Tonight a Facebook friend posted a link to this site – http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/heatherhampton. The post contained no message. So, it left me curious to see what it was about. I originally thought it was about a friend of hers getting married since the cover photo was of a lovely young couple on their wedding day. However, that couldn’t have been further from the truth.
It is a blog a couple created because they wanted to regularly communicate with and update their supporters during a very difficult time in their lives. The first words I read was a funeral announcement. Then, I clicked on their story to find out more information. However, that didn’t exactly align with what I had just read. So, it intrigued me to learn more. What became clear was that the beautiful woman in the picture had been diagnosed with cancer just after they got married. Now hang with me here. This couple’s story is not all doom and gloom. If you haven’t read my post When to Persevere, When to Let Go, I’ll tell you that I very briefly mentioned I had cancer when I was 18 years old and that it filled me with a sense of purpose like nothing I’ve ever known. While it lasted for several years, I honestly can’t say that I have felt that kind of passion in a very long time. I have yearned and prayed for it to return, but it simply hasn’t. I sat down and read every one of their posts, and I must say that reading this couple’s story tonight brought back SO many memories and emotions. They were on fire for The Lord from day one of the diagnosis, and it had me remembering exactly what that felt like. I, too, experienced something very similar. One primary difference was that I was openly okay with whatever the outcome was to be. They, on the other hand, were confident she would beat it. What was the same, though, was how everything else in life all of a sudden shifted. They were so confident they had a calling to use their experience to be a source of light and inspiration to others. Their desire to have their situation be one that catapulted others to grow closer to Christ was just beautiful. I remember that feeling of living with such purpose. That crystal clear understanding of the reality that life is short and the only thing that matters is how you touch the lives and hearts of others. All the crap of life instantly falls to the wayside and you are suddenly on a mission to do as much good with the time you have left – however long that may be. To be overflowing with sheer gratitude every moment you are given. To see God at work and to see His beauty everywhere you turn. I wish I could say I faced my difficult marriage with the same aliveness, tenacity, and passion to be a light for The Lord! However, I didn’t a lot of the time. When I did love from the place of a higher calling, it was often with a very weary heart. I might have done things differently along the way had I been more keenly in touch with a burning desire to “leave good and and no bad”. Lord knows I tried, but I didn’t have the passion or energy behind it that enables a person to remain strong and persevere well during adversity. Regardless… it doesn’t change the outcome. And I know without a doubt that good has been, is, and will continue to unfold from my marriage.
While I am so sad for this woman’s husband who is now grieving the loss of her, whom he was only married to just over a year, I am glad that he was blessed with the gift of receiving so much love and support from others during such a difficult time. I’m most glad he was blessed with the gift of growing in his relationship with her and The Lord. They were able to literally see a multitude of ways they served as a blessing to others through the sharing of their lives and their love of Christ and each other. When you know you are contributing to something SO much bigger than yourself and are glorifying the Lord, it makes the hardships bearable and – as scripture even says – “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” James 1:2-4 (NIV)
As a result of reading their story, I have felt a momentary aliveness in the Lord and a sense of purpose again that I haven’t felt for such a very long time. I pray God will continue to grow this within me and will show me ways I can share Him with others by being a positive light and help to them. I believe it is this kind of impact the couple would be happy to know they inspired.