My sweet friend since high school antics and basement parties went to be with Jesus this week. I labored in the Spirit with her since the ugly cancer diagnosis came over 7 years ago while she nursed her second daughter. She outlived all the longest timelines. She overcame and lived each day well and shared it with us. She taught me of endurance and being present and joy. She made my life more beautiful, richer. And partnering with her as I prayed for healing and more days, good days took me to places with the Lord I didn’t know needed healing, fractures I didn’t know existed.
I wondered if God could be trusted, questioned if his promises were true, and whether it even mattered to engage Him, or if my requests, my interactions with Him were worthless, my words lost in the wind, His promises just poetry. We met in the cybersphere when we could in fragmented conversations and prayers using Marco Polo. We saw each other with stretches of many, many months in between- always too little time for all the words and ideas we wanted to fit in. But I loved her like a warrior sister, who bled and struggled alongside me.
I have so much gratitude for all the days that stretched to weeks to months to years as a mercy granted to us by the Lord. I plead like a persistent widow unrelentingly asking for more. I grieve for me, for those left behind, but not for Jen. She is LIT-ER-AL-LY living her best life….the eternal one without pain, without fear, with only celebration and the completeness of meeting all that her soul longed for.
Her husband Brad’s beautiful Facebook post:
I barely know how to log on to Facebook and this is my first ever post, but when you’re passionate and in love with something – or someone – you can’t help but share. You see my wife, Jen, rocks! She is my co-adventurer; the person from whom I learn the most; my partner in the absolute joy of raising our beautiful daughters; and, a beacon of intentional friendship. We’ve been running an amazing race with open hands for almost 17 years now. Our life is and will continue to be beautiful.
She has now run ahead, though. And so we will continue to adventure and talk as a family – albeit at a distance. What is distance anyway when we know how much we love each other? Our time here is so short relative to our eternal promise. Jen, with whom have you reunited that have gone before? What are you seeing now? I can only imagine. What does your heart feel? What is it like to be in His presence? What is it like to sing and dance in complete freedom?
As you can see, we’re in shock and missing you terribly. It has been such a long road, but yet it went so quickly. I was just holding you. We were just dreaming. We were just giggling with our girls. Our life IS beautiful. We are living in deep community – especially in these sad and challenging times. Aren’t our people beautiful? There have been so many God moments in just these 2 days. Are you seeing them? Is your hand still helping to guide? If so, would you pour a heaping dose of blessing on M & G, the family and our selfless friends? Our life is beautiful. It sure also hurts, though. I love you, babe. Talk again tomorrow?
As family, cherished friends, and followers join this weekend to celebrate her. I have learned some things. God is faithful. He is worthy of having our hope. He does keep His promises. I do not get to dictate the timelines for fulfilling His promises. Love is always better than isolation. The risk of love is always worth the reward, including the pain of what first appears to be disappointment. I may never get the answers I want this side of heaven. I also learned I shut down in pain. I numb out. I want to disappear. My job in pain is to remain present, find connection, and remember to lean in to my Comforter. He does give good gifts.
Jen’s last words on her blog were, My life is beautiful. She teaches me still. I will say yes to seeing the BEAUTY. It is there. It was always there.
Jennifer Mathie Anderson’s Celebration of Life! Saturday, 11/16/19, 10:00 a.m.
West Chester Nazarene Church: 7951 Tylersville Rd, West Chester, OH 45069
In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation in Jen’s name to the Karen Wellington Foundation. In lieu of a receiving line, please consider writing favorite memories on pages available at the celebration that will be used for a bound family book.
Attire: Come as you please. Light/fun colors are encouraged (Jen’s favorite was turquoise).