Read His Words Before Ours!
The first time I heard of Joey was last summer. My life was upside down and my heart was inside out and I was falling more and more in love with my newborn daughters. One day I found myself surfing Facebook as a distraction from the constant nagging of fear in the back of my mind. My life had turned from joyful mommy-hood bliss to a life of “what ifs” and dread. I clicked on a video of a couple singing on a small, quaint stage. A beautiful brunette woman stood at a mic next to her overall-cladded husband who was playing guitar. Their voices blended into a rich, smooth velvety sound. For just a few minutes my mind didn’t think about the “what ifs” and nothing nagged my heavy heart. I was in a trance and quickly fell in love with this darling couple. For months I continued to watch and listen to this dynamic duo while battling my overwhelming fear that came with being a mommy.
One morning, Joey’s tragic news appeared on my Facebook feed: her cancer had returned and the prognosis wasn’t good. I instantly thought of a picture her husband, Rory, had shared on their Facebook page. Joey was potty training their little daughter on the side of the road. She sat with an umbrella reading a book to her sweet girl.
That was a picture of motherhood; that was a picture of love.
Tears began pouring as I felt the confusion, hurt, pain, and sorrow Joey must have been feeling. You see, Rory was facing one of my worst fears, that something would happen to me so my daughters would have to grow up without their mommy and I wouldn’t get to be there for them. It was easy for my heart to ache with Joey. I learned something in my few months of being a mama about the beautiful bond that lies between a mama and her child.
To read that baby Indiana could lose her mama tore me apart.
Months passed before I read the words I’d been dreading to read…
“My wife’s greatest dream came true today.
She is in Heaven.
The cancer is gone, the pain has ceased and all her tears are dry. Joey is in the arms of her beloved brother Justin and using her pretty voice to sing for her Savior. ”
My heart dropped. My stomach was in my throat. I read Rory’s blog post. I read old blog posts. I read and read while tears poured and it dawned on me.
Joey had no fear.
Joey was going to die, but Joey was safe.
She knew she would be safe, and she proved it to the millions who watched her as cancer overtook her earthly body. She proved it to her thousands of prayer warriors when she said, “I pray that one morning I just don’t wake up. But I don’t fear anything because I’m so close to God and we’ve talked about it so many times. I know he’s close. And I know he loves me.”
Joey had no fear because she knew she was safe in the arms of Jesus.
She was safe when she battled cancer and she is safe now.
Because being safe isn’t about perfect bodily state, it’s about your spiritual one.
Knowing she was safe, Joey could bravely allow her little daughter’s relationship with her father to grow, while she sat back and watched, so that sweet girl wouldn’t miss her mama so painfully.
Because her heart was safe, Joey could trust that God held her baby when she no longer would. Spiritual safety allowed the decision that “enough is enough” and freed her to stop fighting and prepare herself to go home. Safety with Jesus gave Joey strength to gather her family and friends around her, hold her step-daughters’ hands and snuggle her little baby to say goodbye, and remind them that they are loved.
Joey Feek’s brave example of trust pointed straight to the safety of Jesus, and she taught me to handle my own fears for safety a little differently.
I learned that when our hearts are safe in Jesus’ love,
there is no room for fear,
for fear cannot come from Him.
“Perfect Love Casts Out Fear” – I John 4:18
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