Saturday, March 30, 2013

Caitlin's Memorial Service Video


Caitlin's Memorial Service:

The service was Sat Mar 30, 2013.
The video is still available to watch at:

Friday, March 29, 2013

Dear People



 Dear People,

Thank you for all your love, support, and prayers. I love and appreciate each one of you. 

I do not know how to start this letter, but I should start with the God that I know and love. My God never delights in cruelty or injustice: He delights in kindness and mercy, and people who stand for the right. He delights in our delight in His creation, delights when people trust Him in good times and hard times alike. For my God is love - and Love always wins in the end.

God needs people who will stand for the right, regardless of results, like Martin Luther and God’s many champions throughout history. I have prayed that God would make me into this kind of person, someone God could depend on to work with Him for others. I specifically pray that God would teach me to learn to love, as He loves. I want to know that I have followed God’s will to the best of my abilities: one hundred percent, with no reserve - no reserve, no retreat, no regret. 

But my life feels so mediocre, and I struggle with fear. I remember laying in the dark the night before the repeat upper GI (gastrointestinal) scope before my major surgery. My mind fumbled for hymns and verses to steady my heart, but I was gripped by the vivid terror of waking up on a ventilator after the previous GI scope. I remembered the horrible complications. Even many months later, I still cannot fall asleep with a shirt or blanket snuggled close around my neck. But that night, as I lay there in the dark, fighting with my thoughts, God slipped a tune through my troubled mind: “If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there Your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me.” Psalms 139:9-10

I want to live. I love my family. I would love to have more time. My faith is lacking. I pray that God will help my faith not to fail. I do not have the strength to choose Him without His help. Do I trust Him, am I leaning on Him? Is He my compass, or am I lost? Will I let Love carry me to peace? Will I love the world as He did? Will I let heaven fill my heart? And so I pray, Oh God, please strengthen my heart. Help my eyes to be only on You! Please help me to be faithful.

God answers me, “Don’t worry, don’t worry!” and “Don’t be afraid. Don’t. Be. Afraid.” And He is helping me sing. Even when my voice is gone, and I cannot even whisper, I can still sing in my mind and praise God with all my strength. We are singing a duet, He and I. As my voice fails, I hear His glorious voice ever clearer, ever nearer. 

God is my support, the one who sustains me. Daniel’s three friends faced death before the fiery furnace; my furnace is facing cancer and the end of my life. I have almost bled to death several times. I have had radiation, chemotherapy, and surgery, and have had a port and a feeding tube put in. I have had a third of my stomach taken out along with my esophagus and the remainder stretched into a replacement esophagus. My body is broken and wasted.

Now I am standing before the King saying, “I trust you, and I will follow You wherever You go.” I am not afraid of pain because I know the King is carrying me. He is no stranger to great pain. I am not afraid of death, because He has pierced even that great darkness. He is a faithful Guide to whom no path is unfamiliar. 

Throughout this journey God has shown me beautiful cathedrals in time, even in the midst of devastation, grief, and loss. Grateful eyes and a trusting heart can see sunbeams of spring even in the dead of winter by giving thanks in all things. Every moment is a gift. There is a joy in that & peace. 

The peace I seek requires voluntary relinquishment of everything and everyone into the hands of a capable Friend.

I receive the gift of peace as I learn to know His heart. It is a safe place. For every moment of life, I feel His hands. I am not falling... I’m held. One hundred percent held. 

My highest priority - more than long life, more than quality of life - is to be where God wants me to be. It is not about extending my comfort, and it is not about extending my life. Instead, I must ask, Where can I be of the most service? Where can I touch people’s hearts most deeply for eternity - in His perspective, not mine? I want to be at the center of His will, even if that means a shorter life, and even if God does not heal my body. This world is temporary, and comfort here is not my priority. 

I have been reading Matthew 5, which says, “Blessed are those who recognize their spiritual poverty, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” For theirs is the kingdom of heaven, not only later, but now.

“For I know that my Redeemer lives, and He shall stand at last on this earth; and after my skin is destroyed, this I know: That in my flesh I shall see God, whom I shall see for myself, and my eyes shall behold, and not another. How my heart yearns within me!” Job 19:25-26

This is the piece for all puzzles, the truest fulfillment of my dreams: His mission for me will be accomplished. God is holding my hand. As my hand gets weaker, I can feel His hand holding tighter to mine. He is with me, and He always will be, no matter what. And He wants to be with you, too. For me, coming to know His heart has eclipsed some of the burning questions I used to have. I want to be in God’s will. I am not sure where this is, but the further I go, the clearer it gets. 

