Thursday, January 28, 2010

Life and Death and All the Dogged Deep Thinking that Goes Along With it...

Long enough title for ya?

So, maybe understandably, I've been contemplating things in a much more serious tone as of late. My contemplations tend to be just as tenacious and unrelenting as the rest of me, so it's difficult for me to ease off until I can carve out some kind of solution, or at least get a better picture.

Since Alisha's death, every pain, ache, or abnormality, is instantly cancer. I even had a physical, asking the Doc to be extra careful to check for signs, had bloodwork done...the whole gamut. I know it's psychological, I know! And I'm getting past it. But not without a struggle.
I know it may sound like I'm a late-bloomer, but I finally have a tangible grasp on the utter finality of death, on the fragility of life, and the necessity to care for oneself properly. Before, I would diet and eat right because I like fitting into my skinny jeans--now, I eat my fruits and veggies because nobody is gonna eat them for me, and I wanna be healthy. Is it wrong to care so much because I'm now compelled by negative reinforcement? Honestly, I'm not sure. However, finally I'm making some headway into the psychological turmoil.

Anyone who hasn't, should read "My Dream of Heaven" (also known as "Intra Muros") by Rebecca Ruter Springer. I read it years and years ago, and though the visuals were impressive and magnificent, it's only now that the full value of the book truly compels me. In brief summary, a Christian woman is deathly ill, and being cared for away from her family. She is in intense agony, and one day, by the anointing of the Holy Spirit, finds herself resting in God's peace and comfort. Since there are 3 weeks left until her husband and son visit, her departed brother in-law comes to her room and offers to bring her to Heaven, so she can escape the pain her earthly body is feeling, with the promise to return her to her body in 3 weeks time.

Before you write that off as being new-agey, check it out! A number of accounts credit it as being a true and factual retelling of actual events. There are many hypotheses, and maybe even similar stories. This one, to me, holds weight and thus I attentively consider its content.

Anyhow, it reminds me of the way Alisha, a few days before her death, told her husband John, "I wish you could know what this feels like", referring to the peace and comfort she was feeling in God's presence-as though she already had one foot in Heaven, and the rest of her was preparing to depart.

I'm starting to think that the jump from life to death is not as cataclysmic as I once thought. In fact, I never before noticed how much death is like being re-born: in the womb, you are being prepared for everything in the world. You are given eyes to see, a mouth to speak, ears to hear, nose to smell, and all the internal workings...but you don't really use them until birth. You find yourself accustomed to pitch dark, and there is no need to breathe air. Once you are born, you cannot ever again re-enter the womb. No one remembers their own birth (I don't think anyway), but how big a jump to go from pitch darkness and muted vibrations, to bright light, varied colors, loud noises, strong smells...So I wonder if Heaven is the same. Once we shed our earthly bodies, our senses are again re-opened to "true living" (Which reminds me of another part in the book, where Rebecca describes seeing 'new' colors never before visible to her human eye, and swimming deep in a lake while harmonious notes pulsed through the water, and never once feeling the need to come up for air--can you imagine? It seems impossible!)

Of course, I constantly consider in great anticipation, the unhindered relationship with Jesus that Heaven brings. I guess I'm just now considering what that means for the rest of me too.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

The Airplane Testimony

I think that God is trying to tell me something about His faithfulness; you be the judge:

Last week was so hard. I still don't think my emotions have completely caught up with everything that I went through. Somehow I think God understands that I was built that way, because He seems to give me strong reminders about Himself a while before I really need them.

Here's what I mean: Last week, before I knew I would be taking an urgent flight home, I had a dream that I was in an airplane that was inevitably going to crash. It was very vivid. It was daytime, the plane was at it's highest cruising altitude, and everyone was in a panic because we were about to drop to the ground like a dead weight. My own mind was reeling with fear, imagining what an impact like that was going to do to me. The dream affected me so badly that once I got word that Alisha was in a critical state, I immediately considered taking a Greyhound, or leaving with Dan by car and driving day and night. At one point I told him outright, "I can't fly home."

Finally I decided that I didn't want to be ruled by fear, and that the reason for going home was serious enough to risk it. So I told my friends and family about the dream and asked them to pray for my safety. I'd be lying if I said the first flight didn't hack at my nerves, or that I was serene about possibly boarding my instrument of doom. More on that in a minute...

At this time a week and a day ago, The family and I were all gathered around Alisha's bedside, praying, mourning, lightly holding on to the possibility that she may yet survive. I can't tell you how much it hurt to watch her, once so much fun and full of life, now reduced to such a state.

I have to interject that I have one of the best friends in the world. Lisa picked me up from the airport, drove me straight to the hospital, and stood in the lobby with Terry and Ariana from Calvary Chapel, praying, comforting and interceding on our behalf.

The doctor attending to Alisha said that she was starting to swell again, and to prevent suffering, it might be wise to take her off of the respirator soon. Some of her major organs were already failing.

