Sunday, June 12, 2011

For the Delong Family

My weekend went something like this:
FRIDAY--after work, I drove to the Sports Complex and coached 12 girls basketball players for a 2-day camp. Came home to my family + Johnny/Blythe + Dave/Jacqui + Mike + Shelby + Jo at my house for our weekly Friday night game night. They were engaged in an intense Catch Phrase (boys vs. girls) game...absolutely hysterical.
SATURDAY--Day 2 of camp in the morning (where I saw Jojo trying out to be a summer referee...keep reading to know why this is so cool that I saw her!), raced off to Mikala's bridal shower (a little over 1 month, and counting!), and spent Saturday night with my girls at Jess' house for makeup lessons, homemade peach cobbler, and girl talk. So I have an inspired post today, since I spent Saturday at Jess'...

I love the Delong family. When my parents first moved to Castaic, the Delong's were our neighbors! So we have technically been family friends for almost my whole life. But after they moved to Canyon Country, life changed drastically for them when their oldest son, Justin, was diagnosed with leukemia at age 5. After beating the cancer into remission, it returned and took his life when he was 15. He died July 2000.

In 2006, their youngest son, Jacob, was diagnosed with the same disease.

Out of her heartbreak, Lisa Delong has just published a memoir aptly named Blood Brothers, that will be available for purchase through, Barnes & Noble, and Target starting July 5. There is no wisdom like that which comes from suffering, and the Delong family has a lot to share.

While I was sitting in church today, feeling really distracted by a lot stuff that's been heavy on my heart and mind, I asked the Lord to draw close and let me feel him near. I was letting my mind just drift when God came near...

Saturday night, when I walked into the Delong's home, Jacob paused his video games, came over to me and gave me a great big hug. He wanted to show me his finger he smashed playing soccer and how he had to wear a brace on it to let it heal. Jacob is a quiet, reserved 11 year-old. But a few months ago, he came to Magic Mountain with Jessica and all our girlfriends and he was our "man of the hour." I absolutely loved riding Tatsu with him and running through the park playing carnival games with him. After that night, we were buds :)

While sitting in church, Jacob landed on my heart and I started to cry. I got to hug Jacob Delong last night. I love talking to their spirited mom and strong father . I have watched/cheered on Jojo as she finished basketball her senior year (coincidence that I saw her when I was coaching this weekend? I think not). And Jessica is one of my dearest friends--a true friend, a treasure of the soul. I absolutely love this family. As I thought about Jacob, I felt God move my heart, reminding me of the blessing of life and what it is to love someone. I prayed for Jacob today--I care deeply about his health and well-being. It breaks my heart to think that he, or his family, or any of my beloved family/friends would suffer. And what can we do? Suffering is guaranteed in this life! And there are things that God allows to happen in a broken world while he is redeeming creation--things we cannot understand. But how beautiful it is to hold one another, walk with one another, cry with one another, and be with one another IN suffering! That is deep love, my friends.

As followers of Jesus, this is where we are called. Do you know what Jesus did when he arrived at Lazarus' grave in John 11? HE WEPT. HARD. He grieved--why? He KNEW what he was about to do--that he was about to raise Lazarus from the dead, in front of the crowd, to the glory of God! Yet what caused him to cry was seeing Mary and Martha, who were DEVASTATED by the death of their brother. He saw their shattered, broken hearts and he was deeply hurt by their pain. SO HE CRIED WITH THEM. He didn't tell them to get over it, didn't roll his eyes...he sat with them and then asked them to believed in the saving, redeeming power of Jesus Christ. He was perfect in their grief, but he was WITH THEM. That is all that we are called to--be with those who are hurting. We will let him who is the resurrection and the life do the miracles.

The SOTD, when God pulled my heart close with the beautiful memory of Jacob and his family: "We The Redeemed" by Hillsong United

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