Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Wrapping my mind around Matt Chandler’s Brain Tumor.

On November 26 of this year, Matt Chandler fell ill at his home. He had a seizure. They took him to the doctor. They did some diagnostics. They found a tumor. They did surgery. They waited for the test results. They got the results. Malignant. Non encapsulated. Horrific.

When the Village Church said they were waiting to post results of Matt’s tests, I had a sick feeling at the pit of my stomach. But I reminded myself that no news is good news. That’s what we always hear. But that wasn’t the case this time. This time was no news was the worst news.

Flashback…September 2001: Beltway Park Baptist Church. Our pastor, David McQueen was out of the country on a trip to Israel. Matt was the college pastor at Beltway and spoke the Sunday after the 911 massacre in New York City. Alex had always been a huge fan of Matt, even after he (Alex) decided that church just wasn’t for him. But he came back, the Sunday after 9-11 and heard the message that thousands of preachers were preaching on that Sunday. But this was not just a message from Matt. None ever were. He was funny, emotional, loud, quiet, loud again and just utterly amazing, convincing, and loving. I sat next to my unsaved, rebellious husband and watched him tremble as Matt gave the ‘invitation.’ I didn’t know until over twenty four hours later that Alex had accepted the invitation.

Jesus changed us in Abilene. We found hope, safety, acceptance, gratitude, wisdom in that place. Matt Chandler was a huge part of that. I wore out my sermon tapes (remember those?) listening to stuff that boggled me and encouraged me and challenged me and even pissed me off sometimes. We were new. But the voice of truth spoke loudly to us there and we were forever changed.

We left Abilene with incredibly heavy hearts as we trekked across the US to Mississippi, but through the internet, we were able to download sermons and listen to our favorite church and pastors with full hearts and tears in our eyes. We followed Matt to the Village, and watched the explosion of the hearts in E. Texas. We listened to Matt’s messages often and that piece of our hearts that will always be in Texas would join us again in the voices of Matt and David.

Our transitions always brought us spiritual and emotional challenges, and once again we found ourselves back in Florida and listening to Pod Casts. Then we find out that Matt Chandler isn’t just Matt Chandler from Grace Bible Study in Abilene. We find out that his fans and followers are worldwide and share the same love for him we do.

And now we face this next step in Matt’s life. Three small children. A beautiful and brilliant wife. Love for Jesus all over this family like crazy. And trusting in God’s sovereignty and grace and healing. Me too. I’m praying like crazy for this family I’ve never met, that would never know me, that has never known that I’ve cried tears of relief at hearing that the surgery was finally over and I could sleep. They don’t know that Alex and I have held hands and hearts and lifted them up because it’s all we can do. But I know it’s the best we can do for them. The best.

And I wonder for Lauren. I wonder where she is, what she is feeling, how she must be struggling and surviving. I think about my house, with my three children, their incomparable and whole hearted love for their Daddy. I think about the silence that comes on the nights that he isn’t here. I think about how she has endured that, without the beautiful sound of a text message alert in the middle of the night saying ‘here’. I think about how I’ve already googled Matt’s diagnosis with tears streaming and how I would crumble into a million pieces thinking of a future without my husband. I think about the twenty eight thousand pictures I have of my precious man and his girls and how that may be the only way our children experience him. It is almost too much to bear. And in these moments, I just want to scream….and He whispers back.

He whispers back…for my Glory. It is for my Glory, Julie. Nothing can steal that from me, little one. But all of this can reveal it. In ways that you could not ever dream, I will reveal it. In ways that you may never see, I will reveal it. In ways that you will rejoice over, I will reveal it. In ways that you will relax in it, I will reveal it. But until then, little one, trust me. Drink in the sweet sedation that is me and wait.

And that is what I pray that He is screaming to Lauren in her moments of madness or sorrow and in her moments of celebration and gratitude.

And I thank you, Jesus, that Matt knows you like I don’t. I thank you that he is gifted with your presence…that he is able to communicate in ways that allow us to see you as we’ve never seen before. Thank you that he doesn’t fool around, that he shares the way he loves you and that the personal, precious walk he’s taken with you has become some of the sweetest moments of my life.

Do not be terrified.

Do not be discouraged.

For the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.

Joshua 1:9b

If you feel led, please don't hesitate to send Matt and Lauren and encouragement at 2101 Justin Road, Flower Mound, TX 75028.

You can also get updates at the Village website:

1 comment:

MrsTcain said...

Hi Julie, I just wanted to let you know that I'm praying for Matt and Lauren, and also for you tonight, that God will strengthen your faith as you watch Matt walk through this.

Like you, I spent a season in Abilene, at Beltway, but we were there after Matt left. Our last Sunday there, David took our hands, said a prayer, and recommended that we go to the Village, though it would be a drive.

After a journey, we're now at the Village,knowing that we are here for God's glory. and that Matt's journey is for the same.

God bless you and your family.