Two years ago today I experienced death in a way I never have before. I stood next to my sweet friend Casey as she fought for her breathes and I saw just how terrible cancer is. I will never forget that day because I captured with my own eyes a weak mortal body that death wanted the victory, but I was able to also see the Holy Spirit rush in and WIN the victory. “Oh death where is your sting?”
Little did I know that God allowed me to walk that journey with my sweet friend and experience just how hard death is so that I could stand just a few months later in a third world country where death is common and be able to know the pain of watching a friend go to be with Jesus. It taught me more than I could ever imagine. It taught me to know suffering and the Sovereignty of God. That all things pass through His hands first, the good and the bad. So when I am comforting a family, a wife, a friend, or a child that has lost a loved one…I go back to this day.
I pray as you read what He did for me, you will also know He does the same for you. Casey, I miss you still. So thankful for Ashlyn…her smile is the exact replica of yours and it makes my heart feel joy every time I get to see her. I love you and I thank you for loving me. I’ll see you soon my friend..in the presence of our Lord. Come quickly, Lord, Come quickly.
I was so upset and disappointed to get on a flight to go to Africa, only to have to turn around and come back home due to the volcano is Iceland. I did NOT understand why God would allow our team to get prepared and head over, only to have to let people in Africa down and wonder what the reason was. Jesus, who is so precious to give us the desires of our hearts…not only sent me back to Austin, but I was going to be missing a weeklong meeting in Lubbock, so because my trip got cancelled I went to Lubbock to work for the week. On Monday Casey had the stroke and I was able to spend Monday-Thursday with her. He took care of the smallest details and gave me the most precious gift I have ever received, being able to hand my friend over to our Father.
Casey fought with incredible strength until her last breath. For over 2 hours I along with her parents and sweet boyfriend and another best friend stood beside her bed and prayed over her as she prepared to meet Jesus. At one point it was just her other best friend Ann and I in the room with her and I asked her if she could hear and understand me to squeeze my hand and she did. I was able to tell her how much I loved her and what an inspiration of strength and courage she is, I got to tell her to go home and meet Jesus but to tell him to hurry and come get us as well. To see her eyes, made me wish more than anything that I could see what she was seeing!! About 6:00pm she had finally calmed down and was starting to sleep…I was about to leave when her dad asked that I would pray over her again…and so I did, and it was about 15 minutes later she left this earth. We had Chris Tomlin playing all day and when she passed “Amazing Grace, My chains are gone” was playing. I was able to go back into the room after the doctors left and I was very leery to go but I am so glad I did. It was just her and I and there is no words to describe my last moment in that room with her body…this is what was playing in the background,
“There is an endless song
Echoes in my soul
I hear the music ring
And though the storms may come
I am holding on
To the rock I cling
How can I keep from singing Your praise
How can I ever say enough
How amazing is Your love
How can I keep from shouting Your name
I know I am loved by the King
And it makes my heart want to sing
I will lift my eyes
In the darkest night
For I know my Savior lives
And I will walk with You
Knowing You’ll see me through
And sing the songs You give
How can I keep from singing your praise? How can I ever say enough, how amazing is your love? How can I keep from shouting your name? I know i am loved by the king, and it makes my heart want to sing
I can sing in the troubled times
Sing when I win
I can sing when I lose my step
And fall down again
I can sing ‘cause You pick me up
Sing ‘cause You’re there
I can sing ‘cause You hear me, Lord
When I call to You in prayer
I can sing with my last breath
Sing for I know
That I’ll sing with the angels
And the saints around the throne
I sat there with her earthly body and it was overwhelming to hear this song playing and knowing that 5 minutes before she was here with us and now she was singing with the saints and angels around the throne. I could not get my head around it, and more than ever I wanted to talk to her to see what she saw, how He came for her and see her in her healing. Casey texted me just over a month ago saying..”I don’t believe God is done with me yet, I believe He is going to heal me” well He healed her in the fullest and at her funeral yesterday…He was not done with her story.
She left a precious piece of her here, her daughter Ashlyn…I watched her during the service yesterday and with a child like faith she sang at the top of her lungs when we sang “Amazing Grace” and cried when the slide show of her and Casey was played. She expressed yesterday that she wants to be baptized because she wants to be able to go and be with her mommy. He is so sweet…even in the storm.
I have learned so much….the value of friendship and how God really does care beyond our imagination about the desires of our hearts, that he would literally shake mountains for me to be in His presence with my sweet friend when she made it Home.
Thank you all for praying and I ask you continue to pray for Casey’s parents and Ashlyn in the coming days and years…I am now even more ready and excited to hear the trumpets, Casey and I will have a lot to catch up on!
Be encouraged…for He is in the details and He comes for us, always.