This post is a tribute to a woman who I have never met in person, but whose story has forever changed my own. Her name is Erica and she died yesterday.
Erica leaves behind three beautiful young children and a wonderful husband.
Her life was not easy, her burden was not lite. Yet she brought joy and laughter to so many, even up until the very end of her life here on this earth.
I never would have known Erica without God orchestrating events as only He can. There is so much about her life and legacy that I would love to share, but for today I simply want to share a letter I sent to her just eight days ago.
After learning of this brave young mother’s 4 year battle with cancer, our small woman’s community Bible study began praying diligently for her and her family. A few weeks later I felt God leading me to write to her about her fears of leaving her family, her anger at the situation, and her questions of whether or not her life even mattered.
I was a little nervous to send the letter. I didn’t want to make anything worse. Yet, a friend urged me to send it and I am so glad I did.
Erica sent me a message after reading it and said that more than anything else she hopes her life and her story will help even just one person.
So with that goal in mind I would like to share this letter and ask God to use it to speak to other’s hearts as well….to speak for Erica….to speak in honor of one whose life mattered greatly.
Hug your loved ones tight tonight. Tell them you love them. Show them you care about them. And thank God for every moment you have with them.
I don’t know you but I pray for you often. I’ve never seen you but my eyes fill with tears, when I think of you. Tears, not of sorrow, but of joy. You have touched my heart so deeply. Your story has affected my own. I don’t know you, but I feel changed by you. Changed for the better. Changed in my desire to pray for those I don’t know. Changed in my passion for those who are hurting. Changed in my complacency—motivated to stop wasting time on meaningless pursuits and instead use that time to pray for others, to engage in meaningful activities with those I love and with those who need to know they are loved.
I only know a fraction of your story, and yet it has made a lasting impression on me.
I was told that you fear your life has not mattered, will not matter. Please know that is a lie—crafted and spoken by the author of lies. A lie meant to paralyze you, keep you captive, and steal your joy. A lie meant to destroy and diminish. A lie designed to keep you from discovering the truth.
Truth. What a beautiful word. Truth. Life giving, life sustaining truth. Truth – God’s Word revealed to humans; things as they truly are; things as they should truly be.
Truth shines its light into darkness and the darkness flees.
Lies hold captive. Truth frees.
Lies destroy. Truth makes new.
Lies defeat. Truth builds up.
You matter because you were made by the Author of Truth.
You matter because you are loved by Love Himself.
Your life matters because it was given to you by The Creator.
Your life matters because it is your story—which does not end when you draw your last breath. No, this life is just the prelude to the life to come. This life here on earth is what allows us to enter into life as it should be, life with Him.
You matter because you were made by God, redeemed by Jesus, and indwelled with the Holy Spirit.
Your life will go on through those you have loved and you have loved you. Your legacy will remain on this earth, affecting people long after you have moved on to Perfect Life.
Legacy. A word much like truth. Legacy—a lasting memory. A part of our hearts we leave behind.
Your legacy is your family. Your husband. Your precious children. Your WALK sisters whom you have touched and encouraged. Your friends. Your prayers.
Did you know that prayers never die? The Bible describes prayer as incense that continually flows before God (Revelation 5:8). The prayers you have prayed over your children will last for eternity, continually being brought before God. Your prayers will never end, never die, never diminish.
Every time you pray for your children and husband to have comfort and strength, you are leaving a legacy. Every time you cry out to God on their behalf, you are leaving a legacy.
Maybe you are angry with God. Maybe you are confused. That is ok. It is ok. He knows. He understands. He loves. He holds. He is big enough and strong enough to take it.
Job questioned God. David questioned God—he got down right angry with God sometimes. Moses questioned God. But you know what? God took it. He listened. He loved. And He helped them.
Sweet Erica, you have been wounded by those who should have spoken loving truth to you. They failed you. Medicine has failed you. Health has failed you. But God has not failed you.
The One who wept outside of Lazarus’ tomb, weeps over your illness. Sin seeks to destroy what God creates. Sin, sickness, pain were not God’s plan. He could stop them, yes. But He does not. This is hard to understand, hard to accept. But it is the way of life…for now. Instead of stopping sin, instead of healing all sickness and righting all wrongs, God allows it for awhile. Yet, He does not allow it without first holding us through it. He allows the storms to swell, but He holds us firm through them. Just as He is holding you. And just as He is holding your children and your husband.
And oh how He surely longs for the day when He will redeem all that sin has destroyed.
He is with you even now. He is using you even now. He loves you even now.
I wish I could do something practical for you like laundry or cleaning or fix your family a meal. But since I cannot, I will offer you what I can: my prayers, my love and my friendship. Isn’t it amazing how God can unite two hearts who have never met or spoken. I am so thankful for you!
It is an honor to pray for you and to “know” you in some way. Please know that you are loved by many, and by God most of all.
And you are being prayed for—you and your entire family. You are not alone—never ever alone.
Until we meet in Heaven,