Once the respirator was removed and the monitors shut off, I began almost frantically repeating the same prayer in my heart: "God, You could do it. If You thought it best, You could revive her. Lord please...breathe life back into her lungs..." Even though I felt somewhere that she was already gone, I kept thinking of Lazarus, how there was no doubt in anyone's mind that he had passed, and I held onto the hope that she might come back to us. But God instead opened Heaven to receive her. She breathed on her own for a little while; the breaths began to come more shallow and farther apart...then finally, life left her completely. She passed away September 23, at 3:53 p.m.. Right now, I truly can't complain that she's in Heaven, having the beginning of all the best. Tomorrow however, may be a different story. That's why I believe God did what He did on my travel home.

Tuesday afternoon my plane landed in Denver without a hitch. As I boarded my final flight home, I thought again about my dream: "Well it was just a dream. But if something was GOING to happen, it would have to be now." I had a tinge of uncertainty, even paying extra attention to the other passengers and the faces of the flight attendants, wondering if these would be the last people I ever saw on earth. The plane pulled out, and positioned itself on the runway...

Before it could gain any momentum for take-off however, a weird noise issued from the left side; kind of like a loud grinding, as though someone was taking a drill to it. Moments later the pilot gave us this announcement: "Your Captain speaking here...this plane has experienced a massive hydraulic failure...we have no control over the plane and will have to be towed back to the terminal...this plane will certainly not be making any flights today...sit tight..." Then again as the emergency vehicle parked next to us, "Your captain here...don't be alarmed...hydraulic liquid is pretty caustic and the vehicle you see outside is there as a precaution..."

I figured the use of cellphones wouldn't make any difference, so I powered mine on and texted Dan the following: "Wanna hear something crazy?"...

After another convo with my awesome friend Lisa today, I realized that God was saying something very specific. Maybe even to the effect of, "Lacy, I know you wish Alisha were still on the earth with you, but I didn't answer that prayer. But I am still your faithful God. You prayed for safety on your flights, and your prayers and the prayers of others did not fall on deaf ears. I am a faithful God, and I am trustworthy.

Even though the mountains and the whole earth should pass away, still God's faithfulness remains. He left an indelible impression on my heart, and I believe He is doing a work in me that only He can do. So what's left to say, except...

Thank You God, for Your everlasting faithfulness! And for Your lovingkindness, and for keeping me and the other passengers on that plane safe!

Friday, September 25, 2009

Memorial Service for Alisha

To anyone who would like to honor this sweet woman,
There will be a viewing on Sunday from 2-5 at Hood Mortuary. The Memorial Service is on Monday at 2, also at Hood Mortuary. There will be an open house at her home following the service. Anyone who would like to come and remember Alisha is welcome to attend.

Much Love,

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Alisha Nicole Livingston

Alisha leaped into Jesus' arms today at 3:55 p.m..

R.I.P are irreplaceable, and this world won't be the same without you. My heart is so grateful that the trials of life are far behind you now. You are the best friend anyone could ever ask for, and I'm not the only one who would say that. I love you and miss you with all my heart!

Memorial Service information to follow.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

When Words Don't Suffice

...the groaning of my spirit...

Alisha will most likely be in the arms of Jesus by tomorrow's end, and maybe before. The doctors believe that to take her off of sedation at this time would mean waking her up to an awful reality. Tomorrow morning, they will take her off of the blood pressure medication. They anticipate that she will go to be with our Lord shortly after that.

Please pray for the family. This is a world none of us are ready to live in, but by God's grace.


First, I have to stress the following: if you have any questions, I will do my best to answer. Right now, her attending family is in a bad way, and needs some peace.

Since the surgery to restore her collapsed lung yesterday, Alisha has been on a respirator. She is in heavy pain, sedated at the moment.
As the family decides, she will have to be taken off of it and given a chance to breathe on her own, and there is a possibility that she may not be able to. Please pray that if it's God's will, her lungs will kick in! More specifically, she will be on the respirator until tomorrow at least, and maybe longer.
In a little bit, she'll be off of sedation, and able to respond to those around her.

Thanks for your prayers....this is an unimaginable reality for us all...

Monday, September 21, 2009


Hey Y'all,

This most recent update has left my heart in pieces. Please just pray as God leads you.

First, yesterday the fluid building up from the stomach cancer caused one of Alisha's lungs to collapse. She was in surgery as of 9:30 this morning to again remove the excess fluid, and get her lung working again (I think)

This next part, I barely know how to put into words.

The doctors have told Alisha that this cancer is terminal. They believe that administering chemotherapy will only end her life sooner. They've left the decision up to her. I've been in tears since I heard. I dreamed about it all last night. I can't believe this is actually happening.

To me, it feels like this is all taking place so fast. As of a few months ago, it was ovarian cancer, they were going to take her ovaries out, she would recover, and go on living her life. Cancer is such a merciless disease. I'm heart-broken, as I'm sure you are, for so many reasons. She is SO young. She just had a baby, and her Mama's heart wants to see her grow up. We keep wishing and hoping and praying for a second chance, but it seems as though God may not grant it...but I know, should He choose, that God can do all things. I'm ready at a moment's notice to turn my lamentations into rejoicing, should He choose to do something miraculous here.

Please keep the family in your prayers. Alisha is the only child of Mitch and Janet. Thank you all for seeking God on this issue, for your thoughts and prayers, for carrying this burden with our family.