I can see that we are living in a war zone. There are many casualties - perhaps I am one of them. However, we will have each other in heaven, forever and for always, and I joyfully cherish that thought. Death is only a nap or a sleep – it is nothing to be afraid of. If we die inside while we are walking around living – that is a tragedy. We should fear to stop growing. If we keep our eyes on God, seek His purposes, and stay true to them, He will take us home. 

As Jesus said in Matthew 5, “You’re here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world. God is not a secret to be kept. If I make you light-bearers, you don’t think I’m going to hide you under a bucket, do you? I’m putting you on a light stand—so shine! Be generous with your lives. By opening up to others, you’ll prompt people to open up with God, this generous Father in heaven.” Matthew 5:14-16

Maybe your task here is to be a witness to the very end and endure far greater suffering than what I have been called to bear. Maybe it is something else. Whatever it is, please allow God to carry these burdens, and content yourself in continually seeking His will. I pray that you will sense God’s presence as He carries you. I pray that you hear His heartbeat as you daily rest in His arms, for God will be awake in the night to listen. God will be there to help you set a true course. He will help you; He will be there in joy and laughter, in slow rainy day walks and fast runs down forest paths. God will love you always. We can trust His heart to see around the corners and carry us all the way home, across nebulas and through galaxies, to that bright land where we will finally see Him, face to face. 

Will you please join me in opening your hearts to trust God?

Love `n prayers,
~ Caitlin


This letter is a compilation of writings from Caitlin Meharry, who lived vibrantly from February 17, 1987 until her death from cancer on March 21, 2013, at age 26. This letter shows her deepest heart’s desire and life’s work: a heart and soul dedicated to God, overflowing with His love for others, and committed to bringing others closer to God’s heart. 

Caitlin's Life Purpose


Caitlin’s life purpose was to serve and bless others with God’s loveShe surrendered completely to Him, and God’s love poured through her. She always thought of others first and sought to bring comfort and encouragement. Her goal was to lift others to Jesus.
She was always counting ­blessings and looking for the good. She never questioned why she had cancer. She put her trust in God to work out the greatest good.  Even amid suffering she never complained about her circumstances or stopped living a joyful life. Don’t worry God can see around the corners. We can trust Him.”
Caitlin loved music.  She played the violin and piano, and sang hymns to express joy and to strengthen her courage. “God gave us music so we can pray without words.”

Her infectious smile radiated the joy she had in Jesus. When she wasn't smiling, it was because she was comforting someone in sorrow.  She was well known for her heart-to-heart talks with people. She always made time to listen and encourage others­. 

She wrote: “Here is my heart in the shape of my hand. These fingers extend thoughts and treasures of my heart. Expressed in time and touch, reaching out to lift your burdens, to relieve a load of pain. To applaud your success or help in defense. To catch your tears and help wounds heal. Caring and sharing life together. Here is my heart.

Through her entire journey, even to the last breath, she had unquestioning trust and was not afraid.
She wrote, This is just the simple peace that results from God - from me learning to know His heart is a safe place for every moment of life. Every moment is a gift. There is a joy in that. This brings true peace.”

As this world is changing and drawing every day closer to its end, the greatest tribute any of us can make to Caitlin is to commit our lives to God and loving others. We must do all we can to carry forw­­­ard the light that she shone into our lives,­­ spreading it to all those in our path. 

Sunday, March 24, 2013


Caitlin's memorial service will be held on Saturday, March 30. It will be at 5pm with a meal served afterwards at Chattanooga 1st Adventist church. It is located right by I-75. The address is: 7450 Standifer Gap Road Chattanooga, TN 37421.


In December, Dr. and Mrs. Saleem Farag, came to visit Caitlin and me. God called them to start an orphanage in Zimbabwe instead of starting retirement. They have given their best energies to help the orphans truly feel love and home and to learn about God. I remember sitting with them while they proudly showed us a notebook filled with pictures of each of their 60 children and told us about each one as if they were their own. They support each child with mentorship and education so that they can grow to become leaders in society. We had a wonderful visit. Caitlin was profoundly inspired by their zeal and deep care for the children. She said that once she recovered from the cancer she wanted to go to the orphanage to help out. 

As we remember Caitlin, you may wish to consider making a donation to the Newstart Children's Home in her memory.  

