My last post touched on some of the world wide and personal struggles as of recently. There was a heavier struggle that was sorta the umbrella over all the rest for me personally and I knew it would deserve its own post.
A song I have listened to on repeat over the last few weeks is by Mercy Me. I’m not a huge Mercy Me fan – I don’t think I own any of their albums. But this particular song really spoke to me during a hard time in my extended family.
I know that I have shared a lot of songs recently but that’s what is churning in my heart and thus what ends up on here.
In March my first cousin, Allan, was diagnosed with ALS. I got to see first hand just how wicked this disease is and when I say wicked I mean absolutely terrible. Allan and his family are not just the cousins or aunt and uncle you see every decade and send polite Christmas cards to. When I think of my life and my family the members of the McDonald family are always there. Every holiday. Every birthday. Every special event. Every celebration. The birth of my children. My breast cancer surgeries. (Yes they traveled from Texas for those events). Allan really was more of a big brother to me and my sister. My aunt (his mom) and my mom are the best of friends. You get my point I guess.
Mark and I were able to visit Allan this past summer and how I wish we would’ve taken a picture that day. It was such a sweet time. The disease had already stolen his ability to walk and had restricted him to a wheelchair. It had stolen most of his speech. But he was still laughing and full of joy. We had the honor of laying hands on him and praying over him.
His wife and two children (13 & 10) adapted as fast as they could and as well as they could. His son learned how to shave him. His daughter fed him. His wife learned how to operate a handicapped vehicle and used a sling to help him get dressed. His dad bathed him. His mom cut his nails.
Like I said – it is a terrible disease.
We prayed God would heal him. We prayed for relief. We prayed for signs of improvement. And ultimately, October 21, God answered our prayers in heaven instead of earth. Allan was healed, relief was provided, and he improved fully to a glorified body.
Seven months. Too soon. Too fast.
Allan continued to go to church.
Allan listened to audio of the Bible in his room.
Allan wrote a message “don’t cry for me” to be read at his celebration of life service.
You see he and his wife (who is the strongest saint I have ever met by the way) trusted the Lord with their life. Read that again: with their life. Y’all know I have had a legitimate threat on my life. So I know what it is like to literally trust Jesus not just in my mind and heart but with my life. Allan walked that out. He lived that out.
I had the privilege of witnessing his dramatic life change over the last few years when his family decided to follow Jesus, get baptized, make some hard life change choices, go on mission trips, serve in the church, and impact A LOT of people.
Allan made it. He fulfilled what I hope to. What I see as the purpose of life. To live for Jesus until my very last breath.
So pray for my family because his physical absence is felt. However at peace we are and proud of the legacy Allan has left there are still gaps left in the road ahead.
I leave you with just one question – however cliche it may sound – do you have the hope of Jesus by knowing him personally and believing He is your Savior? Because I know that is what Allan would want you to answer.