. Honestly, we entered this new season last January when Justin's prognosis became far beyond any doctors imagination. He became one of those rare cases that was just a big fat question mark to doctors.
Justin has never once been a question mark to his creator. Justin was placed on this earth for a very specific reason. He has lived a life that many wouldn't envy. He has suffered more than others would desire. But, let me just tell you...JMacs life has SCREAMED the presence of Jesus to me and my three boys like its nobodies business. He is leaving behind a legacy for those three young men that can't be replicated. He has lived a unique and passionate life. He has failed, lost, succeeded and seen the beauty of the holy spirit in a way that I for one just flat out yearn to experience.
Justin has entered what is referred to as the active dying phase. This is hospice lingo for...time is running out. Justin has accepted this phase. Has he thrown in the towel? Has he allowed satan to win? Has he lost faith? NOPE. And if you feel that he alone has the power to declare something over God's will for Him...then I challenge you to show up on my doorstep and have that conversation with me. I will have my bible opened and I will show you that God begs us to fear HIM...NOT DEATH.
I take my Bible very seriously. I recognize the parts that are to be taken literally and the parts that are not. I sure don't have a degree in theology..but I have seen death without Christ. I have seen miracles right before my eyes. I have watched my own son be brought from death to life in the midst of significant spiritual warfare. I have seen the most firm believers suffer and wait and hurt. I have seen non believers experience Christ's very real presence. I have seen God's truth in REAL LIFE.
We have entered a new season. We have been here for awhile, but it has been hard to swallow and admit. Justin has accepted his phase of dying. He isn't defeated by satans lies, y'all. He is comforted by the TRUTH that our God wrote for him. For all of us.
This new season is a time for extreme intention. It is a time for closure and a time to respect the firm belief we have in Christ's sovereign plan and for privacy in the Mac Shack.
Justin could have another year on this earth or he could have a mere 2 weeks. That is NOT up to us. What IS up to us is that we can honor every moment that God provides Him. Salvation is not something satan can take from him. He knows what awaits him...and we hate the hurt we will feel with him gone, but man are we embracing the wholeness of what lies ahead for our most favorite guy.
If you are looking a way to love on our family or encourage us here are some ideas...
- Speak truth.
- Allow Justin to experience closure and be comforted in the fact that in a blink of an eye his family will be by his side in the majestic kingdom.
- Email things you would like him to hear or remember to firstname.lastname@example.org and I will be very sure that he reads it.
- Respect this very precious time that our family needs to be "hunkered down"
- Realize that TALKING about death DOES NOT make it happen. We know our words are powerful, but our God is MORE powerful than anything we posses. Text or email your encouragement to him.
- Make him laugh.
- Have grace for us. There are tons of articles and blogs and packets to "help" us navigate this season...but we prefer to allow the holy spirit to lead. That means listening to Him at the last second, planning less and living in the flesh as little as possible.
- Don't pretend you would know how to navigate this if you aren't in our shoes. Please.
- Pray for us.
We love every person who has kept up with the macs. It has been an honor to watch the followers of this blog grow from 15 to over 25,000 in just a few short years. You guys are Team Mac and we just couldn't walk this walk without y'all....because somedays when I am too weary to pray or too afraid to cry or too tired to face the facts...YOU stand in the gap. Because our Father really knew what He was doing when He created us and our instinct for community in His name.