Starting from Scratch When You're Single Again
- Tuesday, January 20, 2009
A conversation with Janet Leck
And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus. —Philippians 4:19
I sat in the quiet of my condo, on the porch overlooking the nature preserve. All of creation lay before me. I needed a break because I had been floundering in a pile of bills to pay and tasks to do all morning. My petition for patience and guidance grew from my new station in life—on my own.
Talking to God was easy, and I trusted that He was listening. Still, He was not forthcoming with answers. Not right then. But later in the day, the wisdom of His Spirit seemed near. I heard one word: “Simplify!”
When I questioned what I had heard, the only response was: “Simplify! Simplify! Simplify!”
D’Arcy (pronounced Darcy) and I had been married for more than fifty years when he was diagnosed with prostate cancer. We prayed for healing and believed God would provide it through faith and medical treatment. So his doctors administered radiation therapy, and the tumor’s progress slowed for a little while. But then the cancer crept into his bones. Throughout the ordeal, D’Arcy continued to lead a weekly Bible study for men at a nearby prison. He had served as the leader for nearly twenty-five years and hated the thought of giving it up.
Our prayers continued, but the cancer stepped up its relentless march. It wrapped itself around his spinal column until he couldn’t walk. Soon he was dependent on a wheelchair and too tired to continue his ministry.
Then one day he could no longer get out of bed. After a period of time in the hospital, we arranged for hospice care so he could be at home. “You know,” he said, “I think the healing the Lord has in mind for me is divine and eternal restoration. He is going to take this cancer-ridden body with all its limitations and let me trade it in for a vibrant, eternal body.”
He said the words with great peace. I squeezed his hand and raised it to my lips.
Then he said, “The car needs an oil change.”
The car needs an oil change? It seemed absurd. But D’Arcy’s sense of responsibility had taken over. He was caring for me.
“Would you get something for me to write with, please?” he asked. Still numb from his oil change announcement, I walked down the hall and into our home office to grab a tablet and pen. I wondered why he wanted it. When I returned to the bedroom, he scooted himself up in bed and reached for the pen and paper. With barely enough strength to sit, he started a list.
I smoothed his rumpled hair and glanced at the pad as he wrote. Slowly and with great effort, he itemized the household bills. “These are the first ones you need to pay,” he said, pointing.
I sat on the edge of the bed with the list in my hand and faced my own denial. These were the bills I needed to pay, meaning he would not be here. His stoic acceptance helped me face the truth. Now I knew he would die.
The writing exhausted D’Arcy, and he fell asleep. I slipped the pen from his fingers and covered his bare arm. Then I picked up my Bible and turned to a New Testament verse that had so often encouraged me during rough times: “I can do everything through him who gives me strength” (Phil. 4:13). I prayed:
Oh, Lord, please give me strength. Give me the love and grace I need to serve D’Arcy until he goes home to You.
A few days later I told D’Arcy it was April 28. I wanted to see if the date held any significance for him. He smiled and whispered, “It’s our fifty-first anniversary, isn’t it?” I nodded and gave him a kiss.
Three days later, D’Arcy traded in his cancer-ridden body for a perfectly healed one that would serve him for eternity.
During those first difficult months after his death, I was so thankful for the times D’Arcy and I had spent together in God’s Word. Two years before his death we had studied Revelation, the last book of the New Testament. One passage in particular brought me great comfort because it describes what Christians experience when they get to heaven.
They are before the throne of God and serve him day and night in his temple; and he who sits on the throne will spread his tent over them. Never again will they hunger; never again will they thirst. The sun will not beat upon them, nor any scorching heat. For the Lamb at the center of the throne will be their shepherd; he will lead them to springs of living water. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes. —Revelation 7:15–17
I could picture D’Arcy in heaven near the throne of the Almighty—safe and joyous under God’s protective tent. Our heavenly Father had provided for my husband, and now, in the early days after his death, I wondered how He would provide for me. That’s when the prompting of the Holy Spirit took hold with one word: “Simplify!”
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