July 15, 2010

I Want To Be Like Jeannie!

I wanted to share this with you, because honestly I can't think of anything else more significant or important to say myself today.

A few months ago, I asked you to pray for my friend, Jeannie. She had just been told that her breast cancer was no longer in remission. This week was her final chemo treatment.

This is a blog post written by her husband (also my former pastor). I can vouch for everything he says about her. You will never meet a more sincere, sweet, loving person than Jeannie Elliff (except maybe my mom! ;))

So, read below and be encouraged:

One More Chemo: A Tribute

In December, 2009, physicians told us that Jeannie’s breast cancer had returned. The news was unsettling, to say the least. It sucked the air out of our otherwise busy and happy lives. After all, it had only been three years since the original diagnosis, surgery, and extensive rounds of both chemotherapy and radiation. Wasn’t that supposed to take care of the problem?

After taking a deep breath, and reaching up to grasp the hand of the Lord, we plunged into another round of treatments. This time the protocol indicated a more extensive surgery followed by chemotherapy, both of which are debilitating, painful, and time consuming. So again, we joined the ranks already swelled by so many people who’ve done, or are doing, their time in the “chemotorium,” as we have fondly referred to it.

Now, what I’m about to write may seem confusing and trite. Or it may sound like an attempt to whitewash an otherwise agonizing experience with some kind of religious jargon. So I’ll leave it to you to either accept or reject this statement: These past several months seem to have been the most meaningful, fruitful and spiritually exhilarating of all our almost forty-four years of marriage. I can’t say it any plainer than that, so you’ll just have to take me at my word. And, by the way, if my word is not good enough for you, check it out with Jeannie.

How can I possibly make such a statement?

It has occurred to Jeannie and me that some experiences in life are designed (Yes, we believe it!) to reveal what we’re made of, our character, our drive, our love for one another, our strengths and weaknesses. Other experiences in life, however, move us far beyond ourselves and into the greater discovery of Who God is. It is His strength that we experience, His character, His sovereign and beneficent nature, and His determination that in everything He will receive glory. Through such experiences we are carried far beyond the simple needs of each day, and up to heights from which we begin to see God in an entirely new and breathtaking fashion.

Years ago, at the ripe old age of sixteen, I drove my grandparents through five states on a vacation. What an experience! Actually I don’t remember much of what we saw and did, but I do remember the endless stories they told as the miles passed beneath the wheels of a 1957 Plymouth Belvedere. Those stories became part of the fabric of my life, from the covered wagon honeymoon in Indian Territory to the Brush Arbor revivals that so riled up the bootleggers that the Sheriff sent along a posse for protection. I began to see that I was not just a teenaged boy out on his on. I had roots, spiritual roots, and a family name that stood for something. I was part of something much bigger than myself, something grand and exciting.

So these past eight months have been a bit like that for Jeannie and me. We’ve been riding along, confined as it were, with our shared togetherness in the back seat of an automobile driven by the Lord Himself. And while the hours have passed, we have been listening to Him. And, Oh! What amazing things He has been telling us! Like that vacation with my grandparents, I doubt that either of us will much remember the physical agonies, the sleepless nights, the weaknesses and pains associated with life as a “Chemo-sabe.” What we will remember are the new discoveries of the love of God, His all-sufficiency, and the fact that “He does all things well.”

I cannot allow this moment to pass however, without giving a cheer and a standing ovation to Jeannie, the love of my life and my sweetheart. Not once, (Read my lips!), have I heard her utter a word of complaint, disgust, or criticism. She has cheered us on…the family, friends, fellow chemosabes, doctors, nurses and medical technicians…and always pointed people toward Christ. Next to Jesus, I want to be like Jeannie when I grow up!

I love you Sweetheart!

And I’m…

Still Rejoicing evermore!

Tom Elliff

2 Tim 1:12




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7 comments:

  1. Thanks so much for sharing this!

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  2. Wow! That's absolutely amazing. =) I think it's so awesome that in the midst of her pain, she was cheering OTHERS on.

    I hope that Joe and I still call each other "sweetheart" after 44 years of marriage. =) Such a sweet and touching story.

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  3. That was precious! She sounds like a Phenomenal woman!

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