I haven’t written about Elliot in a while and I feel like it’s time.
I think of her multiple times throughout the day. I look at the sky, searching for the crosses that she always saw as “a sign from God.” The other day I was studying the clouds when I thought, “God, why won’t you give me just one Elliot sky cross?” Soon after, it’s as if my eyes were open to everything in front of me and I saw the majesty of His handiwork.
It occurred to me that I was expecting far too little from a God who is capable of so much more. Look at this sky and the earth below it! This is the artist who I so often times try to fit into the box of emotional perception when clearly He cannot be contained.
Why do I ask for an open door when He can knock down a wall? Why do I expect a morsel when I’m a guest at the feast? Why do I contemplate this earth when He has promised me Heaven?
Chris and I took the boys to a farm last week and I figured I should take my camera as I haven’t been to a farm since I was about 7. I thought maybe I could get some cool captures. What I found was tangible evidence that God knows my name, He cares about me, and He is able to do exceedingly and abundantly above all I could ever ask or think.
He didn’t have to use words. He used the beautiful simplicity of nature and the magnificent designs of His hands. He revealed more to me that day, on a farm, than He has in years. Or maybe I was just more open to it than I have been in years? Though there are many examples, I chose a few to share with you.
Worry, stress, anxiety…have always been a struggle for me. Truly, I think I was stressed out upon my delivery and ever since.
I felt silly when looking at this cow. Does she look worried?
No. She is completely relaxed and basking in the comfort of her Creator’s faithfulness. She doesn’t worry about tomorrow. She rolls in the grass completely oblivious to the storm clouds forming overhead. Because, what purpose is there in worry?
So then how much less do I have to worry? If a cow, one of the least intelligent animals on earth, can lie down in the field, completely exposed to all of the elements, surely I can trust my Heavenly Father.
Do I not put so much more into the life of my children…if they let me? Upon comparison, the two don’t even come close.
Have I not told you, be more like this…childlike. Relish the moments of pure unadulterated bliss.
How can I make it any more clear? I have painted the sky, using vibrant colors you have never seen, I have placed my creation before you to enjoy. What more do You need? How much is enough?”
While reading the latest entry on Elliot’s Caring Bridge site, one of the main excerpts her father wrote that stood out to me was, “I often asked myself, “What did I expect God to do?” “What did I expect the doctors to be able to do?” “What did I expect us to do as we dealt with a monster we could not see (except on a scan, and even then only if it were big enough to ‘show up’).”
So often I get caught up in my unrealistic expectations. “God, I know you have formed everything from nothing and yet my worldly expectations have not been met to my liking.” (That’s rather embarrassing to write out for you to read.)
There are monster’s all around. They can be as big or as small as we allow them to be. We can be shaken and paralyzed by their threat or we can open our hands to the heavens saying, “Here. I don’t want this. I can’t handle it anyway. Here. God, I’m going to rest a while in Your presence with the utmost confidence that, (as Elliot would say), You’ve got this.”
Elliot wrote in an email to her dad last fall, “…the C-word for me is not cancer, it’s Christ.”
She understood the faithfulness of an unexplainable God. She embraced the mystery of heaven. She loved as if nothing else mattered. It doesn’t, does it? When it all comes down to recognizing what truly matters, it’s how we love.
One day I will write a letter to her children and tell them of the incredible faith and perseverance that their mother so gracefully displayed. I will tell them of her love and commitment…of her loyalty…the way she loved. I will tell them what an extraordinary woman she is and that because of her, there will be more people in heaven. I will tell them that I am no longer afraid of death…because of the way she courageously met it after living a life of faithfulness.
“Elliot is more alive today than she ever was living in Vestavia Hills, Alabama.” I agree with you, Ed. And her legacy will live on long after we are gone.