All around my sister's house were messages of hope. Some of them were inside the house, and one was hanging by the front door.
One thing that we could always hold onto, so long as Amy was alive, was that there would be another day. Hope that one day there would be a cure. Hope that all this was just a bad dream and we would all wake up and Amy would not have cancer.
But that type of hope no longer exists.
A year ago Amy and I were email back and forth and this is what she said, "1 Cor. - 'And now these three remain: faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these is love.' Faith and hope carried me this past year, but love is what is going to carry me this year." For her, she had moved past that part and into thelove part. Her faith was cemented that God had a plan and even if we did not understand it, it would come to fruition. She also knew that she had to extend love to some people that drove her up a wall - even though it was going to be hard.
And she did.
She extended love.
Webster defines hope as:
1. to cherish a desire with anticipation
2. to desire with expectation of obtainment
3. to expect with confidence
Psalm 39:7"And so, Lord, where do I put my hope? My only hope is in you."
Matthew "And his name will be the hope of all the world."
Romans 5:5"And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love."
Philippians 1:20 "For I fully expect and hope that I will never be ashamed, but that I will continue to be bold for Christ, as I have been in the past. And I trust that my life will bring honor to Christ, whether I live or die."
She lived Philippians 1:20. I shook so many hands and hugged so many people at my sister's funeral. My sister would lift EVERY ONE up and encourage them. Amy was very involved with the youth group in her church. She taught them and planned and went on the work camp trips, etc. On her last day she received a text message from one of her teens. A recent graduate, she had just endured the loss of a grandparent just one week before, Amy was there to console her and help in however she could.
She was the last one to "talk" to my sister.
Two days before that she was at the grocery store and giving everyone a smile! Her pain was immense. So much that I was not calling her because I knew it would be one more thing she had to "do" and I would rather her rest and heal. Her light, Christ's light, just shone from her.
(July 21, 2010 - two days before she passed)
I realize that everyone mourns in their own way. In some realm I feel I may have moved onto the "this isn't real" stage. I know she's gone. I can say she's gone. I haven't tried calling her...but if I look at her smiling face I can feel her.
I know that my sister just wants me to continue to be Christ-like in what I am doing. Whether that is improving my relationship with my kids (who are driving me up a wall), having breakfast with my widowed neighbor...but that I do everything with JOY and with a PURPOSE.
God is my hope.
I expect Him.
I have no fear that I will see my sister again. I have full security in that. My faith sustains me in that. My love for others will help me to continue on and to love.
She taught me that.