Where is the Lord?

I cried out to God for help;
I cried out to God to hear me.
When I was in distress, I sought the Lord;
at night I stretched out my untiring hands
and my soul refused to be comforted.
Will the Lord reject forever?
Will He never show His favor again?
Has His unfailing love vanished forever?
Has His promise failed for all time?
Has God forgotten to be merciful?
Has He in anger withheld His compassion?
Your ways, O God, are holy.
What god is so great as our God?
You are the God who performs miracles;
You display Your power among the peoples.
With Your mighty arm You redeemed Your people,
the descendants of Jacob and Joseph.

Psalm 77:1-2, 7-9, 13-15

So please take my mom home.  Take her out of this misery and suffering.  She just wants to be home with you, Jesus.  Please remember to be merciful and compassionate.  Please remember Your unfailing love, and don't forget Your faithful servant, Linda Johns.


Still here, still amazing

Just wanted to give a quick update on mom.  She is still with us, making it one day at a time, although the final stages are definitely progressing.  These are pictures from our family dinner a week and a half ago for my birthday, Fathers Day and my brother-in-law Allen's birthday.  Mom looks better in these pictures than she was feeling that night, and she's probably lost another 5-7 pounds since then.  She eats maybe a few bites a day, but has no appetite and is so dehydrated that she doesn't have enough saliva to chew and swallow very well.

Here she is with her girls... It's amazing how someone can look so beautiful despite so much pain she is in much of the time.

Here's our little family, with Wade and Allen.

Here is a lot of my mom's side of the family (missing half the cousins).  Over the past several weeks, all of the immediate relatives have come to see her for varying lengths of time.  This picture includes her dad (left, in red shirt), her sister (left in blue shirt), and her brother (middle in yellow shirt).  She has kept up amazingly well with the pace of all these visitors, not to mention the friends, pastors, Hospice nurses and everybody else who has cycled through the house.

~ She has also come to my house twice to look at my flowers and help me figure out what to plant and where.
~ She's been out in her yard spreading pine needles with my dad and showing Hillary and me what all the different plants are.
~ She's kept up (with my dad's help) with complicated schedules of at least 10 different medicines for pain, nausea, bowels, sleep and thyroid.
~ She has gone through closets, boxes and rooms with Hillary and me to make sure we know where things are and what has significance, etc.
~ She has run errands with neighbors and friends just to get out of the house.
~ One day she even told me she thought she would be able to drive if necessary... I told her, "Mom, you're on heavy doses of methadone and oxycodone - I think that's pretty much illegal."  
She is so strong, it truly amazes me every day.

And yet, despite all the things that she has still found the strength to do, as her condition worsens, and the pain and nausea continue, the most amazing thing is how much she longs for heaven.  Most people would be saying, "God, why are you doing this to me?" or "Please let me live a little longer."  She is saying, "God, why are you leaving me here so long?  Please just take me home!"  I know part of that is just wanting to be out of pain, but she is so confident in the Lord, has such a firm, unshakable foundation in Christ, she truly believes and exemplifies that "to die is gain" (Phil. 1:21).

"For while we are in this tent, we groan and are burdened, because we do not wish to be unclothed, but to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life.  Now it is God who has made us for this very purpose and has given us the Spirit as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come."  (2 Cor. 5:4-5)

I was so struck by that passage yesterday when my former youth pastor read it to mom.  Her body - what is mortal - is going to be swallowed up by LIFE, not death.  Hallelujah, praise be to God!



Many of you who read this got an email from me last week describing the situation going on with mom this past week or two.  But some of you may not have, so I thought I'd update the blog while I have a minute.

After a 4+ year battle with uterine cancer, which has included 4 surgeries, 2 summers of chemotherapy, 1 of radiation, a total pelvic exeneration (i.e. they took out half her intestines, her bladder and more), countless medications, needle sticks, hospital stays, CT and PET scans, IV drips, and the like...  the Lord has made it evident that He is going to take mom home very soon.

She went into the hospital on Memorial Day in excruciating pain, had another scan, and got the results 1 week ago that the cancer is growing fast, spreading, and starting to shut down her organs.  She is home now, with lots of pain medicine and Hospice care, and just spending however long she has with friends and family gathered around.

I've been off work last week and this week between jobs, which shows one small piece of God's perfect timing - that I could be with her during this time.  My dad has taken off work indefinitely, and my sister has been able to work partial days and see mom more too.  Many family members are flying in all this week to see her one more time, and so far she has been managing ok at home (on LOTS of meds).

My beautiful mom in the middle, with our family, at the beach last September.  This was shortly after the 5th recurrence of cancer, which we thought was going to be the last time at that point.  But God had another 9 months planned for her, and a new pair of drugs made that possible from then until now.  But the cancer has now outrun the drugs and God is completing the work He started in her, to bring her home to spend eternity with Him.

Mom and me at Christmas this past year.  We were so thankful to have one more Christmas with her, since last fall we didn't think she would make it that long.

Mom with Paisley when we picked her out around Thanksgiving '06.  She was so excited to give me my little girl for Christmas that year, and be a "grandma" to her :).

Right now my emotions are varied...  
I'm hit with waves of unbearable, desperate sadness.  
I go through times of sweeter mourning with mom or with family members, thinking of all the things we will remember about her and carry with us.  
I feel numb some of the time and can't even process what is happening.  
I remember to rejoice for mom, because she will soon be restored and made whole - free from all this pain, disease and crying - worshipping our Lord in His presence forever.  
I question how I am going to go through life without her, the person who knows me best and loves me most in this world.

I don't have much else to say right now, but I'm going to be treasuring every moment I have with my sweet mom, and knowing the Lord will bring us all through this, for His glory.