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  • Writer's pictureSarah Keeling

Suzanne's Even If Story

My dear friend Suzanne, compassionate Jesus follower, business savvy leader, and mom to a herd of kids is sharing her "Even If" story. I know you'll be impacted and encouraged by her declaration to praise God through her grief. My sister, brother, and I had one of those moments in time 2 months ago that became burned in our memories forever when we received a call one evening that our father was in the hospital where it was discovered had a brain tumor. I was sitting outside when I received the call, where I happen to feel closest to God, and I could physically feel the reality of the situation wash over me. My sister and I were a seven hour car ride away from him and he was set to have surgery the next morning at 11:00 AM. We did not know the type or severity of the tumor and my sister and I thought we would spend the rest of the evening packing, getting things lined out to leave our families for a few days, and then start driving to him at 5:00 AM the morning. However, when my sister arrived to pick me up she said she woke up during the night with a strong feeling that we should buy plane tickets and fly instead of driving. We headed to the airport and arrived a few short hours later at the ICU with 40 minutes to visit with our father before they wheeled him off to surgery. After surgery we were told the diagnosis was a very rare, aggressive, fast growing and untreatable tumor. The news was life altering and it felt as though the world had stopped. That night I found myself alone in our hotel room for a few minutes before I headed back to stay in the ICU and I cried out to the Lord. I knew no one had been “healed” from this type of tumor before, but I boldly pleaded with God to give my father full healing and restoration of health. I told Him I knew it had never been done, but I also knew He could make it happen! I quoted verses through the tear soaked prayer.

When I stopped praying for a moment out of pure exhaustion, I found myself in a perfectly quiet hotel room and clear as a bell heard the Lord say, "He will be healed in heaven." It stopped me in my tracks. I was shocked, in awe, and was filled with the most remarkable peace. I didn't get the response I wanted, but I heard my LORD and that most definitely left me speechless. The following days were an agonizing roller coaster. While he was able to communicate through hand movements, tapping his cheek for a kiss and such, our father never fully woke up again and he passed away a week and a half later in the most painful yet beautiful moment with hands reached up in praise to his Lord. As I try to process what happened those days, I feel so blessed and grateful and am reminded of Gods’ endless mercies. I guess I could focus on the fact that I may have to live here on Earth so long without him, but all my heart feels is the unbelievable blessings He bestowed on us during those days. After all, He woke my sister up urging her I fly instead of drive which allowed us one last heartfelt conversation with him! He blessed my father with a relatively short illness and in a way where we never had to look our father in the eye and tell him of his devastating diagnosis. God reminded me of my incredibly faithful and supportive family that never left our side during this difficult time. He allowed me to be an example to my kids of how to walk through grief with grace while honoring a loved one. While I don’t know the dark valleys that are still yet to come my way, I am sure of one thing: Even if...I still will. ~Suzanne

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