A month before Bill went to heaven, he sent me an email. The top line read:
“If I go home:
Don’t think for a minute that God failed us! You know how faithful God has been.”
He continued with a list of things that I needed to take care of (his book, his funeral, etc.), but all I could see and hear were his words above. These words have replayed over and over in my mind since running across this email. God knew I needed to read these words as I navigated through the grieving process. He knew I would question His sovereignty and that I needed to remember His faithfulness throughout the past 24 years. He made provision in all areas of our life as we walked through the valley of the shadow of death. Bill WAS a miracle! The doctors gave him a 3-5-year death sentence, but God added 20 more years to his life!
Did God fail us? No, He didn’t fail us. Is God still faithful? Yes, He is.
Because of the loving devotion of the LORD, we are not consumed, for His mercies never fail. They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness! (Lamentations 3:22-23)
The day after Bill went home, I sat in my living room alone for the first time in years, not knowing what to do with myself. The silence in our home that night was so loud as I sat there staring out the window. I couldn’t believe that Bill was gone. I asked God to talk to me. I closed my eyes and waited. I saw myself pushing Bill over the finish line in his wheelchair. I am left standing there as I watched him slowly disappear. With tears running down my face, I realized that I had been running Bill’s race beside him for 24 years. It was our race together. We were a team. A team that included Jesus as the cord that held us together to move forward for His glory. That marathon was finished.
Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken. (Ecclesiastes 4:12)
I’m not sure what my race without Bill beside me looks like, but I do know that I want to finish strong as Bill did. I always told Bill he reminded me of Paul. Metaphorically, Bill was imprisoned inside his body for 24 years. They both used their time in prison to encourage others. They kept the faith and didn’t give up no matter how tough life got.
I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me but also to all who have longed for his appearing. (2 Timothy 4:7-8)
Bill allowed God’s grace to carry him so he could be an example to all of us that God’s grace is sufficient. Now, I must let God’s grace hold me as I figure out the race without Bill beside me.
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses so that Christ’s power may rest on me. (2 Corinthians 12:9)
I have cried more in the past five months than I have in my entire life. I don’t think I allowed myself to grieve during his illness like I should have, so now I mourn the loss of his absence and all the other losses that ALS took from him and our family. God is healing my heart each day as I put my trust in Him. He said he’d never leave us. He said he’d direct our path. So, I wait on Him.
Wait on the Lord; Be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart; Wait, I say, on the Lord! (Psalms 27:14)
The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” (Deuteronomy 31:8)
Has God failed us? No, He hasn’t. Is God still faithful? Yes, He is.
My prayer is that Bill’s words will help someone else as much as they did me.
“Don’t think for a minute that God failed us (you)! You know how faithful God has been.”
Thank you for all the beautiful and encouraging words, prayers and virtual hugs. We feel so loved and comforted and will treasure each one of these sentiments for days to come. Each comment, text and tribute has been a source of joy that has brought me to tears over and over again.
The funeral can be re-played at a later time and will be posted here as soon as it is uploaded. Thank you for being together with us in spirit.
With a grateful heart,
Dearest faithful followers of Unshakable Hope,
It’s with a heavy heart that I inform you that Bill has finished the race that was set before him. He has fought the good fight of faith, and is now receiving his reward.
The heavy heart is only because of the hole that will be left in my heart, and the hearts of everyone that was lucky enough to share life with him.
I’m happy that he is where he has longed to be. Shortly before passing, he told us that he was excited to go home. We are grateful he is now in his eternal home praising God with a body that’s totally healed of the disease that has so ravished his body.
Thank you to all who read his blog, posted encouraging comments, prayed (some did this daily), supported us financially, and loved us.
I can’t put into words the gratitude in my heart.
Mary and family
This will be the shortest post I’ve written. It’s a post I never expected to write because I didn’t expect to be alive this Christmas.
Of my more than twenty-four years with ALS, the last month has been the toughest. Beginning around Thanksgiving, my breathing went from bad to worse. I fought so hard to write my previous post about the victory over death through Christ, thinking it would be my final post.
It got to the point where I couldn’t sit up to look at my computer, let alone read or reply to emails or comments on my blog. Mary signed in and read my email to me. I wanted nothing to do with TV, so I laid back and listened to faith-building YouTube videos or had Mary read to me. It’s probably too much information, but my body couldn’t tolerate the formula for my feeding tube, so I pretty much quit eating altogether. My skinny body continued to deteriorate. I was fading fast.
Our daughters, Lauren and Leah, came in to help Mary make funeral plans. I was at peace and so ready to leave this emaciated old body behind. There were three or four nights that I just knew would be my last. But, like in the movie Groundhog Day, I’d wake up in the morning trapped! Then, I finally figured out the reason for my waking up those mornings I didn’t expect to – IT IS YOUR FAULT! I’m referring to all of you who have been praying for me. I don’t know what today or tomorrow holds, but it looks like, due to the powerful prayers of my family and friends, I’ll get to spend another Christmas with our kids and grandkids.
THANK YOU and MERRY CHRISTMAS!
“The angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people; for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.” (Luke 2:10-11).