This post is #163 in a year-long series ... Through this series of posts I plan to share our family's experiences during our 17-year-old daughter's year-long battle with brain cancer, which began in February of 2008. My desire is to process through the events of that year from the perspective that a decade of time has brought ... for myself, really. But if you'd like to follow along, you're welcome to join me.
January 17, 2009
Hannah liked nothing better than to have her whole family together ... and ten years ago today, she got that opportunity. Brad's parents, his brothers and sister and their spouses, and all of Hannah's cousins on that side of the family, including her newest cousin Faith who we were meeting for the first time, came to our house for the weekend. It was crowded and loud and messy, but we were together. No one said it out loud, but there was certainly an awareness that this could be the last time the entire Sullivan family would be together.
Hannah initially did not want to hold baby Faith. She was not confident of her strength or her balance, and with her low vision, she was afraid she might drop her. But once she got that baby in her arms, their bond was instant. It's a memory we'll always treasure.
Just a couple weeks prior to this visit, the four of us had watched the movie "Facing the Giants" together.. We had seen it before, when it was in the theaters, but when we watched the DVD at home during this season of our lives, the movie seemed to take on new meaning. The overarching themes of God's sovereignty in the uncertainties of life, never giving up, and facing our fears in His strength were very timely.
While everyone was at our house that weekend, Hannah announced that she wanted all of us to watch that movie together. We tried to decline, citing lack of space and the difficulty of getting everyone focused on watching a movie most of them had already seen in the middle of the afternoon. But she was insistent ... It was a good movie and we all must watch it together, no exceptions. Hannah was not someone who typically demanded to get her way, and we wanted to honor her request. So we dragged several dining room table chairs into the already-crowded living room and started the DVD. Just a few minutes into the movie she was sound asleep in the recliner, but no one dared get up and seek more comfortable seating in another room. We all watched that movie together as she requested and absorbed the messages it contained:
"If we win, we praise Him. And if we lose, we praise Him. Either way we honor Him with our actions and our attitudes."
"I resolve to give God everything I’ve got, then I’ll leave the results up to Him."
"Your job is to do the best you can, and leave the rest up to God."
I believed then, and I still believe now, that Hannah wanted us to hear those messages about trusting a sovereign God no matter what the results.
If we win, we praise Him. And if we lose, we praise Him.
A conscious choice we were facing daily at this point in Hannah's journey ... By His grace alone (not through any strength of our own), we determined that we would praise Him, win or lose.