On a very personal note, most of you have heard about our recent heartbreak. For those who have not, I'll try to be brief. For the Younce/Haase family, December 2017 was much like what C.S. Lewis wrote in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe: "Always winter, but never Christmas." Both my mom and my sister-in-law Tara spent Christmas in hospitals. Mom finally returned to her earthly home on her birthday (December 29th) while Tara went to her heavenly home on December 31st.
Tara was only 42 years old. She was not sick for long. She went to the ER on December 9th with fatigue and pain in her right side. We all thought it would be appendicitis or her gallbladder. We never imagined that we would hear the word cancer. Her whole upper Gastrointestinal system was completely covered in cancer - she never got a fighting chance. The journey was brutal but quick. You can read a detailed account HERE on our Facebook page, posts from December 16, 17, 21, 29 and January 1. To read her obituary & to see the slideshow we played at her funeral, click HERE.
I was home with my family through this process of letting go again. As tough as it was, I am thankful to God for allowing us all to be together. Just hours before Tara took her last breath, I told the family that I fully believed that God could look her way right now and could raise her up at that moment. If He did, she would be walking her dogs tonight. And if God did raise her up, we would praise Him. But I wondered that if God decided to raise her up to a new and fuller life in His eternal love, would I be able to praise Him then? It was an honest question. At that moment, we all held hands and did something I will never forget: we praised God.
Through heartbreak and tears, we praised our God who does all things well. I am not from the emotional worship form of Christian traditions. So to express praise in that moment of real truth was a gift from God to prepare our hearts to let go. Even the faith and the praise is a gift from a loving Father. He gives those types of gifts to the broken, needy and helpless. That was who we were at that moment and honestly, that is who we always are at every moment. God, please forgive my arrogance and pride to think that I could ever know what is best at any time in my life.
A phrase kept coming to my mind in the darkness of the night: "He is making all things new." I don't know how, I don't know when, but God is making all things new. Anything good, true and lasting has never come my way because I have changed. No, rather something had to be taken away, something had to die. It feels like death. And in this moment, it was death. But our God is faithful and He has the eternal view that we do not have in these moments. He does not see moments in time - He sees all of time in one moment. He takes what is broken or meant for harm and makes something wonderful and new.
He is the creator and that's what He does - He creates! You thought all the creation stuff ended back with Adam and Eve? No way! Our God specializes in "New Things." Just now are we starting to trace the unseen hand of God in new ways.
In the midst of all our hurt, I had to laugh at my niece Lacy Younce. I heard her listening to our new song "Clear Skies" on YouTube. I know she loves me, but I have never heard her say anything about our music. She is only 13, so I understand: it's not her style, I get it. She didn't mean this the way it sounded, but with her blue eyes blazing, she looked at me and said, "I really like this song! This is the first thing you've made that I like!" Ha ha - I was dying laughing!
It's a new song and it was THIS SONG, not the older songs, that connected with her. That's one of the reasons we keep making new music. We have old things we need to say in a new way and we know there are new ears, hearts, and minds out there who need to hear it for themselves for the first time in a new way.
We all have our favorite old memories, songs, and traditions. Let me encourage you to not stop there. As you hold on to them, make new memories! Add a new song to the soundtrack of your life. Let go of the old weight, chains, and traditions that keep you a prisoner of fear for what tomorrow holds. Your future is bright. Though we weep, mourn, and hurt, it will not always be that way.
New things are happening! Yes, I see that "Clear Skies" are coming. This is our hope and promise from Christ Himself. "He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the former things have passed away. And the One seated on the throne said, 'Behold, I make all things new.'" (Revelation 21:4-5)
My prayer: Come, Lord Jesus, and make all things new in me as I await your return. Where there is bitterness, competitiveness, selfish ambition, needless consumption or anything else that is false, let the dying start so that I may live that which is eternal NOW. Amen.