Reflecting on Matt Chandler and My Wife

Matt-chandlerPlease pray for Matt Chandler who undergoes brain surgery any minute, scheduled for 10:45am (central time). He writes this morning...

The last seven days have been some of the most interesting of my life. I have felt anxiety, fear, sadness and a deep and unmovable joy simultaneously and in deeper ways than I have felt before. I am grateful for this heightened sense of things. Today at 10:45 a.m. CST I will have a good portion of my right frontal lobe removed. I head into that surgery with a heart that is filled with gratitude and hope. (go read the whole thing)

Molly and I are praying during the surgery. 

Most of you know my wife has been through 2 brain surgeries. Molly's condition does not include the same level of concern that Matt Chandler's tumor brings to his family, friends, church and community. I know the difference between suffering with Chiari and the dangers of cancer -- my wife is living with the first and my Mom died of the second (breast cancer). I say all that to say that we can't fathom what the Chandler's have been going through and what's to come. Few of us can. But from my experiences of having a wife go through brain surgery, I can't help but reflect on what I went through from a spouse's point of view.

I remember the odd and surreal experience of sitting in a waiting room while Molly had "brain" surgery. Still hard to believe. I remember feeling alone. I remember the overwhelming joy and thankfulness of knowing that hundreds of people were praying for Molly before, during, after (and still ongoing). Many are complete strangers who connected with this website. I remember ideas jumping through my head in the waiting room as I knew nothing about what was happening during the surgery. I had to pray those away, those "what ifs" that I couldn't know and shouldn't dwell on. I remember getting good news of successful surgery only to know that going to ICU means serious concerns remain. I remember watching Molly's every breath, wondering why alarms would sound saying they are too shallow. I remember sleeping in my van and taking long walks through hospital halls. I remember a lot and still relive these things often. These experiences have watermarked every day after. 

6a00d83452063969e200e5538e082f8833-320wiI don't know all that the Chandler's will experience over the next week. Let me just offer two brief reflections on what we experienced... 

  • There is nothing quite like knowing that you are one in a chorus of prayer for something or someone you hold dear. The internet, websites, blogs, Twitter and the rest are easily shrugged off by many who only respond to the worst practitioners. But for me (and I'm sure the Chandlers), events like this reveal how much technology can create pathways for a new kind of community, an expanded family of faith. It's something I'm very thankful for, and a reason I have often recommended blogging and Twitter and such to friends in lonely times in ministry and life. It might be good for you. Just be sure to share more than your thoughts and articles. Share your life too.
  • It was a deep blessing to have our theology put to the test. I have a lot of education. I own many leatherbound books. I love the arguments and debates that theological education makes available, especially as we wrestle through ideas together. But seeing your spouse wheeled into a room where they will cut into her head with questionable results forces theology to be understood in reality and through experience. It reveals whether we truly believe God is in control. Whether our peace will come from laying our anxieties before him. Whether we believe our spouse is the treasure God intends. Whether God is truly a greater treasure for us than our spouse. It's God's mercy that we go through times where there is nothing to lean on but Him.

I'm done reflecting on our experiences and I'm beginning to pray for Matt and Lauren and the kids during this surgery. Will you join with me?