September 29, 2007

Tomorrow will mark one year since my brother, Jeff, claimed his crown. The months and weeks prior to the day, I entered into a state of prayer and believing that I have never been before. The day that Jeff was released from the hospital when we were on vacation in 2004, Jeff came back to tell us in as much detail as he could what the doctors relayed to him. He sat in a chair in the dining room, his face and body so healthy on the outside, and said "I am in big trouble." I will never ever forget him saying that. I am sure that for the next two years that he had plenty of times that he wrestled with God. I stood with Jeff and believed in total healing. I would pray and God would give me scriptures that in no way could be a coincidental reading. I know that God heard every one of my prayers. I mentioned how I felt guilty that God chose to heal me so easily and Jeff had to fight so hard. Why was I healthy and he was still sick? I thought it was all to prepare me for fighting with Jeff. I had a hard time going to see Jeff sometimes because I did not want to cry in front of him. His attitude was so full of hope, I knew it would make him feel bad if he knew I was sad. Praying was all I could do. When my family arrived at Hospice on September 30, 2006, I can remember seeing him lying in his bed. He seemed to be in and out of sleep, and seemed very peaceful. I could not hold back tears, and I just sat by his bed crying and praying... pleading with God.  I knew that if Jeff was going to walk out of there, it was going to happen that night or God would take him home. As soon as Jeff took his last breath, I felt an enormous weight lifted from my shoulders. God gave me peace when I thought there would be none. I was so sad that my brother had gone on, but I was so happy for him to know that he made it there. To know that in that last breath, he was transformed and was able to laugh and run again... it's enough to keep you fighting.

Facing now what I am facing, I have a new perspective because of Jeff. I have knocked on Heaven's door countless times. But I feel like more often than not, I am camped outside its door. I fall asleep there and wake up there. I dream there and I live there. I know that God is holding on to me and asking me to hold back. To be patient. I can only see a piece of the puzzle, and right now it doesn't seem to fit. But as more pieces are laid, it will make a beautiful picture. It will. When we get to heaven, it will not matter how many years we lived here. No one will say, "You lived longer than anyone else here!" What will matter is how we spent the years we had to further the kingdom. I truly am at peace with that. If I can live every day with that perspective, it won't matter if I live to be 28 or 88. I will have done just what I was called to do... to take up my cross daily and follow Him. I will fight the good fight every moment that I have breath. In the last couple of weeks, I have had a lot of information relayed to me and in turn, I have had to relay on to others. It is so comforting for me to know that I serve a Savior that already knows everything. I don't have to remember details and dates. I can just come to Him and find rest because He is walking it right beside me. He leads, but slows down enough for me to catch up and He carries me when I am tired. Eventually, I will make it there to join my brother. Everyday until then is just one step closer, no matter if I am healed or not.

I miss my brother everyday. I have so many mixed emotions when I see pictures of him healthy, and then to see what his sickness did to him. If Jeff could, I know he would tell us now that it is all worth it. He would do it again. He would tell us not to cry for him. He would tell us to keep fighting the good fight.

The link below is for a slideshow that was put together to celebrate Jeff's journey.

Click here to view Jeff's slideshow

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