For more information, please visit newstartchildrenshome.org
Tax deductible donations can be sent to:

Overseas, Medical, Health Education Foundation ( O.M.H.E.F.)
c/o Mary Penner
224 Woodside Road
Brunswick, ME 04011


Saturday, March 23, 2013


Caitlin Meharry
February 17, 1987 - March 21, 2013


Caitlin and Jen
(Photo taken 8/19/2012)


Our sweet sister Caitlin fell asleep for the last time in my arms at dawn on March 21, 2013. She and I, at her request, had spent the last four weeks on an island in Maine with Dr. and Mrs. Howe. Her brother Nathan was with us as well and held her in his arms singing her favorite hymns for several hours just before she died. She had had an increasingly difficult time with breathing as the cancer encircled her left main stem bronchus but with oxygen she was able to enjoy life to the very end. The day before she died Nathan, Lyn Howe and I took her for a sleigh ride with Nathan or me pulling and Lyn coming behind with the oxygen tank. It was a ride she enjoyed to the fullest. The cold, clear Maine air helped her to breathe easier and she spent much of her time on the window seat looking out at the ocean. God was near and her last days were filled with joy despite the increasing shadow of the her cancer.


She loved the snow and wrote the following a few weeks before she died. “We got up here in time to experience the most exquisite winter snow I've ever seen! The clinging, mounding type that can pile itself 4 inches tall on slender twigs and balance there all day long. Sabbath evening and all day Sunday God showered silent manna upon this corner of the world. All has been hushed into wonderland. We took a leisurely tromp through it earlier. Rollo (the Howe’s dog) dashed around joyously as only a Rollo can. When the sun rose today, elfish breezes puffed at branch tips, spraying gold tinted shimmers in great spiraling shafts. And I wondered do angels have down? And if perchance, they molt - would it glitter like myriads of crystals suspended in gold?”



(March 20, 2013)

On Wednesday night, the week before she died, she had pain in her chest. The next day, nurse practitioner Mary Penner came to the house and applied a pain relieving poultice the ingredients of which may have helped but the precious prayer Mary offered and God’s incredible answer kept her pain-free with no medication for pain till the end. As those of you who knew her well might expect, she was gracious and thankful all of her days and each day rested in the surety of her heavenly Father's love. She trusted that a loving God who can "see around life's corners" had her best interest at heart.

I miss her more than words can express, but am comforted in the absolute assurance of seeing her again one day soon in heavenly places. I can think of no one who will enjoy heaven more than Caitlin. Promise me, won’t you, that you will be there with me to greet her on that dawn of the never-ending next day of her life. Thank you for your prayers and your love and care during this journey. 

~Jennifer Seal





















(View from Caitlin's window seat at dawn 3/21/13)



Sunday, January 20, 2013

Moments


It has been two years since I was diagnosed with cancer. Life has become richer in meaning and so many precious lessons of trusting God have been given for which I'm grateful.

Upon request, I'm posting a sampling of moments mainly captured by my roommate's cell phone camera. These snapshots offer glimpses into the corners of the past two years. The in-between moments of everyday life in His grace. I hope that you enjoy!



























Sunday, December 16, 2012

Then Pealed the Bells More Loud and Deep:


Friday morning driving in the car, I heard a beautiful choral arraignment of one of my favorite Christmas songs, "I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day". The words have been circling through my head since and I wanted to share them with you.

Penned on Christmas Day 1864 by the American poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, this song carries a rare message of hope. 

Contextually, it is important to realize that nearly every day in the year 1864 was marked in blood by the battles of the Civil War. This raging in the streets and backyards of tottering nation is a reality current generations cannot fathom. Our hearthstones have been rent by other earthquakes - but not this scale of war. We have not had our houses shattered. We have not had thousands of the bodies of our dearest strewn across our suburbs and home fields. 

In the preceding years Longfellow's personal life had been devastated by the loss his dear wife to a tragic fire. He himself had been badly burned trying to rescue her from the flames. Later his son, a lieutenant in the Union army, was severely wounded and crippled in battle. These events are the roots of his questions. Questions relevant to us today. 

On hearing the the belling carols mingled with the dichotomous percussion of the deathly cannons, Longfellow wrote from his heart:
(The original poem, complete with all seven stanzas)

"I heard the bells on Christmas Day
Their old familiar carols play,
And wild and sweet
The words repeat
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

And thought how, as the day had come,
The belfries of all Christendom
Had rolled along
The unbroken song
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

Till, ringing, singing on its way,
The world revolved from night to day,
A voice, a chime
A chant sublime
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

Then from each black accursed mouth
The cannon thundered in the South,
And with the sound
The carols drowned
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

It was as if an earthquake rent
The hearth-stones of a continent,
And made forlorn
The households born
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

And in despair I bowed my head;
"There is no peace on earth," I said;
"For hate is strong,
And mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!"

Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
"God is not dead; nor doth he sleep!
The Wrong shall fail,
The Right prevail,
With peace on earth, good-will to men!"


~ ~ ~

Dearest friends, 
May the bells resound more loud and deep in your heart this Christmas.
May you know that God is not dead; nor doth He sleep!!!
May you choose the right and by His grace prevail,
May you embody peace on earth, good-will to men!