Fingerprint Friday was started by Beki, at The Rusted Chain. It was inspired by the song by Steven Curtis Chapman that contains the line…”when I look at you, I can see the fingerprints of God.” To participate and/or visit all of the blogs that participate, go to the Fingerprint Friday post on Beki’s blog and follow the instructions.
My church family has been helping with a fundraising benefit to help with medical expenses for the family of a young girl named Emily Young. Emily is the niece of one our church members. She is a five year old who was diagnosed with anaplastic medulloblastoma just last year. Emily endured several rounds of radiation and chemotherapy. Then the cancer spread to her spine and the doctors told the family there was nothing more they could do for her. Today we learned that the doctors believe it has spread to her intestines and bone marrow. She is under hospice care at home with her family.
Emily and her family are my Fingerprint of God today.
I don’t know Emily’s mother personally because she lives in Tennessee. What I do know about her is that she brought her daughter to our church to have her anointed with oil and prayed over by our elders and the congregation. She knew about the prayer warriors in our church and she was praying for a miracle. I know that almost every day, she has something on her Facebook status that shows me her faith in God and her trust in Him. I know through her words and the photos she has shared with us, that it is her desire for Emily to have the best and happiest last days possible. I think of the sorrow, the agony, the sleeplessness, the waking to the same impossible reality, the unconditional love for her child and I marvel at her faithfulness to God and her trust as she prays to Him for Mercy, No Pain, No Fear!
I only recently met Emily’s aunt, Kim — we are a church of 800, so it is hard to know everyone. I met her in a women’s Bible study group. She came to my rescue one night when the Lord prompted me to share something with the group that was excruciating for me to share. She was the first to speak up and share her experience so that I would not be standing alone in the baring of my soul to these women, some of whom I barely knew. I know that God brought the two of us together to show me that I do not have to stand alone in shame and sorrow, He will provide what I need when I need it when I am obedient to Him. Kim’s presence and her words made the experience of my confession bearable. She didn’t know me at all, but she showed me the love of Christ. She shared her phone number with me and told me to call if I needed to talk. I know that God brought us together too because of Emily. I believe that He wanted my heart abundantly full of love for this precious family as I offered my tiny bit of service to this enormous project. I know that Kim loves the Lord with all of her heart and I know that she is looking to Him to keep strong for her family. I know that inside she must be experiencing excruciating pain, the magnitude of which I have never known and pray that I will never have to know. Yet, she offers up praises to God each day and stands as inspiration for those of us who watch helplessly, wondering if we could be that strong, if our faith would or could prevail in such circumstances. She tells us that Emily is being faithful. She reminds us to ask God to be faithful as we lift our prayers for Mercy, No Pain, No Fear!
I think of Emily. This time last year, she was a seemingly healthy and happy and beautiful 5 year old, going about her carefree, daily life and bringing joy and happiness to those around her.
I look at the photos of Emily in her hospital bed at home surrounded with toys and fancy pink tutus and crowns for the princess, that she truly is, and am astounded at how quickly this unexpected, life-altering-forever, change has occurred. She is beautiful still, but she is not healthy now and her life is not carefree as she depends on oxygen tubes to breathe and morphine to ease her pain, but she continues to bring joy and happiness to those around her. They are hanging on to each precious memory they can hold as they offer up their mantra to their faithful and loving God: Mercy, No Pain, No Fear!
What marvelous lessons we learn from the stories of the people and families who make these journeys through the valley that is cancer. Some have very happy endings of cures and long lives to live to the fullest on the mountain top and we praise God with gratitude for these happy endings and long lives. While others, like Emily’s story, leave us stunned and confused and lost in the valley as we grapple to understand how this terrible thing could happen. I thank God that my faith tells me and Emily and Emily’s family that Emily’s story also has a happy ending. Emily is going to where we all pray that we will, one day, go. She is going sooner than we like to think we should. She is going to her permanent home with the Lord. I believe that she will dance and sing with the angels. She will bask in the presence of the everlasting God: the One that created us, the One who died for us and the One whose spirit sustains us and who has promised to walk with us so that we never walk alone, through the valleys in our lives.
These stories that lift us, break our hearts and change us, all share a similarity but each is unique. Each has its own cast of characters, its own miracles, its own inspiration, its own unique ending and each will touch its own group of people who will never be the same for having lived through it, witnessed it, prayed about it, read about it or somehow heard about it. Each unique story becomes part of the tapestry that is the story of all humankind from the beginning of creation and which will live on because of its telling, long after the cast of characters has moved on.
I dedicate this post to Emily and her family and to all those who have prayed for them and lifted them up to the Father for comfort and peace, and to all those who have walked in the valley of cancer. You are all precious Fingerprints of God.