For the first time in nearly two weeks, I am sitting on my couch once more. The reality of what my family has just endured over the last weeks–the last two years–is beginning to settle in. Most reading these words will already know our story, but I will tell it again for anyone who does not.
Over two years ago my Grandfather, my Papa, lost his eye sight to temporal arteritis. Almost one year ago he was diagnosed with leukemia. Monday, we buried him.
It can probably go without being said that the las
t two weeks has been a whirlwind. From driving back and forth to the hospital to planning a sweet good-bye, we have been so blessed to be surrounded by loved ones and covered in prayer. I have gotten an amazing look at a fifty-seven year marriage centered on Jesus. The coming days and weeks will be hard. They will especially be hard for my Grandma and Aunt Leilani. But our God has us. He always has and always will.
One person who was particularly a blessing this week was my sweet husband, Austin. Although his time in this family has been short, I watched him step up the plate and comfort us well in a time of grief. I hope that I can follow the example he set before me, the same one Jesus set before him.
If your spouse or even just someone you love is hurting, I would really encourage you to follow these steps of action Austin chose to take this week. His love was not only a testament of how to be a faithful and loving spouse, but it was also picture of Jesus’s love for His children.
Stop over thinking it. Just listen.
Although Austin did not quite understand the pain my family was feeling, he never once belittled it. That meant the world to me.
When someone we love is going through something hard, it can be so easy to try to make them feel better by putting “everything in perspective”. However, when we do not consider that they are going through the grieving process, we can easily forget to just be with the family. In John 11 when Lazarus had just died, Jesus did not push away his sisters’ pain even though Jesus knew this was not end of the story: Lazarus would soon be alive once again. Yet he still chose to weep with the family. He embraced the pain they were feeling. He listened to their sorrows. He loved on them.
To the best of your ability, do what he/she asks.
Each day my Papa was in the hospital on the last week, I rode with my grandmother to the hospital where we sat with him all day. As difficult as it was to watch him deteriorate, I would not trade that week for the world. There was an emotional point of my week, however, that I asked Austin to drive to be with me in the evenings after work. So he did. He drove an hour and forty-five minutes each day to and from work so that I could decompress with him in the evenings.
I pray that I have the strength and the overwhelming love to do hard things on the days Austin hurts–even if it inconveniences me. He will never know how much that meant to me, but I will always be grateful.
Cover your partner in prayer.
Oh how we felt the prayer this week. Especially within our family. If you were someone praying for us, thank you so much. You have no idea what it meant.
At the end of each night, my aunt came up stairs and asked us to pray as a family. Austin stepped up every time. I cannot quite describe how it felt, but I do know that He prayed out loud the things that the lump in my throat would not often allow me to. When my husband asked Jesus to grant us peace and thanked Him for the legacy of my Papa, there was a peace that washed over me like nothing I felt throughout the week. It was a symbol of Christ interceding on His church’s behalf.
When someone we love hurts, let us pray. Let us pray out loud. Let us pray often. We know the end of the story already. Jesus is King and will reign eternally. But friends this world is broken right now. When our hearts physically hurt, we are reminded that eternity with our Savior surrounded by our loved ones is what harmony is suppose to be. It will be. Yet we are here right now, and in these moments we do not want to be.
I am so glad that the veil was torn on the night Jesus died.
He provided a way we can have conversation with him. We can ask Him to give us His desires and to grant peace when we do not understand His will. By watching my husband be obedient in that this week, I have gotten an up-close personal glimpse of what our personal relationship with God is suppose to look like. I am grateful for that picture today.
Take the next step in serving one another.
From getting me water to simply holding me during the funeral, my husband showed me what it looks like to serve. He loved on my Grandma. He tolerated my family’s crude bodily function jokes (they’re trying to break him in). He laughed with us when he didn’t quite get the jokes. He cried with us when he saw our hearts break. He allowed himself to grow comfortable in uncomfortable at times.
For right now we are here. We are living in a broken, sad world. But our Jesus stepped out of his comfort zone to serve us in the biggest way possible. He stepped off His throne to come to this earth and be mocked, scorned, and beaten. He watched His loved ones hurt and die. He endured the worst kind of death imaginable all so we might have life.
While we cannot possibly emulate that kind of love perfectly, we can absolutely try. We can seek to love and serve here with the attitude that we might not get anything in return. We can make trips to Walmart to buy mouth wash and get pictures printed. We can take the trash out and move the cars. We can do all the little things that others just don’t want to that another’s hurt might be minimized. That is what my husband did for me and my family this week.
No, he is not perfect. He will never be. But his sacrifices this week did what I try to convey in this blog: they served as a picture of Christ’s relationship with His Bride, His Church.
This week, consider how you might serve someone. If you are married, serve your spouse. If you are single, serve your friends. If you are anyone, you know that there are people around you hurting. You might not understand that hurt. You might not share that hurt. Yet Jesus served people who were enduring the pains of this world. That is how He so often reveals Himself and all of His glory to people. Let us be a small part of that story by seeking to reflect His love, His service, and His faithfulness.