It was breathtaking.
34 teams gathered on Saturday, September 10, to add feet to the fight against ALS. Over $40,000 has been raised and is still rolling in. We were blessed to have family travel from all over Oregon and Idaho to join with us – and many people walked in other places just to show their support. The incredible ladies ministries team from Canby, Oregon – a group I spoke to last year about 10 days after the first shot was fired in this battle with ALS – brought a group of 11 ladies over to walk with us. The band, Elliot and my sweet son-in-law, Corey, drove nearly all night to get to the pancake breakfast and provide the dancin’ music. So much was done by so many, I just can’t begin to wrap my heart all the way around it – but please know that it has wrapped itself around me.
I was not just moved by the show of support on this big day, I was marked by it.
Several people asked me on Saturday what was going through my mind when I saw the sea of blue Team Stern shirts lined up and I just babbled some mindless answer like, ‘Blessed, loved, blahdeeblah.” It wasn’t blahdeeblah because I couldn’t think of words to say. It was that I couldn’t imagine that anyone would understand what was happening inside my heart, even if I had the right words and enough time to articulate it.
Seven months ago, three little letters spoken by a doctor in Portland flipped our whole world upside down. Saturday, what kept circling through my mind was the day that I sat down and – with fingers that felt like cement on the keyboard – typed the news of Steve’s diagnosis to the blog community that I have come to cherish so deeply. Tears rolled as I wrote a post called “Outcomes” – a post which dug to the depths of my theology and came up with only one answer: Jesus will come. He will redeem even this.
That’s what got me through the first few weeks when we were reeling and wondering if the ground beneath our feet would ever feel safe again. And even now, on the days when I fall on my face and question His ability to bring beauty from these ashes – this truth shows up and wins every time. He has come into our fight, and He hasn’t come alone.
I hope that as you read the words that I wrote on February 9, 2011 and see the photos from September 10, 2011, you will feel a little of what I felt on Saturday as I watched His promise become a stunning and unstoppable reality.
Emmanuel, God with us, came…and He looks a lot like you.
Outcomes – February, 2011
We have a diagnosis
Or as Steve calls it,
“The first day of the rest of my life…”
It’s name is ALS.
My heart is hurting in ways and places it has never hurt before
However (and this is a big however),
I didn’t know it would be like this
I didn’t know how His bringing beauty from ashes would work, exactly
I thought there would be a waiting period
First, sowing tears, then
after all grief is spent,
with a wide buffer of time and distance from the source of the heartache
could one expect a season of joy.
I was wrong.
For as surely as the sorrow is right here, right now,
so is the beauty,
It’s like a dance of joy in a rainstorm of tears
An odd juxtaposition, to be sure
it is truly
remarkable thing I have ever
For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8
Thank you, Buck Makinson, for the great photos. Thank you everyone else who loves us for being so like Jesus to us. Thank You, Jesus…for being who only You can be, and for being it so perfectly.