“What do you think it means when The Bible talks about the Right Hand of God?”
“Funny you should ask…When I was living with my parents and really struggling and searching for answers, that same question was on my mind. I read so much about “shadow of His wings and right hand of The Father”… I decided it means Jesus. Just Jesus. Like it says in Acts 7, Jesus is seated at “the right hand” of God.
We decided to agree this was correct and move on…
We talked about my girls…she asked about my Luke. She told me how much he favored her Luke and when she had the strength to get upstairs and go through pictures she wanted to send me proof.
I already believed her.
She asked a million questions as I drove from Costco to Target and as much as I wanted to ask her all the questions that had built up in my mind about cancer and if she hurt and when I could see her, I had learned over the past 10 months she would talk about it when she was ready and I would respect that.
We spoke for an hour and a half…90 minutes of clarity, laughter, friendship and eventually the reality that my best friend in the whole world had cancer. For the first time since I received the message from her husband that she was diagnosed with Stage IV brain cancer, we acknowledged it and wept. She told me how amazing Chris had been and how much he loved her. This was the first time she allowed me to see the weakness and reality of this ugly, mean, walnut-sized invasion in her beautiful, intelligent brain. She shared the embarrassing effects of chemo and bragged on her husband. I’ve always loved Chris. He kept my Jana laughing and appreciated our silly. I know we got on his nerves, like we did everyone else when we were in our own world of conversations that only Gina and Jana could appreciate….but he loved us just the same.
Chris. Chris was born a project manager, solution minded man. When he was informed by Jana in 2007 that my x husband and I were on the edge of divorce, he pulled a super friendship-to-the-rescue move and suggested a trip to Vegas. Chris knows Vegas. I’d never been and somehow he convinced John that this trip would be good for us. It was all planned behind my back and when we were driving to the airport I was under the assumption that I was on my way to Austin to spend a few much needed days with my friend that could hear me and give me some listening ears and bible applied wisdom…That is not how it went down. Once we got to the airport I realized we were on our way to Vegas…together. I didn’t want to be together. I wanted apart. My happy came when we got there and got settled in our room and there was a knock on the door…surprise! For the next 2 days she listened and loved and encouraged and brought me an escape called laughter.
Friends. Show. Up.
…as the conversation continued I think I knew in my heart it was our last.
We drove to Austin for Easter weekend and I told my friend goodbye. I had to see her. She had made every excuse for me not to visit but I was calling the shots this time.
She was resting when I got there and her mother said, “Jana, look who’s here…”
When she finally opened her eyes she said…”I like your earrings.”
I had on my funky leather feather earrings, and not a hello Gina…but an I like your earrings.
So Jana. This conversation was so normal…and now so cherished.
We shared a love of all things girly and we loved loved loved to talk about Jesus…to talk about revelations and how God could be found in the smallest, finite details…begging for the attention of two girls who wondered what we ever did in the first place to be so utterly blessed beyond measure. We could not believe that we had the children we had! We talked about how unworthy we felt to be the moms of Paige, Laken, Hannah, Chase and Luke. We talked about how much we loved our babies every time we spoke. I thought she had the two most beautiful boys I’d ever seen and she thought my girls were perfect. We talked about what a complete miracle it was that we survived our teenage years…it really was. We contemplated the mysteries of Christ, like what “the right hand of God” meant…we explored the unknown and how to continue trusting when it was difficult to trust.
We ALWAYS encouraged one another to keep trusting.
I was told it rained the whole day on the last day of Jana’s time on planet earth…then just as she drew her last breath a rainbow appeared over Austin, Texas. Rainbows have always signified God’s promises and been associated with Noah and the ark…If it’s okay with you Sir Noah I think from now on when I see a rainbow I will remember how blessed I was that my parents moved me and my comfortable, familiar life in Andrews, Texas to Spring, Texas back in 1981 and afforded me the opportunity to meet Jana Givens…and from there create memories that will forever make my heart smile.
Thank you for her beautiful life. Thank you for allowing me the opportunity to be called her silly, love to laugh, friend.
One of my favorite verses is found in 1 Peter 5:10…it reads,
“And the God of all grace, after you have suffered a little while, will Himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.”
Sweet Jana, you suffered for a little while and your suffering is past. I can only imagine what you are experiencing. All the questions we asked…all the unknowns and ponderings of God’s Holy Word… and you are in the middle of it all with complete understanding.
Mystery Solved, ReJanakah….
I will never not miss you until I see you again.