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My name is Gisel Marie. I am 43 and live in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. I am married and have three children, ages 18, 15, and 12 years.
My youngest daughter (the 12 year old) is suffering from "Acute Myeloid Leukemia." The treatments she has received are not working well so far and she is gradually getting weaker every day. My Doctor has told me to prepare for the worst, that she may die from this disease.
I've been trying to make every day special for her, with the thought that each day may be her last. I try to love her in every way I can, but I am overwhelmed with feelings of guilt as I think of all the things I should do to love her better.
My question for you is, can we ever give enough time to those we love? Can we ever say "I love you" enough? Please help me find peace of mind as I try to love my daughter the best I can, during her remaining days.
Thank you for your time,
Dear Gisel Marie:
First, it is vital to understand that the separation we call "death" is temporary. When we look at life from the perspective of Eternity, you and I can be comforted that, one day, we will be reunited with dear friends and family in heavenly realms.
My father and mother, and my oldest sister have passed on to the spirit world. I have no doubt that I will be rejoined with my father and mother and sister—no doubt at all. Why? Because I not only believe in Jesus Christ generally, . . . but I believe in His promises specifically.
Jesus taught of "many mansions" (John 14: 1-4) that are prepared for those who have faith in Him. As you believe in Christ and faithfully follow His loving ways, you will be comforted by the sure knowledge of those heavenly mansions, where family relationships continue. Read more about passing away.
Now, let me answer the questions you raise about the limits of doing "enough" for your dying daughter: Yes, even amid limitations of time and ability, we can indeed give enough love to others; and surprisingly, we can say "I love you" too much—for there comes a time when talking is sufficient and our limited mortal time should be invested in other ways: One of those ways is expressed through actions of love. I realize that you are trying to love your daughter in every way possible. So sharing these ideas with you, is not to suggest a judgment of you—and how you are doing. The Apostle John wrote these words:
"My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue;
Your questions speaks of the notion of enough. This is an important concept to understand, so we will not drive ourselves crazy thinking MORE needs to be done—when we have honestly given all. Now, to know that our expressions of love are enough is guided and confirmed by the Spirit of God—if we will only take advantage of His Guidance and Grace.
When the Spirit says your actions are enough, then giving more time and effort to one particular love opportunity is to take time away from other love opportunities that God may lead you to—within the limits of one day. To live with no regrets, you and I must faithfully follow every prompting of Heart. King Solomon offered this wise insight:
"Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life" (Proverbs 4: 23).
What it means to be mortal, is to accomplish each love-opportunity within mortal limits of time and ability; but as we live to follow the wisdom and guidance of God, being completely true to each prompting of Heart, then our limited efforts will be made enough as to each particular task by His Grace.
In contrast, when we try to do what we think we should do, leaning upon our own logic and understanding, this is where we will drive ourselves crazy, thinking that we ought to do more and better. Another insight of King Solomon applies:
"Trust in the Lord with all thine heart;
When you listen to your Head, instead of your Heart, this is when you and I will be continuously tormented by "useless cares" of whether we are doing enough. That we should always push aside "useless cares" is the advice given in the first verse of a pioneer hymn: "Come, Come Ye Saints."
By faithfully following the Spirit of God with perfect honesty, this will eliminate the following flawed logic: if I spend one hour today loving my neighbor, then . . . 1 hour and 30 minutes is better. Such is not necessarily better—if one hour was inspired by the Spirit as enough. The Apostle Paul refers to the idea of enough, as "sufficiency."
"And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always
When we live by the guidance of the Holy Spirit, we will invest our finite time and our finite abilities in obeying God to"sufficiency"—which means enough. As we obey the Spirit Voice that speaks to our Heart in the moment, then by His Grace, He makes our limited efforts . . . perfect.
You and I cannot do better, or more, than Perfect! Perfection is possible in any given moment through mortal time by God's Grace. King David acknowledged the perfecting Grace of God:
"God is my strength and power: and he maketh my way perfect" (2 Sam. 22: 33).
The "Perfection" of which I speak is NOT a general perfection, nor an ultimate perfection, but a specific expression of perfection through a single moment in time. This is accomplished by the Grace of God through two do-able tasks:
1) Becoming perfectly clean now—repenting of all sins up to one moment in time.
This is not a matter of doing your best, it is a matter of being true to Heartfelt Promptings that come from your Creator. This is the way you can love your daughter in the coming days. This is the way you can live with no regrets.
And if your daughter does pass on to heavenly realms, by being true to your Heart, you will also be comforted in the knowledge that you will live with her again, according to the promises of Christ.
Matt Moody, Ph.D.
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