Maybe We Were Never Meant To Be Complete

Marriage is for better or worse, and at the young age of 18 as I said my vows, I had no idea the depth of what I was promising my husband. At the beginning you start with dreams and ideals that turn into reality, the good and bad. These trials have taught me that true love is more than a feeling, it is an action. It is how I choose to respond, care for, and act towards my spouse in the most difficult times. Thankfully, God continues to show me how to love like He does so I may support, encourage, and endure this journey Jordan. Hebrews 13:4 “Let marriage be held in honor among all…” 1 Cor 7:39 “A wife is bound to her husband as long as he lives.”

Jordan is the father of my children, my best friend, and a gift from God. My day begins and ends with him. We share our life, our triumphs, our joys, and our pain. We are in a particularly hard season right now as we begin to come full cycle with losing Claire and recently having Derek. The reality of how our life is going to move forward without Claire is weighing heavy on us, especially Jordan. The relationship between a Daddy and Daughter is very special, and seeing my husband shattered by this loss is overwhelming. Sometimes I feel like I have lost her twice because I feel my own pain as well as my husband’s. We are two broken people. The longer we live like this, the more I am coming to learn we probably always will. I don’t believe Jordan and I will ever completely heal from this, but I think that is ok. There is hope in being incomplete as long as we continue to do it together.

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Casting Crowns: Broken Together (My Aunt told me about this song referring to the struggles found in marriage and the beauty of brokenness. I’ve shared a few lines that really spoke to me heart.)

You wore the veil, you walked the aisle, you took my hand

And we dove into a mystery

          How I wish we could go back to simpler times

          Before all our scars and all our secrets were in the light

                    Maybe you and I were never meant to be complete

                    Could we just be broken together?

                             If you can bring your shattered dreams and I’ll bring mine

                             Could healing still be spoken and save us?

                                       The only way we'll last forever is broken together

                                        Im praying God will help our broken hearts align

A year ago last Friday Claire’s bloodwork showed the first sign up relapse with abnormal cells. Upon further review doctors determined these were premature cells, not cancer cells; however, in my heart I knew different. That weekend we “prayed fervently, and loved her constantly” as my husband says. Then Tuesday we drove to Duke for a routine check-in to begin a new round of chemotherapy that would change our lives. During her check-up my husband recalls “our oncologist entering the room in his cheerful manner as he casually went over to the computer to check her bloodwork. He remained calm, but suddenly Claire’s examination consisted of him checking lymph nodes and organs that are not typically examined that thoroughly.” When the doctor left the room Jordan remembers me turning to him and saying, “That was different” as I teared up. A while passed before the doctors returned. They were rerunning Claire’s bloodwork to confirm the numbers were correct. When the doctors’ returned their demeanor told it all. My daughter’s white count was 35,000 signaling a relapse. Together we decided to forgo the scheduled chemotherapy and get a bone marrow biopsy to confirm the relapse. Jordan remembers, “Our nurses and doctors could see the fear in our eyes, and we could see it in theirs.” The biopsy revealed a 60% robust relapse in her bone marrow. We had so many decisions to make in the next few days.

That evening we drove back home to collect ourselves, be with family, and prepare mentally for the task that lay ahead. My eyes were wet, my heart pounding, and my mind racing. I almost forgot how to walk, but my husband was steadfast, my rock. Somehow the Lord always provides one of us with strength when the other needs it most. Because of his resolve, our family made it through the next days, the most trying of our life as we made the decision to bring her home to enjoy our last few days as a family here on Earth.

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Romans 12:15 “Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep”

As we awaited Claire’s procedure to obtain a biopsy, Jordan and I called family and friends to ask for prayer and seek comfort. Then we headed to our Duke home on the hallway of 5100 to seek out some of Claire’s most precious nurses. There were many working that day, and I could barely keep it together as I made my way toward them. When I reached them, I sat in the chair beside them and literally collapsed into their arms full of tears and no words. When I could finally speak all I could say was “Claire’s relapsed.” We all went into a quiet room and took turns praying for guidance, healing, comfort, strength, and peace. None of us knew what to do, or what the future held so we laid it at the feet of our Father in Heaven. Her nurses were there with us through everything like family. We rejoiced together in good news, worked together through sickness, prayed together through the trials, and cried together as we grieved. It continues even today as they have all shared in the blessing of Derek through texts, photos, calls, and visits.

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Galatians 6:2 “Carry each other's burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.”

Jordan and I are thankful to those who have helped us and continue to do so through life-long friendships, genuine conversation, heart-felt prayers, a listening ear, and encouragement in the Lord’s promises. My husband and I recently attended a Relay for Life event and my husband said, “As time passed, and I spoke with more people, I couldn’t help but think of families who have received a recent diagnosis, news of a relapse, or the loss of a loved one.” The mission of the Claire Parker Foundation is to continue the support we have received by passing it along to other families like the ones my husband was talking about. Jordan and I feel our unique purpose is rooted in the ministry of our foundation, and we pray that we can glorify God through it. We are grateful to all who have and continue to support this mission.

1 Thes 1:6-8 “You became imitators of us and of the Lord; in spite of severe suffering, you welcomes the message with the joy given by the Holy Spirit. And so you became a model to all the believers in Macedonia and Achaia. The Lord’s message range out from you not only in Macedonia and Achaia- your faith in God has become known everywhere…”

Our faith and worship in the Lord should not be negatively impacted by suffering. In fact, it can have a very positive effect because the world to see defeat, anger, hopelessness, and a lack of joy. But as a Christian we derive our joy from the Holy Spirit, not our situation allowing us to rejoice in the name of the Lord, and delight in his promises despite our current circumstance and afflictions. This is counter intuitive to what culture expects; explaining why the gospel can shine more brightly through dark times. It is easy to praise God when all is well, but it is more powerful to praise Him in the storm. Jordan and I face a very trying time right now, but by God’s grace we will endure and He will receive the victory.

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