I spent the last 4 yrs and 5 months fighting to hold on to her only to find her ripped from my arms. I have spent the last month rethinking this woman I was blessed to call my wife. What was it that made her so special? I knew what I felt that fateful day, in April 1980 when I first laid eyes on her. I knew that day I had met someone special, someone I had to know, and someone who possessed all I needed. Every fear, every uncomfortable feeling I had was met the instant I saw her beautiful blue eyes. That very second I saw everything I needed. I did not know what that was other then I needed it. I later learned it was her faith, her relationship with God, her child like faith in the Bible, its words, its promises. She did not just have knowledge of God and Jesus, she knew them. I needed the peace and surety she had from this relationship. Had I met her by some random event? Had I just happened to be at that stop light that very moment? Had I looked to her by accident? Was this a coincidence? No it was none of the above, it was an appointment ordered by a God who knew my need before I did, a God who answered my prayer before I knew to ask.
Because the moment I looked into her eyes I felt her spirit connect to mine and in that instant everything in life became okay. When I looked into her eyes I saw my wife. I really did love her at first sight. I always told her I loved you before I ever saw your body. It was not physical, it was spiritual. We dated from that night on and I asked her to marry me 2 months later. We were both 18, she was my first girlfriend, yet I had no doubt this was God’s will for my life.
Over the past two years I saw many of you have a similar experience with Andrea. What could have been a random meeting you soon discovered was far more. I do not know what need she met in your life or what need you met in hers. But I know it went both ways. As Dr. Atkins told her on our first appointment, I do not know why we have met but you have something to teach me and I have something to teach you. Is that not what life is about? I suspect that what drew many of you to her was her faith, I suspect you first noticed her amazing blue eyes, the windows to her soul, where God shined from within. It was what drew us as moths to a light. We just had to investigate those eyes. Her small frame was never where you would look for a spiritual giant. She was hidden in plain sight. I always thought that I had found this most precious of gems in plain sight, overlooked by the world because they failed to look beyond her 4’11” body. Yet I found the most special woman. A woman of faith, as loving wife, a Godly woman who filled the role of a biblical submissive wife to perfection. It drove me to love her as Christ loved the church; I had no other way to respond. Not the picture of beauty to the world or where the world looks for such faith. But she was the most beautiful woman I ever laid eyes on. She was quiet in her faith. She saw nothing unique in her faith, she had it her whole life and I think assumed we all had that faith. I think she just did not realize what she had was sought after by so many of us. This she had this amazing gift. She knew no other way to live, then to serve her God who had given her so much. And it was a faith born out of difficulty even as a young girl. Loosing her grandfather, her best friend at the age of 13. Facing situations far more difficult then any teenager should ever face yet she did not abandon her faith. Although she had ever earthly reason to walk away, she only clung tighter to Jesus, and built a foundation of faith that would awaken in Aug 2003 when she was told she had cancer.
So what do I do now one month after losing her? How do I take this unique experience this intersection in my life with this woman of faith?
Andrea was not a saint, somehow better then any of us, she was just given the gift of faith and she believed. She wrote many times that she never wanted to take God’s glory from Him that she would never be praised for what God was doing. Her life should not point to what is impossible for us but what is. What you saw was not to be worshiped in anyway or thought of as unattainable. It was the simple, yet rare act of surrender. It was Christ we all saw in Andrea. We need to remember that was her example to us. The lesson we all can carry on as we will face life’s inevitable challenges.
Andrea’s life means I take my current situation and embrace what God is asking me to do. I looked at her surrendering in her illness, and I surrender to what God is and will ask of me. I look at her faith and I desire a deeper relationship with my savior. One built upon knowing Him, that I may trust Him when life difficulties come my way. I make Christ a part of my everyday life, not a Sunday appointment to be filled but a way of life. I allow myself to pray specifically allowing my faith to stand up to the challenge and allowing myself to be amazed when He answers as I want, and thankful when He answers as I need. I allow God to be involved in the smallest parts of my life, knowing He is big enough to handle my smallest problem or concern. I look for God in the people God places in my life. I accept the gifts they bring to me and I accept their struggles. I pray for them, I encourage them; mostly I love them as God loves them. I don’t expect perfection in them yet I strive for it in my life. I look for what others can teach me knowing each of us carry a gift from God and together we complete the body of Christ.
I’m grateful to God for allowing me to have known Andrea; I’m humbled He chose me to be her husband and best friend, to see her up close, to be the recipient of her love. But I know it was God I worship not Andrea, it is Christ’s love I felt, it was not for my pleasure but to deepen my relationship with God. To prepare me for the work that lies ahead. Like Andrea's note she left me, "I excited to see how this all turns out."